NCEAS News and Announcements

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April 2, 2014

Manta Ray.  Photo Credit: NOAA

Brazil was the site of the first Ocean Health Index regional assessment designed to evaluate the economic, social and ecological uses and benefits that people derive from the ocean. Overall, Brazil scores 60 out of 100, with the goals of Carbon Storage (89), Coastal Protection (92) and Biodiversity (85) - all dependent on the health of marine habitats - with the highest national scores. The comprehensive findings from the Brazilian regional assessment was published in PLOS ONE. The results can help Brazilian officials identify opportunities for strategic management of ocean resources. More>


April 1, 2014

Science for Nature and People (SNAP) announces the 2014 SNAP Call for Proposals seeking Working Groups that use existing data to fill important knowledge gaps and advance solutions to significant problems at the intersection of nature conservation and human well-being. SNAP is an innovative partnership between NCEAS, The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society. From last year's call for proposals, SNAP has selected six new Working Groups that will bring science to solving some of the world's biggest challenges involving nature and human well-being -- from urban water security to hydraulic fracking's impact on water quality, from the sustainable management of fish stocks to feeding 9 billion people without destroying the planet. More>



March 26, 2014

Pollen-bearing stamens.  Photo Credit Jon Sullivan

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>


March 11, 2014

The enhanced KNB Data Repository includes new fast spatial search, DOI citations for data, and intuitive user interface improving access to and better supporting the data management needs of ecological, environmental, and earth science labs and individual researchers. More >



February 24, 2014

National Geographic Explorer.  Photo Credit: Paul A. Berkman

As ice cover in the Arctic Ocean diminishes, anticipation of increased shipping activities grows. In response, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is developing a mandatory Polar Code. NCEAS' Arctic Options: Holistic Integration for Arctic Coastal Marine Sustainability project team co-convened a "Workshop on Safe Ship Operations in the Arctic" with the IMO to further the discussion on key elements of the Polar Code. More>
February 10, 2014

Peregrine falcon.  Photo Credit: Erickson

A NCEAS Working Group examined data from 147 cities worldwide and found surprisingly high numbers of plant and animal species that persist and even flourish in urban environments — to the tune of hundreds of bird species and thousands of plant species in a single city. Contrary to conventional wisdom that cities are a wasteland for biodiversity, the study found the overall mix of species in cities reflects the unique biotic heritage of their geographic location. The findings of the study were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences.


February 7, 2014

Black crappie fish

International NCEAS Working Group tracks how fast and in which direction local climates — and species — have shifted


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.


February 6, 2014

Wolf.  Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

As a result of controversy surrounding the US Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) proposal to remove the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) from the endangered species list and add the Mexican Gray Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi), the Service commissioned the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) to conduct an unbiased assessment and clarify critical scientific issues.
February 3, 2014

Kepler Logo

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.

January 29, 2014


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 article, One-Two Punch of Drought, Global Warming, by Shelly Leachman.


January 29, 2014

Halloween pennant dragronfly.  Photo credit: Meng Kay, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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.

January 27, 2014

Dear NCEAS Community,

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.



December 18, 2013

Gray Wolf

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has asked UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) to manage a completely independent and transparent review of the scientific materials used in the Service's decisions regarding the status of the Gray Wolf under the Endangered Species Act.
December 15, 2013

Ongoing collaboration among the NCEAS Summer Institute 2013 participants continues this week as teams meet face-to-face to continue work on their group projects. Extending well beyond the close of the initial three-week program, teams regroup with the intent to publish their findings and make their derived data sets publicly available. The Urban Biodiversity Project team will be meet in Oakland, CA on December 14 and 15, while the Ocean Health Evaluation: The utility of the cumulative impact index in the Southern California Bight team will meet at NCEAS from December 17 to December 19, 2013.
December 9, 2013

Fish on trawler. Photo source: NOAA

As biodiversity and ecosystem services decline worldwide, scientists and policymakers are working together to identify effective policy solutions, as evidenced by the creation of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in 2012. To contribute to this international effort, researchers at NCEAS recently published their assessment of current uncertainties and key scientific needs related to understanding the relationship between biodiversity and six crucial ecosystem services: forage, timber, fishery stability, climate regulation, pest regulation, and water quality. Findings of the NCEAS working group Biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems: Translating results from model experiments into functional reality are published in BioScience.
December 4, 2013

NCEAS will be represented at the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) annual fall meeting in San Francisco, California, December 9-13, by Mark Schildhauer, Director of Computing and Stacy Rebich Hespanha, NCEAS Postoctoral Associate. They will be participating in numerous sessions examining ways to enhance and accelerate science by improving the process of data discovery through text mining and visualizations, cultivating innovation in scientific software, and new data management training for scientists.  More information on the AGU annual meeting.
December 2, 2013

lugworm cast

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.

November 20, 2013

NCEAS Deputy Director, Stephanie Hampton, has been recruited by Washington State University to direct WSU's system-wide Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach (CEREO). Founded in 2006, CEREO promotes interdisciplinary environmental initiatives for researchers across all 5 WSU campuses and their national and international partners.


November 20, 2013

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.


November 18, 2013

Free-air CO2 enrichment data collection systems in forest.

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.


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