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.
Researchers find the U.S. could be exposed to a range of new invasive species, including many from tropical and semiarid Africa as well as the Middle East. This emerging threat is intensifying the need for preemptive screening of nursery stock species prior to import
More information about this project's research, participants and publications
The SciFund Challenge inspired the passion and creativity of 49 scientists who engage in diverse research projects. The SciFund Challenge blog offers an insider's view of the development and evolution of the initiative.
Jai and Jarrett's groundbreaking effort to fund small-scale research projects via crowdfunding within the SciFund Challenge has been featured in a variety of U.S. and international media:
Analysis of NCEAS data finds that face-to-face interaction and involvement of resident scientists are among the most important factors leading to successful synthesis groups. In addition, this study found that participation in synthesis groups increases scientists' tendencies to collaborate with others.
NCEAS recently joined with other National Science Foundation-sponsored science and math synthesis centers to support "Empowering Innovation and Synergy Through Diversity", the 2011 national conference of SACNAS, a society dedicated to Advancing Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.
As part of the conference program, postdoctoral researchers from NCEAS, the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) and National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) participated in a career mentoring session and presented at a symposium "Hot Topics in Ecology: Climate Change."
A new study published in the journal Science found that, at certain latitudes, both the speed and direction of climate change and shifts in the seasonal timing of temperatures are changing more quickly in the ocean than on land. This may introduce conservation concerns because the more rapid changes often occur in areas of high marine diversity.
Featured Summary of this research project
More information about this Working Group's research and publications
The temperate forests of Canada or Northern Europe may have much more in common with the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia or South America than previously believed, according to a research group sponsored by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS).
Inheritors of a fire-prone planet Earth, humans have developed a complex and diverse relationship with fire throughout history. Better understanding of the role of humans in altering Earth's past, present and future fire regimes can help to clarify the respective influence of humans and natural dynamics.
A group of ecologists and economists find that non-native forest insects in the U.S. cost billions of dollars, and governments and homeowners pay the price.
Dr. Jennifer Balch, Postdoctoral Associate at NCEAS, recently taught a module on the relationship between fire and an invasive grass at Diné College, a public institution chartered by the Navajo Nation. Dr. Balch and Prof. Marnie Carroll at Diné College designed this module as part of the working group "Engaging Undergraduate Students In Ecological Investigations Using Large, Public Datasets." Fifteen sophomores from the Navajo Nation participated in the course where they learned how to manipulate NASA satellite data on fire to explore how cheatgrass increases burned area in the Great Basin.
[From ESA press release]: The Ecological Society of America (ESA) awarded the 2011 Sustainability Science Award to the paper “Rebuilding Global Fisheries,” published in Science in 2009. The study--resulting from collaboration between scientists who initially had conflicting opinions about future scenarios for the sustainability of global fisheries--integrates the data, methods and analyses of a diverse group to address controversies and form a consensual view regarding a long-standing issue in global food security.
Researchers find that methane emissions from inland waters offset 25% of the terrestrial carbon sink, making freshwater an important--but often overlooked--component of the global carbon cycle.
More information about this research project
Researchers found that one billion people may face freshwater shortages by 2050, due to a combination of population growth and climate change. The shortages will likely impact freshwater flows, which can impair river ecosystem health as well as local fisheries.
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.
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
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.
NCEAS 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.
Summary of the related NCEAS research project.
More information about the Working Group participants and publications.
A U.S. News & World Report article highlights the effectiveness and topical diversity of NCEAS' Network of Ecological Researchers.