NCEAS News and Announcements

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March 8, 2018

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we are doing our part to raise the profile of women in science by highlighting five of the nearly 1700 remarkable women in the NCEAS community for an expanded edition of NCEAS Portraits.



March 2, 2018

The Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) announced the launch of five new multi-disciplinary teams aimed at tackling global issues including water quantity, poverty, sanitation, livestock disease, and drought.



March 1, 2018

As a way of understanding which factors had the biggest impacts on Hawaii’s corals, a group of researchers from the collaborative Ocean Tipping Points project, which is co-led by the National Center for Ecological Analysis (NCEAS), completed the first-ever comprehensive map of how both humans and natural events influence overall reef health. This new study was published March 1 in PLOS One



February 27, 2018

Universities across the United States have set ambitious goals to shrink their carbon footprints, including the University of California, which launched its Carbon Neutrality Initiative in 2013, aiming for carbon neutrality by 2025. But amid broad support for climate action within the UC system, a big question looms: how to actually hit that target.

Now, a 27-member team uniquely comprised of researchers, facilities managers, sustainability officers and students from across the UC campuses has released a report that helps answer this important “how” question. They present a feasible strategy to achieve a measure that would be especially game changing: replacing natural gas with climate-friendlier options.  



February 21, 2018

Managing landscapes to maintain or improve their ability to deliver ecosystem services could help countries advance their progress toward the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals, says the Making Ecosystems Count team from the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP).  



February 7, 2018

Eric Sokol seems to like cold places. His research on metacommunities in freshwater and polar ecosystems has sent him to Alaska, Antarctica, Colorado, Idaho, and Michigan. As a coder, he has used his data and those of others to develop R statistical language to test hypotheses about how metacommunities can impact local and ecosystem-scale biodiversity.

A quantitative ecologist for the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and the lead principal investigator for the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network’s Metacommunities Synthesis working group, Sokol is hoping his work will build community, inclusiveness, and collaboration among ecologists who are asking similar questions about biodiversity.




January 31, 2018

Using synthesis science, researchers from the Science for Nature and People Partnership are providing evidence for the case that good environmental stewardship can be a useful tool in addressing poverty and improving a nation’s wealth, health, and food security.



January 25, 2018

What have the Long-Term Ecological Research Network (LTER) synthesis working groups been learning? The LTER Network Communications Office and NCEAS are co-hosting a webinar series that will highlight the progress and process of these groups. 

The webinars will take place on the second Thursday of each month at 11am Pacific Standard Time.



January 11, 2018

Nicaragua, Rwanda, Tonga, Botswana, Guyana – Jensen Montambault’s passion for conservation has taken her to many remote places, such as these, to understand how human conflict and behaviors impact natural resources. The journey of figuring out the answers to intractable problems fuels her passion for this work.

Recently, Montambault has ventured into a new role, as the interim executive director for the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP). We spoke to Montambault for this month’s Portrait to get a better idea of what’s to come under her leadership.



January 11, 2018

A letter from the Director

Executive Director Ben Halpern offers a message for the new year, highlighting the growing importance of environmental data science for making a difference in people's lives and how NCEAS is advancing this emerging discipline.      



December 27, 2017

The detrimental consequences of tipping points in ocean systems, such as the collapse of a New England lobster fishery in the 1990s, are well known, but they can sometimes be difficult to anticipate, identify and, thus, manage. To help ocean managers better deal with this challenge, the Ocean Tipping Points (OTP) project recently held a three-day workshop on its namesake concept as an effort to bridge science and management.

This workshop was a culminating event for the five-year, multi-partner project, which was co-led by NCEAS and focused on understanding tipping points in oceans and infusing that science into ocean management. Here is a spotlight on a couple of the insights gained at the workshop.   



December 20, 2017

How can we link ecological knowledge and decision-making more effectively? A recent paper from an NCEAS working group explores translational ecology, an emerging approach that has promise for helping science influence environmental conservation and management decisions.   



December 6, 2017

A simple hook and line can be all one needs to catch salmon, but fishing for data about salmon is often more complicated. With a multitude of organizations collecting data all around the world, typically following differing protocols, the result can be a sea of data obstructed by a tangled mess of mismatched standards and different collection methods.

Fortunately there is an army of data scientists now focused on gathering, disentangling, and aligning data for other researchers called the Data Task Force. An NCEAS initiative launched in 2015 and funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Data Task Force rose from the realization that data collection, standardization, and management are often major constraints for big-data projects and can slow down researchers’ ability to produce results.



November 30, 2017

The Ocean Health Index announced its sixth annual global assessment score – a 70 out of a possible 100 – at the 19th annual Global Environment Facility Large Marine Ecosystem meeting on November 30 in Cape Town, South Africa. While the 2017 score remains the same from 2016, it is roughly one point less than the global scores from 2012 through 2015.

Despite the relative global stability, more individual countries have experienced a decline in regional ocean health since the first assessment in 2012 than those seeing improvement.



November 20, 2017

Craig Groves is a bridge builder. His first book, Drafting a Conservation Blueprint, connects the science and practice of protecting biodiversity, and he was the first executive director of the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP), which bridges nature conservation, sustainable development and human welfare.

This fall, Groves hung up his hat on his 33-year career and, rather than building one, he crossed a bridge to the next adventure, retirement. We asked him to reflect on his career in this month’s NCEAS Portrait.



November 15, 2017

What happens if a community has a different definition of well-being than what is assumed by external investigators and managers? A recent study by the Assessing Biocultural Indicators SNAPP working group and their associates addresses the importance of approaching sustainability challenges in a way that is responsible, effective, and ethical for all involved parties.



November 1, 2017

Definitions of drought have tended to focus primarily on its effects as a meteorological condition and through a human-centric lens – for example, reduced water levels, crop stress or failure, and socioeconomic impacts. What these definitions ignore are the high costs of drought on nature and how those costs, in turn, affect human communities.

Recently, a team of researchers from the NCEAS collaborative initiative Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) developed a new definition, dubbed ecological drought, that provides a more holistic view. By integrating drought’s ecological, climatic, hydrological, socioeconomic and cultural dimensions, this conceptual framework may help decision-makers better prevent and respond to drought impacts.



October 30, 2017

Amid growing interest in leveraging nature-based solutions to mitigate the intensities of climate change, an alliance of ecologists, engineers and insurance experts has endeavored to determine the true (dollar) value of coastal habitats as natural defenses and to translate that value into risk-reduction incentives for conservation or restoration efforts.

By linking the unique knowledge and resources of these otherwise disconnected sectors, they are creating a win-win-win for insurance companies, communities and nature.



October 26, 2017

The idea of Planetary Boundaries has had remarkable influence on how scientists and policymakers think about the earth’s capacity to support humanity. Yet, the framework largely ignores something that covers two-thirds of the planet – our oceans. 

According to a new paper, published October 24th in Nature Ecology and Evolution, the near absence of oceans from the framework, which focuses primarily on land-based systems, is a major oversight that limits our understanding of the planet’s actual boundaries and the framework’s usefulness for policy.



October 25, 2017

Like many early career scientists who come to NCEAS, Skylar Hopkins began her scientific journey as a “muddy boots ecologist.” Unlike many others, her initial career aspirations were not in science, but in history and elementary education.

An avid caver, an experience she likens to being an astronaut, and blogger about parasites, Hopkins is one of the newer faces at NCEAS who brings a perspective that surely adds to the diversity of people who make up our community. 




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