In developed countries there has been a steep decline for the support of natural history however, the importance of the essential knowledge gained through studying the fundamental nature of organisms has not waned. Josh Tewksbury, NCEAS sabbatical fellow from the University of Washington, convened a group of 17 researchers including former NCEAS deputy director, Stephanie Hampton, which resulted in an important new manuscript in the April issue of BioScience highlighting numerous examples of the essential knowledge natural history has provided for fields as varied as human health, food security, conservation, land management, and recreation. More>
NCEAS seeks proposals for Working Groups and Postdoctoral Associates to conduct synthesis research and analysis for the Gulf of Alaska. Newly integrated historical data is now available from a quarter century of monitoring studies on physical and biological systems impacted by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Call for Proposals. Proposals are due by May 1, 2014. More>
A new study provides an innovative global map of where species are likely to succeed or fail in keeping up with a changing climate. The findings appear in the science journal Nature. A NCEAS Working Group of 18 international researchers analyzed 50 years of sea surface and land temperature data (1960-2009). They also projected temperature changes under two future scenarios, one that assumes greenhouse gas emissions are stabilized by 2100 and a second that assumes these emissions continue to increase. The resulting maps display where new temperature conditions are being generated and where existing environments may disappear.
NCEAS Informatics’ mission is to create and advance technologies and methods that enable robust, reproducible science in ecology and environmental sciences. NCEAS’ Informatics work is conducted with a number of partner collaborators and impacts the way ecological research is conducted, especially relative to synthesis and collaboration, which depend so heavily on extending access to relevant data.
Frank Davis, director of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), and fellow University of California, Santa Barbara professors discuss the challenges of drought in California when coupled with a warming climate in a Phys.org article, One-Two Punch of Drought, Global Warming, by Shelly Leachman.
Increases in the frequency, duration, and severity of temperature extremes are anticipated in the near future. Ecologists widely recognize the potential for warming temperatures to affect species’ home range and life cycles, diversity, and ecosystem functions and services. A recent study published by an NCEAS Working Group takes a closer look at how species respond to increasing average temperatures coupled with anticipated temperature variations and extremes.
With global production of plastic exceeding 280 metric tons every year, a fair amount of the stuff is bound to make its way to the natural environment. However, until now researchers haven’t known whether ingested plastic transfers chemical additives or pollutants to wildlife. A new study conducted by an NCEAS researcher shows that toxic concentrations of pollutants and additives enter the tissue of animals that have eaten microplastic. The findings are published today in Current Biology.
Recovery of overexploited marine populations has been slow, and most remain below target biomass levels. Using a global meta-analysis of overfished stocks, a NCEAS Working Group finds that resilience of those stocks subjected to moderate levels of overfishing is enhanced, not compromised, offering the possibility of swift recovery. However, prolonged intense overexploitation, especially for collapsed stocks, not only delays rebuilding but also substantially increases the uncertainty in recovery times, despite predictable influences of fishing and life history. Timely and decisive reductions in harvest rates could mitigate this uncertainty. Instead, current harvest and low biomass levels render recovery improbable for the majority of the world’s depleted stocks.
Predicted responses of transpiration to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration (eCO2) are highly variable amongst process-based models. To better understand and constrain this variability amongst models, a NCEAS Working Group conducted an intercomparison of 11 ecosystem models applied to data from two forest free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiments at Duke University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The study yields a framework for analyzing and interpreting model predictions of transpiration responses to eCO2, and highlights key improvements to these types of models.