KAORU KITAJIMA. Currently: Professor, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Japan; Courtesy Professor, Department of Biology, University of Florida; Research Associate: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute); Financial Committee Member, Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC); Country Representative for Japan, ATBC Asia-Pacific Chapter; Governing Board Member, Japanese Society for Tropical Ecology; Associate Editor, Functional Ecology; Governing Board Member, Kyoto International Student House. Formerly: Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor of Botany and Biology, University of Florida (1997-2013); ATBC Treasurer (2009-2013); ATBC Councilor (2007-2009); Program Chair, the joint ATBC-OTS 50th Anniversary Meeting. Education: B.S. from University of Tokyo (Botany); M.S. and Ph.D from University of Illinois (Botany). She is known for her comparative work of functional traits of seedlings and adult trees in tropical forests, in particular, the first demonstration of the functional basis for growth-survival in tropical tree seedlings. Her work has been conducted mainly in Panama and other Neotropical locations, but after moving to Kyoto University recently, she is actively engaged in new research collaborations and tropical ecology education in East and South East Asia. Personal Statement: Tropical ecosystems and their biological diversity continue to be threatened under climate change, land-use changes, and overexploitation of natural resources. More than ever, free exchange of solid scientific knowledge, as well as collaborative networks of scientists across disciplinary boundaries, are needed for formulating effective strategies for conservation of the rich tropical biota and for the well being of the people who depend on them. I believe that as an international academic society, ATBC is uniquely positioned to expand its role in networking regional groups of scientists and to catalyze capacity building of young scientists in many tropical countries. In the recent past, I have enjoyed supporting the main missions of ATBC as a councilor, Treasurer, and the 50th Anniversary Meeting Chair. My experience should be useful in building on the legacy of the 50 years of the Association and moving forward. As I am now based in Asia, I am particularly interested in further strengthening the effort of ATBC in networking tropical biologists and ecosystem scientists between the New and Old World tropics.