NCEAS News and Announcements

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October 15, 2013

The Ocean Health Index (OHI) issued the updated scores for 2013 and identified food provision as the factor that continues to require the most attention. OHI defines a healthy ocean as one that sustainably delivers a range of benefits to people now and in the future based on 10 diverse public goals. The 2013 global score of 65 out of 100 matches last year’s inaugural assessment and demonstrates the ongoing need for more effective management of this precious resource.

 

October 1, 2013

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has asked UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) to select scientists who can ensure that the science behind the status of the gray wolf as an endangered species is properly vetted by a sound, peer review process.


September 24, 2013

The first Working Group of Science for Nature and People (SNAP) takes place this week at NCEAS. “We welcome the working group participants for Western Amazonia: Balancing infrastructure Development and Conservation of Waters, Wetlands, and Fisheries, which includes international experts from Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research, National University of the Peruvian Amazon, the United Nations Development Program, the MacArthur Foundation, and the founding partners – NCEAS, The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society,” said Frank Davis NCEAS director and a member of SNAP’s governing board.

 

September 16, 2013

Can resource development and environmental sustainability coexist in a changing arctic ocean?

 

Interests are awakening globally to take advantage of the extensive energy, shipping, fishing, and tourism opportunities associated with diminishing sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. These environmental state-changes are generating risks of political, economic, and cultural instabilities that will affect societies at all levels—from local to international.

August 26, 2013

From October 28 - November 1, 2013 in Florence, Italy, the Semantics for Biodiversity Symposium will be offered as part of the TDWG Annual Conference 2013, an event widely attended by international experts in biodiversity informatics. The new Symposium on semantics for biodiversity has been co-organized by NCEAS' Director of Computing Mark Schildhauer and SONet Postdoctoral Associate Benjamin Adams, in collaboration with colleagues at UC Berkeley, the iPlant Collaborative, Arizona State University, University of Colorado, California Academy of Sciences, and other key institutions.
August 21, 2013

Women rarely give birth after about 45 years of age, and they experience the cessation of reproductive cycles, menopause, at about age 50 after a fertility decline lasting almost two decades. Such reproductive aging in mid-lifespan is an evolutionary puzzle of enduring interest because it should be inherently disadvantageous. This study compared the reproductive aging in seven species of nonhuman primates in natural populations to humans. Results provide strong evidence that reproductive aging in midlife is generally absent in other primates.
August 13, 2013

Invasive species, Rumex crispus, San Diego, CA. Photo Credit: Stickpen via Wikipedia Commons

In Spring 2011, NCEAS facilitated the first-ever undergraduate distributed seminar which provided opportunities for students to do field research, network, share strategies, and form collaborations with students at eight other institutions. The seminar’s results filled a hole in collective ecology knowledge and were published in the August 2013 edition of BioScience magazine.

 

 

August 12, 2013

Software lifecycle

On August 13-14, 2013 a diverse group of more than 30 scientists from the environmental and Earth sciences are convening at NCEAS to help shape a vision for a new software institute for environmental science. Scientists will participate in one of two parallel workshops focusing on the Software Lifecycle and Software Components.  Workshop leaders are Peter Fox from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Chris Mattmann from the University of Southern California, and Mark Schildhauer and Matt Jones from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.

August 1, 2013

Oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth's surface, yet our knowledge of the impact of climate change on marine habitats is a mere drop in the proverbial ocean compared to terrestrial systems. The journal Nature Climate Change published the new findings of a three-year study conducted by a NCEAS working group which shows that warming oceans are causing marine species to change breeding, feeding, and migration timing as well as shift where they live. Widespread systemic shifts in measures such as distribution of species and phenology — the timing of nature’s calendar — are on a scale comparable to or greater than those observed on land.

 

 

July 22, 2013

The Annual Ecological Society of America (ESA) Conference is being held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in early August. If you are attending the conference, NCEAS hopes that you will join Mark Schildhauer, director of computing, and Matt Jones, director of informatics research, for one or more of their workshops, ignite sessions, or special sessions (outlined below). NCEAS Working Groups are also presenting two Contributed Oral Papers listed below on engaging undergraduate students in Ecology and Big Data. Also don't miss the NCEAS-SESYNC 'Pathways to Opportunity' Mixer scheduled for Wednesday, August 7 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at the Vincent A Restaurant, just up the street. No RSVP required.

 

 

July 11, 2013

Ethiopia

Science for Nature and People (SNAP) is a new scientific collaboration launched by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). This collaborative is assembled to ask the question: How can protecting nature help ensure food, energy, water, and security for 9 billion or more people?  We intend to uncover approaches that will benefit all humankind—especially the planet’s poorest and most marginalized citizens.
July 10, 2013

NCEAS’ Matt Jones Convenes Plenary Discussion, "Envisioning a Software Institute to Accelerate Environmental Science", at the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Conference. The Software Institutes for Sustained Innovation (S2I2) program, created by the National Science Foundation, is planning a new institute that can accelerate science and engineering through advances in software.  Matt Jones, NCEAS' Director of Informatics, and PI of the "Institute for Sustainable Earth and Environmental Software (ISEES)" planning effort, has convened three environmentally-related software planning initiatives to present and discuss their Institute visions at the annual conference of the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP).  Video now available (session starts at 16:20) 

 

July 6, 2013

Tropical Forest Bloosoms

Until recently, scientific thinking used to posit that tropical forests, which already exist in warm climates, may not be impacted much by climate change. But a new study conducted by the NCEAS Working Group - Forecasting Phenology: Integrating Ecology, Climatology, and Phylogeny to Understand Plant Responses to Climate Change - shows that to be erroneous. In fact, the results indicate that tropical forests are producing more flowers in response to only slight increases in temperature. The findings were published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

 

July 2, 2013

Kepler Logo

As ecologists continue to gather long-term data at site, regional, continental and global scales, there will be an increasing need for tools to measure the pattern and rate of change in plant and animal communities in response to multiple environmental drivers. The National Science Foundation (NSF) Advances in Biological Informatics (ABI) program has recently funded the NCEAS Informatics team and collaborators to gather together multiple metrics of ecological dynamics into one toolbox will provide ecologists with a new set of tools for quantifying how communities change over time.

June 19, 2013

Moore Foundation

The latest project at NCEAS is perhaps its most intriguing yet: making over its successful data synthesis and research collaboration model by broadening its reach to directly include the potential users of scientific information – non-governmental organizations (NGOs), policymakers, and resource managers – in the process itself. New funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation will enable NCEAS to do just that. A $2.4 million, three-year grant will help cover the Center’s operating costs through 2015 — and see the launch of new initiatives to ensure its viability, and relevance, far into the future.

 

June 19, 2013

Parasitic Isopod Leidya, Photo Credit: Ryan Hechinger

Parasites are ubiquitous. They feed on virtually every animal and even on each other. Yet, for all the parasites' collective contributions to biomass and biodiversity, conventional food webs don't account for the presence of these tiny and numerous consumers. A recent study may alter our picture of who-eats-who.

"If you are not including parasites in food webs, you aren't getting the whole picture," said Kevin Lafferty, a marine ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and adjunct professor in the UCSB Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (EEMB). "They are consumers like predators, but they are less visible and easy to forget."

June 18, 2013

The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) invite you to 'Pathways to Opportunity', a NCEAS–SESYNC Mixer at the Ecological Society of America (ESA) Annual Meeting on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, 6:30-8-30 pm at the Vincent A Restaurant.
June 18, 2013

Ocean Health Index Logo

The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Oceans endorses the Ocean Health Index (OHI) an NCEAS partner, to help guide how the world's oceans are managed. The OHI rates the world's ocean health on a scale of 0 - 100 based on measures of ecological health and human benefits and currently gives global ocean health a score of 60. 

June 13, 2013

NCEAS congratulates two of its Postdoctoral alumni, Marissa L. Baskett and Duncan N.L. Menge for being named the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) 2013 Early Career Fellows. The ESA fellows program recognizes the many ways in which its members contribute to ecological research and discovery, communication, education and pedagogy, and to management and policy. A complete list of ESA 2013 Fellows and Early Career Fellows is in their announcement.

May 28, 2013

Linking the condition of an ecosystem to the benefits that people derive from that system is a fundamental challenge for scientists and managers, and one that must be met in order to implement ecosystem based management. This paper presents a pragmatic approach to quantifying the benefits people gain from marine systems.

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