KNB data search tool demonstration

UPDATE: Here are the links Lauren mentioned in her talk.

Provenance/Workflow dataset:
Download Morpho:
R DataONE library:

We have a great tech roundtable on May 27!

Lauren Walker, a programmer based at NCEAS, will be leading an informal demonstration of the KNB: Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity, an international data repository and DataONE member node. She will demonstrate how to submit a dataset to the KNB via an online tool and through the DataONE R client.

She will also give a demonstration of the DataONE online search interface, which queries all 24 DataONE member nodes, using the same web software as KNB. This will include a preview of the upcoming scientific data provenance features in DataONE.

Lauren will open the roundtable up for feedback, suggestions, and to hear what you would find most useful with these kinds of tools.



Green infrastructure on the ground: The politics of aquifer replenishment in Los Angeles

Sayd Randle, Doctoral Candidate in Environmental Anthropology from Yale University, will be presenting the roundtable for May 20th, 2015. Come learn about green infrastructure contributions to groundwater, an increasingly important issue in our drought-stricken state.

Abstract: The City of Los Angeles imports roughly 90% of its potable water supply from beyond city borders, and relies on local groundwater for the remainder. Environmentalists have long advocated for increased groundwater augmentation through rainwater capture and infiltration around the city homes, streets, and parks the sit above the basins. Recent drought conditions and surface water adjudications have turned policymakers’ attention to these techniques for producing an increased, “more secure,” in-city water supply. This paper uses a political ecology framework to examine the politics of reconfiguring quotidian city spaces to restock groundwater stores, drawing on fieldwork among city bureaucrats, environmentalists, and homeowners undertaking retrofits.

Parkway basin


Catalysing transdisciplinary synthesis in ecosystem science and management

On Friday May 15, 2015, we have a special roundtable session with Alison Specht at ACEAS, who will be visiting NCEAS. Alison will give us an overview of NCEAS’ cousin across the Pacific, talk about an upcoming paper on synthesis in ecosystem science and management and will also discuss her perspectives on ACEAS and other synthesis centres. Do join us for what should be a very interesting discussion!

Alison Specht
Associate Professor Alison Specht is an environmental scientist with broad expertise in research, teaching, and community engagement. She gained her qualifications and taught at the University of Queensland, and for many years was a research and teaching academic at Southern Cross University in northern New South Wales, Australia. She has written scientific papers and book chapters, and is the co-author of two major books on the nature and assessment of Australian vegetation.

Between 2009 and 2014 she was director of the Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis <>, a facility of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network <>, an Australian-government funded datanet. She has been a member of the DataONE Usability and Assessment Working Group since its inception, and has great interest and expertise in data management and the preservation of archival data. She is about to take up a position as Directrice of the CEntre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity in France <>. She initiated the formation of the International Synthesis Consortium <> which has recently had its second meeting, whose mission is to increase the effectiveness and recognition of the value of synthesis centres.

Here are links to two papers that Alison will be touching upon in her discussion:

Transdisciplinary synthesis for ecosystem science, policy and management: the Australian experience.

Perceived discontinuities and constructed continuities in virtual work

Alison Apr 10_face

A Framework to Improve Data Attribution and Acknowledgement?

As scientific projects grow more collaborative, data citation and data attribution has emerged as challenging issue. Sophie Hou will be presenting her poster on this topic and leading a discussion on how scientists might look to the movies to improve data attribution and acknowledgements.

See Sophie’s Presentation

Abstract: As scientific data volumes, format types, and sources increase rapidly with the invention and improvement of scientific capabilities, the resulting datasets are becoming more complex to manage as well.  One of the significant management challenges is pulling apart the individual contributions of specific people and organizations within large, complex projects.  This is important for two aspects: 1) assigning responsibility and accountability for scientific work, and 2) giving professional credit to individuals (e.g. hiring, promotion, and tenure) who work within such large projects.

This presentation will provide an overview for the concept of data citation, its current practices, and the strengths and weaknesses of the current data citation methods when applied to climate model dataset.  Using the NCAR Global Climate Four-Dimensional Data Assimilation (CFDDA) Hourly 40km Reanalysis as a case study, the presentation will also demonstrate the creation and the result of a detailed data attribution.  Analogous to acknowledging the different roles and responsibilities shown in movie credits, the methodology developed in the study could be used in general to identify and map out the relationships among the organizations and individuals who had contributed to a dataset.  Finally, discussion questions will be presented in order to consider how this framework could be applied to create data attribution for other dataset types beyond climate models datasets.

Sophie with her poster

Sophie with her poster

EVOS/GoA data projects: challenges and successes

Ever wonder that the Gulf of Alaska projects are and why we care about such a specific region here at NCEAS? Come find out at the next NCEAS roundtable! I will give a brief overview of the Gulf Watch Alaska Project and the role NCEAS has played in the ecological research up there.

Data archiving and maintenance was rather prehistoric in the 1980s when the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Price William Sound. Therefore, wrangling historic data in “the last frontier” has proven to be quite the adventure! Our group will be writing two papers based on our experiences: 1) data recovery and archiving and 2) data collection for synthesis work . I’ll be introducing these papers and asking for feedback and suggestions on direction, format, etc. Hope to see you there!



Jessica Couture, MS
National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis
University of California, Santa Barbara

Meat, Demand, and Development

Global meat consumption is expected to rise dramatically in coming decades as consumers from emerging nations increase the amount of meat and animal protein in their diet.  The “ecological hoofprint” of the livestock industry is already enormous, and it is expected to increase.   Influential explanations on rising meat consumption (“livestock revolution,”  “nutrition transition,” “hamburger connection”) assert a correlation between meat demand and rising income.   The concept of demand requires elaboration in order to comprehend increasing global meat consumption and associated environmental and health impacts.  I will discuss the political-economic processes and cultural considerations that contribute to demand in the emerging nation of Brazil, with a secondary emphasis on China.  The aim of this project is to begin to build toward an enhanced understanding of the factors that structure the demand for meat in emerging countries and to better understand the material and discursive dimensions of development as revealed through meat.

Jeffrey Hoelle
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, UC Santa Barbara
Hoelle Culture and Environment Lab
Jeffrey Hoelle


Environmental Literacy for the Next Generation: Integrating science, pedagogy and communication

Carol Blanchette, Associate Research Biologist from the Marine Science Institute will be our Roundtable speaker next week. Please join us for a lively discussion on an interesting topic!


Abstract: “If science is going to fully serve its societal mission in the future, we need to both encourage and equip the next generation of scientists to effectively engage with the broader society in which we work and live” (Leshner 2007, AAAS CEO). This sentiment has been broadly embraced by scientists and non-scientists in recent years, along with the idea that scientists have a responsibility to share the meaning and implications of their work, and that an engaged public encourages sound public decision-making. Effective communication of science has become critically important in the environmental sciences, where public understanding of key environmental issues ranging from climate change to sustainable resource management has important policy implications.  In this roundtable I will provide a brief overview of some of my experience and activities in the realm of science education and communication, and I will provide an overview of OCTOS, a new hub for environmental communication and science education activities on the UCSB campus. I will lead a discussion focused on how we (as scientists) can help to build communication capacity, serve as resources for science educators, and how to evaluate the efficacy of these efforts.

Modelling ecosystem services to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

There is a new SNAP Working Group in town, at NCEAS, and we’re going to use this round-table to interact with the group, find out what they’re doing, and offer our ideas as well. This will hopefully be the first of several such interactions with visiting working groups, so please do come along, participate, and give us your suggestions! Here’s a description of this week’s interaction, which is being led by Sarah Jones from Bioversity International:

The SNAP workshop group on Making Ecosystems Count in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be meeting in Santa Barbara 13-16 April to define the modelling steps that are needed to make the Natural Capital Project ecosystem service assessment toolkit (InVEST) feed into selected ecosystem service indicators. The aim is for these indicators to show relative progress towards SDG targets as mediated by ecosystem services, when these services are altered by different national land use policy and infrastructure investment scenarios.

We will present the project progress so far, our target indicators and draft model workflows, then we will open it to the floor for a discussion on how these models might be strengthened and delivered within project timeframes.

Sarah Jones
Ecosystem Services and Resilience Research Assistant
Bioversity International Montpelier, France

Implications of food web constraints for community assembly in space

Spatial variation in diversity and community composition is challenging to interpret within an ecological framework that was conceptually built for local disconnected populations. The meta-community concept was, in this regard, an important achievement in community ecology. However, there remains a considerable gap between theoretical developments and empirical tests of the concept, especially for complex communities with multiple trophic levels. Using the classical Theory of Island Biogeography as a starting point, I extract predictions from theory and test these in a multi-trophic plant-insect grassland assembly experiment evaluating multiple stressors associated with landscape-level anthropogenic perturbations. In the current context of global environmental change, I argue that it is time for ecology to scale up current meta-community knowledge to the ecosystem function level, thereby providing the basis for a stronger meta-ecosystem theory.

Eric Harvey

University of Zürich, Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Department of Aquatic Ecology

Impacts of anthropogenic stressors in vegetated coastal habitats

Anthropogenic stressors are increasingly changing conditions in coastal areas and impacting important habitats.  But, when multiple stressors act simultaneously, their effects on ecosystems become more difficult to project.  Stressors from climate change, coastal development, and pollution are currently impacting coastal habitats, but understanding the interaction of these stressors is critical to knowing how vulnerable coastal habitats and the critical ecosystem functions they provide may be maintained or changed in the future. Seagrass bed and saltmarshes are two habitats that are vulnerable to stressors yet provide many things we humans value.

My research to date has shown that stressors can impact foundation plant species in predictable ways, but those impacts can vary with temporal and spatial scales.  In addition, the composition and diversity of these communities varies but can buffer certain ecosystem properties against stressor impacts.  Overall, in these habitats stressors can be context specific, non-interactive, and vary with spatial and temporal scales.

Rachael E. Blake