SICB Resolutions and Positions

Positions adopted by the Society.

SICB Resolution on Financial Refocusing at the Field Museum of Natural History

Whereas - The Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago, IL), one of the world's great natural history museums, houses synoptic collections that are of fundamental importance to the international scientific community.

Whereas - The research and educational programs carried out by curators and research staff at the museum are of world-class quality.

Whereas -The curatorial and research staff as well as the quality and care of the biodiversity collections are threatened by announced intentions to greatly reduce funding for the scientific program of the Museum.

Therefore - Be it resolved that because the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology values the Field Museum of Natural History as a center of research excellence and scholarship in integrative biology, and as a significant and important resource for the scientific community and the public, we expect the Field Museum to continue its long-held commitment to support core collections-based research programs and maintain its high standard of service to the scientific community.

SICB Resolution on Climate Change and Ocean Acidification

Whereas - global climate change is occurring at an unprecedented rate, primarily through the combustion of fossil fuels and the generation of carbon dioxide.

Whereas - carbon dioxide is a potent greenhouse gas that is both warming the planet as it increases in the atmosphere, and causing ocean acidification through its absorption by the world's oceans.

Whereas - the global scientific community has reached a consensus, based on extensive measurements and models, that climate change and ocean acidification have been influenced in large part by human actions.

Whereas - climate change and ocean acidification are causing significant changes in organisms, habitats, biotic communities, and ecosystems and are predicted to cause irreversible negative impacts on living systems by the middle to the end of the 21st century.

Therefore - be it resolved that the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB), with a membership comprised of over two thousand three-hundred biologists, takes a public stand in affirming the demonstrated existence of human-induced climate change and ocean acidification, as well as the urgent societal need to address its biological consequences, to improve humankind's adaptive capacity, and to mitigate both causes and effects.

Prepared by Jim McClintock, PhD

Chair, Division of Invertebrate Zoology

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology

Revised by Kenneth P. Sebens, PhD, SICB President

and SICB Executive Committee

Resolution on Evolution and Climate Change

Recognizing that science is under attack in the U.S. as evidenced by the wide-spread disregard for the scientific process and the suppression and distortion of scientific data across a broad spectrum of areas in which we, as biologists, have special expertise, be it resolved that the SICB take a public stand in support of scientific truth, especially:

  1. in support of the teaching of evolution as a scientific fact, and under the name of "evolution;"
  2. in support of efforts to publicize broadly the impacts of the suppression of scientific evidence on societal concerns such as global climate change, environmental conservation and stem-cell research; and
  3. to authorize the SICB Executive Committee to issue press releases and editorials, initiate and publish statements, and sign collective statements consistent with (1) and (2) above.

(Approved 5 Jan 2008)

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Resolution on Endangered Species

The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (formerly the American Society of Zoologists) has a membership of 2,200 professional biologists within the United States and other countries. Our expertise ranges from cell biology to ecology in academic, government, and business settings. In its 106 year history the Society has counted among its members many eminent scientists and is a vital force in organismal biology.

To maintain life on the planet, it is essential that governing bodies recognize the importance of natural ecosystems and act responsibly toward the diverse array of organisms to limit human-caused extinction. Both non-domesticated organisms and their natural habitats have combined aesthetic, cultural and scientific value that is broadly recognized by the majority of society. As the presence of humans and the products of human lifestyles impact the land and oceans, we can and should act to contain and reduce these effects. Laws regarding these conservation objectives (such as the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, and Clean Water Act) are currently subject to change and dilution due to pressure from select groups that are fundamentally focused on immediate economic goals, rather than on long-term economic and ecological sustainability and social needs. Our position as an international Society concerned for the welfare of the Earth's life is that a) containment legislation should grow in strength to counteract the unsustainable rates of consumption of limited and non-renewable world resources and b) we must reduce the rates of production and consumption by technologically advanced nations, such as the United States. Underlying this position is the inarguable need to control the world's human population growth.

In recognition of these conditions, and in a non-partisan fashion, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology has this list of resolutions, directed at the United States:

1) We support the reauthorization and strengthening of the Endangered Species Act, to protect non-human species and their habitat. This is provided that the opportunity to modify the Act is not subverted in order to weaken it. We endorse efforts to enhance (not replace) the ESA with habitat conservation plans that result in an increase in viable habitat and the populations of threatened and endangered species contained within. We do not support such plans when they benefit developers at the expense of habitat needs (as is the case with wetlands development).

2) We support reestablishment of endangered species ( e.g., the gray wolf) into their formerly-occupied habitat, with the full protection of the current version of the ESA , and not as "experimental, non-essential" populations. Given the disruptive effects to terrestrial ecosystems, we oppose the lethal control measures taken by the federal and state governments in the lower 48 against various native predators ( e.g., coyotes, bobcats, black bears, cougars) and in Alaska against wolves and bears through "predator-control" programs and liberal hunting and trapping regulations.

3) We fully support the provisions of the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and recommend enforcement of the treaty, including economic sanctions, due to heavy trade in parts from organisms currently threatened with extinction, such as the tiger. We support the efforts of the U.S. government to halt commercial whaling and recommend increased diplomatic pressure and the application of economic sanctions in the face of violations of international agreements by specific countries, such as Japan (with its misnamed "scientific-whaling" program) and Norway.

4) We strongly recommend the designation of all remaining "wildlands" (areas with few or no roads) in the public domain in the United States as Wilderness , with the added provision that these lands should be unavailable for livestock grazing. These areas have been identified by governmental agencies, but are still available for logging, mining, and grazing.

5) We regard methods of extraction of primary resources and power generation that damage the ecosystems involved and reduce their continued productivity as biological travesties. This includes, but is not limited to, clearcutting old-growth and mature forests for timber and wood pulp, construction of dams, and large-scale trawling for benthic fish and shellfish on the sea bed (an activity which results in extensive bottom destruction). We urge that there be no more logging of mature forests on public lands and an immediate end to the incorrectly termed "salvage logging" program enacted through a Congressional rider (#318). Means of supporting human productivity must simultaneously sustain humans and protect the integrity of the ecosystems impacted, to ensure our survival as a species.

6) We urgently recommend an immediate decrease in the rate of damage to the Earth's atmosphere due to production of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting chemicals. These gases are considered by most scientists to be responsible for global warming and increases in ultraviolet radiation exposure in polar and temperate regions, leading to possible disruption of latitudinal thermal regimes and weather patterns by warming and increased risk of UV-induced mutagenesis for exposed organisms (including humans). The U.S. must support existing and future international conventions for reductions in these gases and chemicals and stop avoiding them and providing exceptions to larger corporations.

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