NCEAS Project 2013

Identifying and characterizing case studies of the successful use of basic ecological concepts to solve applied problems

  • Andrew Sih

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Sabbatical Fellow22nd June—21st August 1998Participant List  
Visitor3rd July—15th August 2000Participant List  

Abstract
This proposal requests funds to support the writing and editing of a book during a sabbatical year in-residence at NCEAS. The book will present and discuss a collection of case studies that showcase the use of basic ecological concepts to generate solutions to complex applied problems.

Modern ecology as a basic science uses a blend of field surveys, field and laboratory experiments, and mathematical theory to generate general concepts on mechanisms and factors that govern the distribution and abundance of organisms. Part of the promise and justification for basic ecology lies in its potential for providing insights on applied issues such as conservation biology, restoration ecology, management of natural resources or pest species, epidemiology, or global change. Quantitative methods in basic ecology might be particularly important for addressing complex issues that are difficult to understand based on intuition alone.

While it is clear that concepts in basic ecology have the potential to provide guidance on applied issues, many if not most ecologists (and most of the general public) are poorly informed on specific examples that best exemplify the interface between basic and applied ecology. I propose to devote my sabbatical year (1998-99) to identifying and characterizing the best available examples of "success stories" that involve the use of basic ecological concepts to guide policy on important applied issues. The product of my proposed effort will be a book that is aimed towards educating and informing both professional ecologists and the general public (e.g., undergraduates taking an ecology course, environmental policy makers, legislators) on the value of basic ecology as a source of insight for practical applications.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Presentations Sih, Andrew. 1998. Ecology success stories: On the use of basic ecological concepts to solve applied problems. University of California at Davis. Davis, CA.
Presentations Sih, Andrew. 1998. Ecology success stories: On the use of basic ecological concepts to solve applied problems. University of Lund. Lund, Sweden.
Presentations Sih, Andrew. 1999. Ecology success stories: Case studies of the successful use of basic ecological concepts to solve applied problems. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. Spokane, WA.
Presentations Sih, Andrew. 1999. Ecology success stories: On the use of basic ecological concepts to solve applied problems. University of Helsinki. Helsinki, Finland.