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AAAS Caribbean Division Holds 2007 Annual Meeting in Bayamón, Puerto Rico
The Caribbean Division of AAAS will hold its 2007 Annual Meeting in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, bringing together top scientists, students, teachers, and the public for a wide range of programs addressing regional and global issues.
The one-day meeting, to be held 20 October at the InterAmerican University, Bayamón Campus, is being organized in recognition of Waldemar Adam, a chemist and professor emeritus at the University of Puerto Rico, for his contribution to Puerto Rican science and the understanding of bioluminescence.
Caribbean Division President Margarita Irizarry-Ramírez said that the meeting provides one of the few opportunities for scientists in the Caribbean to communicate with the public on issues particular to the region including conservation, Caribbean marine biology, and Puerto Rican math and science education.
"Puerto Rico is a hub of science in the Caribbean and this meeting provides a venue for scientists representing a broad spectrum of disciplines throughout the region to come together in addressing their common concerns," said Irizarry-Ramírez, a biochemistry professor at the University of Puerto Rico's Medical Sciences Campus.
[Registration for the Caribbean Division Annual Meeting will be on site in Puerto Rico. For those participants outside Puerto Rico who wish to participate in the meeting, the division will accept emails directed toward Division President Irizarry-Ramírez stating an intent to attend.]
The meeting will open with a panel discussion on Puerto Rican science with Waldemar Adam and Margarita Irizarry-Ramírez, along with Daniel Altschuler, a professor of physics at the University of Puerto Rico and former director of the Arecibo Observatory, and Ariel Lugo, a biologist and director of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) at the United States Forest Service stationed in Puerto Rico.
Following the panel discussion, the public, students and teachers will participate in the Science Day Workshops, on a variety of topics going from how to extract strawberry's DNA to the use of bioinformatics' tools and the interpretation of forensic evidence. Irizarry-Ramírez expects more than 300 participants for the workshops, which are taught by graduate students from the University of Puerto Rico(UPR) and faculty from UPR and the Institute of Forensic Science.
"These programs allow the graduate students to serve as role models to the children and hopefully foster the younger generation's interest in becoming scientists," said Irizarry-Ramírez.
Later in the morning, three lectures comprising the Karst Symposium will address issues of ecological importance to scientists in the islands comprising the Major Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico) including arthropod biodiversity in the Mona Island Reserve in Puerto Rico and how the islands' unique plants provide habitat for a large diversity of animals.
Besides its Annual Meeting, the Caribbean Division also sponsors other scientific meetings including the Puerto Rico Neuroscience Conference and offers fellowships for students and scientists that need travel money to present their work in conferences outside Puerto Rico.
The four regional divisions of AAAS—Caribbean, Pacific, Arctic, and Southwestern and Rocky Mountain (SWARM)—serve as regional networks for scientists, organizing meetings on regional issues and promoting publications from scientists active within the division.
The Caribbean is the youngest division, with its charter dating to 1985. The Pacific Division's origins date to 1915, followed by SWARM in 1920, and the Arctic Division in 1951. The Caribbean Division currently has more than 500 members throughout Puerto Rico, Central America, islands of the Caribbean Basin, Venezuela, and southern Mexico.
All AAAS members in good standing residing within the specified boundaries of a regional division are automatically considered members of that regional division. Members residing outside a division's boundaries can become a member with the approval of the division president.
AAAS will send staff from its Washington, D.C., headquarters to the Puerto Rico meeting this month with special membership offers and to answer questions about membership.
3 October 2007