NCEAS News and Announcements

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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.



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>



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