Candidate for President-Elect: Patricia Glibert

Patricia Glibert

BA 1974 Biology, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs NY, USA MS 1976 Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire, USA PhD 1982 Organismal and Evolutional Biology, Harvard University, USA


Biographical Information

Patricia GlibertI received a B.A. from Skidmore College, an M.S. in Earth Sciences from the University of New Hampshire, and Ph.D. in Organismal and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University. After a stint as a Postdoctoral Scholar and an Assistant Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, I moved to the Horn Point Laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environment Science (one of the few institutions at the time that welcomed dual career couples!) where I have been professor now for a couple of decades.
I am an oceanographer (who dips her toes in freshwater science from time to time!), a phytoplankton ecologist, now working mainly on various aspects of eutrophication, climate change effects and harmful algae. I never would have guessed that my work would evolve to focus on the impact of the massive land-based nutrient pollution on algae, when my PhD dissertation was focused on the question of how algae in the ocean can thrive in such nutrient-impoverished waters!

I have worked in the open ocean, estuaries, coasts and lakes. My work is global, and I feel that through my strong connections with many institutions outside the US, especially in China, I can help promote the value of ASLO in various international forums.
I have been a member of ASLO since my early graduate student days- and my first paper was published in L&O! I can’t count how many ASLO conferences I have attended! Over the years, I have served on multiple journal editorial boards, including ASLO journals, I co-chaired an ASLO meeting, and I have also served on the Board of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. From 2006-2012 I co-chaired the U.S. National HAB committee. I also co-chaired an international working group on land-based nutrient pollution and HABs, and I chaired the core research program on eutrophication in the Global Ecology and Oceanography Harmful Algal Blooms Program.

I have been honored to have received an honorary doctorate from Linnaeus University, Sweden, and I was named one of the top 25 women professors in Maryland. I am an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a Sustaining Fellow of ASLO.

Candidate Statement

I am running for ASLO President because that is what women do!

The role of societies is to serve society- and that includes not only the society of its members, but also the broader society. ASLO has always served it members well. Heading into its 85th year as a society, ASLO (originally incorporated as the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography) is now a preeminent global institution. It has an important voice not only in the sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, but in much of Earth Sciences. The journal has been the crown jewel of the society, and across aquatic sciences, Limnology and Oceanography ranks in the top 3 in terms of impact. ASLO has long invested in the next generation of scientists, with a range of early career resources, opportunities and special events at meetings and conferences. With the urgency of the problems facing the world’s waters, it is time for societies such as ASLO to serve the broader society with a louder voice. This is not new for ASLO, but the urgency is increasing.

In reviewing some older literature on eutrophication for a review I was undertaking, I grabbed from my shelf a copy of the special symposium issue on ‘Nutrient and Eutrophication- The Limiting Nutrient Controversy’ published by L&O in 1972. I was struck by the published opening remarks by the then-president of ASLO, Clifford Mortimer. He wrote,

What help or useful advise can the Society give to a public deeply concerned and also deeply confused with problems of the aquatic environment?...ASLO’s principal purpose has been… to function as a learned society through meetings and publication of a journal…but a more useful role for the Society lies in the provision of a forum, in which environmental issues of present or pressing public importance , or matters of public controversy, could be thoroughly discussed in a dispassionate professional atmosphere…

This statement could not be more relevant today! As an international society, the role of ASLO in public debate should not focus on specific policy or policies, but should use its stature as a trusted advisor. Climate change, nutrient pollution, water quality criteria, environmental education, are all pan-global issues with policy implications. As scientists, and as a global body of scientists, we have an obligation to provide information, expand knowledge, communicate effectively, and in so doing, build credibility, and–where appropriate–explain how knowledge can relate to policy discussions. In a world where science is now often discredited, it is the power of the collective voice–the voice of its thousands of members–with diverse expertise in pursuit of shared goals where ASLO can make a difference.

The society, however, will be facing obstacles in the coming years–increasing competition with regard to its journals, maintaining and growing membership, among others. As we face a world of environmental challenges, the society will have to remain not only a trusted voice, but also a financially viable institution. We can do it! As a member of ASLO since I was a graduate student, I am now a Sustaining Fellow of the society. It would be my honor to serve as ASLO’s President.

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