NCEAS News and Announcements

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July 27, 2011

By quantifying carbon loss from an unprecedented Arctic tundra wildfire, researchers find that an increase in Arctic tundra fires due to climate change could create a positive feedback that accelerates warming.

Carbon loss from an unprecedented Arctic tundra wildfire
M.C. Mack, M.S. Bret-Harte, T.N. Hollingsworth, R.R. Jandt, E.A. G. Schuur, G.R. Shaver & D.L. Verbyla
Nature 475 pp. 489–492 (28 July 2011)

A sample of the international media coverage of this study:
BBC News: Huge arctic fire hints at new climate clue (28 Jul 2011)
ABC Australia: Arctic fires may accelerate global warming (28 Jul 2011)
International Business Times: Arctic wildfires may pose threat to global climate (28 Jul 2011)
The Times of India (India): Arctic fires may accelerate global warming (1 Aug 2011)
Reuters: Huge 2007 tundra fire seen as ominous sign for climate (29 Jul 2011)
Terra (Latin America): Estudio advierte de impacto climático de los incendios en la tundra ártica (27 Jul 2011)
Yahoo (Spain): Estudio advierte de impacto climático de los incendios en la tundra ártica (27 Jul 2011)
MSNBC: Huge 2007 tundra fire seen as ominous sign for climate (29 Jul 2011)
ClimateWire: Alaskan tundra fire produced huge burst of emissions - study (28 Jul 2011)
Alaska Dispatch: 2007 Arctic wildfire released 50 years of stored carbon into atmosphere (28 Jul 2011)
NPR Morning Edition: Fire made Arctic spew, rather than absorb, Carbon (29 Jul 2011)
Discovery News: When the Arctic catches fire (29 Jul 2011)

More information about this research project

July 27, 2011

Dr. Frank Davis has been appointed as the new Director of NCEAS.

Frank is a professor of landscape ecology and conservation planning at UC Santa Barbara's Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and was previously Deputy Director of NCEAS from 1995-1999.

Announcement of Frank's appointment

More information about Frank's career and credentials is included in his current CV

More information about Frank's current research activities is available on his Bren website



June 22, 2011

NCEAS Working Group finds that fruits and vegetables that provide essential vitamins and minerals to humans depend on pollinators. Without pollinators, the international interdisciplinary research team estimates that up to 40% of key nutrients provided by fruits and vegetables could be lost.

Contribution of Pollinator-Mediated Crops to Nutrients in the Human Food Supply
E.J. Eilers, C. Kremen, S. Smith Greenleaf, A.K. Garber, A.M. Klein
PLoS ONE 6(6) (June 2011)

Stories about this study appeared on:
Science Daily: Pollinators make critical contribution to healthy diets (24 Jun 2011)
Edhat: Pollination study (22 Jun 2011)

More information about this research project

June 20, 2011

photo of cacti amidst the landscape of a hot, arid desert in the western United StatesNCEAS Center Fellow John L. Sabo and other researchers revisit the 25-year-old claims of Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert: The American West and its disappearing water. Using modern scientific tools and mapping technologies, the group found his conclusions for the most part to be accurate and scientifically correct. Their findings, "Reclaiming freshwater sustainability in the Cadillac Desert" were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Reclaiming freshwater sustainability in the Cadillac Desert
J.L. Sabo T. Sinha, L.C. Bowling, G.H.W. Schoups, W.W. Wallender, M.E. Campana, K.A. Cherkauer, P.L. Fuller, W.L. Graf, J.W. Hopmans, J.S. Kominoski, C. Taylor, S.W. Trimble, R.H. Webb, E.E. Wohl
Proceedings of the National Academies of Science 107, p.21263 (Dec 2010)

Following is a sample of the media coverage of this research and its implications:
NY Times: Scientists See the Southwest as First Major U.S. Climate Change Victim (Dec 14, 2010)
Miller-McCune: Greening the Desert? Not So Fast! (May 6, 2011)
Miller-McCune: Water Shortages Threaten the American West Lifestyle (May 13, 2011)
Scientific American: Desert Southwest May Be First U.S. Victim of Climate Change (Dec 14, 2010)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed: Entire Southeast needs a new strategy for conserving water (Dec 21, 2010)
KNAU Arizona Public Radio interview
HORIZON Eight (AZ PBS) broadcast: Water in the West

Summary of the related NCEAS research project.

More information about the Working Group participants and publications.

June 16, 2011

Dear Kepler Community,

We are pleased to announce the Kepler 2.2 release. Probably the single most important change from a user perspective is greater efficiency in how much memory long running workflows consume. In addition to that, there have been important incremental improvements to the GUI, to the module manager, to patching, to the build system, to the installation process, to the kar system, to startup scripts, and more.
June 13, 2011

photo of a patterned earth tone butterfly, perched with wings spread on top of a bed of bright yellow flowersA U.S. News & World Report article highlights the effectiveness and topical diversity of NCEAS' Network of Ecological Researchers.

U.S. News & World Report article (contributed by the National Science Foundation)

More examples
of the diverse research carried out by NCEAS scientists.

Highlights of broad research topics include ecological effects of climate change, marine ecology and conservation, infectious disease ecology, and ecosystem services.


June 13, 2011

photo of the underside of an Emerald Ash Borer, an inch-long, shiny green insect with golden overtones

TIME Magazine article about the destructive outbreak of the invasive emerald ash borer, a beetle native to China.

Deadlier than Dutch Elm: U.S. Trees Stricken by a Plague of Ash Borers

Referenced study:
Cost of potential emerald ash borer damage in U.S. communities, 2009–2019
K.F. Kovacs, R.G. Haight, D.G. McCullough, R.J. Mercader, N.W. Siegert, A.M. Liebhold
Ecological Economics (2010)

More information about this Working Group's research and publications

June 13, 2011

Science Magazine article considers mitigation of local causes of ocean acidification using existing laws.

Mitigating Local Causes of Ocean Acidification with Existing Laws
R. P. Kelly, M. M. Foley, W. S. Fisher, R. A. Feely, B. S. Halpern, G. G. Waldbusser, M. R. Caldwell
Science (May 2011)

May 13, 2011

thumbnail photo of a small bird perched on a tree branch Some species are moving farther and faster in response to climate change. The challenge is in predicting these range shifts to inform assessment and conservation efforts.

Do species’ traits predict recent shifts at expanding range edges?
A.L. Angert, L.G. Crozier, L.J. Rissler, S.E. Gilman, J.J. Tewksbury, A.J. Chunco
Ecology Letters (May 2011)

This study was featured in the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) Fall 2011 newsletter
The study was also covered by science-focused news sites Science Daily and Red Orbit.

More information about the participants & publications of this Working Group.

May 3, 2011

Contrary to the pattern in terrestrial species, this study found that smaller fish are as prone to overfishing as larger species.

Researchers discover unexpected patterns of fisheries collapse in the world's oceans.
M.L. Pinsky, O.P. Jensen, D. Ricard, and S.R. Palumbi
Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (2011)

Articles about this study appeared in:
CBC News (Canada): Smaller fish just as prone to overfishing (May 2, 2011)
Nature News: Overfishing hits all creatures great and small (May 3, 2011)
Scientific American: Overfishing Hits All Creatures Great and Small (May 3, 2011)
Science Daily: 'Small Fry' Fish Just as Vulnerable to Population Plunges as Sharks or Tuna (May 3, 2011)
Santa Cruz Sentinel: Ocean's food chain: Overfishing not just an issue for big fish (May 14, 2011)
Vancouver Sun (Canada): Overfishing not just a problem for big fish (May 20, 2011)
San Jose Mercury News: Ocean's food chain: Overfishing not just an issue for big fish
Monterey County Herald: Small fish species at risk

More information about the research project and related Distributed Graduate Seminar that produced this study

More information about the research participants and other publications

May 3, 2011

The University of New Mexico & DataONE are sponsoring an Environmental Information Management Training Institute open to MS and PhD students. The three-course graduate program provides hands-on training in the design, management, analysis, and preservation of data and information.

DATES: May 23 - June 10, 2011

More information is available on the University of New Mexico's website

May 3, 2011

thumbnail photo of a tightly-packed school of small fish swimming in the oceanCompared to previous analyses of catch trend data, the researchers' use of biomass data from stock assessments found that lower percentages of fisheries are collapsed or over exploited.

Contrasting Global Trends in Marine Fishery Status Obtained from Catches and from Stock Assessments
T.A. Branch, O.P. Jensen, D. Ricard, Y. Ye, R. Hilborn
Conservation Biology 25 (2011)

Articles about this study appeared in:
NY Times Green Blog: One Fish, Two Fish, False-ish, True-ish
New Scientist: Stay of Execution for World's Fish Stocks
InvestSMART (Australia): Count fish in water, not catch, says scientist
Seafood Source: Researcher: Collapsed fish stocks overestimated
Columbia Basin Bulletin: New method for measuring biomass shows fish stocks more stable than we think
Dalje (Croatia): World fish stocks said improved
Science Daily: Plenty More Fish in the Sea?

More information about the research project and related Distributed Graduate Seminar that produced this study

More information about the research participants and other publications

May 3, 2011

Ecologists engaged in synthesis work at NCEAS became inspired to develop consistent grassland experiments to facilitate data comparison. The Nutrient Network that grew out of this inspiration found that most introduced plants do not run rampant in their new ranges. They also discovered which species tended to increase in abundance, which should bolster efforts to contain the spread of destructive exotic plants by providing solid data about the likelihood of such events.

Articles about the international Nutrient Network:
Related publications:
Abundance of introduced species at home predicts abundance away in herbaceous communities
Jennifer Firn et al.
Ecology Letters 14(3), Feb 2011

March 21, 2011

thumbnail photo of a bright yellow butterfly with blue and black patterned wings in front of an orange flower

Researchers advise thinking globally, acting locally when studying plants, animals & global warming

Overstretching Attribution
C. Parmesan, C. Duarte, E. Poloczanska, A.J. Richarson, M.C. Singer
Nature Climate Change (20 Mar 2011)

A sample of the media coverage of this research paper:
The Times of India: Deal locally with climate change impact (Mar 21, 2011)
Thaindian News (Thailand): Deal locally with climate change impact (Mar 21, 2011)
ECOS Magazine (Australia): Climate adaptation: think globally, act locally (May 4, 2011)
San Antonio Express News: Deal locally with climate change impact (Mar 21, 2011)

Summary of the affiliated research project

More information about the Working Group, participants and publications

March 11, 2011

to represent mortality, stylized black and white drawing of human and ape skeletons side by sideStudy in Science finds similar aging and mortality patterns across primates, including humans.

Aging in the Natural World: Comparative Data Reveal Similar Mortality Patterns Across Primates
A.M. Bronikowski, J. Altmann, D.K. Brockman, M. Cords, L.M. Fedigan, A. Pusey, T. Stoinski, W.F. Morris, K.B. Strier, S.C. Alberts
Science 331 (6022), pp. 1325-1328 (11 Mar 2011)

A sample of the international media coverage of this study:
ABC News: Study: Humans, Apes, Have Similar Aging Patterns (Mar 10, 2011)
MSNBC News: What do you mean I'm aging like a baboon?! (Mar 10, 2011)
USA Today: Study: Humans, apes, have similar aging patterns (Mar 11, 2011)
NPR Talk of the Nation: Despite Long Lives, Humans Age Like Other Primates (Mar 11, 2011)
Discovery News: Humans Age at Same Rate as Chimps, Gorillas (Mar 10, 2011)
US News & World Report: Humans Age at Same Pace as Other Primates, Study Finds (Mar 10, 2011)
Daily Mail (UK): More advanced? Humans age and die at the 'same rate as primates (Mar 14, 2011)
ABC Australia: Humans age same as other primates (Mar 16, 2011)
Xinghua (China): Humans age just like apes: study (Mar 11, 2011)
The Hindu (India): Humans, apes have similar aging patterns (Mar 11, 2011)
The Globe & Mail (Canada): When it comes to aging, we're just like monkeys (Mar 13, 2011)
The China Post (Taiwan): Humans, apes aging patterns are similar: study (Mar 12, 2011)
Japan Times (Japan): Study chips away futher at humans' uniqueness (Mar 13, 2011)

More information about this jointly-funded NCEAS-NESCent Working Group, participants, and publications
February 16, 2011

thumbnail photo of a young nerpa seal curled on the ice of Lake Baikal in SiberiaScientists have discovered that Siberia's Lake Baikal, the world's oldest, deepest, and largest freshwater lake, provides insight into the ways that climate change affects water temperature, which in turn affects life in the lake.

Influence of Long-Distance Climate Teleconnection on Seasonality of Water Temperature in the World's Largest Lake - Lake Baikal, Siberia
Stephen L. Katz, Stephanie E. Hampton, Lyubov R. Izmest'eva, Marianne V. Moore
PLoS ONE 6(2): e14688 16 Feb 2011

Media coverage of this study:
Santa Barbara Independent: World's deepest lake mimics the ocean (Feb 19, 2011)
Discovery News: Siberia's Lake Baikal feeling the heat (Feb 18, 2011)
Science Daily: World’s Largest Lake Sheds Light on Ecosystem Responses to Climate Variability (Feb 18, 2011)
China Meterological Administration: government news (Feb 21, 2011)
Scientific Computing: World's largest lake sheds light on ecosystem responses to climate variability
Daily Nexus: Siberian Lake Ecology Linked to Atmosphere (Mar 1, 2011)
Duluth News Tribune: Rising water temps not unique to Lake Superior (Jun 1, 2011)

Summary of the related NCEAS research project

More information about the Working Group participants and publications

February 11, 2011

An article by NCEAS scientists in Science outlines the technological and sociological challenges of enabling open data in ecology, as well as the opportunities to overcome these challenges with initiatives such as DataONE.

Challenges and Opportunities of Open Data in Ecology
O.J. Reichman, Matthew B. Jones, Mark P. Schildhauer
Science 331(6018), Feb 2011

More information about DataONE.

January 26, 2011

Experts with backgrounds in the science, policy, and practice of Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) were convened to identify top priorities for advancing CMSP over the next one to five years. Particular attention was given to the need and opportunity to inform the U.S. National Ocean Council process to develop a strategic action plan in 2011 for implementing CMSP in the United States.

January 21, 2011

NCEAS launches an invasive plant research project through the Center’s Synthetic Undergraduate Networks for Analyzing Ecological Data (Project SUN).

Applying the principles of NCEAS’ success as a pioneer of ecological synthesis, Project SUN offers undergraduates the opportunity to participate in collaborative research in partnership with students from other universities.

December 8, 2010

Researchers evaluate the accumulation rates of non-native forest pests and pathogens in the United States, as well as the damage they cause to trees.

Historical Accumulation of Nonindigenous Forest Pests in the Continental United States
J.E. Aukema, D.G. McCullough, B. Von Holle, A.M. Liebhold, K. Britton and S.J. Frankel
BioScience 60(11), Dec 2010

The following media covered this study:
Los Angeles Times blog: More global trade means more forest pests (Dec 10, 2010)
Washington Post online: Invasive insects are growing threat to trees, forests (Dec 12, 2010)
Washington Post print version: Bugs, beetles and borers put U.S. forests at risk (Dec 13, 2010)
Santa Barbara Independent: Ravenous Foreign Pests Threaten National Forests (Dec 6, 2010)
United Press International (UPI): U.S. forests under attack by foreign pests

More information about this Working Group's research, participants, and publications


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