NCEAS News and Announcements

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December 10, 2014

NCEAS has created a new advisory group who will provide Frank Davis, NCEAS' Director, and his senior staff with counsel on new projects and initiatives. The Science Advisers are a group of leading thinkers in ecology and environmental science who will help the organization anticipate and cultivate important emerging areas for research, environmental informatics, and training, and help us assess new funding opportunities that will allow NCEAS to continue to serve our research community.

NCEAS Science Advisers include: Stephanie Hampton (Chair), Jennifer Balch, Carl Boettiger, Christopher Costello, John Drake, and Hillary Young.  More>

 

December 8, 2014

SNAP Names Renowned Conservation Innovator as New Executive Director
Craig Groves Will Lead Cutting-Edge Science Initiative Tackling Conservation

Science for Nature and People (SNAP) — a new science initiative with NCEAS, The Nature Conservancy, and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) that is producing solutions to issues at the intersection of nature conservation and human wellbeing — has named the renowned conservation innovator Craig Groves as its first full-time executive director. Groves, whose nearly 30-year scientific career includes authoring the book regarded as the bible of conservation planning, assumes the directorship of SNAP just as the initiative is poised in 2015 to deliver the first of its findings. More>

 

December 3, 2014

The National Ecosystem Services Partnership (NESP) is launching a Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook to more than 500 ecosystem services stakeholders at the A Community on Ecosystem Services conference in Washington, DC on December 8-12. With the collaboration of NCEAS and National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) researchers, the guidebook was developed to fulfill the need for "common, reliable approaches to incorporate ecosystem services concepts into natural resource management, planning, and decision making." More >

 

 

November 24, 2014

 

At the midpoint of the four-year project, the Ocean Tipping Points (OTP) collaboration presented its initial findings in five scientific papers. The first two studies analyze the factors that drive differences in the state of the ecosystem and the three additional studies were published today in a special issue of the Philosophical Transactions B entitled “Marine regime shifts around the globe: Theory, drivers and impacts."  More>

November 19, 2014

With approximately 200 undergraduate students in biology and environmental science courses from a network of universities, the NCEAS Working Group, Toads, roads, and nodes: Collaborative course-based research on the landscape ecology of amphibian populations, examined the effects of landscape structure and road disturbance on the distribution and richness of pond-breeding frogs and toads across the central and eastern U.S. They compiled data from the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP), a database of amphibian occupancy collected by citizen scientists. The research results demonstrate that road disturbance has a broad influence on the spatial distribution and local diversity of anurans in the eastern and central U.S. More>

 

November 12, 2014

On November 9, 2014 NCEAS Director Frank Davis and Director of Computing Mark Schildhauer hosted a delegation from Korea's new National Institute of Ecology (NIE). The NIE delegation included Associate Professor Yikweon Jang from the Ewha Woman's University, the NIE Ecosystem Assessment Team manager Jong-Hak Yun, and NIE research scientist Jaeho Lee.

The NIE researchers met with NCEAS to discuss prospects for building a new synthesis center within the NIE, based on the model and success of NCEAS. More>

 

November 11, 2014

Progress in robust, replicable scientific research is dependent on the quality and accessibility of software at all levels. NCEAS experts on informatics for ecologists – Mark Schildhauer, Director of Computing and Matt Jones, Director of Informatics Research and Development – will be participating in discussions and presenting a paper at the second workshop on Sustainable Software for Science: Practice and Experiences (WSSSPE2) hosted as part of SC14 conference on super computing in New Orleans on November 16, 2014. More>
November 7, 2014

Understanding how humans value and use ecosystems from a cultural aspect is vital for efforts to make social-ecological systems sustainable. Human preferences and values are nonmaterial and accordingly they are difficult to characterize for ecosystem management. Emerging techniques eliciting qualitative and quantitative data provide feasible means of deepening understanding of the nonmaterial dimensions of complex human-ecosystem relationships.

The NCEAS Working Group, Cultural ecosystem services from marine and coastal systems: Counting the intangibles, has produced three new research projects that provide a framework for employing quantitative and—where necessary—qualitative methods to explicitly consider cultural values in ecosystem planning. More>

 

November 4, 2014

The debate over fuel-reduction techniques is only a small part of a much larger fire problem that makes society increasingly vulnerable to catastrophic losses. An international review, led by Max Moritz, a specialist in fire at UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources and a NCEAS Associate, calls for changes in our fundamental approach to wildfire: from fighting fire to coexisting with fire as a natural process. The findings appear today the journal Nature.

“We don’t try to ‘fight’ earthquakes — we anticipate them in the way we plan communities, build buildings and prepare for emergencies,” said lead author Moritz. “We don’t think that way about fire, but our review indicates that we should...."  More>

 

October 30, 2014

The NCEAS Environment and Organisms Working Group has assembled a state-of-the-art set of environmental layers that incorporate well-known but rarely used measures that have direct links to physiological processes into a unified, global, high-resolution dataset for land-cover. Additionally, the team has identified best practices for generating fine-grained air temperature datasets at 1-km scale. The results of this Working Group have recently appeared in two peer-reviewed publications. More>


October 27, 2014

Human facilitated movement of pathogens, broad-scale landscape changes, and perturbations to ecological systems are just a few of the reasons that emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are increasing. The impacts of infectious diseases in wild populations are not restricted to wild animals and plants and have the potential to threaten public health. A NCEAS Working Group looked at previously developed infectious disease models to determine if they were sufficient explaining the large impacts that recently emerging fungal diseases or if other unique features of fungal diseases are contributing to their impacts. More>


October 23, 2014

The availability of nutrients in our environment is being modified by humans including a doubling of nitrogen (N) inputs and a quadrupling of phosphorus (P) inputs relative to pre-industrial levels. The NCEAS Working Group "Comparing trophic structure across ecosystems" conducted a meta-analysis of 118 field and laboratory experiments in freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems to better understand how nutrients, independently or in combination, influence the growth of primary producers. The findings of their analysis were recently published in Oikos. More >


October 21, 2014

medium_Oil Well.jpg       To Frack or Not to Frack?

The SNAP Hydraulic Fracturing Working Group is developing better science to inform policy and management practices with regards to the potential effects of water withdrawals and chemical contamination associated with hydraulic fracturing. This interdisciplinary group of ecologists, hydrologists and legal experts is synthesizing fine-scale information from the 48 contiguous states and reviewing existing water use and waste management plans. More>


October 13, 2014

To help meet the challenges of geoscience research in an age of Big Data, NSF has recently awarded UCSB’s NCEAS and partner organizations an EarthCube Building Block grant, GeoLink. GeoLink will advance the use of techniques in Linked Open Data and the Semantic Web to help confederate disparate earth science data resources, focused initially on oceanographic information archived in several major national data repositories. More>

October 8, 2014

     Meeting the needs for open, persistent, robust and accessible Earth observation data

DataONE: the Data Observation Network for Earth (www.dataone.org) is a distributed cyberinfrastructure, that has dramatically increased the discoverability and accessibility of diverse Earth and environmental science data. Founded in 2009 by the National Science Foundation, DataONE has recently been awarded an additional $15 million from NSF as part of an accomplishment based renewal. NCEAS's Matt Jones, Director of informatics Research and Development, and Mark Schildhauer, Director of Computing, have been contributing to the DataONE Leadership Team since its inception. NCEAS's KNB Data Repository is a key Coordinating Node of DataONE. Jones will continue as a Co-PI on DataONE in Phase II. More>

 

 

October 1, 2014

 
Contrary to the popular research-based assumption that our world's coral reefs are "doomed," a new longitudinal study from NCEAS paints a brighter picture of how corals will fair in the future. While there will be winners and losers among coral species with increasing natural and anthropogenic stressors, experts now believe a subset of the present coral fauna will likely populate the world's oceans as water temperatures continue to rise, at least over the next century. The results were published today in PLOS ONE. More>

 

September 30, 2014

SNAP: Science for People and Nature announces the addition of four new Working Groups to its growing portfolio of solution-oriented scientific inquiries – from exploring how video games could overturn entrenched perceptions about climate change to using evidence-based conservation to make the right decisions for people and nature. The four new working groups are:

More>

 

September 29, 2014

First assessments for Antarctica, Southern Ocean and the High Seas Ocean

Most comprehensive Ocean Health score – Global Oceans score of 67 out of 100

The third annual update from the Ocean Health Index, a partnership led by scientists from UC Santa Barbara's NCEAS and Conservation International, is the first to include scores for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (72 out of 100*) and the 15 ocean regions beyond national jurisdiction (67 out of 100 for the high seas areas). Together with the 220 Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) measured in 2012 and 2013, the Index now measures all of the oceans on planet Earth. More>

 

September 26, 2014

Understanding the causes of species richness across the latitudinal gradient is still elusive. The Botanical Information and Ecology Network (BIEN) Working Group at NCEAS compared a range of ecological theories for explaining biodiversity, such as neutral dynamics, competitive exclusion, and environmental filtering, for how well these predict functional diversity at varying scales. They found that patterns of functional trait diversity are not consistent with any one theory of biodiversity. These conflicting results indicate that no single biodiversity theory considered alone is able to explain the latitudinal gradient of species diversity in terms of functional trait space. The findings of this analysis recently appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). More>

 

September 15, 2014

A quarter of a century after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in the Gulf of Alaska, NCEAS collaborated with investigators from Gulf Watch Alaska and the Herring Research and Monitoring program to gather all the data collected on the ecological ramifications of the spill overtime. Now, two new NCEAS Working Groups have been selected to use this collated data to conduct long-term synthesis analyzes of the region to gain new insights on the impacts oil has on biological diversity, ecosystems, human communities, and their ability to recover. More>> 

 

 

 

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