The American Society of Plant Physiologists was founded in 1924 as an offshoot of the Botanical Society of America. The founders felt that their efforts to understand “vital (living) processes of plants” would be best served by forming their own, freestanding society. In 2001, members elected to change the name to the American Society of Plant Biologists to reflect the breadth of tools used by scientists studying vital plant processes.
In 1926, ASPB began publishing the journal Plant Physiology, and in 1989 it launched The Plant Cell. Both journals have consistently been in the highest tier of plant journals, attracting top scientists as editors, reviewers and authors. The journals’ archives provide an impressive history of the development of plant science into its current form.
As a society of professional plant scientists and a publisher, ASPB has always had as its mission “to promote the growth and development of plant biology, to encourage and publish research in plant biology, and to promote the interests and growth of plant scientists in general”. The ASPB has a small professional staff, but it is governed by elected and appointed members.
ASPB fulfills its mission as an organizer of regional and international conferences, as a publisher, as a leader in plant science education and outreach, and as a voice for plant science. ASPB continually evaluates its activities and solicits feedback from members, authors and subscribers to address their needs. For example, in response to a request from authors, the ASPB journals recently announced their support for preprint servers; and the society launched the Plantae digital ecosystem to facilitate communication and collaboration amongst plant scientists globally.
Here are few of ASPB’s accomplishments over the past year:
Connecting and Communicating
In 2015, ASPB’s meetings convened more than 1600 scientists who presented more than 1300 posters; ASPB’s social networks reached more than 26,000 individuals; and the journals published more than 750 manuscripts. ASPB has also published or co-published seven books in 18 languages, including the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants (2nd edition) and Molecular Life of Plants; the feature Teaching Tools in Plant Biology has published 32 article, which have been downloaded thousands of times in more than 100 countries; and the ASPB blog has posted 186 articles, including numerous guest posts.
Providing grants and funding to plant scientists:
In 2015, ASPB granted more than $320,000 across 148 awards, including grants for plant biology education, summer undergraduate research fellowships, and travel awards to Plant Biology 2015.
Raising awareness of the importance of plant science:
ASPB advocates in support of plant science through meetings with government officials, policy statements, press releases and letters to the editor. ASPB partners with other organizations in these efforts, including the American Phytopathological Society and the Global Plant Council. ASPB reaches out to families, children and teachers through participation in family science days, Fascination of Plants Days, and teacher conferences. ASPB further partners with numerous organizations to support science education more broadly, including PlantingScience.org, CourseSource.org and Wiki Edu, among others.
Supporting early-career plant scientists:
ASPB further supports plant scientists through providing professional development workshops, including workshops on teaching, writing, publishing, and science communication at a variety of venues. A resume review service and job board support those seeking new opportunities.
Funding for ASPB’s activities:
Funds to support ASPB activities come from a variety of sources, including grants from the National Science Foundation, the US Botanic Garden, journal subscriptions, donations, and membership dues.
As the society approaches its 100th anniversary, the needs of the plant science community are no less pressing than they were in 1924. In fact, as ASPB’s community becomes more and more global, its needs increase; Plantae is one of ASPB’s efforts, in partnership with the Global Plant Council, to bring together plant scientists from across the globe into a community to support plant science.
Join ASPB and support the future of plant science
For nearly one hundred years, ASPB has pursued its mission to support plant science and plant scientists. Won’t you contribute to this goal by adding your support to ASPB by becoming a member?