NCEAS Project 2015

Infusing ecological theory into the design of environmental monitoring

  • Peter Kareiva

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Sabbatical Fellow15th January—30th April 1998Participant List  
Visitor16th—29th March 1998Participant List  

Monitoring has become one of the most widespread activities in ecology. It is used as a safety net to determine whether controversial environmental decisions are working, as a baseline to keep track of our ecosystem's health, and as a source of data for fundamental research. Unfortunately, the data from monitoring programs are terribly under-used -- because the programs are ill-designed, because tools for using the data remain primitive, and simply because of a lack of awareness about the possibilities. In the past, ecologists have tended to view monitoring as dull and without intellectual content. This notion is changing, but not fast enough. I aim to write a book on ecological monitoring that does three things:

1.) improves our "technology" for using monitoring data when testing hypotheses about environmental degradation

2.) suggests how the design of monitoring programs might be improved so that they better serve a hypothesis-testing framework

3.) illustrates how monitoring can be interesting in a basic and applied setting, and catalyzes more work in the area.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Fagan, William F.; Meir, Eli; Prendergast, John; Folarin, Ayoola; Kareiva, Peter. 2001. Characterizing population vulnerability for 758 species. Ecology Letters. Vol: 4(2). Pages 132.
Book Chapter Kareiva, Peter; Holmes, Elizabeth E. 2000. Can we use focal species to anticipate ecosystem-level consequences of environmental pollutants?. Edited by Albers, P.. Exotoxicology and Wildlife Ecology. Smithsonian Press.
Book Chapter Marvier, Michelle; Meir, Eli; Kareiva, Peter. 2000. How do the design of monitoring and control strategies affect the chance of detecting and containing transgenic weeds?. Edited by Ammann, K.; Jacot, Y.. Risks and Prospects of Transgenic Plants: Where Do We Go From Here?. Birkhauser Press. Basel. Pages 109-122.