Happy New Year from NCEAS

Frank Davis, Director and Stephanie Hampton, Deputy Director Dear NCEAS community,

Greetings from Santa Barbara! As we start the new year, we would like to take a moment to share with you some of NCEAS' highlights of 2011.

In 2011 twenty outstanding postdoctoral fellows resided with us for all or part of the year studying everything from ocean health, sharks on reefs, and salmon sensitivity to climate change to parasitoid diversity, soil respiration, plant breeding systems, selection and population dynamics, global fire, grassland ecosystem ecology, the sociology of synthesis, and eco-informatics.

Many members of this all star group have already taken faculty appointments including Carol Adair (U. Vermont Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources), Jennifer Balch (Penn State Geography), Julia Baum (U. Victoria Department of Biology), Liza Comita (Ohio State U. Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology), John Parker (ASU Barrett Honors College), Simon Queenborough (Ohio State U. Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology), and Sadie Ryan (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry). Congratulations and best wishes for continued success!

NCEAS supported or hosted 34 projects involving a wide range of topics and 490 working group participants for a total of ~2900 participant days. While impossible to summarize here all that these groups accomplished, we can mention a few highlights from ~140 journal articles reported to us in 2011:

* Rob McDonald and co-authors projected that by 2050 nearly 1 billion people could face perennial water shortages due to the combined effects of population growth, urbanization and climate change (PNAS, March 28)

* Michelle Mack and co-authors quantified extremely high carbon release, 60% from soil organic matter, due to an extreme fire event in the Alaskan tundra (Nature, 28 July)

* Nathan Kraft and co-authors reported surprisingly similar patterns of beta-diversity in temperature and tropical forests (Science, September 22).

* Burrows and co-authors discovered that the speed of climate change and shifts in seasonal temperatures are occurring as fast or faster in marine as in terrestrial ecosystems (Science, November 3).

* Stephanie Hampton and John Parker found that the amount of face-to-face interaction and involvement of resident scientists are important contributors to working group productivity (Bioscience, November).

This past year also included interesting science communication and outreach efforts. If you have not already done so, check out our Jellyfish Rock event at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and Jai Ranganathan’s Curious and Curiouser podcast interviews with NCEAS scientists at Miller-McCune online.

Our big challenge for 2012 is to develop new funding so we can continue to support your work advancing the state of ecological knowledge. We have some promising initiatives underway and are actively seeking new opportunities. As a member of the NCEAS community, you are one of our best development agents and we look forward to working with you as we move forward!

On behalf of all of us here at NCEAS, our very best wishes to you for a joyful New Year.

Frank Davis, Director
Stephanie Hampton, Deputy Director


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Posted on January 5, 2012