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AAAS Pacific Meeting to Focus on Science in Hawaii and in the Region

Kilauea Volcano
The AAAS Pacific Division annual meeting will take place on the Big Island of Hawaii from June 19 to June 23. | Lauri Sten/Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Pacific Division will convene later this month on the Big Island of Hawaii to highlight research on subjects such as the effects of climate change on coral reefs and Hawaiian mountains under the banner of “Pacific Science.”

The annual meeting, the 98th in the history of the division, is expected to draw approximately 300 scientists, educators and students to the Hawai’i Preparatory Academy in the interior island town of Waimea. It will be held from June 19 to June 23.

As one of AAAS’ three regional divisions – in addition to the Arctic and Caribbean divisions – the Pacific Division serves as a regional network for scientists to share research on topics with particular focus on issues of local interest.

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, but excluding mainland Mexico south to Panama. While all AAAS members from the region are automatically part of the division, registration for the Pacific Division meeting is open to anyone.

The Hawaiian setting informs a number of the meeting’ planned presentations and events. A series of plenary lectures will highlight different aspects of science in the Hawaiian Islands, ranging from the geological development of the islands to the cutting-edge astronomy research taking place at the Maunakea Observatories.

Symposia and poster sessions will cover a diverse array of scientific subjects, including new research on turbulence, advances in pharmacology and toxicology and the social responsibilities of scientists. Among the sessions with a particular focus on local and regional issues are symposia on high-altitude climate change trends in Hawaii and the mass coral bleaching that took place throughout the Pacific between 2014 and 2016.

The Pacific Division’s president, Matthew James of Sonoma State University, will deliver an address on research on another set of Pacific islands: the Galápagos. His June 20 address is titled “Collecting Evolution: The Galápagos Expedition that Vindicated Darwin.”

The meeting will also bring back the Scientific Maker Exhibit for a second year. The exhibit allows creators of research tools made with 3D printers and other “maker” technologies to showcase their innovations.

The Pacific Division meeting will include several workshops, a career development session based on courses offered by the AAAS Career Development Center as well as a course on science writing and a session on what public-sector researchers can do to affect the public policy that affects them.

The meeting’s opening ceremonies on June 19 will include an oli – a Hawaiian chant – performed by a master teacher, followed by traditional and modern hula dancing performed by students of the Waiau Hula School. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore the Big Island and its culture with a dinner of the Hawaiian finger foods, or pūpūs, a luau-style banquet and several field trips, including snorkeling in Kahalu’u Bay and a tour of Kīlauea Volcano.

[Associated image credit: Geoff Livingston/Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]