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PCAST Meeting: Ecosystem, Influenza, Energy and Technology

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  • PCAST Meeting: Ecosystem, Influenza, Energy and Technology


    Lubchenco further explained that there are different types of services provided to humans by different ecosystems. Broadly there are four categories of these services; provisioning (food, water, fiber), regulating (climate, floods, water quality), cultural (aesthetic, educational), and supporting (soil formation, photosynthesis).

    Lubchenco went on to highlight loss of resilience in ecosystems, including growing dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico, harmful algal blooms, coral bleaching, and depleted fisheries. According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 60 percent of services have been lost or are currently at risk, in part because provisioning services have been favored at the expense of other services. The report also found that major causes of ecosystem degradation are mostly constant or accelerating.

    (Also see the Millennium Ecosystem Report)

    Varmus lead the next discussion on the report on influenza vaccinology. In November of last year, Holdren proposed PCAST study the production of vaccines against pandemic influenza. The report addresses the release of the first vaccine where availability was delayed until after H1N1 peaked. In March, PCAST briefed the President on the report. While provisional approval of the written report is pending, the report will recommend increased pandemic surveillance through coordination, better seed viruses, faster and more accurate sterility tests, better reagents, and expanding and modernizing the vaccine manufacturing process.

    Full Report
    The salvage of human life ought to be placed above barter and exchange ~ Louis Harris, 1918