NCEAS News and Announcements

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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.

May 20, 2013

Title:  Conducting Open Science using R and DataONE: A Hands-on Primer
When:  Sunday, August 4, 2013: 12:00 PM-5:00 PM
Where: ESA 2013 Minneapolis, MN

NCEAS director of informatics research and development, Matthew B. Jones, has assembled an all-star team to conduct a hands-on EcoInformatics workshop for early career scientists at the upcoming annual conference of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) in Minneapolis, MN on Sunday, August 4, 2013.

May 16, 2013

Duncan Menge
A 2012 PLoS One publication by former NCEAS Postdoctoral Fellow Duncan Menge and his collaborators has received a prestigious award from the Theoretical Ecology Section of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). The publication titled "Nitrogen and Phosphorus Limitation over Long-term Ecosystem Development in Terrestrial Ecosystems" by Duncan Menge, Lars Hedin, and Stephen Pacala, was one of the important outcomes of Menge’s work during his tenure at NCEAS from 2008 to 2010. The paper, which integrates disparate observations, presents a new model to understand nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics over different time scales and will help improve predictions about the extent of climate change.
May 7, 2013

Meta-analysis is a powerful statistical methodology for synthesizing research evidence across independent studies. Just published, the Handbook of Meta-analysis in Ecology and Evolution is the first comprehensive handbook of meta-analysis written specifically for ecologists and evolutionary biologists, and it provides an invaluable introduction for beginners as well as an up-to-date guide for experienced meta-analysts. This handbook was developed as part of a NCEAS working group, Meta-analysis in Ecology: Lessons, Challenges and Future working group.

May 2, 2013

The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) is pleased to announce the twenty-two participants (listed below) that have been chosen to participate in the NCEAS Summer Institute, a three-week intensive training workshop in ecological analysis and synthesis for early-career researchers.
March 26, 2013

TunaTriple–bottom-line outcomes from resource management and conservation, where conservation goals and equity in social outcomes are maximized while overall costs are minimized, remain a highly sought-after ideal. This study provides an important foundation for moving the science and practice of conservation planning—and broader spatial planning in general—toward more consistently achieving efficient, equitable, and effective outcomes.

February 20, 2013

DataONE logo

The 2013 DataONE Summer Internship Program is now open for applications. The Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE) is a virtual organization dedicated to providing open, persistent, robust, and secure access to biodiversity and environmental data, supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation. UCSB is a DataONE partner.

January 31, 2013

DESCRIPTION OF THUMBNAIL IMAGEThe National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) is pleased to invite applications from early-career researchers for a 3-week intensive training workshop in ecological analysis and synthesis, to take place at NCEAS in Santa Barbara CA June 19-July 10, 2013.

January 11, 2013


Dear NCEAS community,

Happy New Year from Santa Barbara! As we proceed into 2013, we would like to take a moment to share with you some of NCEAS' 2012 highlights.

January 9, 2013

Wildflowers, Coyote Ridge, Santa Clara County, CA California exhibits one of the richest floras on the planet, with more than 5,500 native plant species, approximately 40% of which are endemic. This study, published in Evolution, shows that California’s current biodiversity primarily results from low extinction rates, as opposed to elevated specialization or immigration rates, as previously believed.

January 4, 2013

Graph, Beak Height

The Ecological Society of America, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and NCEAS are pleased to announce the release of a new version of Science Pipes. Science Pipes is a free service that lets you connect to real ecological data, use simple tools to create visualizations and web feeds, and embed results on your own site or blog.

January 2, 2013

Salp bloom off the coast of New Zealand

Recent media reports have created a perception that jellyfish blooms may be increasing in the world's oceans, but a new international study suggests that there is no robust evidence for proof of a global increase in jellyfish over the past two centuries. Blooms, or proliferations, of jellyfish can show a substantial, visible impact on coastal populations –– clogged nets for fishermen, stinging waters for tourists, and choked cooling intake pipes for power plants. The key finding of this study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, shows that global jellyfish populations undergo concurrent oscillations with successive decadal periods of rise and fall, including a rising phase in the 1990's and early 2000's that has contributed to the current perception of a global increase in jellyfish abundance.


December 18, 2012

Great Lakes cumulative stress map

This study merged high-resolution spatial analyses of environmental stressors with mapping of ecosystem services for all five Great Lakes. Current restoration efforts have targeted high-stress sites almost exclusively, but generally without knowledge of the full range of stressors affecting these locations or differences among sites in service provisioning. An environmental stress map was developed by a binational team of researchers from academia and environmental organizations, known as the Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping (GLEAM) project. Results demonstrate that joint spatial analysis of stressors and ecosystem services can provide a critical foundation for maximizing social and ecological benefits from restoration investments.

December 7, 2012

Science for Everyone!How healthy are our oceans?
with Dr. Ben Halpern, Director, Center for Marine Assessment and Planning
Thursday, December 13, 5:30-6:30 PM (Pacific Daylight Time)
Basement auditorium, 735 State Street, Santa Barbara
This event is free and open to all.
The talk will also be broadcast live on the internet.

December 5, 2012

 Between sagebrush, a continuous cover of cheatgrass fuels an intense fire in the Great Basin.A study published in Global Change Biology finds an invasive grass species may be one reason fires are bigger and more frequent in certain regions of the western United States. Results demonstrate that cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) invasion has substantially altered the regional fire regime. Although this result has been suspected by managers for decades, this study is the first to document recent cheatgrass-driven fire regimes at a regional scale.

November 28, 2012

Drop of Water on Bishop Pine needle

Assessing the ecological importance of clouds has substantial implications for our basic understanding of ecosystems and for predicting how they will respond to a changing climate. This study was conducted in a coastal Bishop pine forest ecosystem that experiences regular cycles of stratus cloud cover and inundation in summer. The study concludes that clouds are important to the ecological functioning of these coastal forests, providing summer shading and cooling that relieve pine and microbial drought stress as well as regular moisture inputs that elevate plant and microbial metabolism.



November 19, 2012


Synthesizing frontiers in modeling drought- and insect-induced tree mortality with climate change
Principal Investigator(s): William Anderegg, Jeffrey Hicke, and Rosie Fisher

Establishing an open-source animal-tracking analysis platform for archival geolocators
Principal Investigator(s): Eli Bridge, David Winkler, Eldar Rakhimberdiev, and Nathaniel Seavy

Global impacts of climate change on kelp forest ecosystems
Principal Investigator(s): Jarrett Byrnes, Sean Connell, and Mark Novak

Land use change and infectious diseases
Principal Investigator(s): Andrew Dobson, Nita Bharti, and Matt Bonds

Developing comprehensive management models for marine mammals
Principal Investigator(s): Leah Gerber

Dance with neighbors: What have we learned about species coexistence in tree communities from the global stem-mapped forest plots?
Principal Investigator(s): Fangliang He, Rick Condit, Stephen Hubbell, and Thorsten Wiegand

When is a mutualist a cheater? A synthesis of conceptual and data-based perspectives on the causes and consequences of variation in mutualist quality
Principal Investigator(s): Emily Jones and Maren Friesen

Warming food webs
Principal Investigator(s): Mary O'Connor and Hamish Greig

Synthesizing top-down and bottom-up approaches to ecological energetics
Principal Investigator(s): Jane Shevtsov

A standard assessment framework for ecosystem services
Principal Investigator(s): Dean Urban, Lydia Olander, and Pat Comer

Fungal pathogens and disease-induced extinction: Are fungal diseases different?
Principal Investigator(s): Jamie Voyles, Cheryl Briggs, and Marm Kilpatrick

November 2, 2012

Culex Quinquefasciatus Mosquito On Human Finger Photo Credit: Jim Gathany

Malaria transmission models to date assume constant or linear responses of mosquito and parasite life-history traits to temperature, predicting optimal transmission at 31 °C. These models are at odds with field observations of transmission dating back nearly a century. This study ‘s model, which includes empirically derived nonlinear thermal responses, predicts optimal malaria transmission at 25 °C (6 °C lower than previous models). Moreover, the model predicts that transmission decreases dramatically at temperatures > 28 °C, altering predictions about how climate change will affect malaria. Using these more accurate nonlinear thermal-response models will aid in understanding the effects of current and future temperature regimes on disease transmission.
October 30, 2012

Kelp forest

The NCEAS team of Kappel and co-PIs Ben Halpern and Kimberly Selkoe — with partners at Stanford’s Center for Ocean Solutions, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — have been awarded $3.1 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for the soon-to-launch study, “Ecosystem Thresholds and Indicators for Marine Spatial Planning.” This four-year project will explore ecological and socio-economic thresholds or “tipping points” in marine ecosystems, and develop tools that help managers use this information to make better decisions about how people interact with and use those ecosystems.


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