NCEAS News and Announcements

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May 1, 2017

NCEAS is pleased to announce the twenty five participants who will make-up the Open Science for Synthesis Gulf Research Program (OSS:GRP) summer training institute. The twenty five participants will join instructors from NCEAS, DataONE, Data Carpentry, York University and the University of Colorado, Boulder for three weeks of instruction and group synthesis research. Data science instruction will focus on techniques for data management, scientific programming, synthetic analysis, and collaboration through the use of open-source, community-supported tools. The scientific synthesis projects will be related to the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystems, increasing community capability and efficiency in synthesis research. More>


April 20, 2017

The increasing amount of international transport and exchange requires a better understanding of the mechanisms behind invasive species dispersal. As we send goods across trade routes around the world, we also provide new pathways of invasion for non-native species. The NCEAS working group assessing the effects of trade policy on the management of non-native pests recognizes the ecological and economic significance of understanding invasions, and has recently published a study in the Journal of Applied Ecology that aims to improve predictions of invasion rates. More>


April 10, 2017

With the constant demand for wood products, the “sharing vs. sparing” question remains whether we should promote the intensification of production in small areas with intent to spare large areas of forest from human impacts, or promote best practices for extensive low-intensity harvests from native forests. In a new Conservation Letters publication, the SNAPP Forest Sharing or Sparing Working Group investigated how to meet the demand for wood products while minimizing CO₂ emissions and biodiversity losses. More>


April 3, 2017

Now more than ever, effective science communication is essential for scientists to share their findings with each other as well as the general public. A new opportunity has emerged in the form of very short, swift presentations that help bridge the gap between lengthy, detailed scientific presentations and short sound bites. In a recent PLOS Computational Biology paper, NCEAS senior fellow Christopher Lortie presents ten simple rules for successful short and swift presentations. More>


March 23, 2017

Integrated land-sea management (ILSM) is a type of resource management that targets threats and processes across land and sea ecosystems in order to maintain biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being. Since island peoples rely on natural sources for survival, a proactive, integrated management system across linked land and sea realms is essential for the continued provision of resources. In order to gain a better understanding of the opportunities and constraints for implementing ILSMs on islands, the SNAPP Ridges to Reef Working Group developed indicators for assessing management principles, and evaluated the performance of planning and implementation on four ILSMs on islands throughout the tropical Pacific. Their findings are found in a recent Environmental Conservation publication. More>


March 16, 2017

The National Science Foundation (NSF) added three new sites to the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, bringing the total number of U.S. sites to 28. The new sites, which focus on areas with highly productive fisheries, will add a much stronger marine emphasis to the LTER Network. More>


March 16, 2017

The Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Symposium will be held at the National Science Foundation (NSF) Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia on March 21, 2017. Featuring five talks from researchers across the LTER Network, the symposium will highlight how science through long-term research can help determine which changes in ecological systems may allow for recovery and which are more likely to irreversibly transform ecological systems. Changes to ecological systems are attributed to pressures such as sea-level rise, drought and fire, which are further exacerbated through a changing and climate. Visit the symposium website for more information. More>


March 13, 2017

The US NSF Arctic Data Center is holding a data best practices workshop, which will provide researchers with concrete steps and methods for more easily documenting and uploading their data to the Arctic Data Center. The workshop will be held Tuesday March 28, 2017 from 1:00 - 3:45 pm at the Ventura Beach Marriott Hotel in Ventura, CA. There is no cost for attendees of this training workshop.

To register, visit the Arctic Data Center website.



March 10, 2017

Despite long term data collection in the Gulf of Alaska since the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in 1989, the degree to which the spill affected fish populations remains controversial. Productivity of herring and some species of salmon have declined compared to the late 1970s or 1980s, but it is unclear if this reduction is a result of the oil spill. In a recent PLOS ONE publication, the NCEAS Gulf of Alaska Portfolio Effects Working Group examined herring and salmon productivity over time to determine if lack of recovery for these species was due to the oil spill or other environmental factors such as freshwater discharge or competition. More>


March 2, 2017

The Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) announced the launch of five new multi-disciplinary teams aimed at tackling global issues including land use, soil carbon, conservation offsets, human health and the environment, and food production.




February 24, 2017

Despite a history of habitat restoration focusing on single species recovery, a new study affirms this is not necessarily the most efficient approach. A team of scientists, including NCEAS Director Ben Halpern and NCEAS researcher Adrian Stier, show that synchronous predator and prey recovery can be twice as fast in restoring ecosystem functioning. Their new publication in Nature Ecology & Evolution conveys the importance of ecosystem-level approaches to management and the other social benefits that could arise from these management changes.More>


February 16, 2017

Runoff from upstream, land-based pollutants jeopardizes the ocean's coral reefs and adversely impacts the production of goods and services critical to many coastal residents. But how do you address a challenge that spans both land and sea? A recent study, published in the Journal of Environmental Management and part of the larger Ocean Tipping Points project, found that cooperation among landowners to reduce sediment runoff to nearshore reefs leads to more cost efficient and ecologically effective results compared to scenarios when landowners act independently. More>


February 13, 2017

Entrance fees levied on users of protected wild places are effective management tools as they help to reduce damages associated with over-use and cover inherent administrative, maintenance, and operational costs. A recent case study of Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda that was published in Science Direct and supported by SNAPP Natural Capital Accounting working group found that differences in park uses and preferences between international and national visitors allow for an equitable pricing system that effectively covers park costs.More>


February 13, 2017

Researchers recently applied the Ocean Health Index (OHI) tool for an individual assessment of Antarctica's Southern Ocean ecosystem health. Despite the region being considerably inaccessible and removed from human influence, the index report found that the ocean ecosystems are not necessarily pristine. NCEAS Director and OHI Lead Scientist Ben Halpern shares the results of the assessment as a contributor to a recent publication in Frontiers in Marine Science, which highlights the gap in Antarctica realizing its full ocean health potential.



February 6, 2017

The SNAPP Amazon Waters Working Group has discovered that the western Amazon is the main spawning area for the "goliath" catfish, and that the dorado catfish has the longest freshwater fish migration. The team published its study and results in the journal Scientific Reports-Nature. The authors warn that future development in and near these spawning grounds could negatively impact the fishes' migration and the fishing industries that rely on them. More>


January 26, 2017

Both population growth and climate change put a strain on natural resources and degrade their ability to provide ecosystem services. In places with growing populations and changing climates, people could be in trouble. In a recent PLoS One paper, researchers examined changes in wet season precipitation and population over the past 30 years. Trends identified areas where key ecosystems are threatened by the combined effects of climate change and population growth, and therefore where human populations are most vulnerable to degraded ecosystem services.



January 23, 2017

Open Science for Synthesis: Gulf Research Program is a hands-on data science course for both early career and established researchers to gain skills in data science, including scientific synthesis, reproducible science, and data management. These skills are critical for understanding the complex environmental, human, and energy systems in the Gulf of Mexico, especially following large disturbance events like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. OSS 2017 is a 3-week intensive training, convening in July 2017 at NCEAS in Santa Barbara, CA, is now accepting applications from early (upper-level graduate students) and established researchers from the Gulf research community. Application Deadline is February 20, 2017. More>



January 20, 2017

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information and Data Cooperative (GRIIDC), is the vehicle by which results of research in the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) are made available to the community. As a primary partner of DataONE, NCEAS is pleased to welcome GRIIDC as the 38th and newest member node in the DataONE distributed network of data centers, science networks or organizations. More>


January 17, 2017

Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) has seen rapid growth in recent years and has raised environmental concerns over both the frequency of spills and type of material spilled. The SNAPP Hydraulic Fracturing Working Group tackled these problems in two recent papers. The first paper, published in Environmental Science and Technology, determined the causes and frequencies of spills. The second paper, published in Science of the Total Environment, focused on understanding the characteristics of spills and their associated environmental risk.




January 13, 2017

Technological feasibility has opened the door for the increased use of virtual collaboration in scientific research and collaboration. In the recent The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, directors from the International Synthesis Center consortium offer their combined insights for using virtual participation in science synthesis working groups. Executive director Ben Halpern and director of computing Mark Schildhauer weigh in based on more than 20 years of working group collaborations at NCEAS.




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