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.
Happy New Year from Santa Barbara! We hope to connect with many of you in the coming year – whether through a submission to an upcoming Call for Proposals, as a participant in a new Working Group, or hosting your own collaboration workshop at NCEAS. As we head into 2014, we would like to take a moment to share with you some of NCEAS' 2013 highlights.
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.
The first Working Group of Science for Nature and People (SNAP) takes place this week at NCEAS. “We welcome the working group participants for Western Amazonia: Balancing infrastructure Development and Conservation of Waters, Wetlands, and Fisheries, which includes international experts from Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research, National University of the Peruvian Amazon, the United Nations Development Program, the MacArthur Foundation, and the founding partners – NCEAS, The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society,” said Frank Davis NCEAS director and a member of SNAP’s governing board.
Interests are awakening globally to take advantage of the extensive energy, shipping, fishing, and tourism opportunities associated with diminishing sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. These environmental state-changes are generating risks of political, economic, and cultural instabilities that will affect societies at all levels—from local to international.