NCEAS News and Announcements

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August 17, 2016

Researchers at the Ocean Health Index distill massive amounts of data into scores evaluating marine health for 220 countries and territorial jurisdictions -- and ultimately, for the globe as a whole. These scores, also called environmental indicators, help scientists clearly and simply communicate information about issues like overfishing and water quality to broad audiences. This simplicity, however, comes at a cost: indicators do not reflect uncertainty. In a recent PLOS ONE paper, NCEAS’ Ocean Health Index team evaluated potential influence of missing data on the uncertainty around the scores from the latest global ocean health assessment. Only 18.5% of the overall global Ocean Health Index score was based on gapfilled data, whereas gapfilling was much more common for territories and smaller regions. More>

 

August 15, 2016

With over 300 million acres of conservation areas, the U.S. has successfully conserved huge swaths of natural spaces. In the face of rapid biodiversity loss, decline of ecosystem processes function, climate change, and changes in land and water use however, these efforts are simply inadequate. Ultimately, the United States is in need of a comprehensive vision and conservation strategy. Recently published in Bioscience, Jocelyn Aycrigg (University of Idaho), Craig Groves (TNC) and a team of researchers assessed the viability of a creating a national habitat conservation system that is as coordinated, efficient and synergistic as possible. Craig, executive director of the SNAPP program, sees this initiative as the key to meeting the challenges of conserving habitats and biodiversity in the United States.

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July 28, 2016

Seascape genetics, a recent offshoot of population genetics, can provide insight into how the movement of an organism impacts dispersal and gene flow on a scale that cannot be determined with other natural or artificial indicators. NCEAS Center Associate, Kimberly Selkoe, and her co-authors recently synthesized 100 seascape genetic studies from the past decade to document trends in taxonomic and geographic coverage, sampling and statistical design, and dominant seascape drivers. Their findings were recently featured in Marine Ecology Progress Series. More>

 

July 27, 2016

In partnership with the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, NCEAS is excited to share the LTER Network Communications Office’s (NCO) Call for Proposals for Synthesis Working Groups to enhance analysis and synthesis of LTER data. Working groups must emphasize use of existing LTER data from more than one site. The Project Selection Committee is most interested in proposals anticipated to return high impact results in the five core LTER thematic areas. More>

 

July 25, 2016

There is anecdotal evidence that land-use has degraded water quality, but a new publication in PNAS by members of SNAPP's Water Security working group provides a first-ever global estimate to understand how much degradation has occurred and, as a result, how much it really increased water treatment costs worldwide. The working group found that watershed degradation has impacted the cost of water treatment for about 1 in 3 large cities, increasing the costs by about half. Added up globally, the team calculated the cost to be a staggering $5.4 billion per year. More>

 

July 14, 2016

The SNAPP Evidence-Based Conservation working group launched a new online tool that will help policymakers and practitioners easily access and synthesize evidence from thousands of available datasets on the linkages between human well-being and natural ecosystems to make better conservation decisions. The Evidence for Nature and People Data Portal was demonstrated at the North American Congress for Conservation Biology (NACCB). More>

 

July 6, 2016

NCEAS and Nautilus Impact Investing are co-leading a synthesis of the State of Alaska’s Salmon and People (SASAP) with the aim to provide an up-to-date interdisciplinary perspective on Alaska’s salmon systems and the people who rely upon them. NCEAS is issuing an open SASAP Call for Proposals for four to five synthesis Working Groups focused on research questions that provide insight into the pressures on salmon and salmon communities as well as options for response to those pressures (RFP). The application will close September 20, 2016. More>

 

June 30, 2016

NCEAS has been chosen to lead a new project, the State of Alaska’s Salmon and People (SASAP) in partnership with Nautilus Impact Investing in Anchorage, Alaska. SASAP is catalyzing and funding a group of experts with the aim to provide an up-to-date interdisciplinary perspective on Alaska’s salmon systems and the people who rely upon them. Three working groups are currently underway, focusing on 1) salmon distribution and habitat, 2) sociocultural and economic dimensions of salmon systems, and 3) current governance and management of salmon. A Call for Proposals will be issued July 2016. More>

 

June 29, 2016

The North American Congress for Conservation Biology is hosting its July 2016 congress in Madison, Wisconsin, focusing on "Communicating Science for Conservation Action". SNAPP has organized and is co-leading two back-to-back symposia that will discuss the need for co-production of science between decision-makers, managers, and the scientists. The symposia are titled "Beyond science communication: How managers, policy-makers, and scientists can co-produce actionable science for better conservation outcomes", and will feature lessons learned from collaborative efforts of over a dozen experts. The symposia will take place on July 18, 2016, with part 1 from 1:30-3:30 pm and part 2 from 4:00-6:00 pm, in Ballroom C of the Convention Center. More>

 

June 23, 2016

NCEAS welcomes Ben Halpern as new Director of NCEAS! On July 1, current NCEAS Director Frank Davis will pass the leadership baton to Ben Halpern and return to his research and teaching at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. Ben has deep roots at NCEAS. His first NCEAS experience was in 1998 -- as a graduate student participating in a synthesis working group spearheaded by Jane Lubchenco. More>

 

June 15, 2016

A team of researchers, including NCEAS Center Associate Benjamin Halpern, presented their findings on the impact of dwindling global fish stocks on micronutrient availability and global human health in Nature. Fish are essential sources of highly bioavailable micronutrients. The team calculates that if fisheries continue to dwindle as projected, 845 million people (11% of the global population) will be vulnerable to zinc, iron, or Vitamin A deficiencies. With 46 of 49 nations that rely on fish as a mainstay of their diet located in the developing world, their data paints a stark picture. More>

 

June 15, 2016

This week, a historic declaration to undertake the Amazon Waters Initiative was signed by representatives of more than a dozen institutions at the Amazon Waters International Conference in Lima, Peru. This declaration for basin-wide conservation planning will be supported by the scientific findings and data resulting from the SNAPP Amazon Waters Working Group. More>

 

June 8, 2016

 “Whole Tale" is a new, five-year, $5 million National Science Foundation-funded Data Infrastructure Building Blocks’ (DIBBs) project that aims to give researchers the instructions and ingredients they need to help ensure reproducibility and pave the way for new discoveries. The NCEAS Informatics Research and Development team is collaborating with scientists at the National Center for Supercomputing (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and others on the Whole Tale project. More>

 

June 3, 2016

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The TomKat UC Carbon Neutrality Project was launched by UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE) in partnership with NCEAS with a $300,000 gift from the TomKat Foundation, established by Tom Steyer and Kathryn Taylor. The TomKat UC Carbon Neutrality Project seeks to develop and deploy solutions to the challenges of climate change by capitalizing on the vast resources and research of the entire UC system, to advance the University’s continued commitment to carbon neutrality and sustainability. More>

 

 

June 3, 2016

As part of its mission to enhance collaboration across the Long Term Ecological Research network, the Network Communications Office (LTER NCO) has selected three Synthesis Working Group Proposals for funding. January’s call for proposals elicited a group of highly competitive proposals that together harnessed data from all 25 LTER sites. Congratulations to the principal investigators of the three proposals funded at this time. A new Call for Proposals will be issued in July 2016. More>

 

May 27, 2016

Despite major efforts to recover some of the world’s most charismatic megafauna, restoration practitioners have had limited success. Recovery of apex predators is critical because they provide fundamental services such as disease regulation, the maintenance of biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. A new publication in Science Advances by members of the Ocean Tipping Points team at NCEAS provides key recommendations to address this problem. More>

 

May 16, 2016

Over the past year, the SNAPP Evidence-Based Conservation Working Group has been constructing a systematic map, documenting available evidence on the impact of conservation interventions on human well-being. The Working Group has been developing a data portal for this information to make it easier for scientists and conservation practitioners to explore the evidence.A beta version of the Evidence-Based Conservation Data Portal is now available online. The team welcomes your feedback. More>

 

 

May 12, 2016

Coral reefs are in danger of reaching “tipping points” in which a series of small changes become significant enough to cause a larger and more drastic effect. Once this occurs, it is particularly difficult for the ecosystem to recover. The Ocean Tipping Points (OTP) team's work on Hawaiian coral reefs was recently featured in PNAS "Inner Workings". Scientists from NCEAS, University of Hawaii, Bangor University, Cal Poly, NOAA, Stanford University, and the Stockholm Resilience Center have been collaborating to identify coral reef tipping points to help inform strategies to prevent reefs from undergoing undesirable ecosystem shifts. More>

 

May 10, 2016

Due in large part to science-base management, the salmon fishery of Alaska is robust. However, climate change, ocean acidification, and human development are just a few of the growing threats to the sustainability of the Alaskan salmon fishery. Few resources exist to share interdisciplinary knowledge on the species that could help ensure the future health of the fishery. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation awarded NCEAS $2.4 million in order to gain a better understanding of the ecological and social systems associated with salmon management in Alaska. More>

 

May 3, 2016

Ecologists seeking to measure temporal dynamics often need to write their own R code from scratch, leading to differences in implementation, as well as inefficiencies from the duplicated work. Hallett et al. published a new article in Methods in Ecology and Evolution that examines how new analytical tools can be applied to long-term data to demonstrate the dynamics of ecological communities over time. The authors developed an associated R package, "codyn" (short for "community dynamics"), to help ecologists easily use these metrics and gain broader insights into ecological community dynamics. More>

 

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