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AAAS Pacific Division Annual Meeting to Convene in San Francisco, 14-17 June

Galapagos Marine Iguana

A three-day symposium on the Galápagos Islands will include new insights into the evolutionary history of the Galápagos marine iguana, among other topics. | Flickr/Peter Liu/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

With a special focus on the 180th anniversary of Darwin's visit to the Galápagos Islands, the annual meeting of the AAAS Pacific Division will explore "Science in the Anthropocene" during its 14-17 June meeting at San Francisco State University.

Approximately 450 scientists, educators, students, and science enthusiasts from across the western United States are expected to attend the meeting. It is open to the public but registration is required for most events.

One of the program highlights is a three-day symposium featuring more than 30 speakers who will discuss new research and current issues related to the Galápagos Islands. The program "casts quite a broad net," said organizer Matt James, a professor of paleontology and geology at Sonoma State University.

Monday's seminars will focus on human activities involving the Galápagos, including education, tourism, restoration, policy-making, and fundraising. Tuesday's and Wednesday's seminars will include presentations on plant and animal species of the Galápagos, such marine iguanas, cormorants, sea lions, and many others, as well as talks on the impacts of climate change, avian pox virus, and more.

At an evening reception at the California Academy of Sciences on Monday, 15 June, registrants can view specimens collected during a 1905-06 expedition to the Galápagos by Academy researchers. The California Academy of Sciences is a co-sponsor of the meeting, along with Sigma Xi.

The AAAS Pacific Division Presidential Address, "Multiplying and Dividing in the Anthropocene: The Science of Human Population Growth and Control," by Richard Cardullo will also take place  Monday evening. Cardullo is president of the AAAS Pacific Division and Howard H. Hays Chair and faculty director at the University of California, Riverside.

Two plenary lectures will be open to the public at no charge. On Monday at 12:15 p.m., Ann Reid, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, will present "The Science Denial Playbook: What Evolution, Climate Changes, Vaccine Safety and Tobacco Risks All Have in Common." On Tuesday, at 12:15 p.m., Jonathon Foley, executive director and William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball Chair of the California Academy of Sciences, will present "Sustainability at Scale: How Do We Manage Planetary Resources and Risks for the Future?"

In addition to workshops and poster and oral presentations, the program includes approximately 20 other symposia, on topics such as building relationships between racially diverse communities and police departments, coping with climate calamities, biodiversity of the coral triangle, and factors driving the emergence of vector-borne diseases. 

Three field trips will be offered: Natural History of Marin County; Back to the Future: A Visit to China Camp State Park; and Tiburon Uplands to the Romberg Tiburon Center on San Francisco Bay.

AAAS's three regional divisions — Pacific, Arctic, and Caribbean — serve as regional networks for scientists, organizing meetings on regional issues and promoting publications from scientists active within the division.

The Pacific Division includes more than 30,000 AAAS members from California, Hawaii, Idaho, western Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, and all other countries bordering or lying within the Pacific Basin, with the exception of mainland Mexico south to Panama. All AAAS members in good standing, and who reside or work within the specified boundaries of a regional division, are automatically included as members of that regional division.