NCEAS News and Announcements

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December 17, 2015

A recent publication by the Ocean Heath Index group in PeerJ presents four best practice tips which have evolved from the group's experience while developing and supporting OHI assessments. More>


December 16, 2015

In May 2015, the People’s Republic of China announced a phase out of the domestic trade of ivory, which will result in a complete ban on commercial trade. As a key participant in the ivory trade, this ban will have widespread effects on Chinese ivory carving companies, trade association and retailers. Working with the Chinese government, the new SNAPP Economics of the Chinese Ivory Trade Working Group will assess the true drivers of the ivory trade and model various forms of regulation and enforcement. These analyses will result in recommendations for a domestic ivory ban implementation plan for China. More>


December 8, 2015

Many conservation projects and policies aim to conserve nature while enhancing the well-being of people. However, very little research documenting the effectiveness of these projects and policies exits. The Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) Evidence Based Conservation Working Group has created an interactive map that depicts the current evidence of the impact nature conservation policies and projects have had on human well-being. The map, published in Nature Comment, presents the extent and distribution of available evidence and shows trends across studies and geographies. More>


December 4, 2015

A new study published in Science reveals that more than 90% of the world’s migratory birds are inadequately protected due to poorly coordinated conservation around the world. The research discovered huge gaps in the conservation of migratory birds particularly across China, India, and parts of Africa and South America. Lead author, Claire Runge, is a new NCEAS Postdoctoral Associate from University of Queensland, and is working on the SNAPP Better Land Use Planning Working Group. More>


December 3, 2015

Despite the growing implementation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), the first comprehensive assessment of the protection provided by current MPAs reveals more than 17,000 marine species remain largely unprotected worldwide.The study identifies that the U.S.,Canada, and Brazil have the largest number of “gap species.” Co-authored by NCEAS Center Associate, Ben Halpern, the study emphasizes that new MPA locations need to be systematically identified based on which species have already been protected in other areas, the socioeconomic costs of implementation, and the feasibility of success of the MPA. More>

December 2, 2015

In a new report, the SNAPP Coastal Defenses Working Group evaluates coastal hazards and possible solutions, opportunities, barriers, and constraints to achieving sustainable coastal protection and climate change adaptation in the Manus and New Ireland provinces of Papua New Guinea. More>

December 1, 2015

The words “marine debris” conjure up images of plastic bottles and detergent jugs floating in the open ocean, or cigarette butts and soda cans littering beaches. Studies are now finding that tiny fibers shed from clothing in the laundry – each about the size of a grain of sand – are some of the more prevalent waste products recovered on shorelines and water samples. Mark A. Browne, a former NCEAS postdoc who participated in the Marine Debris Working Group, discussed the damage these fibers can inflict on animal and human health in the Opinion section of The New York Times. Read his opinion here.


December 1, 2015

Malaria causes around 584,000 deaths each year, most of which occur in sub-Saharan Africa. New findings now reveal that a larger area of Africa experiences ideal temperatures for malaria transmission than was previously thought. A new mapping study by the NCEAS working group Effects of global change on malaria transmission: A meta-analysis suggests future climate regimes will provide suitable temperatures for malaria to expand to new parts of Africa by 2080. More>


November 19, 2015

A new publication in Marine Ecology Progress Series provides an extensive review of two decades of literature on ecosystem and fisheries interactions. The authors recommend ways to integrate ecosystem considerations into current management practices to address ecosystem resilience to climate change and issues of data limited fisheries. More>


November 12, 2015

The Science for Nature and People (SNAP) Partnership funded The Economics of the Chinese Ivory Trade working group in 2014 shortly before the Chinese government announced its support of a ban on all ivory trade in China. The team responded quickly to the news and modified their research inquiry to help identify recommendations for how the Chinese government could enact the ban and achieve its goals while minimizing the unintended consequences. Li Zhang, Beijing Normal University, is SNAP co-PI and author of the recently published World View column in Nature entitled "China must act decisively to eradicate the ivory trade." More>


November 9, 2015

As the number, extent, and intensity of human impacts expand, strongly non-linear responses in ecosystems become even more likely. A new publication in Frontiers in Marine Sciences provides a review of how resource managers can use various approaches available today—including ecosystem monitoring, statistical methods to identify thresholds and indicators, and threshold-based adaptive management—to help avoid reaching ecological thresholds or restore systems that have crossed them. More>
October 12, 2015

Natural capital accounts for approximately 40% of the economic wealth in Rwanda, among the highest in the world. The country understands the importance that protecting natural capital plays in their continued economic growth. Following the United Nation's adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Science for Nature and People (SNAP) partnership has announced a new Expert Working Group to support the government of Rwanda’s development strategy and international initiatives in natural capital accounting. More>


October 8, 2015

In a new systematic review of existing literature, published in Ecology, the NCEAS Marine Debris Working Group explored the extent to which existing data demonstrate ecological impacts caused by marine debris. They concluded that sufficient evidence does exist to label marine debris, particularly plastics, as an environmental hazard. The authors suggest that there is sufficient evidence for decision-makers to begin mitigating the problem caused by marine debris. While the researchers do agree that there is a need to improve in the quantity and quality of research about the ecological impacts of marine debris, they claim that it should not be a deterrent to the development of marine debris mitigation plans. More>


October 8, 2015

Species conservation systems that rely heavily on declining population rates may not accurately predict a species’ conservation status, concludes a new paper published in Biological Conservation. These findings could have broad reaching implications for international wildlife policy and conservation management.

The NCEAS Red Flags and Species Endangerment Working Group compiled an extensive global time series dataset of abundance trends for over 1300 vertebrates populations in order to evaluate performance of criteria for identifying species at risk. More>


October 7, 2015

After the Interior Department’s announcement that the Sage Grouse will not be listed under the Endangered Species Act, discussions on whether or not this was the best choice have been widespread. In "A Shifting Approach to Saving Endangered Species" published in The New York Times on October 5, the author Erica Goode reports on the varying opinions amongst conservation and environmental organizations on creating a collaborative conservation plan for the Sage Grouse and future endangered animals. Goode turned to NCEAS Director Frank Davis for his thoughts on endangered species. More >


October 6, 2015

Ocean Health Index 2015 Global Score is 70 Out of 100

The global ocean score for the Ocean Health Index was announced at the second annual Our Ocean Conference held the week of October 5-9 in Valparaíso, Chile. With the updated methodology, the global ocean score for 2015 was 70 out of 100, unchanged from 2013 and 2014. This was the fourth annual update from the Index, a partnership led by scientists from the NCEAS at UC Santa Barbara and Conservation International. Since 2012, 22 nations have started using the Ocean Health Index’s regional assessment tool to improve ocean management. More >


September 16, 2015

While previously thought to have been widespread, new research shows that cheating is actually rare. Developed by a NCEAS Working Group, a new fitness-based definition of cheating generates a common framework to unite empirical and theoretical work, makes comparisons across species and studies possible, and creates an opportunity to better understand mutualistic interactions and how they tie into broader ecosystem services. More>


September 3, 2015

The National Science Foundation recently selected UC Santa Barbara to establish a new Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) National Communications Office (LNCO) operated by NCEAS.  We are seeking an experienced science communications professional to lead the LNCO communication activities. More>


September 2, 2015

Since 2011, the NCEAS Working Group The effects of global change on malaria transmission: A meta-analysis has been working to understand how changes in temperature and precipitation will affect transmission of infectious diseases, to ensure better management. Thus far the Working Group has been extremely productive, finding that peak transmission of disease actually occurs at lower temperatures than was previously believed. More>

August 31, 2015

The NCEAS Marine debris: Scale and impact of trash in ocean ecosystems Working Group synthesized seabird studies dating back to the early 1960’s. The results revealed that plastics are becoming increasingly common in the guts of seabirds and predict that plastic ingestion will affect approximately 99% of all seabird species by the year 2050.





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