Introduction to Marxan (hands on tutorial) [Wed. May 25]

Systematic conservation planning is the science of understanding which conservation interventions to enact, and when and where to do them given limited conservation budgets and the diverging needs of different stakeholders. This approach is fundamental to modern evidence-based conservation. In this workshop we’ll learn about the fundamental principles of systematic conservation planning, and discuss some examples of where it has been applied. This will be concreted with some simple tutorials using Marxan.

Claire

Claire Runge
runge@nceas.ucsb.edu
twitter: @Claire_Runge

Challenges of scale when examining plant-interactions in arid ecosystems: micro, local, & regional [Wed. May 18]

In high stress environments, such as deserts, positive interactions among plants maintain biodiversity and productivity.  However, the role and mechanism of these positive interactions changes depending on the context of spatial scale.
I will discuss how positive plant-interactions in deserts change at the micro, local, and regional scale.  I also discuss the challenges associated with examining plant interactions at different spatial scales as a researcher, such as sampling techniques, community structure, and interacting factors.
Typically studies examining positive plant-interactions focus on local gradients, thereby neglecting micro or regional scales.  All spatial scales share similarities in that each have gradients that modifies the mechanism, magnitude, and direction of plant interactions.  Drawing parallels among different spatial scales and considering all three simultaneously as a response surface can provide a better understanding of positive interactions.  This can assist conservation biologist and restoration ecologists make better informed decisions when managing desert ecosystems in support of global biodiversity.
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Alex Filazzola
PhD Student
York University
Toronto, Canada
alex.filazzola@outlook.com

 

Industrial Ecology: Material flows at the nature-industry boundary [Wed. May 11]

Achieving a sustainable industrial economic system is the defining challenge of our age, one that requires understanding both of human-made systems that generate stresses on the environment and of the natural systems that absorb them.   Industrial ecology (IE) is a synthesis field that seeks to understand the sustainability implications of decisions made in the context of human systems (businesses, households, public agencies).  The main organizing principle in IE research is the boundary that separates the natural environment from the domain of human activity (aka the “technosphere”).  Though natural systems are necessarily spatial, human systems are often more readily thought of as graphs, where different activities happen at distinct points in order to satisfy demand for products and services in the economy.

I will introduce the core methodologies of IE, material flow analysis and life cycle assessment, describe data collection and analysis in comparison to the natural sciences, and discuss how the operational concerns of businesses influence how IE investigations are designed and how knowledge is shared.

 

 

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Brandon Kuczenski, Ph.D.
Assistant Researcher
University of California at Santa Barbara
Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Environmental Research
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131

bkuczenski@bren.ucsb.edu

 

 

YouTube: not just for cat videos! Simple ways to create online videos that connect people to your science [Wed. May 4]

It is more important than ever to use video to communicate your science. After all, watching videos is one of the main ways – maybe the primary way – that people use the Internet. Scientists often assume that video is just for outreach, but it can also be used to further your research. But how do you create those videos? After all,
video production can be very equipment intensive (read expensive) and time consuming. Making things even more difficult, video production is not part of scientists’ training. However, advances in technology mean that creating compelling video can be done in less time and at much lower cost than before. This talk will focus on the techniques that
scientists can use to easily produce their own videos to further their science and for outreach.

Jai

Jai Ranganathan

jai.ranganathan@gmail.com

Center Associate

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Translating values over time/space: A continuum approach to reading records and data [Wed. April 27th]

The professional work of data and records creation occurs within a specific context that is bounded by a number of factors. These factors contribute to the shape, form, and other aspects of the data. This discussion will talk about translating and reading co-created data from a particular community of practice, and then turn to a broader conversation about evaluating the context of records.

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Heather Soyka
Postdoctoral Research Fellow at DataONE
NCEAS
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
hsoyka@unm.edu

Optimizing Marine Protected Area Networks: The effects of climate change on larval dispersal and connectivity [Wed. April 20]

A changing climate will make the conservation of marine biodiversity increasingly difficult as policies designed for current climatic conditions may not reflect those in the future. Larval dispersal and movements among populations is a crucial factor in planning networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) as it greatly affects population persistence and recovery. I will present some of my work quantifying larval behavior in the laboratory, to using a biophysical larval dispersal model (ROMS/LTRANS, etc) to identify patterns of larval connectivity in the present and future climate scenarios. Identifying mechanisms that drive larval dispersal and connectivity, quantifying their sensitivity to climate change, and incorporating this into planning strategies are key to developing networks of MPAs which have sound design principles that consider population connectivity and are more robust to the effects of climate change.

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Remi Daigle
Post-doctoral Researcher
University of Toronto, McGill University
https://remidaigle.wordpress.com/

 

An Economic Valuation of Southern California’s Coastal Wetlands [Thurs. April 14]

This presentation will be by three students in the BREN Environmental Science and Management program at UCSB: Jane Ballard, Jennifer Pezda and Devin Spencer.

It is targeted towards a general audience, rather than the NCEAS community, since we are practicing for our public thesis presentations. However, we will be happy to answer any in-depth questions about our project. We are also looking for any feedback that will guide us towards greater success as we present to a public audience.

Southern California’s coastal wetlands contain a variety of habitats that provide a range of services which benefit human well-being, as well as the surrounding local and regional environment. These habitats provide ecosystem services such as flood protection, carbon sequestration, pollution buffering, and critical habitat for plant and animal species. While the physical extent of Southern California coastal wetlands is federally protected, the quality is being degraded by surrounding development, impacts from a growing population pressures, and impacts from climate change. Degraded habitats do not provide the same level of benefits and ecosystem services as healthy systems, therefore Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project (SCWRP) in conjunction with the Bren School, developed this thesis project to increase the communication and transparency of land use decisions that are impacting wetland habitats along the Southern California coast. In this presentation we will discuss the importance of valuing coastal wetlands as well as demonstrate how we went about determining the value of Southern California’s coastal wetlands.

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An Overview of DataONE: Services, resources and future activities [Wed. April 13]

The Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE) is an NSF-supported DataNet project which is developing a distributed framework and sustainable cyberinfrastructure to meet the needs of science and society for open, persistent, robust, and secure access to well-described and easily discovered Earth observational data. Now in its seventh year of funding, DataONE has released a number of tools, services and programs that support users in their data management, discovery, preservation and education needs. This overview will provide a brief history of DataONE, its guiding principles and showcase the tools and services available to the community. I will also summarize the education and outreach activities of the project and the opportunities for community participation.

DataONE

Amber Budden
Director for Community Engagement and Outreach
DataONE
aebudden@dataone.unm.edu

 

Mapping the evidence for conservation’s impact on human well-being [Wed. April 6]

Global policy initiatives and international conservation organizations are increasingly emphasizing the link between the conservation of natural ecosystems and human development. However, despite heavy investment of time, funds, and research in these linkages, the strength of evidence supporting the impacts of conservation on human well-being, is still scattered, inconsistent and inaccessible. Rigorous and comprehensive evidence is necessary to inform effective decisions and investment in achieving improved well-being of nature and people in conservation. This presentation will discuss the efforts of the SNAP working group on evidence-based conservation to take on a synthetic approach to evaluate the existing evidence for conservation’s impact on human well-being and provide coherent and useful frameworks and tools to increase the use of evidence in conservation decision-making. I will present a systematic map of over 1000+ relevant studies linking conservation interventions to human well-being. I will discuss the value of the systematic map as a decision support tool for rapidly locating data on policy impacts and targeting knowledge gaps to guide future research efforts.
Samantha-Cheng-33_1_
Samantha H. Cheng, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
SNAP Evidence-Based Conservation Group
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), UCSB
Santa Barbara, CA
Senior Research Fellow
Center for Tropical Research, UCLA
Los Angeles, CA

Highlights from the Sackler Colloquium on the Science of Science Communication [Wed. March 30th]

In 2012 and 2013, the National Academy of Sciences organized two meetings that surveyed the state of the art of empirical research in science communication. The meetings focused on research in psychology, decision science, mass communication, risk communication, health communication, political science, sociology, and related fields. The talks, papers, and discussions that followed reaffirmed the Academy’s commitment to evidence-based science communication and offer a grounding in the science of science communication for working communicators and scientists.
I’ll review a few highlights from the meetings and lead a discussion of how they might apply to the communications challenges of NCEAS projects.
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Marty Downs
Lead Communications Officer
Long Term Ecological Research Network Communications Office (LTER NCO)
NCEAS, Santa Barbara, CA
downs@nceas.ucsb.edu