NCEAS News and Announcements

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April 8, 2015


Scientists glimpse into a future of drought and tree mortality

From 2000 to 2003, a drought in the American Southwest triggered a widespread die-off of forests around the region, including many stands of quaking aspen. While the event was associated with drought, scientists didn’t know exactly what caused forests to succumb or how severe conditions needed to be to induce such die-off. A team of scientists has collaborated on the development a new modeling tool to better explain how aspen forests died as a result of the 2000-2003 drought. The researchers’ findings appear in the journal Nature Geoscience.


April 7, 2015

Two Principal Investigators of the NCEAS Arctic Options Working Group, Paul Berkman and Oran Young, recently co-authored with Lloyd Axworthy an article, Escalating Tensions Challenge U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, in Huffington Post on 06 April 2015, addressing the upcoming international challenges in the U.S. two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council which begins on 24 April 2015. More>


March 12, 2015

          DataONE Webinar Series

Making Data Count: Measuring Data Use and Reach
Jennifer Lin - PLOS, Matt Jones - NCEAS, Martin Fenner - PLOS

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
9:00am Pacific/ 10:00am Mountain/ 11:00am Central/ 12:pm Eastern

More Information>

Register Now


March 9, 2015

Snap Logo

SNAP: Science for Nature and People announces the selection of seven new Working Group projects from the 2014 RFP process, bringing the total number of Working Groups in the SNAP portfolio to 19. SNAP is an innovative scientific collaboration between NCEAS, The Nature Conservancy, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, aimed at solving the most pressing challenges and advancing solutions at the intersection of nature conservation and human wellbeing.

SNAP currently has more than 250 scientists — from more than 100 universities — involved its 19 Working Groups, whose inquiries encompass land-use tradeoffs, securing sufficient food and water for growing populations, and dealing with the impacts of climate change, among other severe regional and global challenges. More>


March 2, 2015

NCEAS Working Group The effects of global change on malaria transmission: A meta-analysis, set out to find how changes in temperature and precipitation will affect malaria transmission, but the scarcity of data makes it difficult to model predictions of the range of temperatures that are ideal for disease transmissions, and in empirical estimates, the sensitivity of model predictions to errors is unknown. Johnson, et al. (2015) develop methods for estimating sensitivity of model outputs while focusing on the effect of temperature on malaria transmission by using a Bayesian approach to help identify these critical uncertainties. More>


February 12, 2015

Scientific literature first reported plastic pollution in the ocean as early as the 1970s. Over 40 years later no rigorous estimates of the amount and origin of plastic debris entering the marine environment exist - until now. Published in Science, a new study by a NCEAS Working Group provides the first estimate quantifying the annual input of plastic debris from land into the ocean. Additionally, the study offers a framework for developing ocean-scale solutions to the problem of plastic pollution in marine environments. More>


February 4, 2015

One of the greatest challenges we face in the 21st Century is sustaining the systems that support life while meeting human needs. NCEAS' Distributed Graduate Seminar for Sustainability Science set out to address core concepts in sustainability science and develop model systems for advancement of theory and tools for sustainable management. The results of this multi-year collaborative graduate research across seven institutions has been released as a Special Feature, Ecosystem Service Trade-offs Across Global Contexts and Scales, in the upcoming issue of Ecology and Society. More>


February 4, 2015

NCEAS researchers have determined that, under most circumstances, natural resource managers can chose their preferred sampling locations without meticulously adhering to a specific pattern for sample point locations. Their findings show that managers generally did not gain any extra benefit from rigorously following any particular pattern. This is good news for managers deploying traps for surveillance of invasive species or are depending on volunteers for sample placement.  Now, knowing that the placement of traps or samples is unlikely to diminish the probability of detection at the broader scale, resource managers can freely chose sampling locations that maximize the probability of detection at a local scale. More>


January 26, 2015

NCEAS researchers set out to strengthen conclusions and increase confidence about how climate change affects biological systems. The resulting meta-analysis published in Global Ecology and Biogeography, O'Connor et al. (2014) outlines a framework to guide the assessment of the strength of inferences in climate change impact studies. Using this framework outline, the team developed a confidence index (Cindex) and used it to assess the confidence in marine climate impact studies' conclusions to identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement in future studies. More>


January 21, 2015

Analyzing the geographic distributions of more than 13,000 plant species, NCEAS Working Group conducted the first comprehensive assessment of native vs. non-native plant distribution in the continental United States, comparing native and non-native species to identify differences in their overall geography. Published in the latest issue of Global Ecology and Biogeography, their findings included a few surprises. They found that native plant species are much less limited by climate as once assumed; instead other non-climate related factors or interactions with other species can prevent native species from moving into new environments. More>


January 16, 2015

January 2015

Dear NCEAS Community,

All of us at NCEAS wish you great success and happiness in 2015!

January 13, 2015

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently issued a final rule on the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) designating it as a subspecies of the gray wolf with it own Endangered Species status. Additionally, USFWS issued a revised experimental population rule expanding the area the Mexican wolf is allowed to occupy. The decisions were based on the recommendations of the 2014 independent scientific peer review panel, conducted by National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS).  More>


January 12, 2015

NPR's Radiolab recently presented a podcast, "How Do You Put a Price Tag On Nature?" featuring the work of two NCEAS Ecosystem Services Working Groups - Robert Costanza et al. and their work on the total valuation of the world's ecosystems and the Pollinator's Working Group led by Claire Kremen, focused on the economic valuation of pollinators. More>


December 19, 2014

Jellyfish have been labeled as a nuisance species, likened to that of wasps, cockroaches, and others, obscuring any understanding of their value (positive, neutral, or negative) in terms of ecosystem services. In some regions of the world, jellyfish bloom size, frequency, period, and magnitude is increasing, directly effecting ecosystem services. The NCEAS Working Group, "Global expansion of jellyfish blooms: Magnitude, causes and consequences," has evaluated the benefits and costs of jellyfish, shedding light on the impacts of increased human modification and interactions with coastal ecosystems. Understanding the costs to human well-being if jellyfish populations increase is addressed in this research published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. More>


December 10, 2014

NCEAS researchers use #SciFund Challenge to determine key factors in successful Internet fundraising.

Everything you know about crowdfunding is wrong, and that is good news for scientists. Crowdfunding is the practice of financing a project or venture through contributions from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. NCEAS associates have conducted the first study that quantifies what factors are needed for success in crowdfunding for science. The findings of their experiment, #SciFund Challenge, were twofold: The success of science crowdfunding efforts depends on researchers building an audience for their science before the crowdfunding begins as well as engaging that audience throughout the fundraising period. Their analysis appeared in the journal PLOS ONE and covered in NatureMore>


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>



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