A key component of ASLO’s mission is to “advance public awareness and education about aquatic resources and research.” ASLO seeks to accomplish this by 1) commenting on policies of significant interest or relevance to its membership and 2) offering training in communication with policymakers to our members.
History of the ASLO Policy Office
In January 2000, ASLO opened an office in Washington, D.C. to better engage aquatic scientists in US policy decisions and to inform ASLO members and the general public on aquatic science policy.
The three primary goals of the office were to:
- Represent the aquatic sciences in the science policy arena
- Inform members of policy activities relevant to aquatic science
- Facilitate member participation in policy through training workshops, toolkits and features in the L&O Bulletin.
As the membership became more international and less U.S.-centric, it became less feasible for ASLO to participate as an organization in a regular and meaningful way in policy issues directly. The focus of ASLO’s activities shifted to providing training and resources to our members on how to better communicate their science to a variety of audiences – including policymakers – so as to provide resources useful to the broadest audience. ASLO continues to comment on policy issues of significant consequence to the aquatic sciences community individually and through its participation in various science policy coalitions and umbrella groups, such as the Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies. These partnerships allow ASLO to work efficiently to achieve goals common to the broader science community.
ASLO focuses its policy efforts on the area of science policy -- those policies that directly affect the day-to-day research and education activities of ASLO members. These issues include, but are not limited to: scientific research funding, education policies, regulations regarding scientific publishing, and policies affecting ASLO members' abilities to collaborate internationally.
ASLO does not take positions on issues of environmental policy. However, ASLO strives to make the most recent scientific information on aquatic ecosystems available to policy-makers.
Read some of the recent policy statements from ASLO here.
Coalitions and Umbrella Organizations:
Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies
The Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies (CASS) is comprised of 9 groups representing various interests within the aquatic science realm. Our collective membership totals almost 20,000 individuals that span the private sector, academia and various tribal, state, and federal agencies. The CASS organizations represent professionals who combine deep subject-matter expertise, a commitment to independent objectivity, and the critical review of environmental information, along with a passion for the natural places and resources that form the foundation of American greatness. Through our members, CASS works to cohesively present the best available science surrounding aquatic resources, as well as participate in science-based discussions on the public policy issues that affect these resources.
American Institute of Biological Sciences
The American Institute of Biological Sciences was established as a national umbrella organization for the biological sciences in 1947 by 11 scientific societies as part of the National Academy of Sciences. An independent non-profit organization since 1954, it has grown to represent more than 80 professional societies and organizations with a combined membership exceeding 240,000 scientists and educators.
American Geosciences Institute
The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 51 geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. AGI was founded in 1948, under a directive of the National Academy of Sciences, as a network of associations representing geoscientists with a diverse array of skills and knowledge of our planet. The Institute provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society’s use of resources, resilience to natural hazards, and the health of the environment.
Council of Scientific Society Presidents
The Council of Scientific Society Presidents is an organization of presidents, presidents-elect, and recent past presidents of about sixty scientific federations and societies whose combined membership numbers well over 1.4 million scientists and science educators. Since 1973 CSSP has served as a strong national voice in fostering wise science policy, in support of science and science education, as the premier national science leadership development center, and as a forum for open, substantive exchanges on emerging scientific issues.