NCEAS News and Announcements

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January 5, 2012

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.

December 28, 2011

Invasive Japanese Climbing FernResearchers 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

Global change, global trade, and the next wave of plant invasions
B.A. Bradley, D.M. Blumenthal, R. Early, E.D. Grosholz, J.J. Lawler, L.P. Miller, C. JB Sorte, C.M. D’Antonio, J.M. Diez, J.S. Dukes, I. Ibanez, and J.D. Olden
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, (online 2 Dec 2011)

UCSB press release
KCLU, public radio interview

More information about this project's research, participants and publications

December 7, 2011

Jai Ranganathan and Jarrett Byrnes

Inspired by the spirit of collaboration and a shared passion for bringing science research to a wider audience, NCEAS Center Associate Jai Ranganathan and NCEAS Postdoc Jarrett Byrnes developed a creative new initiative called the SciFund Challenge. Instead of ivory tower research, the SciFund Challenge brings proposed science projects to the people to connect everyone to the excitement of doing science.  

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:

Forbes: Crowdfunding for Science and STEM Education
MSNBC : It’s the science of money — here’s how you can help
Scientific American : To study backward-finned dolphin, researcher sources crowds for cash
CNN : Who were the 99% of ancient Rome?
Europa Press : Three Spanish researchers seeking funding on the Internet (in Spanish)
The Asian Scientist : The #SciFund Challenge – science funding through crowdsourcing
Check out the full list of coverage by traditional and new media, with articles in Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
November 29, 2011

Collaborators 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.

Collaboration and Productivity in Scientific Synthesis
SE Hampton and JN Parker
BioScience, 61(11):900-910, 2011

UCSB press release with video

Media coverage of this study:
Noozhawk: UCSB's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis Serves as Model
November 15, 2011

SACNAS logoNCEAS 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."

November 3, 2011

photo of playful dolphins jumping in opposite directions in the open oceanA 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.

The Pace of Shifting Climate in Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems
M.T. Burrows, D.S. Schoeman, L.B. Buckley, P. Moore, E.S. Poloczanska, K.M. Brander, C. Brown, J.F. Bruno, C.M. Duarte, B.S. Halpern, J. Holding, C.V. Kappel, W. Kiessling, M.I. O’Connor, J.M. Pandolfi, C. Parmesan, F.B. Schwing, W.J. Sydeman, A.J. Richardson
Science Vol. 334 no. 6056 pp. 652-655 (online 3 Nov 2011)
U.C. Santa Barbara press release

Following is a sample of the media coverage of this study:
The Atlantic: New Evidence That Climate Change Threatens Marine Biodiversity
ABC Australia: Climate change affecting oceans faster: Study
Times of India: Marine life 'needs to swim faster to survive climate change'
Sky News Australia: Aussie marine life climate change threat
The Australian: Marine life in climate change hot water
Softpedia: Species will have to move fast to adapt to climate change
Fish Update: Climate shifts could leave some species homeless, new research shows
Deccan Chronicle (India): Marine life 'needs to swim faster to survive climate change' Climate warming poses serious conservation challenge for marine life

Featured Summary of this research project

More information about this Working Group's research and publications

November 1, 2011

Text of the University of California press release:

Important questions are challenging researchers today: Where should their research data reside? How can they make the data discoverable by other investigators and repurposed in new ways? Would allowing others to access the data help advance their fields or their careers?

The University of California and several other major research institutions have partnered to develop the DMPTool, a flexible online application to help researchers generate data management plans — simple but effective documents for ensuring good data stewardship. These plans increasingly are being required by funders such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF). The DMPTool supports data management plans and funder requirements across the disciplines, including the humanities and physical, medical and social sciences.

When researchers openly and collaboratively share their data, advances in fields can occur much more quickly and effectively, as reported in the New York Times for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease research. The DMPTool will help in this effort.

September 22, 2011

photo of the interior of a shaded temperate forest carpeted by plants and vinesThe 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).

Disentangling the drivers of β-diversity along latitudinal and elevational gradients
N.J.B. Kraft, L.S. Comita, J.M. Chase, N.J. Sanders, N.G. Swenson, T.O. Crist, J.C. Stegen, M. Vellend, B. Boyle, M.J. Anderson, H.V. Cornell, K.F. Davies, A.L. Freestone, B.D. Inouye, S.P. Harrison, J.A. Myers
Science (online 22 Sept 2011)

U.C. Santa Barbara press release

Featured Summary of this research project

More information about this Working Group's research and publications

September 14, 2011

panoramic photo of a wildfire glowing brightly in the night sky behind a country club and golf course in CanadaInheritors 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.

The human dimension of fire regimes on Earth
D.M.J.S. Bowman, J. Balch, P. Artaxo, W.J. Bond, M.A. Cochrane, C.M. D’Antonio, R. DeFries, F.H. Johnston, J.E. Keeley, M.A. Krawchuk, C.A. Kull, M. Mack, M.A. Moritz, S. Pyne, C.I. Roos, A.C. Scott, N.S. Sodhi, T.W. Swetnam
Journal of Biogeography (online 14 Sept 2011)

U.C. Santa Barbara press release
National Science Foundation (NSF) video of NCEAS postdoc Jennifer Balch discussing this study

A sample of the media coverage of this study:
ClimateWire: New framework to help managers assess the role of fire in communities
Scientific American: New research details wise and foolish fire activities throughout human evolution
Science Daily: Our future will be shaped by fire
Fire Engineering: Researchers analyze the evolving human relationship with fire
Climate Spectator (Australia): Playing with fire

Featured Summary of this research project

More information about this Working Group's research and publications

September 9, 2011

close-up photo of an inch-long, shiny green insect--commonly called a Emerald Ash Borer--on the underside of a large tree leafA 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.

Economic Impacts of Non-Native Forest Insects in the Continental United States
J.E. Aukema, B. Leung K. Kovacs, C. Chivers, K.O. Britton, J. Englin, S.J. Frankel, R.G. Haight, T.P. Holmes, A. Liebhold, D.G. McCullough, B.Von Holle
PLoS One 6(9): e24587 (9 Sept 2011)

The findings of this research paper were cited in support of the Safeguarding American Agriculture Act of 2011 proposed by U.S. Senators Akaka & Feinstein:
"A research team comprised of biologists and economists from U.S. and Canadian universities and the U.S. Forest Service published a study last month finding that invasive wood-boring pests, such as the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle, cost homeowners an estimated $830 million a year in lost property values and cost local governments an estimated $1.7 billion a year as a result of damaged trees and woodlands."

A sample of the media coverage of this study:
NY Times Green blog: The Toll From Tree-Boring Pests
The Nature Conservancy: Forest Pests: Boring a hole in your wallet
Miller-McCune: Body Count: Putting a Price on Invasive Insect Damage
Conservation Magazine: Boring Expenses
Scientific American podcast: Invasive Insects Take Big Cash Bite
Wall Street Journal Ideas Market blog: Taxpayers feel bite from invasive species
Consumer Reports: Non-native insects costs taxpayers billions each year

More information about this Working Group's research and publications

August 23, 2011

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.

A class of Navajo undergraduate students poses with their teacher            Photo of Navajo students concentrating on assignments at their desks

August 15, 2011

photo of fishermen in heavy duty clothing working to sort their catch aboard a large fishing boat [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.

Read the full press announcement, including all of ESA’s 2011 award winners.

ESA's Sustainability Science Award is given to the authors of a scholarly work that makes the greatest contribution to the emerging science of ecosystem and regional sustainability through the integration of ecological and social sciences.

The 2011 winners are:
Worm, B., Hilborn, R., Baum, J.K., Branch, T.A., Collie, J.S., Costello, C., Fogarty, M.J., Fulton, E.A., Hutchings, J.A., Jennings, S., Jensen, O.P., Lotze, H.K., Mace, P.M., McClanahan, T.R., Palumbi, S.R., Parma, A.M., Rikard, D., Rosenberg, A.A., Zeller, D. & Minto, C.
Rebuilding Global Fisheries
Science 325 pp.578-585 (31 Jul 2009)
Previous worldwide media coverage of this study.

Descriptions of the research project and related Distributed Graduate Seminar that produced this paper

More information about the research participants and other publications

Rebuilding Fisheries Website
August 15, 2011

photo of freshwater lakes nestled in a valley between green mountainsResearchers 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.

D. Bastviken, L.J. Tranvik, J.A. Downing, P.M. Crill, A. Enrich-Prast
Science 331 p.50 (7 Jan 2011)

A sample of the international media coverage of this study:
Reuters: Lakes a big source of climate-warming gas: study
The Australian (Australia): Lakes emit greenhouse gases, scientists claim The Times (South Africa): Lakes a big source of climate-warming gas
Terra (Brasil): Lagos são grandes emissores de gás metano, diz estudo
Daily Independent (Nigeria): Natural greenhouse gas sink smaller than believed
The China Post (Taiwan): Lakes a source of climate-warming gas
Discovery News: Bugs ate up methane from Gulf spill
MSN (Brasil): Lagos são grandes emissores de gás metano, revela estudo
The Star (Malaysia): Lakes and rivers pollute air, too
The Local (Sweden): Lakes emit greenhouse gases: Swedish scientist
El Economista (Spain): Lakes a big source of climate-warming gas: study
Kaleej Times (UAE): Lakes a big source of climate-warming gas

More information about this research project

August 8, 2011

images of Earth from space, glowing against a dark background, with lights indicating larger population centersResearchers 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.

Urban growth, climate change, and freshwater availability
R.I. McDonald, P. Green, D. Balkc, B.M. Feketeb, C. Revenga, M. Todd, M. Montgomery
Proceedings of the National Academies of Science 108 pp. 6312-6317 (12 Apr 2011)

A sample of the international media coverage of this study:
Xinhua (China): Experts warn of growing water crisis in world's major cities
ABC Asia-Pacific (Australia): India, China to face water crisis by 2050
El País (Spain): Más de mil millones de personas vivirán con escasez de agua en las ciudades en 2050
AFP: Billion-plus people to lack water in 2050: study
News 24 (Africa): Billions people to lack water - study
Terra (Argentina): Más de 1.000 millones de personas carecerán de agua en el año 2050 (estudio)
The Jakarta Globe (Indonesia): Water Shortages For a Billion-Plus People by 2050: Study
The Independent (UK): Billion-plus people to lack water in 2050: study
Sydney Morning Herald (Australia): Billion-plus people to lack water in 2050: study
Phillipine Daily Inquirer (Philippines): Billion-plus people to lack water in 2050—study
Radio Netherlands: Billion-plus people to lack water in 2050: study
Scientific American: Climate Change Could Leave 1 Billion Urbanites High and Dry by 2050

More information about this research project

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.



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