Pacific Science Association


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PSA Attends 31st ICSU General Assembly (October 2014)

Intercontinental Academia announces effort with Nagoya University to bring together young international researchers for interdisciplinary studies on time (June 2014)

Honolulu to host 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress (May 2014)

New book by PSA Science Communication Working Group (April 2014)

PSA co-sponsors meeting on “Biological Collections Digitization in the Pacific” (April 2014)

New PABITRA website (April 2014)

PSA announces the 23rd Pacific Science Congress (March 2014)

New PSA Committee on Scientific Activities and possible new PSA activities (March 2014)

PSA participates in Future Earth (January 2013; updated February 2014)

Hawaii Bids for 2016 World Conservation Congress (February 2014)

Shirley Jeffrey, 1930-2014 (February 2014)

How's PSA Doing? (January 2014)

PSA Participation in Pacific Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC) (January 2014)

New Book by PSA Honorary Lifetime Fellow & Gregory Medal Awardee Prof. Dr. Dieter Mueller-Dombois (November 2013)

Official Statement of the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress (October 2013)

Report on the 12th Pacific Science Congress (August 2013)

New Zealand rejoins PSA (June 2013)

Lu Eldredge, 1938-2013 (May 2013)

Kiyoshi Kurokawa receives prestigious Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (January 2013)

Older Postings (2004-2012)


PSA Attends 31st ICSU General Assembly

PSA Executive Secretary Burke Burnett attended the 31st General Assembly of the International Council for Science (ICSU) held in Auckland, New Zealand from 30 August to 3 September 2014. The meeting was hosted by the Royal Society of New Zealand, the ICSU National Scientific Member in New Zealand and also Adhering Organization from New Zealand to PSA. PSA has been a Scientific Associate member of ICSU for many decades, and Burnett attended the General Assembly as PSA’s delegate.

Among the highlights of the General Assembly were the following:

Professor Daya Reddy, an internationally-recognized mathematician from South Africa, became the new ICSU President-Elect. He will take over from the current ICSU president, Gordon McBean, in October 2017.

Intercontinental Academia announces effort with Nagoya University and University of Sao Paulo to bring together young international researchers for interdisciplinary studies on time

The Intercontinental Academia has announced a joint program with the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of São Paulo (IEA-USP), Brazil, and the Institute for Advanced Research (IAR) of Nagoya University, Japan that will bring together a group of 15 young researchers from different countries and areas of knowledge in an unusual collaborative project beginning in November 2014.

Time has been chosen as theme for the project due to being usually conceptualized differently in each area of knowledge, whether in the humanities or the natural sciences. For a comprehensive overview of the impacts of these notions in science and culture in general there must be an academic dialogue between people working and experiencing the different concepts of time.

The selection process to determine the young researchers for the program commences in June 2014. After the selection of participants in November, the preparation for the completion of the first immersion meeting in March 2015 at the University of São Paulo will get started. The second meeting will be held at Nagoya University in January 2016. Between April and December 2015, the interval between both immersion periods, the participants will continue their studies by contacting each other and the Scientific Committee of the Intercontinental Academia through the internet.

Throughout the project, participants will have the guidance of three senior scientists from regional and international recognition. The goal is to develop interdisciplinary studies at the Intercontinental Academia, an initiative by University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study (Ubias), an international network of scientific cooperation that brings together 34 institutes of advanced studies from 19 countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Oceania.

Those interested in running for one of the 15 slots for researchers should be aged up to 40, hold a PhD or post-doctorate (completed or in progress) in any field of knowledge and be fluent in English. A letter of interest in English should be sent to one of the Ubias members from June 16, 2014. More information on the program can be found at their website or contacting the hosts directly at


Honolulu to host 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has announced that Honolulu will be the location for its World Conservation Congress in 2016. This marks the first time the United States will host the event since the IUCN was established in 1948. 

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie welcomed the news, saying "This is both an honor and an opportunity for us to show the entire conservation community, the world over, how Hawaii has adopted a leadership role in preserving and protecting resources, developing sustainability programs on multiple fronts, and addressing many of the issues associated with global climate change. The IUCN World Conservation Congress is the largest and most prestigious of all gatherings of the conservation community. Hawaii was widely recognized as an ideal venue, including a strong expression of support from President Obama. We look forward to welcoming as many as 8,000 delegates to Hawaii in 2016".

PSA formally supported Hawaii's bid for the 2016 WCC, as we believe it is ideally positioned to bring together the nations of Asia and the Pacific, together with UN agencies, private sector representatives and global conservation partners, to facilitate discussions and agreements on biodiversity, climate change, species conservation, invasive species and how to integrate those goals with the needs of indigenous communities. 

PSA President Nancy Lewis served on the Hawaii committee for the WCC bid.


New Book by PSA Science Communication Working Group: "Communicating Science to the Public: Opportunities and Challenges for the Asia-Pacific Region"

PSA Science Communication Working Group leaders Prof. Leo Tan and Prof. R. Subramaniam (Singapore National Academy of Sciences) have a new book, "Communicating Science to the Public: Opportunities and Challenges for the Asia-Pacific Region" that was published by Springer in July 2014. The book is now available for order.

The book explores effective approaches for communicating science to the public in developing countries. Offering multiple perspectives on this important topic, it features 17 chapters that represent the efforts of 23 authors from eight countries: Australia, Bangladesh, India, Ireland, New Zealand, USA, Singapore and South Africa.

Inside, readers will find a diversity of approaches to communicate science to the public. The book also highlights some of the challenges that science communicators, science policy makers, science teachers, university academics in the sciences and even entrepreneurs may face in their attempts to boost science literacy levels in their countries. In addition, it shares several best practices from the developed world that may help readers create communication initiatives that can lead to increased engagement with science in communities in the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

Given the pervasive influence of science and technology in today’s society, their impact will only increase in the years to come as the world becomes more globalized and the economies of countries become more inter-linked. This book will be a useful source of reference for developing countries looking to tap into the potential of science for nation building and effectively engage their communities to better understand science and technology.

This book was supported by the Pacific Science Association, and contains a Foreword by PSA President Nancy Lewis.


PSA co-sponsors meeting on “Biological Collections Digitization in the Pacific”

In March 2014, PSA co-sponsored a five-day international workshop on “Biological Collections Digitization in the Pacific” targeted to natural history collections personnel in the Pacific region. The meeting was organized by iDigBio (Integrated Digitized Biocollections), and other co-sponsors included The Bishop Museum, East-West Center, and University of Hawaii. The meetings were held at both the East-West Center and Bishop Museum in Honolulu from 24 to 28 March 2014.

As iDigBio's report points out, this meeting came about as an indirect product of the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress in Fiji in 2013:

"Serendipity played an important role in initiating the recent Biological Collections Digitization in the Pacific workshop held 25-27 March in Honolulu. Thanks to a chance meeting of Shelley James of the Bishop Museum, Michael Thomas of University of Hawaii, Burke Burnett, Pacific Science Association, Nancy Lewis, East-West Center, and Gil Nelson of iDigBio at the Pacific Science Inter-Congress in summer 2013, discussion began about how these organizations could collaborate on a digitization workshop focused on the Pacific region. James’ and Nelson’s participation in a digitization symposium at the Congress, coupled with Thomas’ previous work encouraging digitization in island nations of the South Pacific set the stage for a venture that culminated in 60 people from seven countries and territories congregating in Honolulu for the three-day event."

The workshop was attended by 57 representatives from Hawaii, Guam, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Australia, and the USA mainland, and is part of a continuing series of iDigBio-sponsored workshops focused on organizing, launching, maintaining, and enhancing biological collections digitization programs. The primary goals of the workshop were to enhance international collaboration and sharing regarding biological collections digitization in the South Pacific; and prepare participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to launch, manage, and sustain a biodiversity collections digitization program individually, through collaboration with an existing Thematic Collections Network (TCN), as a Partner with an Existing Network (PEN), through direct collaboration with iDigBio, or through collaboration with other collections and museums within the region.

The workshop included collections managers, curators, directors, digitization specialists, biodiversity informatics managers, and related collections staff. A major focus of the workshop was to encourage national and international collaboration and sharing, and to that end included representatives from the United States and its territories (Guam), as well as Australia, Fiji, Palau, and Papua New Guinea. The workshop focused on common and unique practices across a variety or preparations and collection types, including vascular and non-vascular plants, fungi, arthropods, vertebrates, and paleobiology.
Workshop content and discussion topics included:

PSA wishes to thank the iDigBio organizers for their efforts in making possible what was a very successful meeting.


New PABITRA website

PABITRA has a newly re-designed website, and we encourage you to check it out.

PABITRA stands for Pacific-Asia Biodiversity Transect. PABITRA is a flexible design of a transect system that connects a number of island areas in the tropical Pacific (i.e. Oceania) into a network of sites as living landscapes. The sites include upland/inland forests, agro-ecosystems, and coastal habitats with coral reefs, which on islands are close together and interconnected by a number of physical and social parameters. PABITRA is also a network of people concerned with the conservation of island ecosystems and their sustainable production and services. PABITRA is organized and coordinated by a group of Pacific-based scientists with a strong interest in conservation. It is a program of the Pacific Science Association under our Biodiversity Working Group.


PSA announces the 23rd Pacific Science Congress

PSA is pleased to announce that the 23rd Pacific Science Congress (PSC-23) will be held in Taiwan in 2016 at the Taipei International Convention Center. The Congress will be held in partnership with Academia Sinica, the preeminent academic institution in Taiwan, whose mission is to promote and undertake scholarly research in sciences and the humanities. Academia Sinica is composed of twenty-four research institutes and seven research centers, and has been a member of PSA since their founding in 1928.

The tentative theme of the Congress is “Science Towards Sustainability”, and the sub-themes are currently under discussion. The Local Organizing Committee in Taiwan, the PSA Executive Board, PSA Secretariat, and PSA Committee on Scientific Activities will work together to formulate the Congress themes, agenda, and keynote speakers.

The Taipei International Convention Center is a state-of-the-art, seven-floor conference center with one plenary hall and 10 meeting rooms. The plenary hall is a super-high column-free space that reaches from the second to the sixth floor, with a maximum seating capacity of 3100. The 10 meeting rooms have the capacity of 40-500 seats also with flexible partitioning. TICC is located in the Hsin-Yi District of Taipei within walking distance to five-star hotels and shopping centers. There will soon be a subway stop at the TICC to link the venue to less-expensive hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions, making those accommodations easily accessible.

As always, PSA is strongly committed to ensuring that the Congress will be focused on core and emerging scientific topics, as well as being maximally inclusive both in terms of the participation of all nations in the Asia-Pacific region, and for the full national and generational range of participating scientists.
Planning for the PSC-23 has begun and is proceeding smoothly. The official Congress website will be developed in late 2014 or early 2015; sub-themes and critical dates will be announced as they are established.

The 2016 date for the PSC-23 marks a new chronology for PSA Congress and Inter-Congresses. Previously these events took place in odd-numbered years, but the PSA Council decided at its most recent meeting (Fiji, 2013) to shift to even-numbered years – in part to allow the 24th Pacific Science Congress to be held in 2020, which will mark the 100th Anniversary of the Pacific Science Association.


New PSA Committee on Scientific Activities

At the meeting of the PSA Council during the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress in Fiji (July 2013), the Council announced the formation of a new ad hoc Committee on Scientific Activities (PSA-CSA)that will seek ways to define and develop a unique niche for PSA’s scientific activities, facilitate inter-sessional scientific activities between Congresses and Inter-Congresses, and help organize the content and activities of Congress/Inter-Congress sessions and keynote presentations. The PSA-CSA will liaise with the PSA Secretariat, Executive Board, as well as Local Organizing Committees of Congresses and Inter-Congresses. The five members of the PSA-CSA are:

Phil COWAN (Landcare Research; New Zealand)

HAN Sang-Bok (National Academy of Science; Korea)

Kevin JOHNSON (University of Hawaii, Manoa; USA)

LU Yonglong (Chinese Academy of Science; China-Beijing)

David SCHINDEL(Consortium for the Barcode of Life, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution; USA)

Prof. Chang-Hung CHOU (PSA Vice-President and PSA-CSA member ex officio; China-Taipei)

The Council also identified a possible new model for PSA activities that would help advance emerging new research topics that have region-wide importance to the Pacific. The PSA-CSA, Secretariat, and Executive Board will target new, emerging critical issues, and explore the possibility of PSA to provide modest funding to convene an initial meeting of key individuals and institutions from around the region in order to help put those topics “on the research radar”. This model was suggested by PSA’s (less formal) role between 2007 - 2009 to help put the issue of ocean acidification (OA) “on the map” as a critical topic for international research attention.

The PSA Board, Secretariat and PSA-CSA will explore options to use this new model for PSA’s inter-sessional activities that would: provide a valuable service to advance international research on emerging topics of regional importance; help ensure that the research agenda is both multidisciplinary and geographically inclusive; and demonstrate PSA’s relevance.


PSA Participates in Future Earth

PSA is actively contributing to the success of Future Earth (FE). PSA’s efforts were instrumental in securing a dedicated session on FE at the Fiji Inter-Congress (2013), as well as a special address on FE by Nordin Hasan, Executive Director of ICSU’s Regional Office for Asia-Pacific (ICSU-ROAP) at the conference’s Opening Ceremony. Dr. Xuemei Bai, a member of the Future Earth Science Committee, also helped lead the session at the Inter-Congress. This was the first event held by Future Earth in the Pacific Islands.

PSA President Nancy Lewis regularly attends ISCU-ROAP Future Earth meetings in, or pertaining to, the Asia-Pacific, and PSA is strongly committed to promoting FE as a critical vehicle for engaging the region in global change issues.


Hawaii Bids for 2016 World Conservation Congress

The State of Hawaii has announced it is conducting an official bid for the 2016 World Conservation Congress, to be held in Honolulu. The U.S. Department of the State has issued a letter to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in support of the State of Hawaii’s bid to host the 2016 World Conservation Congress (WCC). Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy sent the letter to IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefevre expressing the U.S. Government’s confidence that Hawaii has the necessary resources in place to secure the event. Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie said, “Hosting this event in 2016 would be a tremendous honor for the state. The World Conservation Congress brings people together from around the globe to discuss the world’s most pressing conservation issues. This represents a unique opportunity to position Hawaii as a world leader in addressing and solving the environmental issues of today and formulating strategies to mitigate those of the future.”

PSA supports the Hawaii effort because the state is ideally positioned to bring together the nations of Asia and the Pacific, together with UN agencies, private sector representatives and global conservation partners, to facilitate discussions and agreements on biodiversity, climate change, species conservation, invasive species and how to integrate those goals with the needs of indigenous communities. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network – a democratic membership union with more than 1,200 government and NGO member organizations, and nearly 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries. The most recent WCC was held in September 2012 in Jeju, Republic of Korea. The WCC attracts nearly 10,000 delegates from more than 160 countries and is considered the foremost venue for setting a global agenda for the conservation of nature and culture. Top government officials, leaders of the business community, conservation organizations, and academics meet for 10 days to deliberate on pressing global issues including energy security, food security, invasive species, climate change, and impacts to marine systems.


Shirley Jeffrey, 1930-2014

Dr. Shirley Jeffrey, recipient of the Shinkishi Hatai Medal at the PSC-21 in Okinawa in 2007, passed away in early January 2014 at the age of 83. Dr. Jeffrey was one of the world’s great phytoplankton scientists and made very significant contributions to the science of the Pacific and to marine biology globally.

Shirley Jeffrey received a BSc from the University of Sydney in 1952 and an MSc in 1954. She attended King's College Hospital Medical School in London for her Ph.D on the effect of aspirin on carbohydrate metabolism. Upon returning to Sydney, she worked with Dr. George Humphrey at CSIRO Division of Fisheries and Oceanography, which marked the beginning of her lifelong career in marine science. From 1962 to 1964, Jeffrey was at the University of California, Berkeley as a Research Fellow. In 1965 she joined the maiden voyage of the Alpha Helix, the research vessel of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which visited Australia to study the ecology of the Great Barrier Reef. Jeffrey was a principal research scientist at CSIRO's marine biochemistry unit between 1971 and 1977. From 1977 to 1981 she was a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Division of Fisheries and Oceanography, and later Acting Chief of CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research (1981-84). In 1991 she became a Chief Research Scientist. From 1978 to 1995, Jeffrey was in charge of developing CSIRO’s Collection of Living Microalgae (also known as the Algal Culture Collection). In 1996 UNESCO published Phytoplankton Pigments in Oceanography which Jeffrey co-edited.

In addition to receiving the Shinkishi Hatai Medal from the Science Council of Japan in 2007, Dr. Jeffrey received numerous other honors, including: appointment as a member of the Order of Australia in 1992; the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal from the U.S. National Academy of Science in 1993, and the Australian Centenary Medal in 2003.

Her work was characterized by a rigorous commitment to accuracy, both in the lab and in the written word, as well as a desire to write clearly in English for the benefit of scientists based in non-English speaking, lower-income countries. During her long illness, Dr. Jeffrey said that she hoped that people won’t be sad when she goes, and that she was comforted by the thought of being with her late husband, Andy Heron, who died in 1988.


How's PSA Doing?

Over the last decade PSA has been engaged in a concerted effort to revitalize the organization and increase our regional and global visibility. One metric to gauge how well the organization is succeeding at this is attendance at Pacific Science Congresses and Inter-Congresses.

The 19th and 20th Pacific Science Congresses (1999 and 2003 respectively) averaged 461 participants from 33 countries. The 21st and 22nd Pacific Science Congresses (2007 and 2011 respectively) averaged 856 participants from 39 countries, which is an 86% increase in attendance compared to pre-2004. The 8th, 9th, and 10th Pacific Science Inter-Congresses (1997, 1998 and 2001 respectively) averaged 516 participants from 33 countries. The 11th Inter-Congress (2009) was attended by 881 participants from 49 countries, which is a 70% increase from pre-2004. The 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress (2013) was the third most well-attended Inter-Congress in PSA's history, and attracted 632 registered participants from 51 countries; 251 participants (45.1% of total attendees) were from countries other than Fiji.

Also important has been the much greater attention to Adhering Organizations, adherence to dues payments, and cost control. These have all resulted in increased PSA revenues, which are up 86% since 2004.

The increased success and regional prominence of PSA since 2004 also led to the return of Adhering Organizations from the Philippines (2011) and New Zealand (2013) to active member status. PSA continues to pursue the re-engagement of Latin American members, and has had recent discussions with Mexico and Peru.


PSA Participation in Pacific Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC)

PSA is a charter member of the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC), a U.S. Federal Government-funded organization (LCC) that is geared to provide tools and timely information to those who manage native species, island ecosystems, and key cultural resources in adapting their management to climate change in the Pacific Islands.

PSA Executive Director Burke Burnett serves as the Chair of the PICCC Scientific Review Committee, which makes funding recommendations to the PICCC Steering Committee on disbursement of approximately $1m/year in USFWS climate science research grants.

Other PICCC members include: U.S. National Park Service, NOAA (National Marine Fisheries Service, National Marine Sanctuaries), USFWS (Ecological Services, National Wildlife Refuge), Department of Defense (Army), U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Tropical Botanic Garden, Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii Department of Aquatic Services, Hawaii Division of Forestry, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, University of Hawaii, and Bishop Museum.


New Book by PSA Honorary Lifetime Fellow & Gregory Medal Awardee Prof. Dr. Dieter Mueller Dombois

‘Ohi‘a Lehua Rainforest Born Among Hawaiian Volcanoes, Evolved in Isolation is Dr. Dieter Mueller Dombois' latest book. Published in 2013, it was written in collaboration with Jim Jacobi, Hans Juergen Boehmer, and Jonathan Price with a preface by Sam Gon. From the book’s back cover:

In the early 1970s, a multidisciplinary team of forest biologists began a study of Hawaiian ecosystems under the International Biological Program (IBP). Research focus was on the intact native ecosystems in and around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, in particular the `Ohi`a lehua rainforest. Patches of dead `ohi`a stands had been reported from the windward slopes of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Subsequent air photo analyses by a team of US and Hawai`i State foresters discovered rapidly spreading `Ohi`a dieback, also called `Ohi`a forest decline. A killer disease was suspected to destroy the Hawaiian rain forest in the next 15-25 years. Ecological research continued with a focus on the dynamics of the Hawaiian rainforest. This book explains what really happened and why the `Ohi`a rainforest survived in tact as everyone can witness today.


Report on the 12th Pacific Science Congress

The 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress (PSIC-12) was held from 8–12 July 2013 at the Laucala campus of the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. The PSIC-12 was a highly successful meeting with excellent science, and was the third most well-attended Inter-Congress in PSA's history, attracting 632 registered participants from 51 countries; 251 participants (45.1% of total attendees) were from countries other than Fiji. We again congratulate our hosts at the University of the South Pacific for organizing this very successful meeting, and thank them for their hard work, generosity, and hospitality.

The theme of the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress was: “Science for Human Security & Sustainable Development in the Pacific Islands and Rim”. The PSIC-12 included physical, biological, and social sciences and encompassed terrestrial, marine, atmospheric, and social/cultural subjects and approaches in the Pacific Islands and Rim region. Inter-Congress sessions were organized on the PSIC-12’s seven sub-themes:


New Zealand rejoins PSA

We are very pleased to report the return of New Zealand as a member of the Pacific Science Association. The Royal Society of New Zealand will be the official Adhering Organization from New Zealand to PSA. The historical ties between PSA and New Zealand date to the very first Pacific Science Congress in 1920. New Zealand was quite active in the organization in the past, and hosted the 7th Pacific Science Congress in 1949, and the 15th Pacific Science Congress in 1983. New Zealand withdrew from PSA in the late 1980s due to budgetary concerns.

We look forward to RSNZ’s return to PSA, and believe this reinvigorated relationship will bring mutual benefit both for New Zealand and for the region’s scientists in the opportunity to have enhanced interaction with New Zealand’s scientists. We hope this will foster new scientific collaboration to examine and address common areas of research interest.


Kiyoshi Kurokawa receives prestigious Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his leadership in Fukushima Nuclear Disaster investigation

PSA extends its hearty congratulations to Kiyoshi Kurokawa on receiving the prestigious Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his outstanding leadership in the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster investigation.

Dr. Kurokawa was honored by AAAS "for the extraordinary responsibility he demonstrated in his frank and transparent chairmanship of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission and for his courage in challenging some of the most ingrained conventions of Japanese governance and society."

Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa was PSA's President from 2003-2007. He was also a keynote speaker in PSA's 22nd Pacific Science Congress in Kuala Lumpur in 2011.

The AAAS award to Dr. Kurokawa recieved wider media attention, including an article in the Huffington Post.



Older Postings (2004-2012)

PSA Statement on Sustainability in the Pacific for the Rio+20 Summit (June 2012)

Kurokawa et al publish important e-book on "Reconstructing 3/11: earthquake, tsunami and meltdown" (May 2012)

Former PSA President Kurokawa leads major Fukushima nuclear disaster investigation (April 2012)

Science, Facebook, and New Social Media! (July 2011)

12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress to be held in Fiji in July 2013 (June 2011)

New PSA Executive Board (June 2011)

Bishop Museum Awards 2011 Gregory Medal to Patrick V. Kirch (June 2011)

PSA is now on Facebook! (February 2011)

Keynote Speakers Announced for the 22nd Pacific Science Congress (January 2011)

Meeting of the U.S. National Committee to PSA (December 2010)

Registration now available for the 22nd Pacific Science Congress (November 2010)

The Philippines Rejoins PSA (September 2010)

PSA and the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC) (June 2010)

PSA Contribution to UNDP Report on Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific Islands (Jan. 2010)

New U.S. National Committee to PSA (Dec. 2009)

PSA Co-sponsors Pacific Man and Biosphere (PacMAB) Meeting in Honolulu (Dec. 2009)

29th ICSU General Assembly, and 3rd ICSU Regional Planning Consultation Meeting (November 2009)

PSA Co-Sponsors Public Film Screening on Ocean Acidification (Oct. 2009)

New PSA Coral Reef Working Group (June 2009)

New Guidelines for PSA Working Groups (June 2009)

Report on the 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress, Tahiti, French Polynesia (March 2009)

Products and Reports Available for Climate Change and Biodiversity in Melanesia (CCBM) Project (January 2009)

2008 International Symposium on Global Mountain Biodiversity (August 2008)

Announcement of 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress, 2 - 6 March 2009 in Tahiti, French Polynesia (June 2007)

PSA Involved in Study on Impacts of Climate Change on Marine Conservation in Melanesia (Feb. 2007)

Call for Future Pacific Science Congresses and Inter-Congresses (Feb. 2007)

Deadline for Abstract Submissions for the 21st Pacific Science Congress Extended to 28 February 2007 (Jan. 2007)

PSA President Kurokawa Named Special Science Advisor to Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe (Nov. 2006)

Call for Papers: 21st Pacific Science Congress Session on Protected Areas and Natural Resource Management at the 21st Pacific Science Congress (Nov. 2006)

Call for Papers: 21st Pacific Science Congress Session on Globalization and Human Dynamics (Oct. 2006)

Point d’Étape Symposium on French Research in the Pacific (Oct. 2006)

New ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Sept. 2006)

The 21st Pacific Science Congress (Sept. 2006)

New Secure Server processing for PSA membership (June 2006)

28TH ICSU General Assembly (Nov. 2005)

PSA Biodiversity Task Force Update (Oct. 2005)

PSA website update (Oct. 2005)

New PSA-related book on Globalization (Oct. 2005)

2007 Pacific Science Congress: status of planning (Oct. 2005)

George B. Elyakov, 1929-2005 (May 2005)

South Asian Tsunami Tragedy (Jan. 2005)

Living Archipelagos (Dec. 2004)

New PABITRA Publication (Dec. 2004)

Pacific Biodiversity Information Forum Update (Dec. 2004)

IFS Research Grants Program for LDC Scientists (Dec. 2004)

New PSA Executive Secretary (Oct. 2004)

Symposium on French Research in the Pacific (Sept. 2004)

10th International Coral Reef Symposium (July 2004)

PSA Statement on Sustainability in the Pacific for the Rio+20 Summit

PSA was asked by our partners at the International Council for Science (ICSU) to prepare a statement on the particular needs of Pacific Island states for the occasion of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Summit which will be held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012. While PSA's focus includes both Asia and the Pacific, the purpose of the statement is to emphasize the particular concerns and challenges of the Pacific respect to sustainable development.

PSA's statement notes that:

Small and remote island states in the Pacific are characterized by relative isolation, resource scarcity, high reliance on fragile ecosystem services, small homogenous markets, high cost of inputs, energy, and equipment, sometimes constrained human resources, limited and expensive access to transportation, education and health services, disproportionately large impacts from both population growth and migration, and vulnerability to climate change and natural hazards. Of the planet’s areas and peoples profoundly affected by climate change, the environmental, social, and economic impacts of global warming in the Pacific will perhaps be equaled only in areas of the Arctic. The climate change-related phenomena of highest concern for the Pacific small island developing states are sea-level rise, severe weather events, coral bleaching and ocean acidification.

Science, technology, and engineering have critical roles to play in developing solutions for the problems facing the island states of the Pacific. PSA and our partners call for a new emphasis on human security to focus attention on the full spectrum of individual livelihoods and community well-being that are under increasing challenge from climate change and unsustainable development practices. 

Achieving sustainability in the Pacific island states will occur within the contexts of both complex global phenomena such as climate change and globalization, as well as circumstances unique to an island or island group. This means that addressing development will require both global and local solutions. The unique characteristics of island states require an emphasis in several areas.

Given sufficient awareness and attention to the unique needs and perspectives of island states as well as better cooperation and communication between all stakeholders regionally and internationally, PSA believes that island states have a critically important role to play in developing effective global solutions to environmental and developmental challenges, even as new tools will be needed to drive political, economic, and technical innovations that are required for the future of the island states of the Pacific to be a sustainable one.

The link to the full PSA statement is here.


Former PSA President Kurokawa et al publish important e-book on "Reconstructing 3/11: earthquake, tsunami and meltdown"

Former PSA President Kiyoshi Kurokawa, who as noted in our last post, now leads Japan's first fully independent official investigation into the 2011 Japan earthquake/tsunami/nuclear accident (known in Japan as "3/11") is a co-author of an important new book on the subject. "Reconstructing 3/11: earthquake, tsunami and meltdown" draws on the experiences, expertise, and insight of noted journalists, scientists, and Japan experts to closely examine various facets of the 3/11 Disaster: from an assessment of what the Kan administration did right, to a first-hand account of what it took to volunteer for clean-up after the disaster, to an analysis of how Japan’s yakuza gangsters actually proved a force for good during the early stages of disaster recovery. “Reconstructing 3/11” reports on angles and attitudes about that fateful day which were not covered by conventional media outlets.

Contributors to “Reconstructing 3/11” include Tokyo Vice author Jake Adelstein, M.I.T. Center for International Studies researcher Michael Cucek, Japan Times journalist Philip Brasor, and Kiyoshi Kurokawa, chairman and co-founder of Impact Japan, a think tank dedicated to fostering recovery in the Tohoku region through entrepreneurship and technology.

Reconstructing 3/11 is available as a Kindle e-book on for USD $2.99.


Former PSA President Kurokawa leads major investigation on Fukushima nuclear disaster

A year on from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan is taking major strides to learn important lessons and reform its institutions in order to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again. 

PSA congratulates our former President (and former President of Science Council of Japan) Prof. Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa, who leads NAIIC - Japan's first ever fully independent official investigation into the background and causes of the disaster. 

NAIIC is quite different from its predecessor, the Hatamura investigation, in that the Japanese government (i.e. Diet) has granted it subpoena power. NAIIC will also provide concrete recommendations on preventing future nuclear accidents. Indeed, NAIIC is the first ever official commission of its kind in Japan, and represents a watershed event for that country in encouraging greater government and corporate transparency and to help move the country towards greater openness and stronger institutions of civil society.

Writing on Fukushima Forum, an independent blog covering the Fukushima investigations, Prof. Scott Gabriel Knowles of Drexel University wrote:

On December 1, 2011 Kiyoshi Kurokawa co-authored an editorial in the Japan Times characterizing the Fukushima disaster as the country’s “third opening” (the Meiji Restoration and post-WWII Allied occupation being the first two). In Kurokawa’s view it was the moment of a society collectively waking up:

“While the authorities failed to deliver substantive action, individuals started to act. Many donated money for the first time and participated in voluntary activities; scientists gathered to offer credible information and explanations via Twitter; voluntary individuals in various regional areas monitored radioactivity levels and gathered data through the Internet that they made immediately made public; and parents organized and demanded that the authorities measure ground and food radioactivity levels in kindergartens and schools, which quickly became the norm. Japanese citizens now strongly demand transparency, so that they can judge how to protect themselves.”

To Kurokawa, the disaster opened the way for tired traditions of one-party rule and faith in bureaucracy to give way to government transparency and a robust civil society. An independent-minded doctor, science policy expert, and education reformer who has taught at the University of Tokyo and UCLA, Kurokawa has not been afraid to decry what he sees as a dangerous adherence to rigid tradition in Japanese business and government. One week after publishing his editorial he was named by the Japanese Diet to head an unprecedented investigation—a second government-chartered Fukushima-inquiry—and the first ever charged by the Diet to be fully independent of the government in its membership. In fact, anyone with a connection to TEPCO, government, or regulatory agencies is barred from participation.

PSA strongly supports the important work of NAIIC, and congratulates Prof. Kurokawa for his success in establishing a critical pathway for Japan to heed the lessons of the disaster and to establish new policies and institutions to prevent similar events from occurring in the future.

NAIIC also has a Facebook page that you can follow here.


Science, Facebook, and New Social Media!

At the 22nd Pacific Science Congress in June 2011, the Pacific Science Association (PSA), the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the Academy of Sciences, Malaysia (ASM) endorsed a set of resolutions intended to lay out important general directions for the roles, growth and development of science in Asia and the Pacific in the 21st Century. One of the recommended actions is on the subject of new media such as Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking technologies. The official Resolution is that scientists in the Asia-Pacific should:

“Increase and improve the involvement of scientists in the communication of science to the general public. The scientific community has a responsibility to understand public attitudes toward science and technology and to engage in public discussions. The use of new communication tools and media such as social media creates unprecedented opportunities to link scientists and their work to the non-scientific community, and to disseminate scientific research findings and their potential application. Scientists should embrace these new media technologies.”

Facebook and other new social media are now established and credible information venues through which organizations and individuals link and communicate, and this trend is likely to continue to accelerate. PSA now has an active Facebook page on which we post frequent PSA updates as well as pertinent news stories about scientific research in the Asia-Pacific region. We encourage scientists to visit the PSA page on Facebook to post links to your current research projects, which we hope will promote greater awareness of your work. To find us, please visit our Facebook page.

We look forward to your participation!


12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress to be held in Fiji in July 2013

PSA is very pleased to announce that the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress will be held from 8 – 12 July 2013 at the campus of the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva, Fiji. USP hosted the 8th Inter-Congress in 1997, and PSA looks forward to working with them again in building on the very successful 11th Inter-Congress held in Tahiti in 2009. More information on the Fiji Inter-Congress can be found here.  


New PSA Executive Board

Dr. Nancy Lewis, Director of the East-West Center’s Research Program, was elected President of the Pacific Science Association. Dr. Lewis, who also heads PSA’s initiative on human resources for the future, is the first woman to head the Pacific Science Association. Nancy was the Secretary General of the 17th Pacific Science Congress held in Honolulu in 1991. During Nancy’s long association with the PSA she has been particularly active in promoting the participation of women, young scientists and Pacific Island colleagues in the activities of the PSA.

Other new PSA Board Member positions include: PSA Vice President Prof. Chang-Hung Chou (Director, Research Center for Biodiversity, China Medical University, Taiwan); PSA Secretary-General and Treasurer Dr. Makoto Tsuchiya (Dean of the Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus); PSA Past-President Prof. Congbin Fu (Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China); and Ordinary Board Members: Dr. Marie-Lise Chanin (Academie des Sciences & Centre national de la recherche scientifique / Institut Pierre Simon Laplace), Dr. Soottiporn Chittmittrapap (National Research Council of Thailand), Academician Valentin Sergienko (Russian Academy of Sciences - Far Eastern Branch), and Dr. Jito Vanualailai (University of the South Pacific).


Bishop Museum Awards 2011 Gregory Medal to Patrick V. Kirch

The Herbert E. Gregory Medal for Distinguished Service to Science in the Pacific Region was established by the Board of Trustees of The Bishop Museum in 1961 to honor the memory of Herbert E. Gregory, the Museum's second Director who served from 1919 to 1936, and his role as founder of the Pacific Science Association.
The Gregory Medal is awarded quadrennially at Pacific Science Congresses by the Bishop Museum’s Board of Directors to outstanding leaders in Pacific science based on distinguished research contributions in the Pacific region in one or more of the scientific disciplines in which the Museum is active. Past recipients of the Gregory Medal include Peter Raven (1991), Elwood Zimmerman (1995), Patrick Nunn (2003), and Dieter Mueller-Dumbois (2007).
At the 22nd Pacific Science Congress held 14 – 17 June 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Bishop Museum awarded the twelfth Herbert E. Gregory Medal to Dr. Patrick Vinton Kirch.

In twenty-two years of research and teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, and in collaboration with a number of colleagues at other institutions, Dr. Kirch’s studies focus on the evolution of complex sociopolitical formations (especially "chiefdoms"), on prehistoric as well as ethnographic subsistence systems (in particular those involving some form of intensification), and on the reciprocal interactions between indigenous peoples and the island ecosystems of the Pacific.

Dr. Kirch has authored over 230 published articles, papers and books on the origins and diversification of the cultures and peoples of the Pacific. Among these are eleven major books, including “How Chiefs Became Kings: Divine Kingship and the Rise  of Archaic States in Ancient Hawai‘i” published by University of California Press in 2010, “Hawaiki: Ancestral Polynesia: An Essay in Historical Anthropology” (with Roger Green) published by Cambridge University Press in 2001, “On The Road of the Winds: An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands Before European Contact” published by University of California Press in 2000, “Historical Ecology in the Pacific Islands” published by Yale University Press in 2000, “The Lapita Peoples” published by Blackwells in 1999, and “The Wet and The Dry: Irrigation and Agricultural Intensification in Polynesia” published by University of Chicago Press in 1994.

Dr. Kirch was born and raised in Hawai'i, and studied Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania before moving to Yale University where he received his Ph.D. in 1975. He served on the staff of the Bishop Museum from 1975-1984, and there he led expeditions to the Solomon Islands and Tonga and carried out field research in the Hawaiian Islands. He became Director of the Burke Museum in Seattle, Washington, and Associate Professor at the University of Washington in 1984. He was appointed Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989, and since 1995 has held the endowed Class of 1954 Chair at Berkeley.

Dr. Kirch has conducted fieldwork throughout the Pacific, including the Mussau Islands in Papua New Guinea, Palau and Yap, Arno Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Kolombangara, Vanikoro, Tikopia, and Anuta in the Solomon Islands, Futuna, Alofi, and 'Uvea in the Wallis Islands, the Manu’a Islands in American Samoa, Niuatoputapu and Vava'u in Tonga, Mangaia in the Cook Islands, Mo’orea and Mangareva in French Polynesia, Rapanui, and Kaua’i, O’ahu, Molokai, Maui, and the Big Island of Hawai'i in the Hawaiian Islands.

He has directed a long-term field program in the Kahikinui district on the island of Maui, involving both graduate and undergraduate student participation, which focuses on protohistoric transformations in environmentally marginal landscapes, and includes inter-disciplinary collaboration with ecologists, soil scientists, paleobotanists, and quantitative modelers based at five different universities, including the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, with University of California, Berkeley as the lead institution.

Dr. Kirch’s ongoing research projects in Oceanic archaeology and prehistory are coordinated through the Oceanic Archaeology Laboratory, and include an archaeological study of the remote Mangareva Archipelago in French Polynesia, carried out in collaboration with the Université de la Polynésie Française. His research program at Berkeley has been supported by major grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Pacific Rim Grant program of the University of California Office of the President.

Dr. Kirch has received several other major professional recognitions, including election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and as a Trustee at the School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is also an Honorary (life) member of the Prehistoric Society of Great Britain and Ireland, a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, a Miller Institute Professor at Berkeley, a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. His research accomplishments were honored with the awarding of the John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science by the National Academy of Sciences, and the J. I. Staley Prize of the School of American Research (the latter jointly with Marshall Sahlins).

Dr. Kirch exemplifies the accomplishments, leadership, and vision that is inherent in the criteria for the Herbert E. Gregory Medal; the Bishop Museum was pleased to present the Gregory Medal to Patrick V. Kirch in recognition of his exceptional contribution to science and our understanding of Hawai’i and the Pacific.


PSA is now on Facebook!

PSA now has an active Facebook page on which we post frequent PSA updates as well as pertinent news stories about scientific research in the Asia-Pacific region. Social networks like Facebook have become a key media through which organizations communicate with interested parties, and this trend looks like it will continue to accelerate. We encourage you to click “Like” on the PSA webpage (if you’re already logged onto Facebook), or visit our Facebook page here and click “Like”. We encourage your comments and postings on the page as well, and look forward to your participation!


Keynote Speakers Announced for the 22nd Pacific Science Congress

Keynote Speakers for the 22nd Pacific Science Congress in Kuala Lumpur in June 2011 have been announced. They include:

“Resources Constraints and Sustainability”: Prof. Dato’ Dzulki­fli Abdul Razak, Vice Chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)



The U.S. National Academy of Sciences will hold its second meeting of the new U.S. National Committee to the Pacific Science Association (USNC-PSA). The USNC-PSA was re-formed with mostly new membership in early 2010 and had its first meeting in Honolulu in February 2010.

The Chair of the USNC-PSA is Dr. Aihwa Ong, Professor of Social Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Other Members of the USNC-PSA include: Dr. Peter Brewer, Ocean Chemist and Senior Scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in Moss Landing, California; Dr. Tim Brown, director of the UNAIDS Collaborating Center at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii; Dr. Rosamund Naylor, Director of the Program on Food Security and the Environment [and] professor of Environmental Earth Systems Science at Stanford University; Ms. Eileen Shea, Chief of the Climate Services Division of the NOAA National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and Director of the NOAA Integrated Data and Environmental Applications Center (NOAA-IDEA); Dr. David Schindel, Executive Secretary of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL), an international initiative hosted by the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History. The 2nd meeting will take place at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Beekman Center in Irvine, California in November 2010. PSA thanks Ms. Kathie Bailey Mathae, Director of the U.S. National Academy’s Board on International Scientific Organizations (BISO), as well as Mr. Karumuna Kaijage and Ms. Lynelle Vidale at NAS for their support in organizing the USNC-PSA. For more information on BISO, please visit



Registration for the 22nd Pacific Science Congress (PSC-22) is now available! Please visit to register online.

Registration fees for the 22nd Pacific Science Congress are:


Early Bird
(ends 31 March 2011)

(ends 18 May 2011)


 PSA Member

USD $450

USD $500

USD $550

 Non Member

USD $500

USD $550

USD $600


USD $200

USD $250

USD $300

 Accompanying Person

USD $100

USD $100

USD $100

 Science Teacher

USD $150

USD $200

USD $250

PSA Member, Non-member & Student Registration includes:

Accompanying Person Registration includes:

The call for sessions for the 22nd Pacific Science Congress (PSC-22) ended in November 2010, but submissions for special symposia may still be accepted under particular circumstances. Please visit the PSA page for updated information and a detail list of required criteria and email to: Mr. Nasaruddin Rahman ( The deadlines for session proposals are also posted on the official Congress website (
Upcoming key dates for the PSC-22 are:

Abstract submissions can also now be submitted online. Please visit:



PSA is very pleased to announce that the Philippines has announced their intention to rejoin the Pacific Science Association. There is a long history of association between the Philippines and PSA dating back seventy years, including very active Philippine involvement in several Pacific Science Congresses and Inter-Congresses, but budgetary issues and changes in the national institutional landscape in the early 1990s resulted in the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) – the country’s Adhering Organization to PSA – to temporarily seek Observer Status.

In June 2010, PSA Vice President Dr. Nancy Lewis met with Dr. Alvin B. Culaba, President of NRCP, Dr. Zenaida G. Sadiwa, NRCP Governing Board’s Corporate Secretary, Dr. Napoleon P. Hernandez, NRCP Executive Director, and Mr. Salvador G. Tan, NRCP Chief of Research Management and Development Division. NRCP became the Philippines’ member organization to PSA in 1940. NRCP co-sponsored the 8th Pacific Science Congress on 16-28 November 1953 in Quezon City and hosted the 5th Pacific Science Inter-Congress on 3-7 February 1985 in Manila.

At the 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress in Tahiti in March 2008, the Pacific Science Council expressed its strong desire to re-engage Philippines, both as a long-term partner as well as in the short to medium term in the session planning for the 2011 Congress in Kuala Lumpur in June 2011. The historical ties between PSA and NRCP are indeed long and illustrious, and so it is with great pleasure that we announce NRCP’s intention to renew its membership. We hope this re-engagement will serve as a catalyst for robust participation by Philippine scientists at the 2011 Congress.



In response to the need to better understand climate change and to address related impacts in the Pacific, PSA is involved in efforts to establish the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC), which is a collaborative effort of several U.S. Federal and State of Hawaii agencies as well as the Hawaii Conservation Alliance and other partners. PSA aims to help link PICCC's activities with other climate-related international and regional efforts to engage conservation managers, researchers, and the broader community in the Pacific Island region.

PICCC (pronounced “pixie”) will improve the ability of native island species and ecosystems to accommodate future climate change and related perturbations, and support the long-term protection of key cultural resources by providing useful projections of climate and natural resource change in the Pacific Islands, innovative management options, and a membership that supports coordinated action among institutional and community stakeholders.  The geographic focus of PICCC is the islands and near-shore waters of the Pacific Islands that are formally affiliated with the United States. However, PICCC will cooperate with and may assist climate-related research and conservation efforts in other Pacific Island areas to facilitate the viability of species and ecosystems within the primary geographic area.

The PICCC will provide a range of scientific and technical tools to help managers in Hawai'i, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and other island groups make informed decisions for landscape-scale conservation.  These tools will help managers reach explicit conservation objectives for native species and habitats in the face of climate change and ongoing threats such as fire, land conservation, and invasive species.

For more information on PICCC, please visit their website .


PSA Executive Director Burke Burnett is a co-author on a recent UNDP report on climate change impacts in the Caribbean and the Pacific. The 266-page report, entitled “An Overview of Modelling Climate Change Impacts in the Caribbean Region with contribution from the Pacific Islands”, was commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sub-Regional Office for Barbados and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), with support from Australia’s International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative. The report was produced by the CARIBSAVE Partnership and authored by members of 15 key institutions around the world dealing with climate change. Burnett’s contribution to the report was based on PSA’s participation, along with Bishop Museum and Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), in the MacArthur Foundation-funded “Climate Change and Biodiversity in Melanesia” project.

Simpson, M.C., Scott, D., New, M., Sim, R., Smith, D., Harrison, M., Eakin, C.M., Warrick, R., Strong, A.E., Kouwenhoven, P., Harrison, S., Wilson, M., Nelson, G.C., Donner, S., Kay, R., Geldhill, D.K., Liu, G., Morgan, J.A., Kleypas, J.A., Mumby, P.J., Palazzo, A., Christensen, T.R.L., Baskett, M.L., Skirving, W.J., Elrick, C., Taylor, M., Magalhaes, M., Bell, J., Burnett, J.B., Rutty, M.K., and Overmas, M., Robertson, R. (2009) An Overview of Modelling Climate Change Impacts in the Caribbean Region with contribution from the Pacific Islands, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Barbados, West Indies.

The full report available at: And a summary version is available at:



The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which is the Adhering Organization to PSA from the United States, has recruited new members to the U.S. National Committee to the Pacific Science Association (USNC-PSA).

The Chair of the USNC-PSA is Dr. Aihwa Ong, Professor of Social Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Ong grew up in Malaysia and received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1982. She joined UC Berkeley in 1984 and is currently Head of the Socio-cultural House in the Department of Anthropology at UC-Berkeley. Her professional focus deals with the particular entanglements of politics, technology, and culture in rapidly changing societies on the Asia Pacific rim. Her writings on Muslim factory women, diasporic Chinese, graduated sovereignty and Cambodian refugees helped configure an anthropology of globalization. Her works Spirits of Resistance and Capitalist Discipline (1987), Flexible Citizenship (1999), and Buddha is Hiding (2003) are now classic texts in the field. Currently, Dr. Ong’s work focuses on regimes of governing, technology, and culture that crystallize new meanings and practices of the human. These ideas are explored in Neoliberalism as Exception (2006), and Privatizing China, Socialism from Afar (2007). her field research shifts between sites in Southeast Asia and China in order to track emerging global centers and biotechnical experiments in East Asian modernity.
Other Members of the USNC-PSA include:
Dr. Peter Brewer is an Ocean Chemist and Senior Scientist, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in Moss Landing, California. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and served as a member of SCOR, as Vice-Chair of JGOFS, and was a lead author on the IPCC Special Report on carbon capture and storage. At MBARI he served as President and Chief Executive Officer from 1991-1996 where he oversaw a doubling of the size of the Institution before returning to full time research. His research interests are broad, and include the ocean geochemistry of the greenhouse gases. At MBARI his current interests include the geochemistry of gas hydrates, and the evolution of the oceanic fossil fuel CO2 signal. He is author or co-author of more than 150 scientific papers and editor of several books.
Dr. Tim Brown directs the UNAIDS Collaborating Center at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a member of the Mapping the AIDS Pandemic Network; an affiliated researcher at the Center for AIDS Research, Thai Red Cross Society, since 1989; and a member, Thai Working Group on HIV/AIDS Projection. He was formerly assistant professor in electrical engineering, University of Hawai'i; adjunct assistant professor in the Program on Computing, Department of Mathematics, University of California at Los Angeles; and applications group manager, AMETEK Computer Research Division, Pasadena. His current research focus is Infectious disease and behaviorial epidemiology, risk behaviors and epidemiology of HIV/AIDS and STDs in Asia and the Pacific; Public policy for HIV/AIDS prevention and care; International collaboration on health issues, children and HIV/AIDS; Modeling of HIV/AIDS transmission and impacts.
Dr. Rosamund Naylor is Director of the Program on Food Security and the Environment [and] professor of Environmental Earth Systems Science at Stanford University. She is also a William Wrigley Senior Fellow at FSI and the Woods Institute, associate professor of economics by courtesy, and affiliated faculty at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL). Dr. Naylor’s research focuses on the environmental and equity dimensions of intensive food production. She has been involved in a number of field-level research projects throughout the world concerning issues of aquaculture production, high-input agricultural development, biotechnology, climate-induced yield variability, and food security. Additionally, she is engaged in policy issues associated with food and agricultural systems in the U.S. and abroad. She currently serves as a member on a number of other advisory councils, including the Pew Fellowships Program in Marine Science, the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS), and the Bill Lane Center for the American West. Dr. Naylor was named Fellow in the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program in Environmental Sciences in 1999 and Pew Fellow in Conservation and the Environment in 1994.
Ms. Eileen Shea is Chief, Climate Services Division of the NOAA National Climatic
Data Center (NCDC), and since fall of 2005, Director of the NOAA Integrated Data and Environmental Applications Center (NOAA-IDEA). She is responsible for NCDC programs in data access; data integration and visualization; user engagement; education and outreach; and regional, national, and international climate service partnerships, and has written extensively about assessing the consequences of climate variability and change. Her previous academic experiences focused on marine sciences and environmental law. Dr. Shea is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. During her time with NOAA she helped organize the NOAA Climate and Global Change Program and the inter-agency U.S. Global Change Research Program. She served for two years on the Board on Sustainable Development of the U.S. National Research Council and has experience in congressional relations, as well as budget and finance in NOAA. She also has experience with NOAA’s Regional Integrated Science and Assessment (RISA) Program focused on societal resilience to environmental change.
Dr. David Schindel is the Executive Secretary of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL), an international initiative hosted by the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History and supported by a grant from the Sloan Foundation. The Consortium includes natural history museums and other biodiversity research organizations and is devoted to developing a global system for identifying species using short genetic sequences. Dr. Schindel was trained as an invertebrate paleontologist and holds a B.S. in Geology from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Harvard. He was a member Yale University’s Department of Geology & Geophysics and was Curator of Invertebrate Fossils in the Yale Peabody Museum from 1978 to 1986. In 1986, Dr. Schindel joined the National Science Foundation (NSF) where he directed a variety of funding programs that provided support for: research in systematic biology; improving facilities and constructing specimen databases in natural history museums and herbaria; improving elementary school science education; major research instrumentation; interdisciplinary research centers; and strategic evaluation. During 1997 Dr. Schindel worked in the U.S. Senate as a Brookings Institution LEGIS Fellow in the office of Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). From 1998 to 2004, Dr. Schindel served as the National Science Foundation’s European representative, based in the US Embassy in Paris.

The first meeting of the USNC-PSA was in February 2010 in Honolulu. The next meeting will take place in California in November 2010. PSA thanks Ms. Kathie Bailey Mathae, Director of the U.S. National Academy’s Board on International Scientific Organizations (BISO), as well as Mr. Karumuna Kaijage and Ms. Lynelle Vidale at NAS for their support in organizing the USNC-PSA. For more information on BISO, please visit


PSA, in conjunction with The East-West Center, co-sponsored a meeting on “Implementing the Madrid Action Plan in Pacific Biosphere Reserves: Pacific Island approaches to integrated coastal conservation and sustainable human development”. The meeting was organized and hosted by UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Program, and was held at the East-West Center in Honolulu from 1 to 3 December 2009.

PSA wishes to thank the UNESCO organizers, Dr. Miguel Cluesner-Gott and Dr. Jan Steffen for their efforts in making possible what was a very successful meeting.

Attendees at the meeting included: Allen Allison (VP for Science, Bishop Museum), Grant Arnold (Office of Hawaiian Affairs, State of Hawaii), Rusty Brainard (Chief, Coral Reef Ecosystem Division, NOAA), Burke Burnett (Executive Secretary, PSA), Miguel Clüsener-Godt (Acting Chief, Ecological Sciences & Biodiversity Section, Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences, UNESCO), Paul J. Conry (Administrator, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Department of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawaii), Sarah Creachbaum (Superintendent, Haleakala National Park), John Cusick (Assistant Professor, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa), Jim Gale (Chief of Interpretation and Education Park Headquarters, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park), Michael Guilbeaux (Regional Coordinator, Locally Managed Marine Area Network), Heidi Guth (Lead Advocate – Native Rights, Office of Hawaiian Affairs), Kenneth Y. Kaneshiro (Director, Center for Conservation Research & Training, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa), Randy Kosaki (Deputy Superintendent, NOAA Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument), Nancy D. Lewis (Director, Research Program, East-West Center), Rhonda Loh (Chief of Resource Management, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park), Loyal A. Mehrhoff (Field Supervisor, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, US Fish and Wildlife Service), Osamu Nedlic (Marine Program Assistant
Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization (KCSO), Cindy Orlando (Superintendent, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park), Dan Polhemus (Head Administrator, Department of Aquatic Resources, State of Hawaii, Alma Ridep Morris (MPA Program Manager, Ministry of Resources and Development, Ngaremeduu Conservation Area/Biosphere Reserve Bureau of Marine Resources, Ministry of Resources and Development, Republic of Palau), Keni Seva (Principal Education Officer, Ministry of Education, Fiji), Patterson K. Shed (Executive Director, Conservation Society of Pohnpei), Deanna Spooner (Executive Director, Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance), Jan H. Steffen (Regional Science Advisor, UNESCO Apia Office), Magali Veronique Verducci (Consultant, Heremoana Consulting, Tahiti, French Polynesia), T. ‘Aulani Wilhelm (Superintendent, NOAA Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument).  

At the conclusion of the meeting, participants prepared and issued the following statement:

Honolulu, 3 December 2009

Recalling that the Pacific Biosphere Reserve Network – PacMAB – was established in December 2006 in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, and that at the founding meeting in Pohnpei, participants agreed that:

“Membership of the network will be open to any Pacific small island state with an identified MAB focal point, all existing Pacific Biosphere Reserves, and any site authorities actively working towards the establishment of a Biosphere Reserve.”

Recalling the Madrid Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves (2008-2013) adopted at the 3rd World Congress of Biosphere Reserves held in Madrid, Spain, during 4-9 February 2008 on the establishment of regional networks.

Recalling the 3rd PacMAB meeting, held in Brisbane, Australia, 2007, in which participants agreed:

1. To prepare for the 3rd World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in February 2008.
2. To share information on the development of Biosphere Reserves in the Pacific.
3. To plan for the future of PacMAB and its Biosphere Reserves and prioritize activities.
4. To consider thematic areas for the network to focus on: the Pacific contribution to the world network.

Participants agreed that:

Invite to the next PacMAB meeting representatives of existing and planned Biosphere Reserves in Australia and New Zealand to become members of the Network, as well as the representatives of the Hawai’i Volcanoes Biosphere Reserve (USA) and the Commune de Fakarawa Biosphere Reserve (French Polynesia).




Burke Burnett attended the International Council for Science (ICSU) 29th General Assembly held in Maputo, Mozambique from 21 – 24 October 2008. PSA is a Scientific Associate of ICSU.

Nancy Lewis and Burke Burnett attended the International Council for Science (ICSU) 3rd Regional Consultation in Penang, Malaysia from 13 – 14 October 2009. The meeting was organized by the ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) and hosted by the Centre for Global Sustainability Studies (CGSS), Universiti Sains Malaysia.  The aim of the Consultation was to bring together members of ICSU to assess progress of ROAP and plan its forthcoming activities. Participation was open only to members of ICSU (PSA was ICSU’s first Scientific Associate Member).  Selected speakers were be invited to speak on particular topics relevant to the programmes being developed by ICSU ROAP. ROAP has three main strategic priority areas: Natural Hazards and Disasters; Ecosystems; and Sustainable Energy.



As part of International Climate Action Day on October 24, 2009, PSA co-sponsored a free public screening of the documentary film “A Sea Change” ( in conjunction with, University of Hawaii – Manoa, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Hawaii Conservation Alliance, and Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance.

PSA has targeted the subject of ocean acidification as of special concern to the Pacific region. PSA organized a post-screening Q&A scientific panel that included Dr. Rusty Brainard (Chief of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coral Reef Ecosystem Division); Dr. Paul Jokiel (researcher, Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology); Deanna Spooner (Director, Hawaii Conservation Alliance), Marvin Heskett (Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter Co-Chairperson), and Burke Burnett (PSA Executive Secretary). Leon Geshwind from Bishop Museum also gave a very well-received demonstration of “Magic Planet” – a smaller version of NOAA’s Science on a Sphere – that projects 3D images and maps onto an illuminated globe, which is a very effective tool to illustrate spatial and temporal phenomena such as projected increases in sea surface temperatures and decreasing pH levels through time.

The 85 minute film was an Official Selection at both the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival and San Francisco International Film Festival, and follows retired history teacher Sven Huseby on a quest to discover what is happening to the world’s oceans. His journey takes him to meet ocean scientists in Alaska, California, and Norway as he uncovers the significance and scale of the ocean acidification crisis. Reaction to the film and audience engagement with the Q&A panel was highly positive. PSA highly recommends the film to scientists who are interested in increasing awareness of the important topic of ocean acidification to non-scientists and policymakers.



At the recent 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress in Tahiti, PSA facilitated a discussion among a diverse set of coral reef scientists and ecologists from across the Asia/Pacific to re-organize and re-constitute the PSA Coral Reef Working Group. This group has been inactive for the last several years.  The Chair of the new working group is Dr. Posa Skelton from the University of the South Pacific, and Dr. Terry Donaldson from the University of Guam is the Executive Secretary. A Mission Statement and set of Goals and Objectives is being drafted for circulation to the other scientists in the group. The group aims to integrate its activities with sessions at the next PSA Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2011.  PSA encourages both maximum regional representation as well as multidisciplinary approaches in our working groups; scientists who may be interested in participating in the Coral Reef Working Group should contact Terry Donaldson at donaldsn @



The Pacific Science Association Council authorizes its Scientific Working Groups (formerly the Scientific Task Forces and Scientific Committees) at PSA Congresses every four years. Both existing and new proposed Working Groups will be reviewed for authorization by the PSA Council meeting during the 22nd Pacific Science Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 13-17 June, 2011. Proposals should be submitted to the PSA Secretariat Office by e-mail no later than May 1, 2011 (a reminder will be sent early in 2011).  The Working Groups will also undergo a progress review at the 2013 Inter-Congress.

A set of new guidelines has been created for those wishing to propose new Working Groups or those seeking renewal of authorization for Working Groups that have been authorized in the past.

The PSA Council seeks Working Groups that:

Proposals should conform to the following outline:

  1. Title and scientific scope. What is the focus of the proposed Working Group and what scientific disciplines will be involved? Does it encourage interdisciplinary collaboration? What are the major research and/or societal issues that will be addressed?
  2. Relevance to the PSA’s mission. Why is the PSA the most appropriate organization for conducting the proposed activity? What aspect of the PSA’s mission/history/network make it the most suitable parent organization for the proposed Working Group?
  3. Leadership and management.  Who will lead the proposed Working Group and what are their scientific and organizational qualifications?Please note that the PSA encourages international co-leadership of Working Groups. What support will be needed to achieve the goals of the Working Group? What experience do they have in leading similar initiatives and in raising the necessary funds?
  4. Participants. Which research institutions, researchers and other organizations will be involved in the proposed Working Group? How will students and young scientists be engaged in this activity?
  5. Proposed activities. What specific activities will the Working Group conduct (e.g., research projects, fieldwork, workshops, technical sessions at PSA Congresses or Inter-Congresses or at other scientific meetings)?  What are the milestones and timeline for these activities during the four-year period for which PSA’s authorization is being requested?
  6. Deliverables. What are the tangible outputs that the proposed Working Group will produce (e.g., publications, public databases, websites, conference proceedings, policy recommendations, new research capabilities, trained professionals)? What is the timeline for producing these deliverables?
  7. Audience. Who are the principal beneficiaries of the proposed activities and deliverables? Will they provide benefit primarily to the Pacific or global research community, government policy-makers of the region, the next generation of research scientists, the general public, or a combination of the above?
  8. Communications plan. How will the results of the proposed activities be transmitted to the target audiences? What costs are involved?
  9. Anticipated impact. What impact will the proposed Working Group have on these audiences? What indicators of this impact can be monitored and evaluated?
  10. Long-term plans. Do the proposers envision this as a four-year activity or do they intend to request renewal of authorization in 2015? What longer-term activities does the Working Group entail?

Criteria for Evaluation:

The PSA Council will evaluate the following aspects of the proposed Working Group:

  1. Relevance to the PSA. Is the PSA a suitable sponsor, and will the proposed activity serve the PSA’s mission? Does the Working Group plan to disseminate results through PSA meetings, websites, and publications such as Pacific Science?
  2. Management and Leadership. Does the proposal articulate a clear plan with tangible deliverables and a realistic timeline?
  3. Potential Impact.  Is the proposed Working Group likely to produce significant impact on an important audience? Does the proposed Working Group have an adequate plan for communicating its results or other researchers (e.g. though publications, presentations, and/or public databases), policy-makers, students, and/or the general public?
  4. Composition. Does the Working Group include or envision including researchers from different countries, different disciplines and at different stages of their careers?


Keeping in mind the importance of focusing on critical regional issues that support the mission and vision of the PSA, the Executive Board will:

Thanks to Dr. David Schindel (Smithsonian Institution and U.S. Delegate to the Pacific Science Council in Tahiti) and Dr. Nancy Lewis (East-West Center and PSA Vice-President) for their work in writing these new guidelines.



PSA is very pleased to report the conclusion of a very successful 11th Pacific Science Congress held in Tahiti, French Polynesia from 2 – 6 March 2009. The Tahiti Inter-Congress was the most well-attended in PSA's history, consisting of over 37 symposia and attracting over 881 scientists including 248 students from 49 countries. Including guests and visiting dignitaries, the attendance totaled over 1000 persons. Thanks to generous funding from the Governments of France and French Polynesia, both regional scientific representation and student participation was extremely strong. The quality of the science sessions was similarly unmatched.

The 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress, “Pacific Countries and Their Ocean: Facing Local and Global Changes” was convened on 2 March by Vice President of French Polynesia Mr. Anthony Géros, and Charles Washetine (Representative of the Government of New Caledonia in Charge of Research) who welcomed over Inter-Congress participants, guests, and members of the press. Mr. Adolphe Colrat, the High Commissioner of the French Republic in Polynesia delivered a welcome message from President of France Nicolas Sarkozy. The Inter-Congress addressed the critical social, environmental, and economic challenges facing the Asia-Pacific region with particular attention to the Pacific Island countries. The Inter-Congress was held in conjunction with the 2nd Symposium on French Research in the Pacific.

One of the purposes of the Inter-Congress, which takes place every four years in between Pacific Science Congresses, is to encourage scientists from different disciplines and regions to collaborate on areas of scientific research that support sustainable development. The conference had a particular focus on ecosystems and biodiversity; climate change and ocean acidification, health challenges; cultural and political approaches to governance; and inter-regional cooperation and economic integration.

An overriding theme of the Inter-Congress was the importance for scientists to produce knowledge that can guide better decision-making among policymakers and the public. With the Asia-Pacific community facing unprecedented and accelerating challenges, this goal includes the need for scientists to become better communicators of, and for, science.

The Inter-Congress was organized by Dr. Pierre Mery, Special Assistant in Charge of Research and Technology in French Polynesia, Dr. Priscille Frogier, Director of the Research Department of French Polynesia, Dr. Jean-Claude Angue, Special Assistant in Charge of Research and Technology in New Caledonia, and local and international organizing committees in coordinated partnership with PSA.

Individual sessions included:

  1. La Recherche francaise dans le Pacifique – French Research in the Pacific
  2. Invasive Species. Chairperson(s): Jean-Yves Meyer, Randolph Thaman
  3. Hydrodynamics and Physical Processes. Chairperson(s): Pascal Douillet
  4. Development Strategy. Chairperson(s): Helen Sykes
  5. Modern Climate Processes, Dynamics and Extremes. Chairperson(s): James Terry
  6. Infectious and Vector-borne Diseases. Chairperson(s): Remy Teyssou, Nicolas Goffard
  7. Plenary Session on Culture and Politics: The Stakes of Modernity. Chairperson(s): Anne Salmond
  8. Cultural Heritage for Today and Tomorrow - French Polynesia. Chairperson(s): Serge Tcherkezoff, Darrell Tryon
  9. Exchange Rates and Macroeconomic Policies. Chairperson(s): David Fielding
  10. Biogeography. Chairperson(s): Cecile Fauvelot
  11. Biogeography. Chairperson(s): Rosemary Gillespie, Diana Percy
  12. Biological Processes and Sustainable Development. Chairperson(s): Sally Holbrook
  13. Biological Processes and Sustainable Development. Chairperson(s): Hannah Stewart
  14. Aquaculture and Oyster Pearls. Chairperson(s): Jean-Claude Cochard
  15. Aquaculture and Fisheries. Chairperson(s): Georges Remoissenet
  16. ENSO, Geomorphology, Fossil Reefs and Sea Level. Chairperson(s): Luc Ortlieb
  17. Climate adaptation and impacts. Chairperson(s): Sarah Park
  18. Responses to ocean acidification and climate change. Chairperson(s): Jean-Pierre Gattuso
  19. Infectious and Vector-borne Diseases. Chairperson(s): Nancy Lewis, Isao Nakajima
  20. Non-Communicable Diseases. Chairperson(s): Annick Fontbonne, Mireille Chinain
  21. Cultural Heritage for Today and Tomorrow - 1.1 French Polynesia. Chairperson(s): Serge Tcherkezoff, Darrell Tryon
  22. Cultural Heritage for Today and Tomorrow 1.2 Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea. Chairperson(s): Max Quanchi
  23. Society and Environment. Chairperson(s): Serge Tcherkezoff, Darrell Tryon
  24. Topics in Microeconomics. Chairperson(s): Stephen Knowles, Vincent Dropsy
  25. Governance. Chairperson(s): Marc Debene
  26. Human Ecodynamics. Chairperson(s): Jennifer Kahn, Melinda Allen
  27. Long Term Ecological Monitoring. Chairperson(s): Mehdi Adjeroud
  28. Natural Products and Ecotoxicology. Chairperson(s): Phila Raharivelomanana
  29. Biodiversity Assessment. Chairperson(s): Neil Davies
  30. Conservation Ecology. Chairperson(s): Madeleine Bottrill
  31. Conservation Ecology. Chairperson(s): Coralie Taquet
  32. Ocean Acidification. Chairperson(s): Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Peter Brewer
  33. Ocean Acidification. Chairperson(s): Kenneth Anthony, Paul Jokiel
  34. Population Health and Health Care Systems. Chairperson(s): Eric Dewailly, Camille Boostrom
  35. Population Health and Health Care Systems. Chairperson(s): Sumiko Ogawa, Janis Paterson
  36. Communication and Social Space: political constructs, custom and the law, social differentiation, ethnic minorities. Chairperson(s): Serge Tcherkezoff
  37. Communication and Social Space: political constructs, custom and the law, social differentiation, ethnic minorities. Chairperson(s): Darrell Tryon
  38. Trade and Tourism. Chairperson(s): Niven Winchester, Christian Montet
  39. Environmental Economics. Chairperson(s): Christian Chaboud
  40. Access and Benefit Sharing of the Research on the Biodiversity in the Pacific: Legal Framework; Current Status of ABS Legislation in the Pacific; Research and ABS; Case Study - Moorea Biocode”. Chairperson(s): David Schindel
  41. Coastal Environments. Chairperson(s): LU Yonglong
  42. Health Challenges. Chairperson(s): Tao Hong
  43. Plenary Session on Regional and Inter-Regional Cooperation
  44. Plenary Summary Session

Keynote speakers at the PSIC-11 included addresses from the following distinguished scholars. Louise Peltzer (President of the University of French Polynesia): “French Polynesia: Challenges for equal opportunities versus globalization”. Anne Salmond (Distinguished Professor of Maori Studies and Anthropology and Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Auckland): “Sacrifices from Afar: from first encounter to the future”. Brian Bowen (Associate Researcher, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology): “Genetic Connectivity and the Origin of Tropical Reef Biodiversity”. Jonathan Overpeck (Director, Environmental Studies Laboratory, Dept. of Geosciences, University of Arizona): “The Pacific, Climate Change, and the Future”. John Connell (Professor, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney): “What About the Workers? Where are health workers going, why, and with what impact?” Mark McGillivray (Project Director, World Institute for Development Economics Research, United Nations University: “Achieving Growth Through Increasing Connectivity: Lessons from the South Pacific”. Patrick Kirch (Director, Oceanic Archaeology Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley): “Oceanic Islands as Model Systems for Human Ecodynamics”. Joanie Kleypas (Scientist II, U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research): “Pacific Acidification: Past, predictions, perceptions, and preventions”. Eric Dewailly (Director of the Public Health Research Unit, Laval University Medical Center): “Global Changes and Health in French Polynesia”. Dominique Wolton (Research Director, Centre national de la recherche scientifique): “Identité, communication et mondialisation”. Pierre Jacquet (Deputy Director, Institute of International Relations (IFRI) and Chief Editor, Politique étrangère): Comprendre pour agir: Quels outils pour d écider des politiques de développement durable?”.



PSA is a partner in the Climate Change and Biodiversity in Melanesia (CCBM) project, which is a joint endeavor between Bishop Museum, the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) along with PSA and Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance (IPCA). The 18-month project is funded by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation – one of four global climate change impact research projects funded by MacArthur.

The Climate Change and Biodiversity in Melanesia (CCBM) project has completed a series of Reports on the expected impacts of climate change on marine and terrestrial biodiversity in Melanesia. CCBM is a joint project led by Bishop Museum and Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in conjunction with the Pacific Science Association (PSA) and Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance (IPCA), and funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The geographic scope of the project includes Papua New Guinea and Indonesia’s Papua Province, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and Fiji.

The reports include:

  1. Consensus Report on Climate Change and Biodiversity in Melanesia: What Do We Know? Prepared by Stephen Leisz, John Burke Burnett, and Allen Allison. (Bishop Museum, Pacific Science Association, and Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance)
  2. Geospatial Vulnerability Assessment of Climate Change and Ocean Acidification Projections in Melanesia. Prepared by Stephen Leisz and Allen Allison (Bishop Museum).
  3. Climate change projections for the Southwestern Pacific with a focus on Melanesia. Report prepared by Kelvin Richards and Axel Timmermann (International Pacific Research Center (IPRC), School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawaii-Manoa).
  4. Climate Change and Biodiversity in Melanesia: Biophysical science – ocean acidification. Prepared by Peter Brewer (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)
  5. Climate change in New Guinea and its potential effects on freshwater ecosystems. Prepared by Dan Polhemus (Bishop Museum)
  6. Palaeoecology and resilience in Melanesia: How can palaeoecology contribute to climate change response planning? Prepared by Geoffrey Hope (Australian National University)
  7. Potential Climate Change Impacts on Corals and Coral Reefs in Melanesia from Bleaching Events and Ocean Acidification. Prepared by Steve Coles (Bishop Museum).
  8. Climate Change and Biodiversity in Melanesia: Implications for and impacts upon reef fishes. Prepared by Terry Donaldson (University of Guam Marine Lab).
  9. Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Resilience and MPA Management in Melanesia. Prepared by Rodney V. Salm and Elizabeth Mcleod (The Nature Conservancy)
  10. Climate Change Impacts on Native Plant Communities in Melanesia. Prepared by Shelley James (Bishop Museum).
  11. Predicting the effects of climate change on Melanesian bird populations: probing the darkness with a broken flashlight. Prepared by Andrew Mack (Carnegie Museum of Natural History)
  12. Analysis of the Impacts of Climate Change on the Herpetofauna of the Papuan Region. Prepared by Allen Allison (Bishop Museum).
  13. Climate Change Impacts on Mammals in Melanesia: What do we know? Prepared by Kris Helgen (Smithsonian Institution).
  14. Review of Economic and Livelihood Impact Assessments of, and Adaptation to, Climate Change in Melanesia. Prepared by Padma Lal, Jeff Kinch and Frank Wickham (Pacific Regional Environment Programme [SPREP]).
  15. Institutional capacity within Melanesian countries to effectively respond to climate change impacts, with a focus on Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. Prepared by Frank Wickham, Jeff Kinch and Padma Lal (Pacific Regional Environment Programme [SPREP]).

The full reports are posted on the project website, and include audio-visual presentations for Reports 3–13. Also included on the website are various datasets on projected sea-surface and land temperature changes, changes in rainfall distribution and intensity, sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and other information relevant to climate change planning in Melanesia. This information is being made freely available for use in conjunction with other analytical tools to form the core of an environmental information system for Melanesia climate change. Such tools are critical to government agencies and nonprofit organizations involved in environmental, conservation, and development planning. DVDs with the full array of information are being sent to stakeholders.

The CCBM project was organized to assess the best “state of the science” regarding projected impact of climate change on biodiversity in Melanesia.  As one of the world’s highest biodiversity areas with many endemic species as well as the planet’s richest coral reefs, the implications of climate change on Melanesia’s ecosystems and societies are potentially very serious. Moreover, as a region that is largely dependent on agriculture and utilization of abundant natural resources such as fisheries, the importance of preserving Melanesia’s rich biodiversity should thus be considered in terms of the impact of climate change on the ecosystem services nature provides to human societies. The three major components of the study were to: access the current scientific understanding of the impacts of climate change and other biogeochemical processes on island and marine ecosystems in Melanesia; document the institutional and socioeconomic adaptive capacity of Melanesian countries to effectively respond to climate change impacts including legislation, policies and capacity assessment; and to develop an integrated assessment of the vulnerability of Melanesia’s biodiversity to climate change.

More information, including a synthesis White Paper, will continue to be added to the website in the near future, and DVDs with the full array of information will be sent free of charge to important stakeholders in the near future.



The Pacific Science Association was pleased to co-sponsor the 2008 International Symposium on Global Mountain Biodiversity, which was held 7 - 10 June 2008 at China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan. The Symposium was organized by the College of Life Sciences and Research Center for Biodiversity at China Medical University. PSA Board Member Chang-Hung Chou was a driving force behind the meeting.

The Symposium dealt with the topic of the biodiversity of the world’s mountain ecosystems. In addition to their intrinsic value, the ecosystem services these areas provide to human societies are a critically important aspect of global sustainability. The Symposium addressed the molecular and evolutionary bases of biodiversity; vulnerability assessments of mountain biodiversity to various threats; mountain biodiversity in fungi and animal populations; microbial and lake metabolism; and projected impacts of climate change on mountain ecosystems and on public health in communities linked to those areas. PSA Vice President Nancy Lewis attended the meeting and gave a presentation on the significance of biodiversity to healthy and sustainable livelihoods in the Asia-Pacific.



We are very pleased to announce that the 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress will be held in Tahiti, French Polynesia from 2 - 6 March 2009. We congratulate and thank our colleagues in French Polynesia for a very compelling presentation to the PSA Council, which voted to accept their offer to host the 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress.

Click here to visit the official PSI-11 website.



The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded Bishop Museum with a $290,000 grant over eighteen months to study climate change planning and mitigation to help stem the threats of global warming. Bishop Museum is one of eight institutions worldwide to receive part of the Foundation’s $5 million investment in studying how species and habitats are impacted as a result of climate change and ocean acidification, both the result of rising global carbon dioxide levels. Click here for the project statement or here for the official announcement.

Allen Allison, Ph.D, Vice President of Science at Bishop Museum, said the grant will be used to fund an assessment report on the vulnerability of biodiversity and island ecosystems in Melanesia to climate change. All data gathered during the survey will be organized in an environmental information system for climate change in Melanesia and made available via the Internet for access by conservation groups worldwide. This work will be carried out in coordination with the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP) based in Apia, Samoa; and the Pacific Science Association (PSA) and Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance (IPCA), both based in Honolulu.

“The tropics offer some of the most biologically diverse environments in the world and are also among the most vulnerable to climate changes.” said Dr. Allison. He notes that, “Our work in Melanesia will help identify the level of threat and support steps needed to adapt to the impact of climate change in the region.”

“The planet is already committed to some level of global warming as a result of man-made carbon dioxide and coral reefs in particular are likely to be stressed hard as a result,” said John Burke Burnett, Executive Director of PSA and IPCA. He notes that warming is likely to contribute to more frequent coral bleaching events, leading to increased mortality of reef ecosystems and species. In addition, sea level rise and other factors will make it harder for reefs to adapt to other changes.

Burnett pointed to another looming potential problem, known as ocean acidification. “The natural absorption of man-made carbon dioxide by the world’s oceans is causing the pH of surface waters to drop. From pre-industrial times to 2004, surface ocean pH has dropped by about 8.25 to 8.14, and this is expected to drop another 0.3 pH units. This is going to be an additional stress on marine species and ecosystems.”

With Melanesia’s preeminent position as the global epicenter of marine biodiversity, the socio-economic and health implications of climate change on Melanesia ’s ecosystems are potentially grave. The impact of change on regional marine ecosystems is a particular concern as scientists have already noted a strong correlation between most mass coral mortality events and global temperature rise.

Climate change is also likely to alter terrestrial habitats, re-distributing biodiversity in Melanesia and significantly impacting the population who is largely poor and dependent on agriculture, fisheries, and other natural resources.

“Conservation organizations in the Pacific need to know how to design and manage field projects that account for and adjust to the changes that are coming, but exactly what those changes are going to look like, we just don’t have a good enough grasp on yet.” Burnett said. “This study will assemble the experts and make available the best knowledge on how conservation efforts will need to adjust for these changes.”

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private, independent grant making institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition. With assets of more that $6 billion, the Foundation makes approximately $225 million in grants annually. More information about the Foundation may be found at

For more information about the Melanesian biodiversity study, visit the Climate Change and Biodiversity in Melanesia website.



PSA invites expressions of interest for the hosting of the 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress in 2009, and the 22nd Pacific Science Congress in 2011. The PSA Executive Board will coordinate the selection process.

Pacific Science Congresses and Inter-Congresses provides the opportunity for the dissemination of knowledge on all aspects of science and technology in the Pacific and Pacific Rim region. Please click here for more information on these events, or here for submission guidelines for submitting Letters of Interest.

Announcement of the successful offer for the 2009 Inter-Congress will be made at the Closing Ceremony of the 21st Pacific Science Congress in Okinawa in June 2007.

Expressions of Interest for the 2009 Inter-Congress should be sent to the PSA Secretariat before 1 March 2007.



For those who wish to present a paper at the 21st Pacific Science Congress (PSC-21), the deadline for abstract submissions has been extended to 28 February 2007. Abstacts should be submitted electronically to the PSC-21 Abstract Submission Office and sent in parallel to the co-organizers of the session you propose to join. Electronic submission should be completed using the abstract submission form and using the abstract template form available on the PSC-21 website (please refer to the buttons at bottom of the page).


PSA PResident Kurokawa named special science advisor to prime minister of japan shinzo abe

PSA congratulates Prof. Kiyoshi Kurokawa, current PSA President, on his new appointment as Special Advisor to Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The 19 October 2006 issue of Nature notes that "Kurokawa is the first such adviser with a science background -- his four predecessors were economic or legal experts". Kurokawa is expected to work closely with P.M. Abe for dramatic reforms in Japan's scientific education, funding, and decision-making, in order to boost scientific and technology innovation to meet the needs of society in the 21st Century. Kurokawa will help create Innovation 25, a plan to anticipate society's needs in the year 2025, and to evaluate and recommend what research is needed -- particularly in the areas of medical, information technology, and environmental sciences -- which may pave the way for increased funding and reform of the research grant system, while promoting increased flexibility and reform in the education and research system.

PSA warmly congratulates Prof. Kurokawa on his appointment, and wishes him great success in this endeavor.



Biodiversity loss resulting from such factors as habitat modification, deforestation, climate change, invasive species, and overfishing continues to pose a major challenge for the Asia-Pacific region. Inappropriate or unsustainable use of terrestrial and marine resources poses risks for the human societies and economies who depend on the ecosystem services provided by biodiversity. A session at the 21st Pacific Science Congress will examine these topics and representative case studies in order to illustrate problems associated with conservation planning and management of natural resources, as well as to identify lessons learned that can help illuminate best practices to protect biodiversity.  Paper topics may include, but are not limited to, issues such as:

We are particularly interested in particular case studies on conservation and natural resource management in the Pacific and Asian regions. We also encourage a range of topics, including both terrestrial and marine natural resource management areas. The geographic scope in the session includes all countries in the Pacific Rim, but focusing particularly on the Pacific Islands (Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia), Indonesia, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Russia, North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand.

The deadline for submitting paper proposals is 28 February 2007. Interested researchers are encouraged to send an indication of interest before 1 December 2006.Please send proposals to:

John Burke Burnett
Executive Director, Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance [and]
Executive Secretary, Pacific Science Association or


CALL FOR PAPERS: Proposed Session for the 21st Pacific Science Congress:  Globalization and Human Dynamics

Theme 1:  Livelihood and Cultural Preservation
Theme 2:  Human Challenges and Survival Strategies

The Pacific Science Association was created in 1920 at the First Pan-Pacific Scientific Conference, held in Honolulu, Hawaii.  The Objectives of the Pacific Science Association include …“to initiate and promote cooperation in the study of scientific problems relating to the Pacific region, more particularly those affecting the prosperity and well-being of Pacific peoples”.  In light of contemporary geographical, economic, social, and cultural challenges, and the like, for successful living within the contemporary Pacific Region, our Session seeks to address and engage meaningful issues concerning the physical and social world that Pacific/Asia peoples inhabit.   Paper topics may be proposed within either of the two themes below, and may include, but are not limited to, issues such as:

Please send Paper Proposals to:

Lan-Hung Nora Chiang, Ph.D.                       Rebecca A. Stephenson, Ph.D.
Professor of Geography                                Professor of Anthropology
National Taiwan University                          University of Guam
Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.                                 Mangilao, Guam  96923                     



PSA Executive Secretary Burke Burnett represented the Pacific Science Association at the Point d’étape Symposium on French Research in the Pacific, held in Tahiti from 9 – 12 October 2006. This symposium was a follow-on meeting to update the progress in French research since the Symposium on French Research in the Pacific that took place in Noumea in 2004. The symposium was sponsored by the French Government, and the governments of French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna, and organized under the uspices of the Minister of Higher Education and Research, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Overseas Territories, with the support of the Permanent Secretary for the Pacific Region.

The objectives of the symposium were to: assess the current status and progress of French research since the Noumea meeting; strengthen collaboration between the three French Pacific territories and the small island countries of the region, Australia, Chile, and Japan; identify common research issues in the region; and plan the development of French research in response to the needs of the Pacific region. Presentations were in French, but simultaneous translation via headset was graciously provided for English speakers.

Both plenary sessions were open to registered participants. Fabrice Colin, Director of the Research Institute for Development (IRD) in Noumea, provided an overview of French Research in the Pacific. The first symposium was focused on the topic of “Natural Hazards and Climate Change”, and began with a lecture by Jean-François Royer (CNRM) on “Climate change simulations and their impacts in the Pacific”, followed by a presentation by Bernard Pelletier (IRD-Noumea) on “Seismic, volcanic and tsunami hazards in Vanuatu, Futuna, and New Caledonia: current knowledge and studies in progress”. Papers presented included: Christian Picard ( University of New Caledonia): “Risk of volcanic eruptions in the Southwest Pacific”. Dominique Reymond (Geophysics Laboratory, CEA): “Geophysics observatory in Polynesia”. Victoire Laurent (Météo France): “Conditions for the formation of Polynesian cyclones: SST analysis”. Christophe Maes (IRD-Noumea): “Programme of SPICE research: Ocean currents in the South Pacific”. Anne Leroy (Météo France): “The use of seasonal forecasting in New Caledonia”. Philippe Couraud (Urbanization Agency, French Polynesia): “Natural risks in French Polynesia and their impact on land-use planning”. Hélène Hebert (Department for Environmental Reconnaissance and Analysis): “Evaluation of the tsunami risk in French Polynesia”. Jean-Christophe Audru (BRGM-Mayotte): “Geomechanical characterization of surface formations and instabilities in French Polynesia”. Pierre Maurizot (BGRM- New Caledonia): “Natural risk and the impact of soil erosion on land-use planning in New Caledonia”. Michel Allenbach ( University of New Caledonia): “Global warming in the Pacific: risks and socio-economic consequences”. Elodie Martinez ( International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii, Manoa): “The impact of El Niño in Polynesia”.

The theme of the second symposium was “Societies, Resources, and Environments”, and was opened with an introductory lecture by Serge Tsherkezoff, Director of the Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur l'Océanie (CREDO). The first presentation by Jean-Christophe Galipaud (IRD-Noumea) and Christophe Sand (Government of New Caledonia) was on “Human-environment interaction in the Southwest Pacific: a long-term perspective”. Eric Conte from the University of French Polynesia gave a lecture on “A millennium of human environmental transformation in the Gambier Archipelago” which illuminated his fieldwork, conducted with Patrick Kirsch from UC-Berkeley. Other papers presented included: Elvina Inghels ( University of New Caledonia): “The Pacific of the past: the anthropogenic impact of the second wave of human migration and how environments shaped traditional societies”. Pierre Ottino (IRD-Tahiti): “Island environments and valleys in Fenua Enata, Marquesas islands”. Jean-Michel Charpentier (CNRS – University of French Polynesia): “Linguistic atlas of French Polynesia”. Patrice Godin (CREDO): “Changes in agricultural calendars in Oceania”. Sébastien Larrue (IRIDIP, University of French Polynesia): “Plant cover, trees and corresponding representations in French Polynesia: landscape remnants and current dynamics”. Tamatoa Bambridge (IRIDIP, University of French Polynesia): “The appropriation of the littoral in time and space in Tahiti and Nuku Hiva”. René Galzin (Director of the Laboratory for Tropical Ichthyology at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes at the University of Perpignan): “Biological databases: historical knowledge for long-term development”. Isabelle Jollit-Boniface ( University of New Caledonia): “Anthropogenic exploitation of resources and spatial recomposition in Oceania”. Jean-Michel Sourisseau ( University of New Caledonia): “The consequences of local development for the Pacific world”. Cédric Lo (Pearliculture Agency, French Polynesia): “Towards a sustainable development of pearl oyster culture in French Polynesia”.

Jean-Pierre Bonnefoy (Director, Paris Institute of Global Physics) gave a presentation on “Overseas Island Environments”, and introduced a series of students pursuing doctoral degrees in the subjects covered by the symposium. These students presented summaries of their dissertation research, followed by question and answer sessions for each.

Pacific Science Association Executive Secretary John Burke Burnett gave a presentation on PSA and the upcoming 21 st Pacific Science Congress. Eric Clua, Program Director of the Coral Reef Initiative in the South Pacific (CRISP), gave a presentation on CRISP’s work in the region. Agnès Benet gave a presentation on the work of the French Initiative on Coral Reefs (IFRECOR). Following a presentation by Alain Bonneville recapping the symposium and framing it in terms of the research challenges in French Polynesia, the meeting was concluded.

All the addresses were very well received, and it was notable that there were many students in the audience.

The Point d’étape Symposium on French Research in the Pacific provided the opportunity to generate additional interest in the 21 st Pacific Science Congress, as well as to discuss potential new partnerships for PSA’s work in facilitating research on issues of prime interest in the French Pacific territories (ex. Climate change, biodiversity, ocean acidification, energy issues, water resources).



The International Council for Science (ICSU) opened a Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific on 19 September 2006. The inaugural ceremony was hosted by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Y.A.B. Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak. The ICSU Executive Board appointed Professor Mohd Nordin Hasan as Director of the ICSU Regional Office. The new ICSU office aims to promote the development of science throughout Asia and the Pacific and help strengthen the voice of developing countries in this region.

The official inauguration was accompanied by the 2nd Meeting of the ICSU Regional Committee for Asia and the Pacific and the Regional Conference on Natural and Human-Induced Environmental Hazards and Disasters, and the 3rd meeting of the ICSU Policy Committee on Developing Countries.



The 21st Pacific Science Congress will be held 12-18 June, 2007 at the Okinawa Convention Center in Naha, Okinawa, Japan. The Congress will be hosted by the University of the Ryukyus and co-sponsored by the Science Council of Japan. The PSA Secretariat is currently soliciting input from PSA Task Forces and committees on session themes and speakers. The first circulars announcing the 2007 Congress will be sent in mid-2005. A link to the Congress website can be found at: and on the PSA website at

The Organizing Committee for the 21st Pacific Science Congress is making an open call for symposia and sessions. Individual scientists and scientific societies are encouraged to contact the Local Organizing Committee and/or the PSA Secretariat if they are interested in doing so (c ontact: Makoto Tsuchiya at or Burke Burnett at ).

The overall theme of the Congress is “Diversity and Change: Challenges and Opportunities for Managing Natural and Social Systems in the Asia-Pacific”. Currently planned sub-themes and associated symposia include:

These symposia are still under development and the PSA Secretariat is currently soliciting input from PSA Task Forces and committees on sessions and speakers.



As of February 2006, PSA now offers membership payment via secure server credit card processing. This will make it easier for most of our members, particularly those for whom the previous system of personal checks and faxes were prohibitive. You may still make payment through personal check, although we encourage use of the new system. The transaction will be processed by PayPal (although this takes place off-screen) and so you may be assure that it is safe and secure.

We had planned for the secure server to be online last year, but unavoidable technical issues delayed the rollout. We appreciate your patience and understanding, but hope you will share our enthusiasm for the new transaction system. Click here to join PSA.



PSA Executive Secretary Burke Burnett represented the Pacific Science Association at the International Council for Science (ICSU) 28 th General Assembly held in Shanghai and Suzhou, China from 17–22 October 2005. The General Assembly (GA) was graciously hosted by the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology (CAST). PSA President Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa (President of the Science Council of Japan) and PSA Executive Board members Dr. Congbin Fu (Vice President of the China Committee for ICSU, CAST) and Dr. Prof. Chang-Hung Chou (President, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan) also attended in the capacity of their respective institutions.

The General Assembly consisted of both plenary sessions and sessions for National Members and Scientific Union Members. The first day of the GA was held in conjunction with CAST in Shanghai. After opening remarks by Dr. Sun Honglie (ICSU-China), the first session topic was “Science and Human Well-Being”, chaired by Prof. Yiming Shao of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The keynote presentation by Dr. Hal Mooney conveyed the results of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, followed by brief presentations and a panel discussion by Prof. Marian Addy ( University of Ghana), Prof. Zengyi Chang ( Beijing University), Prof. Pierre Richie ( University of Ottawa), and Prof. Lan Xue ( Tsinghua University). The second session on “Science for Sustainable Development” was chaired by Prof. Peter Tyson, Vice President of ICSU. Prof. Congbin Fu gave the keynote lecture, followed by brief presentations and a panel discussion including Prof. Qiheng Hu (V.P., CAST), Prof. Yonglong Lu (Chinese Academy of Science), Dr. Jane Lubchenco (President, ICSU), and Dr. Graham Pearman (GP Consulting). All lectures and presentations were very well-received.

The second day of the GA involved no plenary sessions but convened forums for National Members and Scientific Union Members. These meetings were held to discuss the status of ICSU’s programmes and obtain input from members. Among the items discussed were a proposed dues increase for ICSU, a planned reduction in ICSU’s Grants Programme, and a wide variety of topics of concern to various Scientific Unions and Interdisciplinary Bodies. There were also several presentations providing reports on various ICSU initiatives such as “The Environment and its Relation to Sustainable Development”, “Science and the Policy Context”, and “The Universality of Science”.

The final three days of the GA involved plenary sessions. Dr. Jane Lubchenco presided over all the presentations and resulting discussions. The third day began with various briefings on the current status of ICSU, including the Secretary-General’s Report (Ana Maria Cetto), a presentation of the new ICSU Strategic Plan for 2006–2011 (Thomas Rosswall), a Union Member Forum Report (Michel Denis), and a National Member Forum Report (Hernan Chaimovich). Each presentation was followed with time for various attendees to comment and provide input. Presentations were also given on several ICSU initiatives: by Dr. Ian Allison on the new International Polar Year (2007–2008), a joint initiative of ICSU and World Meteorological Organization; by Dr. Gordon McBean on the ICSU initiative on “Natural and Human-Induced Hazards”; by Dr. Brian Walker on “Science and Technology for Sustainable Development”. Dr. Hal Mooney gave a second presentation on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, focusing on the structure and processes behind the writing of the MEA reports.

The next day of the GA saw presentations on ISCU’s programme on “Challenges in Implementing the Universality of Science” (Dr. Peter Warren), a “Priority Area Assessment on Scientific Data and Information” (Dr. Roberta Balstad), “Capacity-Building in Science” (Dr. Ranjan Ramasamy), a report from the ICSU Policy Committee on Developing Countries (Dr. Marian Addy), and an ICSU Financial Report (Dr. Roger Elliott). Ample time for input and comments from the various members was solicited, and votes were taken to ratify modifications to various proposed elements in the ICSU strategy.

Elections were held to determine the new ICSU Executive Board. The new incoming officers are: Dr. Catherine Brechignac ( France) – President-Elect, Dr. Khosto Mokhele ( South Africa) – Vice President for Scientific Planning and Review, and Hernan Chaimovich ( Brazil) – Vice President for External Relations. Dr. Ana Maria Cetto ( Mexico) and Dr. Roger Elliott (UK) ran unopposed and will continue as Secretary-General and Treasurer, respectively.

The final day of the GA included reports on the new ICSU Regional Office for Africa (Dr. Gabriel Ogunmola) which opened in Pretoria, South Africa in 2005, the new ICSU Regional Office for Asia (Dr. Anupam Varma) which will open in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2006, and the ICSU Ad Hoc Committee on Membership Issues (Dr. Lucie Lapointe). Dr. Goverdhan Mehta, incoming President of ICSU, gave an Address to the GA on the future of ICSU, which was very warmly received.

One important outcome of the GA was the formal approval of the new ICSU Strategic Plan (2006–2011), which provides a strong mandate and direction for the organization in their mission to provide a greater role for science in public policy decisions worldwide, and to strengthen international science for the benefit of society.

ICSU also announced several new initiatives and resolutions, including:

For more information on these initiatives and announcements, please visit As for the GA as a whole, there was widespread agreement that ICSU and the Chinese hosts at CAST did a magnificent job at organizing the meeting and making participants feel welcome.

he ICSU GA meeting provided the opportunity for Kurokawa, Fu, Chou, and Burnett to discuss PSA business. In addition, there were numerous fruitful discussions to discuss potential collaborations and the upcoming Pacific Science Congress in 2007. These involved Dr. Montri Chulavatnatol, Vice-President of the National Research Council of Thailand and Secretary General of the 20 th Pacific Science Congress, other representatives from PSA Adhering organizations, including the Science Council of Japan, the Malaysian Academy of Sciences, the Singapore National Academy of Sciences, CAST, National Academies Forum (Australia), National Research Council of Thailand, as well as officials from ICSU, The Academy of Science for the Developing World (TWAS), and many others.



During the third quarter of 2005, the Biodiversity Task Force addressed regional bioinformatics issues through the development of the Pacific Biodiversity Information Forum (PBIF) that is focused on the development of a website that includes information and photographic images of animals, plants and various Pacific Islands.  In addition, PBIF completed a survey of regional taxonomic capacity. This will be published next year. PBIF is working to provide informatics support to the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation and with National Biodiversity Strategic Action Coordinators.  Finally PBIF is organizing a workshop, planned for February 2006 in New Zealand, to review the taxonomic status of major groups of plants and animals in the tropical Pacific region.  This will result in the publication of taxonomic checklists, literature databases and analysis of regional patterns of species richness and endemicity.



The Pacific Science Association has continued to revise and improve the PSA website with the goal of becoming the primary information portal for information concerning science, technology, and sustainable development in and of the Asia and Pacific region. The second version of the PSA website was completed in August 2005. Unfortunately, technical issues delayed the implementation of the secure-server for individual membership (originally scheduled for mid-2005), but should be completed November 2005.

We hope to make the new PSA website as useful for researchers and other stakeholders as possible, and welcome your comments and suggestions. In particular, we invite submissions for “Upcoming Meetings and Conferences in the Asia-Pacific” ( which is the only site to combine information on any and all meetings either in, or concerning, science and sustainable development in the region. Please email any notifications to Burke Burnett at


new psa-related book on globalization

A new book titled The Challenges of Globalization: Cultures in Transition in the Pacific-Asia Region, produced by leaders of the PSA Task Force on Globalization and Human Dynamics, and growing directly out of a Task Force Session at the 10th Pacific Science Inter-Congress in Guam in 2001, is now available. The book is edited by Lan-Hung Nora Chiang, John Lidstone, and Rebecca Stephenson, and published by the University Press of America. The back cover describes the book:

The Challenges of Globalization
defines globalization as "supra-national ideas and processes that cross national borders with impunity." Such "ideas and processes" may appear to possess a will of their own, fostering closer links between cultures, societies, and economies. But, do they? How do individuals, communities, and nation-states actually respond to the forces of globalization? This book explores globalization within the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and education. Although the products of globalization are far from new, globalization as a process in the Pacific-Asian region is both dynamic and problematic. Pacific-Asia globalization outcomes at present include: intensification of changes linked to the influences of capitalism; information technology and innovative technological systems; migration, transnationalism, and refugees; tourism for those with newly apparent disposable incomes; altered philosophical and religious perspectives, including the new fundamentalism; paradigm shifts within indigenous languages and cultures; lifestyles that embrace and/or disengage from all of the globalizing factors listed above; and others.


PSA Extraordinary Executive Board meeting

Because a PSA Inter-Congress could not be held in 2005, PSA held an Extraordinary Executive Board Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam on 11-13 May.  The purpose of the PSA meeting, which was held in conjunction with the Science Council of Asia (SCA) Annual Conference, was to: (1) discuss and plan for the upcoming 21st PSA Congress to be held in Okinawa, Japan in June 2007; (2) seek the Board's input on revamped Scientific Task Forces, new and planned PSA projects, as well as a revised Strategic Plan for PSA; and (3) to provide an update on PSA activities since the Bangkok Congress.  Attending the meeting were Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa (PSA President), Dr. Nancy Lewis (PSA Secretary General and Treasurer), Dr. Chang-Hung Chou (Board Member), Sung-Chick Hong (Board Member), PSA Executive Secretary John Burke Burnett, and invited guests Dr. Keiichi Omoto (PSA Council Representative, Japan), Valentin Sergienko (PSA Council Representative, Russia), Oleg Shcheka (Russian Academy of Sciences Far Eastern Branch), and Makoto Tsuchiya (University of the Ryukyus, and Lead Organizer of the 2007 Pacific Science Congress).


2007 pacific science Congress: status of Planning

In early January 2005, PSA Secretary General Dr. Nancy Lewis, PSA Executive Secretary Burke Burnett, and former PSA Executive Secretary Dr. Lu Eldredge met with Dr. Makoto Tsuchiya from University of the Ryukyus to discuss plans for the upcoming 2007 Pacific Science Congress to be held in Okinawa. Pursuant to the PSA Board Meeting in Hanoi in May 2005, PSA President Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa and Dr. Lewis attended a 2007 Pacific Science Congress planning meeting in Tokyo on February 25, 2005.


George B. Elyakov, 1929-2005

Academician Professor George B. Elyakov passed away on 2 May 2005 in Moscow, Russia after a long illness. Dr. Elyakov was born on 13 September, 1929, in Kostroma, Russia . A corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Science since 1970 and an active member since 1987, he was an expert in organic chemistry of natural compounds. He became Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1991, and was also Chairman of the RASs Far Eastern Branch in Vladivostok and Director of the Pacific Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry. Dr. Elyakov was an active member of the Pacific Science Association for many years, and a Board Member of PSA since 1999. The PSA extends our sympathies to his family and colleagues.


Asian Tsunami Tragedy

The Pacific Science Association extends our sincere and deepest condolences to all those in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere who suffered in the tsunami tragedy of 26 December 2004.

We must all strive to work more diligently to understand the geological, oceanographic and ecological factors behind such catastrophic events. PSA intends to catalyze interest among local and international scientists to examine these factors, in the hope that such an understanding may help mitigate the human impact of such events in the future.

PSA calls attention to the statement from ICSU regarding the South Asian tsunami tragedy. Please click here for their statement.


Living Archipelagos

The Living Archipelagos Program has launched a new website. The site will include detailed profiles on specific sites identified in two workshops held in Honolulu and Apia , Samoa in 2004.

The Living Archipelago Program is organized by the Bishop Museum, Pacific Science Association, and Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance (IPCA) in cooperation with the Marine Programs Division of Conservation International (CI), the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). The Living Archipelago Program is a new initiative to identify a small number of islands and coral reef ecosystems warranting some level of action and to move quickly forward to secure their future. The geographic areas covered by this program are the islands/atolls of Micronesia , Polynesia , and Fiji , collectively one of CIs Hotspots.


New Pabitra Publication

The PABITRA manual, Biodiversity Assessment In Tropical Island Ecosystems, part of their Interactive Ecology and Management Initiative, has been published and is now available for download on the PABITRA website. PABITRA is a collaborative program involving a network of over 70 conservation scientists and professionals for investigating the function of biodiversity and the health of ecosystems in the tropical Pacific Islands . It is constituted as part of the Pacific Science Associations Division for Ecosystem Conservation in the PSA Task Force on Biodiversity. Currently, there are over 70 conservation professionals on the mailing list. PABITRA contributes to DIVERSITAS, the global program of biodiversity science, coordinated by IUBS (International Union of Biological Sciences) and the regional network of DIVERSITAS in Western Pacific and Asia , which is coordinated by the Center for Ecological Research at Kyoto University.


Pacific Biodiversity Information Forum Update

The Pacific Biodiversity Forum (PBIF), established under the auspices of the PSA to provide a forum for sharing biodiversity information in the Asia-Pacific region, was formally accepted as an Associate Participant Organization to the Global Biodiversity Information Forum in September 2004. PBIF also held a leadership meeting from 8-9 October, 2004 in Wellington , New Zealand , in conjunction with the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI) meeting. This was the fourth in a series of workshops, and was convened in order to gain approval for formulation of the node under the framework and procedures developed by the interim organizing committee at the previous PBIF meeting in Oaxaca .

Among the steps taken at the meeting were to establish an interim organizing committee to guide PBIF during the formal formulation process. The interim organizing committee will eventually be replaced by an elected organizing committee as PBIF becomes more formalized. A gateway node was established to serve at the primary organizational and public interface for PBIF and to coordinate collaborations with partners from the region. Representatives at the Wellington workshop expressed strong interest in joining PBIF, and while membership is open to legitimate regional scientific organizations, members wishing to function as nodes must be able to support their activities through internal or external funding sources.

The meeting also was geared to identify specific taxonomic and other projects that PBIF might facilitate. Representatives offered a list of potential projects and themes for consideration. The main themes that were identified as priorities are taxonomic and technical capacity-building, education and outreach, identification of knowledge gaps and development of projects to fill them, and forging links between Western science and traditional knowledge. Results of the workshop discussions were to recommend two specific projects to the GTI: Inventory, Evaluation and Monitoring of Agricultural Diversity in the East and Southeast Asian Region: Regional Capacity and Institution-Building Network, and Building National and Regional Taxonomic and Biodiversity Informatics Capacity for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in the Pacific Islands . At the request of the GTI, all projects identified at the PBIF meeting were submitted to the GTI for consideration.

The date and venue for the next PBIF meeting has yet to be set, but a target date of summer 2005 is being considered. For more information about PBIF please visit the website or contact Mark Fornwall at



The International Foundation for Science, based in Stockholm, Sweden, has a grants program for projects from developing country scientists who conduct research on the sustainable management of biological resources. An IFS Research Grant has a maximum value of USD 12,000. IFS is specifically targeting scientists in countries with developing science and technology infrastructures. Focus is set on the Least Developed Countries (LDC), Low Income Countries (LIC) and Lower Middle Income Countries (LMIC). Grants are awarded to an individual researcher, for a specific research project, presented by the Applicant in the Application form. The IFS Research Grant is intended for the purchase of the basic tools needed to conduct the proposed research project - equipment, expendable supplies, and literature - and to arrange fieldwork activities related to the proposed project. The grant cannot be used to pay for the aspiring Grantee's own salary or for honoraria, or to cover tuition fees or living expenses. It is expected that the IFS Grantees already receive a salary and are employed by or otherwise attached to a developing country research institution. The timeframe of a research project should normally be 1-3 years. Project proposals are welcome at the IFS Secretariat throughout the year. However, there are two administrative deadlines per year: June 30th and December 31st. Application forms and more information can be found on the IFS website.


NEW Executive Secretary FOR PSA: John Burke Burnett

In March 2004, John Burke Burnett took over the running of the Pacific Science Association. Burke, as he likes to be called, has a focus on the interface between conservation policy, biological science, and traditional communities. He has an academic background in policy, economics and anthropology, and has worked closely with scientists, NGOs, corporate and governmental organizations, and local communities in the Asia-Pacific for the last 15 years. His field experience is primarily in East Asia and the Pacific with particular emphasis in eastern Indonesia and New Guinea. He co-founded the Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance (IPCA), and will remain its Executive Director. From 1995-98 he was Special Projects Coordinator [and] Japan Coordinator at Conservation International's Asia-Pacific Program. He lived in both Japan and Indonesia for two years each, and in Washington DC for 15 years. He has strong conversational and reading knowledge of Indonesian/Malaysian and Japanese languages. Degrees: M.A., (International Economics), Johns Hopkins University - School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS); 1991. B.S., Southern Methodist University, 1987.

The former Executive Secretary, L.G. Eldredge, is pursuing his interests in marine introduced species and Pacific regional information at the Bishop Museum.



In August 2004, the Pacific Science Association launched a new and revised website ( The new site is a major improvement over the previous version, and even more features will be added in the coming months. Among the enhanced features of the website:

We hope the new PSA website will be useful for researchers involved in science of the Pacific, and welcome your comments and suggestions.



Pacific Science Association Secretary General Nancy Lewis was invited to represent the PSA at the Symposium on French Research in the Pacific (Assises de la Recherche Franaise dans Le Pacifique) which was held at the Tjibaou Cultural Center in Noumea , New Caledonia on August 24-27, 2004 . The meeting was called by President Jacques Chirac. The Chair of the Scientific Committee was Fabrice Colin, Director of Institut de Rescherche pour le Dveloppement, Noumea .  Members of the Committee were from both French Polynesia and New Caledonia , including representatives of the l'Universit de la Polynsie Franais and Universit de la Nouvelle Caldonie.

The symposium had five thematic areas, all of which are relevant for the Pacific Science Association: 1. Marine Ecosystems: Biodiversity and resource development; 2. Terrestrial Ecosystems: Biodiversity and resource development; 3. Natural Hazards and Climate Variability: regional impacts and prevention; 4. Culture, Identity, Heritage, Land and Development; and 5. Health and Environment. The Symposium, which consisted of plenary and thematic sessions and poster displays, gave a comprehensive overview of French research in the Pacific. Discussion in each of the thematic sessions led to a series of recommendations for future research and action agendas in the region. 

A report of the Sympoisum including recommendations and a list of participants will be available at the Symposium website: The website is intended to become a forum for further communication and the discussion of collaborative research activities.  It will provide a mechanism for greater communication between Anglophone and Francophone researchers in the region and in doing so may be valuable for furthering PSA research and initiatives.



PSA was a collaborating organization to the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium held from 28 June to 2 July 2004 in Okinawa , Japan . The topic of the Symposium was Stability and Degradation of Coral Reef Ecosystems. The meeting was hosted by The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS), The Japanese Coral Reef Society (JCRS) International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS), and supported by The Okinawa General Bureau, Japanese Ministry of the Environment, Fisheries Agency (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Okinawa Prefecture, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport.

The official declaration of the 10th ICRS meeting noted that coral reefs and associated ecosystems are now under serious threat of collapse because of over-fishing; coastal development; terrestrial run-off; increasing sea surface temperatures and decreasing carbonate levels (ocean acidification), and sea-level rise caused by increasing anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere, which all act synergistically to stress coral reefs, leading to severe bleaching and extensive coral mortality. The participants made a strong declaration that additional destruction of coral reefs must be avoided, calling for stronger national and international-level efforts, and for enhanced scientific research and rigorous monitoring, management-tool development, and appropriate measures for conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs. A twin strategy must be taken over the longer term to reduce human induced climate change by reducing greenhouse gases, but at the same time a reduction in CO2 must be matched by action to reduce immediate threats of declining water quality because of land-use changes and pollution, and mass exploitation of fish biomass. To achieve these goals, the participants recommend four key strategies: 1) achieve sustainable fishery on coral reefs, 2) increase effective marine protected areas on coral reefs, 3) ameliorate land-use change impacts, and 4) develop technology for coral reef restoration. The 10th ICRS website ( has a full list of participants, abstracts, and poster presentations.

The PSAs association with the 10th ICRS is part of our mission to promote science within the region and also reflects PSAs long history of involvement in coral reef studies.


One of the most well-regarded conservation projects in the Indonesian province of Papua (Indonesian New Guinea) is headed by