Broadening Diversity

Introduction:

Emerging global issues such as climate change, loss of biological diversity, energy alternatives, conserving land and water resources, and sustainable agriculture, require more reliance on a workforce with training and expertise in biodiversity science. As a community of biodiversity scientists, we need to identify best practices to support the training and development of diverse, competent, and engaged young biologists who are well-prepared for a broad set of career paths generating and utilizing biodiversity data. Increasing human diversity within the biodiversity sciences will have a broad positive impact on the advancement of biodiversity sciences, creativity in biodiversity research, and sustainability of research efforts.

The task of increasing the presence of African Americans, Native Americans, and Latino Americans within the biodiversity sciences is a community responsibility that is likely to be achieved only by concerted efforts of those actively involved in these fields. Several initiatives across the biosciences community are endeavoring to broaden participation (e.g. SEEDS, PLANTS, 3dNaturalists, FIELD). Currently, these efforts are operating in isolation and few resources exist to advise on best practices. There is much to learn from existing efforts and as a community we would benefit from a more collaborative and synergistic approach to recruiting and retaining diverse students. We would like to propose a formal working group to address current initiatives and existing resources for broadening participation across the biodiversity sciences.