From our Chief Executive Dr Mark Downs
Belief in the ability of science to change things for the better is very often the motivation for choosing biology as a career. Jumping into the mysterious and far-reaching depths of any biological discipline will yield a bounty of treasures. Whether it is knowledge about a new disease process, the ecstatic feeling after discovering a new species or the satisfaction of knowing your work will improve the lives of some of the world’s population.
Part of the Society of Biology’s vision is to facilitate the promotion and translation of advances in biological science for national and international benefit and to help the wider public engage with our subject. This year’s photography competition, “How Biology Can Save the World”, strongly supports this vision. Most global issues link in with an area of biology, enabling biological research to have a significant impact to communities worldwide. For example, advances in agricultural techniques are improving food security to feed the expanding global population. The population is also an ageing one, and research into diseases like Alzheimer’s may help to manage the consequences of this changing population profile. A thorough understanding of the complexities of the natural world is important to ensure a more sustainable future is created that can both meet energy demands and protect biodiversity, particularly when faced with the impact of climate change.
What better way to showcase the close links between biology and the complex challenges of the 21st century than through photography? A striking image can make anyone stop and think about an issue, whether they are an expert in the field or entirely unfamiliar with the topic. Everyone will have a different take on the ways in which biology can save the world and we are excited to see the variety of entries that come in.
Our Press Officer Rebecca Nesbit has provided some images taken from her travels to São Tomé and Principe, an island nation in West Africa. These may provide some inspiration to those of you looking for ideas.
The planting of thousands of Oil Palm Saplings illustrates human deforestation which is destroying the habitats of numerous species and contributing to climate change. Biologists are working to find more sustainable ways of growing Oil Palm and protecting biodiversity.
The destructions of coral reefs worldwide is a multi-faceted problem. Reefs are a habitat for an abundance of marine life, protect coastlines, support local economies via tourism, and can also be a source of new medicines.
To see more ideas about “How Biology Can Save the World” or, better still, to tell us your own use the twitter hashtag #BiologySaves or add your comments below.