Newsletter of the Biogeography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers
Electronic Version Volume 5 No. 1 Fall 2004

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BSG Board: John Kupfer (President) Lesley Rigg, Joy Wolf, Mary Ann Cunningham, and David Cairns
Ex officio: Taly Drezner (Secretary-Treasurer), Duane Griffin (Editor).


President's Column

When I was reviewing the manuscript “Biogeography in the Annals” for the Annals last year, I felt compelled to reflect on the history of our discipline within the AAG. The paper, written by Mark Cowell and Al Parker and published this past June, does a fantastic job of laying out the “Shared Themes” and “Evolving Perspectives” of biogeography as evidenced by Annals articles over the last century. Reading through the paper and glancing through the references is also a reminder of the influential biogeographers past and present who have shaped our discipline, particularly those who are or have been active in the BSG. In particular, the influence and legacy of a few academics and a few institutions on the current state of our discipline became very apparent.

These thoughts cropped back up when I started to work on this column in July. At the time, I was spending 6 weeks on a research fellowship at the Edward Meeman Biological Field Station in western Tennessee. Given that my family was in Arkansas visiting in-laws and the field station had neither a TV nor internet service, I found myself with some spare evenings to fill so I did what comes naturally to a geeky community ecologist who likes statistics, had a BSG Newsletter column to write, and happens to have PC-ORD on his laptop – I found some data to ordinate. In this case, the data were a portion of the BSG membership list that I had received from the AAG home office last fall, including the highest degree achieved by each member (with the names stripped off) and the institution from which it was received. Having gone through graduate school at a time when it seemed like all of the other biogeography grad students I knew went to Colorado, Georgia or Wisconsin (1988-1993), I was curious about what programs have been most prominent in producing biogeographers and how that has changed over the last couple of decades. Specifically, I wanted to examine the changing landscape of biogeographic education, in particular, where biogeographers with Ph.D.’s received their doctorate and when.

To do this, I selected all BSG members with Ph.D.’s and tallied up the number of graduates by university and Ph.D. year in three time periods: 1) 1985 or earlier, 2) 1986-1995, and 3) 1996 onward. I deleted all universities with less than 3 students, resulting in 18 schools (Table 1). A few things should be noted about these numbers. First, they represent only graduates who were BSG members at the time of the census (Sept. 2003) and thus should not be construed as the “actual” number of biogeographers graduating from these institutions. Second, not all of these people are likely “biogeographers by trade” since some BSG members may have a more natural affinity to another specialty group (e.g., geomorphology, remote sensing). Nonetheless, they think of themselves as biogeographers to a great enough extent to join the BSG. Third, while the numbers are listed by institution, associations to specific faculty members may sometimes be straightforward but at other times more diffuse. For instance, I’m fairly confident that all of the Iowa grads are George Malanson’s former students, but grads from UCLA may have worked under more than a half dozen faculty members. Finally, these results leave out the contributions of outstanding undergraduate and masters-level programs that have produced some great academic biogeographers who have subsequently received their Ph.D.’s elsewhere. For example, I can think of several professors at graduate-degree granting geography departments who worked with Bill Baker at Wyoming before completing their Ph.D.’s elsewhere. Such contributions should not go unnoticed, but they are not part of this analysis.

Table 1. Institutions and years in which Ph.D.-achieving BSG members
received their doctoral degrees


Before 1986















































Oregon St.




UNC-Chapel Hill
















Arizona St.









To analyze the data, I used detrended correspondence analysis and cluster analysis of Bray-Curtis similarity values using the mean group average clustering criteria. The ordination and clustering resulted in four fairly distinct groups (Figs. 1-2). The first group consists of three schools (Kansas, UW-Madison and UCLA) that graduated 16 of the 24 (67%) current BSG members who received their Ph.D.’s before 1986. Graduates from this period at UW-Madison and UCLA, in particular, as well as UC-Berkeley, have in turn taken positions at a number of the schools that have produced many of the Ph.D.’s at schools in groups 2 and 3: UCLA - George Malanson (now at Iowa); UW-Madison - Clarissa Kimber (Texas A&M), Roger Byrne (UC-Berkeley), Al Parker (Georgia), and Kathy Parker (Georgia); UC-Berkeley - Tom Vale (Wisconsin), Robert Frenkel (Oregon State) and Tom Veblen (Colorado). Group 2 schools (UC-Berkeley, Colorado and Georgia) produced 22 of the 38 (58%) Ph.D.s’ awarded in the 1986-1995 period and have continued to be significant Ph.D. producers in the most recent period. Group 3 schools (Arizona, Iowa, Oregon, Oregon St., Texas A&M, LSU, UC-Davis, UT-Austin, and UNC-Chapel Hill) are generally similar to those in Group 2 in that most produced their first Ph.D.’s in the 1986-1995 period (with a few exceptions), but these schools have produced a greater percentage of their graduates in the post-1995 period. The final group (Tennessee, Clark and Arizona State) consists of schools whose Ph.D. holding BSG members have all been in the post-1995 period, with the timing often corresponding to the addition of a key biogeographer or two (e.g., Sally Horn and later Ken Orvis and Henri Grissino-Mayer at UT-K and Pat Fall at ASU).

Figure 1. DCA ordination of graduate school data from Table 1. Colors are coded to corresponding groups identified by cluster analysis (see Figure 2).

 Figure 2. Cluster analysis of graduate school data from Table 1.

These results show at least two important things, I think. First, they confirmed for me the importance of a handful of programs in shaping the current face of biogeography within the BSG, although there are a number of people who graduated from programs not listed here that have gone on to play crucial roles as faculty members at institutions that are included (e.g., Cathy Whitlock and Glen MacDonald). Many faculty members under the age of 40 (like myself, barely) can trace our roots back and forth across one or two generations to a small handful of people or programs and thereby to just about anyone else in the BSG. For example, I worked with George Malanson at Iowa who also advised Matt Bekker (now at BYU) who did his masters at Penn State with Alan Taylor who went to graduate school at Boulder at roughly the same time as Ken Young, my predecessor as Chair of the BSG (and if I remember correctly, Alan and Ken also both once taught at UM-Baltimore County, though not at the same time).I guess this is an odd, open-ended biogeographic pedigree version of the seven degrees of Kevin Bacon.

The second point to this long-winded misuse of mathematical analysis is that despite our relatively narrow lineage, biogeography is in some ways more diverse than ever. Along with the continued success of longstanding programs like UCLA and Colorado, we’re seeing the emergence of new centers of biogeography. Thus, while three programs could account for more than 50% of the Ph.D.’s in both the pre-1986 and 1986-1995 periods, no single program accounts for more than 15% (and most are less than 6%) in the post-1995 period. It is likely this trend will continue with the inclusion of programs that did not meet the criterion of three biogeography Ph.D.’s at the time of this census but likely soon will (Penn State, for example, and Minnesota, which now has three biogeographers on staff). Particularly encouraging to me is the number of programs that now have multiple biogeographers on their faculty, including not only some of the traditional biogeographic centers such as UCLA, Colorado, Georgia, and Wisconsin, but also Tennessee, Arizona, UT-Austin, Texas A&M, and Minnesota.

John Kupfer

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BSG Business
BSG Annual Business Meeting: Philadelphia

Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Biogeography Specialty Group, Association of American Geographers, 2004, Philadelphia

Submitted by Scott Mensing, Secretary Treasurer

President’s report
John Kupfer, President elect, opened the meeting.  He thanked outgoing president Ken Young, as well as the outgoing board members Mark Cowell and Suzy Ziegler. Continuing board members Lesley Rigg and Joy Wolf were acknowledged. At the last count, BSG membership was about 380 members ~ 10th or 11th largest specialty group.

BSG Web Page
Jim Dyer spoke on the status of the BSG web page.  Apparently there are still about 3-5 old home pages out there.  John has emailed folks to remove old pages.  We will maintain and update Glen MacDonald’s old page (at least that is what I think my notes mean). In the future the AAG may host web pages.  We would keep the page updated and they would host the site.  More on that in the future.

Graduate Student Representative Proposal
A proposal was discussed that had been made through the newsletter to add a graduate student representative to the board.  In the discussion it was noted that this is not common in Specialty Groups in the AAG, but that is common in other kinds of groups.  The proposal was that every year 1 student would be elected and in training while another was in office, so it would be a 2-year position.  A motion was made to adopt such a system and was seconded by David Butler.
    Discussion: It was asked how others do this and John indicated that the proposed model was most common.  A suggestion was made that a one-year term might be sufficient.  The question was asked about the role of the student.  John indicated that it would provide a more direct way of communicating with students.  Graduates could set up mentor functions.  And this would be a source of training of graduate students.  
    A straw vote was taken and there was support for a one-year position.  The proposal was amended based upon this support. 
    The question then arose about the nomination process.  John indicated that only graduate students would nominate and vote for this position.  A concern arose that large schools would be over-represented and could affect the voting, but John did not feel that this was a problem.
    The following motion was voted on:  The BSG would have a graduate student representative on the board that would serve a one-year term.  The Nomination and election process would follow the standard BSG process, except that the nominating and voting group would be student BSG members.  Self-nominations are acceptable.
    The motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s report
Scott Mensing gave the treasurer’s report:

Our annual expenses are typically as follows:

$700 for PhD research award
$300 for MS research award
$100 for PhD best paper
$100 for MS best paper
$150 for plaques (I have not gotten any word on this yet this year)
$150 for party (John's request for this year)

Anticipated expenses total $1500, which will leave a balance of about $1400. This is probably good, since it would mean that we have about one year's reserve in our account. If there are other expenses I should know about please drop me a line so I can anticipate them and add them to this years treasurer's report. PLEASE remind all award recipients to email me a mailing address that is not their campus address so that they can be paid promptly after I know who has won awards. Also please lets inform the PhD research award winner that I need their SSN in order to get their check processed. AAG is good about sending out checks promptly. Usually the hardest part is getting the names and addresses of all winners. I usually wait until I have all information so we only deal with the AAG office once.

Student Fees
Following the treasurer’s report, Ken Young asked about the possibility of reducing student fees.  Particularly in light of the savings to the BSG by moving the newsletter from paper to digital. A question was asked whether we should also provide student grants to attend annual meetings.  David Butler pointed out that this was not done in the Geomorphology SG. A motion was made and seconded to drop grad student fees to $2.50. In the ensuing discussion it was suggested to keep the fee at $5 and consider upping our awards.  It was pointed out that the amount of our awards was not that significant in relation to the cost of most research projects. The graduate students at the meeting pointed out that the $5 fee was not a big deal and that perhaps this issue was best discussed among the students.  It was suggested that the new graduate student representative could poll students.  Following this suggestion the motion was withdrawn for further information and a discussion among the students.

Duane Griffin pointed out that the newsletter is on the web and there were appreciations all around for the great job that Duane is doing.

Research Awards
Lesley Rigg informed the group that there had been 11 proposals this year, 7 PhD and 4 Masters.  The quality of proposals was outstanding. Lesley announced two winners:
    Kevin Anchukaitis of the University of Arizona won the PhD award
    Evan Larson of the University of Tennessee won the Masters award
Congratulations to our winners and an appreciation to all those who submitted proposals to be judged.  Each student would receive back a set of written comments from the reviewers.

Student Paper competition
Joy Wolf informed the group that 17 papers were being judged this year.  A great turnout.  The winners of course could not be announced since judging was still in progress.Last years winners were:
    Rachel Kurtz of Penn State for the PhD category
    Chad Lane of University of Tennessee for Masters

Other news
This year the BSG sponsored 31 sessions and co-sponsored 7 sessions. Suggestions for next years meeting were to be submitted to John at the end of the meeting.

Open Meeting Comments
George Malanson informed the group that a new award was being created in honor of Walt Westman to honor gay and lesbian scientists and that he was helping raise funds for this effort.
    Duane Griffin noted that the National Council of Science Education was working to strengthen the teaching of evolution.  They had a “voices for evolution” program and he asked if there would be opposition to drafting a statement from the BSG.  It was pointed out that we might need to have clarified with the AAG whether our group can make an independent statement, but that in the past the AAG has supported anti-war positions.  It was agreed that Duane would follow up on this with the AAG.  A straw pole vote showed strong support for such a statement to be written.

Outgoing board members Loi Daniels and Karen Arabas were thanked for their service to the BSG. Our newly elected board members are:
    David Cairns of Texas A&M
    MaryAnn Cunningham of Vassar College
Welcome and congratulations!

Biogeography Image Exchange
Lori Daniels gave a report on the image exchange.  She is still accepting images and the exchange is growing.  The images are available on a CD for $10 and the funds go to the BSG.  Her demonstration illustrated that the collection includes both beautiful and instructive images of biogeographic realms and is a sure fire may to improve our teaching.  She encouraged submission of images and purchase of a CD.  She will notify the group when online submission is available.

The Henry Cowles Excellence in Publish award was given to Glen MacDonald for his recent textbook: Biogeography: Introduction to Space, Time and Life published by Wiley and Sons.  Congratulations Glen and nice job with the textbook!

The J.J. Parsons Distinguished Career Award was given to George Malanson for his important contributions to teaching learning and research in biogeography, and for his contributions to the discipline as a whole.  David Butler honored George and described their work together over the past 20 years illustrated with a wonderful slide show of George’s great exploits in the field.  

New Secretary Treasurer
Scott Mensing made an announcement that the position of Secretary Treasurer was open for any volunteer wishing to take on the job.  Taly Drezner of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, later accepted this offer.  Thanks Taly and we wish you success.

The meeting adjourned to the bar at Champions and it was announced that there would also be a reception Wednesday night co-hosted by BSG.

NBSG > KRoom

A fair representation of the BSG standing crop.

The Academy of Natural Sciences hosted a reception for AAG members to commemorate the bicentennial of Alexander von Humboldt's 1804 U.S. visit. In addition to bringing out a fantastic collection of maps, the ANS staff put together a fascinating display of Jefferson's fossils and an account of his dispute with Buffon.

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2004 BSG Student Awards
Kurtz_Anchukaitis 2005 Ph.D. Research grant winner Kevin J. Anchukaitis (left) and Rachel Kurtz, 2004 Ph.D. paper competition winner at the BSG Business Meeting in Philadelphia.

Research Grant Winners

Masters: Evan Larson, D. of Geog., U. Of Tennessee. Fire History at tree line in the Rocky Mountains of Montana using long-lived whitebark pine.

Ph.D.: Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research & Department of Geosciences, U. of Arizona. A test of tropical isotope dendrochronology in montane cloud forests.

Paper Award Winners

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2004 Student Awards sponsored by the Biogeography Specialty Group. The winners of the BSG Student Paper Competition at the Philadelphia Centennial AAG Meeting are:

PhD level:  Jennifer Marlon, University of Oregon, for her poster " A meta-analysis of charcoal-based fire history records from the northwestern United States."  The poster was co-authored by Cathy Whitlock and Patrick Bartlein.

PhD Honorable Mention:  Martin Arford, University of Tennesee,Knoxville, for his paper “A Multi-Site Investigation of Holocene Paleoenvironments in Northwestern Costa Rica”.  The paper was co-authored by Sally Horn.

PhD Honorable Mention:  Shelly Rayback, University of British Columbia, for her paper “Reconstructing Summer Temperature for Hot Weather Creek and Alexandra Fiord, Ellesmere Island, Canada”.  The paper was co-authored by Greg H.R. Henry.

Masters level:  Paul Reyerson, St. Cloud State, for his paper, “Phytolith-based reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum paleograssland vegetation densities in Washington State”.    The paper was co-authored by Mikhail S. Blinnikov.

Masters Honorable Mention:  Peter Gogol, University of Kansas, for his paper,"Association of Soil
Moisture and Leaf Litter Moisture with Nymphal Deer Tick (Ixodes scapularis Say) Activity."
.  The paper was co-authored by Thomas Mather and Christine Zolnik.

Cowles Award 

The Cowles Award honors the best paper or book published in biogeography each year. The award is named for the eminent 19th and early 20th century biogeographer and ecologist Henry C. Cowles. The 2002 Cowles Award goes to Glen McDonald for his fantastic book, Biogeography: Space, Time, and Life

Glen was unable to attend the BSG business meeting, but sent this response:

I am extremely honored and moved by this award from my friends and colleagues in the BSG. I thank you for your generous recognition of my efforts. Writing the book was often quite difficult as I have never done anything like this before - now all that seems very worthwhile. As I say - I have never written anything like this before - and I very much hope that
the book will go into more editions so that I can improve upon this first effort. I hope you will continue to send me you suggestions for improvement and information on new research and concepts that you feel are important - particularly if these are your efforts or the work of colleagues in the BSG.

I am so very sorry I cannot be here tonight. Again, my sincerest and deepest thanks!

2004 Parsons Award: George P. Malanson

The Parsons Award honors biogeographer and cultural geographer Jim Parsons and to recognizes the careers and contributions of distinguished biogeographers. Past winners include Clarissa Kimber (1998), Thomas Vale (2000), Julian Sceiz (2001), and Martin Kellman (2002). George Malanson joined this distinguished group at the 2004 AAG meeting in Philadelphia. Congratulations George!

Malanson & Butler

Letter of Nomination for George Malanson, from David Butler.

December 9, 2003

I formally nominate Dr. George P. Malanson, of the Department of Geography at the University of Iowa, for the Biogeography Specialty Group's James J. Parsons Distinguished Career Award for 2004. I outline below several aspects of George's outstanding career, a career I would quickly note that continues in unabated outstanding fashion even as this is written! I am copying this nomination to several colleagues and students whom I hope will supply you with
additional statements in support of George's nomination.

Simply stated, George Malanson is a world-class scholar who has had an incredible impact on Biogeography in the United States and around the world. He has published roughly 100 scholarly refereed papers and book chapters in
the world's best journals, including (but certainly not limited to) Ecology, Journal of Ecology, Annals of the AAG, Professional Geographer, Arctic and Alpine Research, Landscape Ecology, Ecological Modeling, and numerous others.
His 1993 book, "Riparian Landscapes", is an outstanding example of the work in which George weaves together biogeography with other aspects of physical geography while also keeping focus on human dimensions of landscape occupancy. This book was such a popular seller among scientists that it experienced the rare step of also subsequently being published in a widely distributed paperback edition.

George's research cannot be easily summarized simply because it encompasses so many important areas! His regional foci have been in the Rocky Mountains, and in the upper Midwest in the vicinity of the University of Iowa where he has been employed since 1985. Topically, George's work focuses on landscape ecology, the interface of geomorphology with biogeography, and simulation modeling. His recent papers (1999-2002) in the Annals of the AAG, examining aspects of complexity in an invited commentary and of simulation modeling of extinction debt trajectories, are incredibly thoughtful and insightful, and take biogeography into areas where few others have the ability to tread. His work in the Rocky Mountains has informed the interface of biogeomorphology, especially with his work in modeling vegetation and soils patterns on avalanche paths and at the alpine treeline. These modeling efforts are based on thorough, intensive, and detailed precision fieldwork carried out in potentially dangerous, occasionally arduous conditions, and yet George thrives on the fieldwork that serves as the basis for his simulation modeling and his intellectual exercises. He is a complete, thoroughly rounded, biogeographer!

George has also had a strong impact on the growth of Biogeography as a discipline in the United States through his mentoring of students. Many of his doctoral students are now Associate and Assistant Professors throughout the United States, at significant departments and institutions including the University of Arizona (John Kupfer), Texas A&M University (David Cairns), Brigham Young University (Matt Bekker), and the Texas state government (Grace Chin). He also serves on several of my doctoral students' committees as external committee member, and it is safe to say that my students gain at least as much from George's presence on their committees as they do from me! His ability to conceptualize problems, to suggest improvements in hypotheses and data collection, and to encourage students to see the project to fruition are all legendary. When George gets his "thoughty look" on his face, you KNOW that what he will say next is both noteworthy and very useful indeed. In all aspects of his career, George has excelled. Many of his best papers were published while he was also Chair of the Department of Geography at Iowa! He is internationally recognized for his service: with national organizations including the National Academies/National Research Council Committee on Geography at the USGS from 2000-2002; the NSF Geography & Regional Science Program Panel from 1998-1999; the editorial board of the journal Landscape Ecology since 1997; the editorial board of the journal Physical Geography since 1997, the editorial board of the journal Annals, Association of American
Geographers since 2000; the Association of American Geographers’ (AAG) Nystrom Award Committee in 1990, 1993 and 1997; and chair of the AAG Biogeography Specialty Group from 1997-99.

In sum, you simply cannot find a more thoroughly respected, internationally recognized, biogeographer and true scholar than Dr. George P. Malanson! His webpage ( should provide you with sufficient additional evidence to recognize that George has already accomplished more than most scientists do in their entire career. George is completely worthy of, and I urge you to give the strongest consideration to this nomination for, the Biogeography Specialty Group's James J. Parsons Distinguished Career Award. Please feel free should you have any questions concerning my nomination of George, or if you should require any additional information or documentation in support of his nomination. Thank you for your consideration.

With best wishes,
David Butler

David R. Butler, Ph.D., Professor of Geography
Department of Geography
Texas State University-San Marcos
San Marcos, TX 78666-4616 USA

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Calls for Nominations and Participation

Nominations for Cowles and Parsons Awards
Please consider submitting nominations for the Henry Cowles Award for Excellence in Publication and the James J. Parsons Distinguished Career Award. To submit a nomination for the Cowles Award, please simply send the name of the person and the name of their paper/book. To nominate a person for the Parsons Award, send a short letter of nomination stating some of the candidate's most significant achievements.  Please submit nominations by January 31, 2004. Information can be submitted via snail mail, e-mail or fax to:
Mary Ann Cunningham
Dept. of Geology and Geography
Vassar College, Box 261
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604-0261

office: 845-437-5547
fax: 845-437-7577
BSG Board Nominations

The Spring 2005 issue of The Biogeographer will include election information for two new BSG board members to serve from June 2005 to June 2007. Please send nominations to David Cairns by January 31st.
David M. Cairns
Associate Professor
Department of Geography
3147 TAMU
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77845

Phone: (979) 845-2783
Fax: (979) 862-4487

BSG 2005 Student Research Grants
The aim of the Biogeography Specialty Group (BSG) graduate student research grant competition is to provide partial support for graduate students to conduct quality biogeographic research projects for their Master's thesis or doctoral dissertation.  The awards are competitive, and proposals are judged individually on the basis of: 1) scientific merit of the project, including biogeographic significance of the research question and quality of the methodology; 2) organization and clarity of the proposal; and 3) qualifications of the student to conduct the proposed work.  Each applicant must be a student member of the AAG, and the proposed project should be part of her/his thesis or dissertation research. Normally, awards are made to one Master's and one doctoral student each year.  Applicants may join the AAG now and become eligible for the grants competition if not already a student member.  A committee of four biogeographers from different institutions will evaluate the proposals. Applications must be postmarked or electronically transmitted (preferred) by

January 18, 2005.  Announcement of the awards will be made at the BSG business meeting at the AAG Annual Meeting in Denver. Lesley S. Rigg
Department of Geography
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115-2895

Application instructions and form (MS Word format)

BSG 2005 Student Paper Competition

The Biogeography Specialty Group will sponsor two annual awards to foster recognition of outstanding student research and encourage student participation in the meetings. Competition for the award is open to undergraduate and graduate students (including those receiving their Ph.D. within a year after the dissertation defense). The two awards will be given to the best Undergraduate / Masters student paper and to the best Ph.D. student paper. The student must be the sole author or the primary author of the paper, and must be the presenter at the meeting. Illustrated posters are eligible for the award.

Judging criteria include the significance and originality of research question, the creativity and quality of the methodology, the validity of the conclusions drawn from the results, and the clarity of the presentation.

If you wish to be considered for the award, please email the application form below and a copy of the abstract that you sent to AAG for the 2005 Annual Meeting to Joy Wolf at:
or send to:

Dr. Joy Wolf
Department of Geography
900 Wood Road
University of Wisconsin - Parkside
Kenosha, WI 53403

Confirmation of receipt of your application will be sent by email.

Application instructions and form (click here: MS Word format)

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Upcoming Meetings

Association of American Geographers
Unless you've been seriously out in the field, you know that this year's AAG Conference is April 5-9 2005 in Denver CO. Abstract deadlines are October 21 (Paper and Illustrated Paper) and October 28 (Posters), so hurry.

The Biogeography, Climate, Cryosphere, Geomorphology, Remote Sensing and Water Resources Specialty Groups will be jointly hosting a physical geography reception at the meeting. The reception will feature two speakers (invited speakers are Richie Williams, Research Scientist with the USGS Woods Hole Field Center, and Dick Marston, Oklahoma State and next AAG president), with food and beverages to be provided by the specialty groups and publisher sponsors. This event promises to be a fantastic opportunity to continue strengthening the ties among the physical geography specialty groups. Plans for the reception are still being finalized so more information will be provided in the next BSG Newsletter and via the BSG listserv.

International Biogeography Society
Not that we want to discourage anybody from going to Denver, but the recently-established International Biogeography Society will hold it's second meeting January 5-9, 2005, in Shepherdstown, WV. In the Spring 2003 issue of The Biogeographer, I wrote that the first IBS meeting was "possibly the best conference I have ever attended." I've thought about it since then, and it was definitely the best, hands down. Here's how Robert Whittaker and Dov Sax described it:*

Overall, the content and atmosphere of the meeting provided an unparalleled, almost Pangean opportunity for biogeographers to exchange ideas, learn from each other, and set the agenda for future work. Those attending left in no doubt that biogeography is a vibrant discipline, in which some theories we thought solidly founded perhaps only 20 or 30 years ago, we now know to be lacking; in which modern data availability, data-handling capacities, and analytical and modelling advances offer us truly exciting opportunities; and in which our discipline can and should make a substantial applied contribution to what may develop into the sub-field of Conservation Biogeography.

Indeed, Conservation Biogeography is the theme of the second meeting of the IBS. Geographers should have a great deal to contribute on this theme, and if the last meeting is any guide, our colleagues in other disciplines will welcome what we have to say.

The meeting will be held at the U.S. National Conservation Training Center, a 584-acre federal campus on the Potomac River approximately 85 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. (registration costs and details are still being finalized; keep checking at

The IBS is committed to being a truly multidisciplinary and international society. Membership in the IBS is $40 (students $30) and includes the option of an online subscription to Journal of Biogeography, Global Ecology & Biogeography, and Diversity & Distributions for just $30.

*Robert J. Whittaker 1 and Dov F. Sax "A 21st century Pangea? The emergence of a new international forum for Biogeographers" Journal of Biogeography 30: 315-317.

Ecological Society of America

In case the menu for 2005 meetings isn't rich enough for you, the Ecological Society of America's theme for next year's meeting ( August 7 - 12, 2005 in Montréal, Canada) is Ecology at Multiple Scales. Mmm.

International Geographical Union
Looking further ahead, the IGU 2006 Regional Conference will be Regional Responses to Global Changes: A view from the Antipodes, 3-7 July 2006 in Brisbane, Australia.

Member News

Kathy Parker

image proudly stolen from

Kathy Parker was one of twenty participants in the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope™, a bicycle journey across the United States by, as the Tour web site notes, "a team of 20 people who have been touched by cancer."The tour is intended to raise public awareness of the benefits of cancer research and the importance of cancer clinical trials.

Kathy and 20 other riders (Lance Armstrong among them) started October 1st in Los Angeles, and finished in Washington, D.C. October 9th. Team members rode 4-5 hour shifts and stopped at events and locales along the way to share their message.

True to form, Kathy documented the trip with an outstanding tour of the physical geography of the route. Take a look: You can also read Kathy's profile at

Congratulations Kathy!

Editor's note. Kathy may be too classy to make shameless plugs for support, but your editor isn't. He encourages you to click on the small (and hard to find) button at the bottom of the right panel on Kathy's profile page and express your undying love, awe, and support with a donation.

Henri D. Grissino-Mayer

Henri D. Grissino-Mayer, University of Tennessee, was recently featured in a repeating documentary titled "Lincoln: Man or Myth" which aired on the History Channel beginning June 21, 2004.Grissino-Mayer was asked to analyze the tree rings from logs of Abraham Lincoln's Birthpace log cabin, housed inside an impressive granite and marble memorial in Hodgenville, Kentucky. The goal was to determine whether the log cabin was original and built in 1808/1809 by Lincoln's father, Thomas Lincoln, or was instead constructed in later decades, in which case the cabin could not be Lincoln's birthplace cabin. As shown in the documentary, the logs date instead to the 1840s and later, and therefore the cabin likely has nothing to do with Abraham Lincoln's birth. The documentary also featured graduate students Beth Atchley and Alison Miller of the Department of Geography at the University of Tennessee, and the university's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Science facilities.

Henri (left) talking with Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley (right), the Chief Historian of the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., next to Lincoln's log cabin

In May 2004, Henri and his laboratory were also filmed and featured in a short 10-minute segment that aired on CNN's next@CNN weekend show. This segment focused on the theory first proposed by Dr. Lloyd Burckle of Columbia University that the musical instruments created by Antonio Stradivari during the 1600s and 1700s may have been affected by the unusual cold temperatures that occurred during the height of the Little Ice Age, a period known as the Maunder Minimum. Dr. Burckle enlisted Henri's help to demonstrate that tree rings formed during the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715) were extremely narrow, and this property (and perhaps other physical and chemical properties) may account for the supposedly superior tonal qualities of these instruments. Henri was also interviewed by the NPR's Charles Osgood for The Osgood Files and by several other local NPR affiliates.

Amy Bloom.
Amy Bloom is now a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Environmental Geography in the Department of  Geography-Geology at Illinois State University. Congratulations Amy!
Joy Mast

Joy has been appointed to a two-year term of the National Science Foundation's review panel for Geography and Regional
Science Program in the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Science. She has also served as an Invited Consultant to the National Park Service's Southern Colorado Plateau Network and adviser on conifer forest management for the 14 National Parks, Meeting in Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (Feb 2004). Joy has two active NPS Grand Canyon Wildlands Council grants, the first to conduct land surveys, aerial mapping, and dendrochronological analyses at springs on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. For the second, she's working with Larry Stevens to use hackberry ring growth as a proxy for spring flow in Glen Canyon National Park. Last June, she lead a geography field class in Arizona for undergraduates from Carthage College (WI) focusing on biogeographic ecotones from desert to alpine tundra. The trip included hiking in deserts, redrock country in Sedona, conifer forests of northern Arizona, alpine ecosystems, and a 4 day whitewater rafting trip through the Grand Canyon.

AAAS Members: Vote for Biogeographers!

For those members of the BSG who also belong to the American Association for the Advancement of Science - there are two BSG members running for AAAS office in the September elections for the Geography and Geology Section. They are:

1. Kam-biu Liu - MEMBER AT LARGE


When you get your AAAS Ballot this month think about voting for your colleagues!

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Book Notes

Introducing a forthcoming resource for biogeographers: The Handbook Of Biogeography
(edited by Mark Blumler, Glen MacDonald, Andrew Millington and Udo Schickhoff)

Biogeography occupies a key position within geography and within the environmental and natural sciences:

Tentatively, the 47 chapter book will be divided into 9 main sections representing the main areas of research globally amongst biogeographers, including theory in biogeography; biogeographical distributions: classification, mapping and explanation; biogeographical and ecological dynamics of key ecosystems; biogeographical and ecological dynamics: human forcing, monitoring and modeling biogeographical phenomena; applied biogeography; and historical biogeography. The editors and authors simultaneously present a retrospective and prospective overview of biogeography that will:

The handbook is aimed at an international audience of academics, graduate students, researchers and practitioners. While many of those in the target audience will be geographers, the Handbook will also be of interest to environmental scientists, ecologists and biologists.

Andy Millington and Mark Blumler

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Research Notes

Classification of American Cities by Ecoregion
An aid to designing sustainable landscapes

Robert Bailey.

Ecoregions are large, regional-scale ecosystems such as the Sonoran Desert.  These regions are primarily based on climatic conditions and on the prevailing plant formations determined by those conditions. Classifying metropolitan areas by ecoregion forms a baseline for selecting native plants for landscaping and restoration as well as transferring information among similar cities.  A source of ecoregion native plant information can be found in Description of the Ecoregions of the United States (Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service Miscellaneous Publication 1391, 1995).  Using this approach, one can quickly characterize the “original and appropriate” ecology of a region.  This information is an important guide to knowing which plants will thrive in a particular regional ecosystem in which cities are embedded.  Designing urban and suburban landscapes that mimic the native vegetation by using regionally appropriate plants is the safest course to ensure landscape sustainability.

Part of Ecoregion Province Map of the US, 1995 edition, showing cities and towns in the Washington, DC region. From the National Atlas.

To see full-color maps of cities and ecoregions, visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Atlas of the United States at learn more about this approach, see Ecoregion-Based Design for Sustainability (New York: Springer-Verlag, 2002) or contact Robert Bailey at

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Internet Resources

The Biogeography Image Exchange

Lori Daniels' Biogeography Image Exchange is now online and is accepting online image submissions. Lori has been working on this project for the past few years, and the results are spectacular. A clickable biome map takes you to an introduction page for each biome with links to the images. Each image page has a caption and thumbnail link to a larger image (as in the screen shot above).

The following links and descriptions (with some editing) are taken or adapted from The NSDL Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2004.

Avibase-The World Bird Database

Managed by Denis Lepage and hosted by Bird Studies Canada, Avibase contains more than 1.4 million records about 10,000 species and 22,000 subspecies of birds, including distribution information, taxonomy, synonyms in several languages and other features. Also includes a “Bird Links to the World” section with over 18,000 separate links that can be viewed by geographic region or by thematic subheading.

Houghton Mifflin Company: Peterson Bird Identifications

A nicely done online field guide featuring the artwork of Roger Tory Peterson. The accompanying text was written by both Peterson and Kenn Kaufman. Species profiles include brief sections on Field Marks, Range, Habitat, Feeding, Nesting, and more. The site also links to a list of seasonal birding spectacles, birding resources, a tutorial based on Peterson's Identification
System, and information about Peterson Field Guides.

Institute of Applied Ecology: African Mammals Databank

GIS-based databank that focuses on the conservation and distribution of African mammals; and was developed collaboratively by the GIS Laboratory of the Animal and Human Biology Department at the University of Rome La Sapienza and the Institute of
Applied Ecology. The databank covers the entire African continent, except Madagascar and includes 281 species.

Smithsonian Institution-National Museum of Natural History: North
American Mammals

Information for over 400 mammal species and includes high-quality range maps, photographs, scientific illustrations, family tree diagrams, weights and measures, and more. Integrating new technologies, the site offers interactive Geographic Information System (GIS) maps that pinpoint the location of different mammal species. Site visitors can also choose from
a variety of map overlays to assist mammal searches including rivers, cities, topography, state boundaries, and US interstate highways. The site provides the conservation status for different species; create-your-own field guide options; skull, teeth, and bone images; resource links; and a helpful glossary as well. The website is based on the _Mammals of North America_ by Roland W. Kays and Don E. Wilson, and _The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals_ by Don E. Wilson and Sue Ruff.

American Museum of Natural History-Department of Herpetology: Amphibian Species of the World

This comprehensive, searchable database of amphibians includes mention of over 35,000 species. Each species account
includes the class, order, family, and genus, common name, and the species' distribution.

USGS: Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative

The Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) was formed by the U.S. Geological Survey as a national program for amphibian conservation, research, and monitoring. The website provides background information about ARMI as well as sections on Monitoring, Research & Development, Regions & People, and Products. The Research & Development section includes information about ongoing efforts at national, regional, and local levels. The Products section links to an extensive list of publications (some of which are hyperlinked) including Journal Articles, Circulars, Reports, and more. The site also links to great resources like The ARMI Web Tool, and The ARMI National Atlas.

USGS: Western Ecological Research Center

The Western Ecological Research Center is part of the Biological Resources Division of the USGS, and focuses on the diverse bioregions of the Pacific and southwestern United States. The WERC website presents information about a
variety of its research activities including work with wildlife, invasive species, coastal ecosystems, fire ecology, and more. The site also links to information about jobs, publications, conferences, and projects and almost 3000 listings of abstracts, book chapters, technical reports, and presentations (some of which are downloadable).

Montana State University-Bozeman: Insects, Disease, and History

Edited by Drs. Gary Miller and Robert Peterson, this website from Montana State University devotes itself to understanding the impact of insect-borne diseases on world history. The site contains several feature articles and A Primer to Medical Entomology, suggested readings, and a brief section on Disease, Epidemics, and Historical Periods.Related links and a glossary.

Tall Timbers Research Station: Research Programs

Overviews of TTRS's five major research programs and information regarding research jobs and internships. Tall Timbers also provides downloadable copies of its Research Notes publication, and lists a variety of staff publications (some of which
are downloadable). In addition, Tall Timbers features the E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database which contains approximately 15,000 citations, and 6,000 abstracts.

Boston University: Climate and Vegetation Research Group

Hosted by Boston University, this website presents Geography Professor Ranga B. Myneni’s Climate and Vegetation Research Group. The website links to publications about various research projects in the areas of Climate and Vegetation, and Remote Sensing of Vegetation. Some of the Group’s specific research areas include Terrestrial Carbon Cycle and Global Vegetation Mapping.

University of British Columbia-Department of Geography: The Biodiversity of Richmond, British Columbia

This extensive website covering the biodiversity of Richmond, British Columbia, was created by geographer Dr. Brian Klinkenberg of the University of British Columbia. The site addresses a wide variety of topics including vascular flora, invasive plants, herpetofauna, birds, earthworms, and much more. Includes a nice collection of maps, as well as sections that address biogeography, and environmental history.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: Programs and Research

This website presents the research activities of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, including community and whole-organism biology, habitat conservation promotion, and interdisciplinary studies. ActKey

Provided by the Harvard University Herbarium, ActKey allows visitors to locate and use a key for identifying an unknown specimen. As is noted on the site, "ActKey was developed to enable ready-access to on-line interactive keys. Users can choose from over five pages of keys. Once at a key, the user is queried for information such as: habit, stems, leaves, stipules, petiole, leaf blade, and more. In the end, you will hopefully have identified your specimen by species.

Bibliography of Dendrochronology

An archive of printed documents relevant to tree-ring research worldwide..." compiled by Henri D. Grissino-Mayer, professor of Geography at the University of Tennessee containing 10,000+ references dating back to 1737. Also links to a Species Database and a Glossary of Dendrochronology.

Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation: U.S.D.A. Forest Service Collection

Provides access to 2,884 drawings from the United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) Forest Service Collection. Many of the drawings are originals produced for _Alaska Trees and Shrubs_, Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands_, and the _U.S. Forest Service Bulletin_.

National Council for Science and the Environment: PopPlanet

"Up-to-date country specific information on key population, environment, and health issues. Links to the PopLine Bibliography
database from John Hopkins School of Hygiene as well as Public Health and Country profiles for many nations. This site also links to the Population and Environment Linkages Service, which includes over 14,000 links to reports, articles, and many other resources.

Society for Conservation Biology

Online services provided by SCB include a conservation jobs database; a bulletin board for conservation-related postings; listings for educational resources, and academic programs in the field of Conservation Biology. Site visitors can
also peruse SCB annual reports, archived online newsletters, and information about local chapters, committees, membership, and meetings.


1. Illinois Natural History Survey: The Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois
2. University of Minnesota Extension: Plants in Prairie Communities
3. Southwest Minnesota State University: Prairie Plant Directory
4. FermiLab Education Office: Prairie Parcel Restoration
5. Cooperative Educational Service Agency: Ecosystems-Prairie Index
6. DNR-EEK: Vegetation Fascination-Prairie Plants
7. Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team: Black-Footed Ferret

Fire Ecology
USGS-Western Ecological Research Center: Fire Ecology Research
Texas Tech University: Fire Ecology Center
USGS-Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center: Fire in North American
Wetland Ecosystems and Fire-Wildlife Relations: An Annotated Bibliography
Yellowstone National Park: Wildland Fires in Yellowstone
Canadian Forest Service-Forest Fire in Canada
Northern Arizona University-Land Use History in North America: Wildfire
History and Ecology Forest Fires
The Why Files: Woods Ablaze

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Editor's Note

The spring edition of the newsletter will include recent member publications (please format your entries in the Chicago B style used in the Annals). And as usual, consider contributing something to the Research-, Course-, or Field Notes sections. Note that your editor, who works cheap, usually just cuts and pastes whatever he gets, so please spell-check and proofread your sumbissions, and send them as email attachments in either html, MS Word, or Rich Text Format.

Thanks to everybody who sent material, and to the BSG board members for proofing the draft newsletter.

Duane A. Griffin
Editor, The Biogeographer
Dept. of Geography
Bucknell University
Lewisburg, PA 17837 USA
Ph. 570/577-3374

dgriffin @

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