NCEAS News and Announcements

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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.



January 13, 2017

With the decline of fisheries' health worldwide, scientists aim to understand which management strategies are most effective in protecting global fish populations. A recent study, conducted by the SNAPP Fisheries Status Working Group and published in PNAS, found three fisheries management attributes to be particularly influential in maintaining desirable fish stock levels: extensiveness of stock assessments, strength of fishing pressures, and comprehensive enforcement. More>


January 12, 2017

Ben Halpern, NCEAS Executive Director, will be conferred the Peter Benchley Ocean Excellence in Science Award in Washington D.C. on May 11, 2017. Along with a diverse group of marine leaders, Halpern will be acknowledged for his continued efforts to protect our ocean through informing and facilitating effective ocean conservation and resource management. The Benchley Awards have been referred to as the “Academy Awards for the Ocean”. More>


January 11, 2017

Seafood consumption is rising globally due to increasing population levels. Despite tougher laws and increased media scrutiny, seafood fraud remains prevalent. While seafood fraud can be intentional or unintentional, it is difficult to authenticate the identity of a species once it is in the supply chain. A recent study published in Conservation Biology uses DNA barcoding to assess the frequency of seafood mislabeling in Los Angeles. The study was conducted by Samantha Cheng, a postdoctoral associate at NCEAS, and researchers at UCLA, Loyola Marymount University and UC Santa Cruz from 2012-2015. More>


January 5, 2017

As captures from wild fisheries stagnate and a growing world population demands more protein, sustainable aquaculture represents a viable, and vital, way to supplement protein demand. But how does the world feel about aquaculture? A recent study, conducted by the SNAPP Open-Ocean Aquaculture Expert Working Group, quantified public sentiment concerning different types of aquaculture, particularly nearshore and offshore. More>


January 5, 2017

In a historic public announcement, the Chinese government issued a list of notifications banning the sale and processing of ivory products by the end of 2017. The announcement, made at the end of December, comes in part thanks to the support and research done by the SNAPP working group The Economics of the Chinese Ivory Trade. More>


December 19, 2016

The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network is a network of 25 research sites across multiple biomes that have been collecting continuous data for over 36 years. This information has been invaluable for testing big-picture concepts about how ecosystems work. LTER synthesis working groups, made up of scientists from inside and outside the Network, also capitalize upon this data to make comparisons across ecosystems, probe novel theories, and search for insights into how ecological systems work. From a pool of 20 proposals, two new LTER synthesis working groups were selected for 2017. More>


December 8, 2016

The SNAPP Amazon Waters Working Group has produced a geographic information system (GIS) “roadmap” to help guide conservation efforts in the Amazon River basin, a region roughly the size of the United States. Rivers, lakes, flooded forests, and wetlands cover 14 percent of the basin, making them the greatest freshwater system in the world. The roadmap applies spatial analysis tools to a new hydrological and river basin classification that together provide a dynamic way to map natural resources and possible infrastructure impacts on them at various scalable levels in the Amazon. More>


December 7, 2016

The Ocean Health Index (OHI) today announced its 5th annual global ocean health assessment score, 71 out of a possible 100. While the 2016 global score remains the same as the past three years, results across individual elements and regions have shifted. With five years of global assessments, the OHI scientists at NCEAS and Conservation International have begun to identify potential trends in ocean health. In the last year, the team has also launched, which provides tools and instruction to any academic or government group interested in conducting their own, more localized OHI+ assessment. More>


December 2, 2016

The world has committed to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the next 15 years. Success will require strengthening the link between protecting ecosystems and biodiversity with achieving the SDGs for ending poverty and increasing equality and justice. At the IUCN World Conservation Congress 8,000 conservationists from over 180 countries gathered to discuss the theme “Planet at the Crossroads.” Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) leaders, along with other experts around the world, contributed to this narrative by sharing their experiences and speaking about the role conservation can play in achieving many of the SDGs. Craig Groves (SNAPP) and LeeAnne French (NCEAS/SNAPP) highlighted the importance of creating partnerships and employing nature-based solutions to address critical global problems and turn the SDGs into reality. More>


December 1, 2016

The Arctic Data Center, a long-term repository that allows for the preservation and sharing of data spanning many disciplines from the Arctic, has become DataONE's 36th Member Node. By joining the DataONE federation, Arctic Data Center content is now more widely exposed and allows for great preservation options, taking advantage of DataONE’s replication policies to ensure preservation and access to Arctic Data Center content for decades to come. The Arctic Data Center is one of the largest Member Nodes so far, bringing over 500,000 data objects to the DataONE federation and bringing the total count of publicly readable data objects to over 900,000. More>


November 29, 2016

To better understand and respond to the pressures on Alaska’s salmon and salmon communities, the State of Alaska’s Salmon and People (SASAP) program has selected five new cross-cutting synthesis working groups from the Round 2 Call for Proposals. Led by NCEAS and Nautilus Impact Investing, SASAP’s mission is to create an equitable decision-making platform for all stakeholders by addressing the information gaps in Alaska’s salmon system through information synthesis, collaboration and stakeholder engagement. More>


November 17, 2016

Open Science for Synthesis (OSS 2014) was a bi-coastal data science training program hosted by NCEAS in partnership with University of North Carolina’s Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI). During the training, one of the small synthesis breakout groups used the software and data skills they acquired during the training to examine the issue of California drought as it relates to ecosystem resistance. In a recent journal article in Ecosphere, eight OSS participants use predictions of water-use efficiency based on satellite data to make determinations about drought resistance across varying types of ecosystems. Matt Jones, NCEAS Director of Research and Development, is spearheading the next collaborative data science seminar for summer 2017. More>


November 14, 2016

How are the underwater rainforests of the world faring in the face of global change? The NCEAS Global Impacts of Climate Change on Kelp Forest Ecosystems Working Group sought to answer this question by collecting and analyzing kelp forest data sets from around the world and spanning the past half-century to determine long term trends of kelp populations. The working group results identified that kelp in 38% of the regions analyzed are in decline but in other regions, kelp has increased (27%) or shown no detectable change (35%). More>


November 7, 2016

In 2014, the amount of fish consumed from aquaculture surpassed fish consumed from wild capture fisheries for the first time in history. This paradigm shift in global fish consumption has sparked increased dialog regarding the merits and repercussions of “ocean farming,” or mariculture, around the world. In a head-to-head style article for The Marine Biologist magazine, NCEAS Director Ben Halpern and postdoctoral researcher Halley Froehlich argue in favor of the case for offshore aquaculture, citing its efficiency and conservation potential. More>


October 28, 2016

Quickly and easily processed images are important vehicles for the dissemination of information. Even as images help an audience absorb and retain information, they can also influence the way that audience interprets the information – sometimes in unintended ways. In a recent study in The International Journal of Communication, NCEAS Fellow and co-author Stacy Rebich-Hespanha examines the importance of evaluating visual frames in the context of designing a climate change campaign. More>


October 25, 2016

Over the course of a decade, Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and most recently, Matthew illustrated the incredibly destructive power of storm surge and floods even against extensive defensive infrastructure. In collaboration with insurers, engineers and conservationists, SNAPP Coastal Defenses Working Group has now released a pioneering study, Coastal Wetlands and Flood Damage Reduction, that quantifies how much protection natural coastal habitats provide during hurricanes. The study found that, where wetlands remain, they reduced the average damage from Hurricane Sandy by more than 10%: in total, Northeastern coastal wetlands prevented US$625 million in property damages. More>



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