NCEAS News and Announcements

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August 4, 2015

UC Santa Barbara has recently been selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as the site of the first national communications office for the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network. A $3.5 million NSF grant will fund this communications office and it will be operated by UCSB's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) — taking advantage of NCEAS' experience in the support of multi-site collaboration and synthetic research, along with graduate training and environmental science communication.More>


August 1, 2015

NCEAS is celebrating 20 years as a synthesis center! 

For the past two decades, NCEAS has brought together scientists, policy-makers, and resource managers in dynamic Working Groups, with the goal of tackling significant questions in ecology and the environment in order to rapidly advance scientific understanding and address critical environmental challenges for the benefit of society. The Anniversary Report explores the impacts NCEAS has had over the last 20 years, celebrates our collaborators, and highlights the programs which are driving future collaborations and discovery. More>

July 21, 2015

Marine ecosystems can experience abrupt and drastic changes in ecological functioning and structure, attributed to thresholds known as tipping points. When these tipping points are reached, a system reacts by completely reorganizing. Empirical evidence shows ecosystem tipping points exist in every ecosystem type, yet often times tipping points are not considered when management plans are developed. The NCEAS resident scientists leading the Ocean Tipping Points project have identified seven marine tipping point principles outlined in a newly released paper in the ESA Journal. More>

July 20, 2015

Join NCEAS and the SNAP Partnership at two conferences in August!

August 2th to August 6thInternational Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB), Montpellier, France

August 9th to August 14thEcological Society of America (ESA) Annual Meeting, Baltimore, Maryland

June 25, 2015

Five years after groundbreaking research first mapped cumulative human impacts on the ocean in 2008, Halpern et al. have published an update in Nature Communications that shows changes in cumulative impact during the study period (2008-2013). Across the 19 studied anthropogenic stressors cumulative human impact is increasing and primarily driven by climate change conditions. As with the original study, all associated data, maps, and tools are open and publicly available. More>


June 4, 2015

With a warming climate, there is still uncertainty around how rising temperatures, drought, and insect outbreaks will affect the survival of sensitive tree species in water-scarce areas of the US. A new NCEAS study addresses some of these uncertainties by determining the impacts of both drought and insects - two major factors affecting tree mortality - on forest health. More>


June 2, 2015

On Thursday 28 May 2015, Rafael “Rafe” Sagarin, associate research scientist at the University of Arizona and NCEAS collaborator and friend, was tragically killed while riding his bicycle near Oracle Junction, AZ. This is a significant loss to the NCEAS community and the scientific community as a whole. Rafe was a well loved and respected scientist whose creativity influenced the field of ecology in numerous ways. His combination of passion, creative genius, and his deep care for both humanity and the planet will be profoundly missed. More>


May 6, 2015

Want to design and code open science software? Openings @NCEAS in beautiful Santa Barbara.

The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis is seeking two talented Science Software Engineers to join our open science Informatics team. We create software infrastructure that enables open, reproducible, environmental synthesis at global scales using a federated approach to sharing and managing scientific data and analysis code. More >


May 1, 2015

          DataONE Webinar Series

Provenance and DataONE: Facilitating Reproducible Science
Bertram Ludäscher - GSLIS, Chris Jones - NCEAS, Lauren Walker - NCEAS

Tuesday, 12 May, 2015
9:00 am Pacific/ 10:00 am Mountain/ 11:00 am Central/ 12:pm Eastern

More Information>


May 1, 2015

Recent studies have shown how important greater biodiversity is in helping maintain more stable and productive ecosystems. These conclusions were drawn through experiments that tested how losing species affects a single ecosystem process. A new study by NCEAS scientists, which is the first systematic look at how biodiversity affects the suite of interconnected processes, shows that biodiversity is even more important to the healthy functioning of ecosystems than previously thought. More>


April 16, 2015

Synthesizing and comparing datasets from long-term studies, the NCEAS Working Group, “Marine debris: Scale and impact of trash in ocean ecosystems,” assesses the global trends of plastic pollution in the ocean. Results appear in Environmental Pollution. More>



April 16, 2015

The NCEAS Working Group, "Ecology of environmental justice in metropolitan areas," recent publication in PLOS ONE addresses the issue of environmental justice, urban tree canopy cover, and urban heat-island effect. These experts in ecology and environmental justice focused their research on seven major cities; Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh, Sacramento, and Washington D.C., which represent humid temperate, Mediterranean, arid desert, and subtropical biomes. Their findings show that the strongest correlation was between income and tree canopy, not race. High-income neighborhoods are more likely to have more and denser Urban Tree Canopy cover than low-income neighborhoods. More>


April 8, 2015


Scientists glimpse into a future of drought and tree mortality

From 2000 to 2003, a drought in the American Southwest triggered a widespread die-off of forests around the region, including many stands of quaking aspen. While the event was associated with drought, scientists didn’t know exactly what caused forests to succumb or how severe conditions needed to be to induce such die-off. A team of scientists has collaborated on the development a new modeling tool to better explain how aspen forests died as a result of the 2000-2003 drought. The researchers’ findings appear in the journal Nature Geoscience.


April 7, 2015

Two Principal Investigators of the NCEAS Arctic Options Working Group, Paul Berkman and Oran Young, recently co-authored with Lloyd Axworthy an article, Escalating Tensions Challenge U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, in Huffington Post on 06 April 2015, addressing the upcoming international challenges in the U.S. two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council which begins on 24 April 2015. More>


March 12, 2015

          DataONE Webinar Series

Making Data Count: Measuring Data Use and Reach
Jennifer Lin - PLOS, Matt Jones - NCEAS, Martin Fenner - PLOS

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
9:00am Pacific/ 10:00am Mountain/ 11:00am Central/ 12:pm Eastern

More Information>

Register Now


March 9, 2015

Snap Logo

SNAP: Science for Nature and People announces the selection of seven new Working Group projects from the 2014 RFP process, bringing the total number of Working Groups in the SNAP portfolio to 19. SNAP is an innovative scientific collaboration between NCEAS, The Nature Conservancy, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, aimed at solving the most pressing challenges and advancing solutions at the intersection of nature conservation and human wellbeing.

SNAP currently has more than 250 scientists — from more than 100 universities — involved its 19 Working Groups, whose inquiries encompass land-use tradeoffs, securing sufficient food and water for growing populations, and dealing with the impacts of climate change, among other severe regional and global challenges. More>


March 2, 2015

NCEAS Working Group The effects of global change on malaria transmission: A meta-analysis, set out to find how changes in temperature and precipitation will affect malaria transmission, but the scarcity of data makes it difficult to model predictions of the range of temperatures that are ideal for disease transmissions, and in empirical estimates, the sensitivity of model predictions to errors is unknown. Johnson, et al. (2015) develop methods for estimating sensitivity of model outputs while focusing on the effect of temperature on malaria transmission by using a Bayesian approach to help identify these critical uncertainties. More>


February 12, 2015

Scientific literature first reported plastic pollution in the ocean as early as the 1970s. Over 40 years later no rigorous estimates of the amount and origin of plastic debris entering the marine environment exist - until now. Published in Science, a new study by a NCEAS Working Group provides the first estimate quantifying the annual input of plastic debris from land into the ocean. Additionally, the study offers a framework for developing ocean-scale solutions to the problem of plastic pollution in marine environments. More>


February 4, 2015

One of the greatest challenges we face in the 21st Century is sustaining the systems that support life while meeting human needs. NCEAS' Distributed Graduate Seminar for Sustainability Science set out to address core concepts in sustainability science and develop model systems for advancement of theory and tools for sustainable management. The results of this multi-year collaborative graduate research across seven institutions has been released as a Special Feature, Ecosystem Service Trade-offs Across Global Contexts and Scales, in the upcoming issue of Ecology and Society. More>


February 4, 2015

NCEAS researchers have determined that, under most circumstances, natural resource managers can chose their preferred sampling locations without meticulously adhering to a specific pattern for sample point locations. Their findings show that managers generally did not gain any extra benefit from rigorously following any particular pattern. This is good news for managers deploying traps for surveillance of invasive species or are depending on volunteers for sample placement.  Now, knowing that the placement of traps or samples is unlikely to diminish the probability of detection at the broader scale, resource managers can freely chose sampling locations that maximize the probability of detection at a local scale. More>



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