Runoff from upstream, land-based pollutants jeopardizes the ocean's coral reefs and adversely impacts the production of goods and services critical to many coastal residents. But how do you address a challenge that spans both land and sea? A recent study, published in the Journal of Environmental Management and part of the larger Ocean Tipping Points project, found that cooperation among landowners to reduce sediment runoff to nearshore reefs leads to more cost efficient and ecologically effective results compared to scenarios when landowners act independently. More>
Entrance fees levied on users of protected wild places are effective management tools as they help to reduce damages associated with over-use and cover inherent administrative, maintenance, and operational costs. A recent case study of Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda that was published in Science Direct and supported by SNAPP Natural Capital Accounting working group found that differences in park uses and preferences between international and national visitors allow for an equitable pricing system that effectively covers park costs.
Researchers recently applied the Ocean Health Index (OHI) tool for an individual assessment of Antarctica's Southern Ocean ecosystem health. Despite the region being considerably inaccessible and removed from human influence, the index report found that the ocean ecosystems are not necessarily pristine. NCEAS Director and OHI Lead Scientist Ben Halpern shares the results of the assessment as a contributor to a recent publication in Frontiers in Marine Science, which highlights the gap in Antarctica realizing its full ocean health potential.
The SNAPP Amazon Waters Working Group has discovered that the western Amazon is the main spawning area for the "goliath" catfish, and that the dorado catfish has the longest freshwater fish migration. The team published its study and results in the journal Scientific Reports-Nature. The authors warn that future development in and near these spawning grounds could negatively impact the fishes' migration and the fishing industries that rely on them. More>
Both population growth and climate change put a strain on natural resources and degrade their ability to provide ecosystem services. In places with growing populations and changing climates, people could be in trouble. In a recent PLoS One paper, researchers examined changes in wet season precipitation and population over the past 30 years. Trends identified areas where key ecosystems are threatened by the combined effects of climate change and population growth, and therefore where human populations are most vulnerable to degraded ecosystem services.
Open Science for Synthesis: Gulf Research Program is a hands-on data science course for both early career and established researchers to gain skills in data science, including scientific synthesis, reproducible science, and data management. These skills are critical for understanding the complex environmental, human, and energy systems in the Gulf of Mexico, especially following large disturbance events like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. OSS 2017 is a 3-week intensive training, convening in July 2017 at NCEAS in Santa Barbara, CA, is now accepting applications from early (upper-level graduate students) and established researchers from the Gulf research community. Application Deadline is February 20, 2017. More>
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information and Data Cooperative (GRIIDC), is the vehicle by which results of research in the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) are made available to the community. As a primary partner of DataONE, NCEAS is pleased to welcome GRIIDC as the 38th and newest member node in the DataONE distributed network of data centers, science networks or organizations. More>
Technological feasibility has opened the door for the increased use of virtual collaboration in scientific research and collaboration. In the recent The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, directors from the International Synthesis Center consortium offer their combined insights for using virtual participation in science synthesis working groups. Executive director Ben Halpern and director of computing Mark Schildhauer weigh in based on more than 20 years of working group collaborations at NCEAS.More>
With the decline of fisheries' health worldwide, scientists aim to understand which management strategies are most effective in protecting global fish populations. A recent study, conducted by the SNAPP Fisheries Status Working Group and published in PNAS, found three fisheries management attributes to be particularly influential in maintaining desirable fish stock levels: extensiveness of stock assessments, strength of fishing pressures, and comprehensive enforcement. More>
Ben Halpern, NCEAS Executive Director, will be conferred the Peter Benchley Ocean Excellence in Science Award in Washington D.C. on May 11, 2017. Along with a diverse group of marine leaders, Halpern will be acknowledged for his continued efforts to protect our ocean through informing and facilitating effective ocean conservation and resource management. The Benchley Awards have been referred to as the “Academy Awards for the Ocean”. More>
Seafood consumption is rising globally due to increasing population levels. Despite tougher laws and increased media scrutiny, seafood fraud remains prevalent. While seafood fraud can be intentional or unintentional, it is difficult to authenticate the identity of a species once it is in the supply chain. A recent study published in Conservation Biology uses DNA barcoding to assess the frequency of seafood mislabeling in Los Angeles. The study was conducted by Samantha Cheng, a postdoctoral associate at NCEAS, and researchers at UCLA, Loyola Marymount University and UC Santa Cruz from 2012-2015. More>
As captures from wild fisheries stagnate and a growing world population demands more protein, sustainable aquaculture represents a viable, and vital, way to supplement protein demand. But how does the world feel about aquaculture? A recent study, conducted by the SNAPP Open-Ocean Aquaculture Expert Working Group, quantified public sentiment concerning different types of aquaculture, particularly nearshore and offshore. More>
In a historic public announcement, the Chinese government issued a list of notifications banning the sale and processing of ivory products by the end of 2017. The announcement, made at the end of December, comes in part thanks to the support and research done by the SNAPP working group The Economics of the Chinese Ivory Trade. More>
The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network is a network of 25 research sites across multiple biomes that have been collecting continuous data for over 36 years. This information has been invaluable for testing big-picture concepts about how ecosystems work. LTER synthesis working groups, made up of scientists from inside and outside the Network, also capitalize upon this data to make comparisons across ecosystems, probe novel theories, and search for insights into how ecological systems work. From a pool of 20 proposals, two new LTER synthesis working groups were selected for 2017. More>
The SNAPP Amazon Waters Working Group has produced a geographic information system (GIS) “roadmap” to help guide conservation efforts in the Amazon River basin, a region roughly the size of the United States. Rivers, lakes, flooded forests, and wetlands cover 14 percent of the basin, making them the greatest freshwater system in the world. The roadmap applies spatial analysis tools to a new hydrological and river basin classification that together provide a dynamic way to map natural resources and possible infrastructure impacts on them at various scalable levels in the Amazon. More>
The Ocean Health Index (OHI) today announced its 5th annual global ocean health assessment score, 71 out of a possible 100. While the 2016 global score remains the same as the past three years, results across individual elements and regions have shifted. With five years of global assessments, the OHI scientists at NCEAS and Conservation International have begun to identify potential trends in ocean health. In the last year, the team has also launched OHI-Science.org, which provides tools and instruction to any academic or government group interested in conducting their own, more localized OHI+ assessment. More>
The world has committed to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the next 15 years. Success will require strengthening the link between protecting ecosystems and biodiversity with achieving the SDGs for ending poverty and increasing equality and justice. At the IUCN World Conservation Congress 8,000 conservationists from over 180 countries gathered to discuss the theme “Planet at the Crossroads.” Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) leaders, along with other experts around the world, contributed to this narrative by sharing their experiences and speaking about the role conservation can play in achieving many of the SDGs. Craig Groves (SNAPP) and LeeAnne French (NCEAS/SNAPP) highlighted the importance of creating partnerships and employing nature-based solutions to address critical global problems and turn the SDGs into reality. More>
The Arctic Data Center, a long-term repository that allows for the preservation and sharing of data spanning many disciplines from the Arctic, has become DataONE's 36th Member Node. By joining the DataONE federation, Arctic Data Center content is now more widely exposed and allows for great preservation options, taking advantage of DataONE’s replication policies to ensure preservation and access to Arctic Data Center content for decades to come. The Arctic Data Center is one of the largest Member Nodes so far, bringing over 500,000 data objects to the DataONE federation and bringing the total count of publicly readable data objects to over 900,000. More>
To better understand and respond to the pressures on Alaska’s salmon and salmon communities, the State of Alaska’s Salmon and People (SASAP) program has selected five new cross-cutting synthesis working groups from the Round 2 Call for Proposals. Led by NCEAS and Nautilus Impact Investing, SASAP’s mission is to create an equitable decision-making platform for all stakeholders by addressing the information gaps in Alaska’s salmon system through information synthesis, collaboration and stakeholder engagement. More>