This, That, and The Other: Three Remarks on the Sociology of Creativity [Wed. July 20]

This talk will review some of my current research on creativity in science and art:

1. Sociometric sensors promise to measure social interactions quantitatively, precisely, and unobtrusively. I’ll discuss a few findings from a pilot study of small group collaborations at two synthesis centers.

2. Path-breaking groups of artists and scientists that launch major artistic and intellectual movements share much in common, but also differ markedly along some social dimensions due to key differences between the fields of art and science. I’ll discuss some of these similarities and differences in relation to the specific character of these fields.

3. How theory groups die: I’ll discuss the social forces that cause the small groups that create new scientific paradigms to disintegrate, socially and creatively.

John_Parker

Dr. John N. Parker
Barrett, The Honors College
Arizona State University
john.parker at asu.edu

Fostering Sci. Community at NCEAS: Welcome Site for Newcomers [Wed. July 13]

NCEAS is a central hub for a diverse array of scientists and research. New researchers, including visiting and early career researchers (ECRs), are constantly coming in and out at various frequencies. However, larger cohorts of scientists stationed at NCEAS are no longer entering at one time, making it more difficult to track the exciting research and possible collaborations within the center. As part of addressing this new dynamic, the resident ECRs are proposing a simple, advice-based website that provides basic and clear information concerning everything from housing to setting up access to the NCEAS servers. It simply provides the fundamentals of what an incoming scientist will need/can do before moving to Santa Barbara and within the first couple weeks here. The ECRs will maintain most of the site, allowing us to modify the information quickly when new issues or ideas arise. The beta-version of the site will be discussed and feedback is most welcome!

Looking forward to the discussion!

Halley E. Froehlich
Rachael Blake
Jamie Afflerbach
Casey O’Hara
Heather Soyka
Colette Ward
Claire Runge

Catering for wildlife in fire-prone Australian mallee habitats: it’s not rocket science, it’s more complex than that! [Wed. July 6]

Inappropriate fire regimes are recognized as a key threatening process to bird conservation globally, but particularly in Australia. Fire management often aims to maintain a “mosaic” of patches of differing fire history (pyrodiversity); assuming this will cater for the greatest variety of species. We tested this assumption across a 104,000 km2 area of the Murray Mallee region of southern Australia. We compared avian diversity in 28 ‘whole’ landscapes, representing different fire-driven mosaics.

Using a novel technique to age and map vegetation we demonstrated that fire influences mallee vegetation for over a century, particularly key habitat resources (e.g. tree hollows). We found little evidence that bird diversity was related to the diversity of fire age classes in a landscape. Similarly, there was little evidence of the importance of pyrodiversity for individual species. Instead, a key driver for all groups was the spatial extent of ecologically important fire age classes; in particular, the spatial extent of long-unburned mallee vegetation.

We used models of species distributions to evaluate the consequences for threatened bird species of alternative management scenarios for fire for the next twenty years. We evaluated the likely effect of planned burning programs that burnt 1%, 3% or 5% of public land annually. The outcomes of this work have provided an assessment of the relative risk of extinction for these species. This research has transformed understanding of how fire affects these threatened species in the region and has been embraced by fire managers and contributed to significant change in fire management policy.

Prof. Mike Clarke
Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution
La Trobe University, Australia
http://www.latrobe.edu.au/ecology-environment-evolution/research/specialisations/fire-ecology

Ecological drought in the 21st century [Wed. June 29]

Drought is often defined in meteorological, agricultural, hydrological, and socioeconomic terms, but recent hot, dry conditions worldwide and associated impacts to ecosystems, call for expanded consideration and a clear definition of ecological drought. The need to define ecological drought and include it in drought planning and mitigation efforts is a pressing concern because hotter ‘global change-type droughts’, multi-decadal ‘mega-droughts’, and human alterations of climatological, hydrological, and ecological processes increase ecosystem vulnerabilities and threaten human communities that depend on healthy, functioning ecosystems for critical services. Our working group is attempting to establish this much needed definition of ecological drought offer a “call to action” to operationalize ecological drought in the 21st century.
288BDA3B-28D2-46FC-93CE-E40868452114
Shelley Crausbay
Post-doctoral Researcher, SNAPP Ecological Drought Working Group
North Central Climate Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Fort Collins, CO
34E9B35C-660C-4EE6-A329-0888541D5196
Aaron Ramirez
Post-doctoral Researcher, SNAPP Ecological Drought Working Group
Northwest Climate Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Corvallis, OR

Journalists’ insights into Science Communication with the Media [Wed. June 22]

Worried about getting on the phone with a journalist to talk about your research? Or–worse–that nobody will care enough to call? We’ll set you straight! In this talk, an editor and a writer offer insider tips on how to communicate science to the media. We’ll cover what makes research interesting to the media, how to prepare for an interview with a journalist, and how to best ensure your interviewer understands and writes about your research accurately. We’ll also talk about how to get your research in front of reporters’ eyes and how to maintain relationships with reporters. Anything else you’ve been dying to ask a journalist? We love questions, so there will be plenty of time for a Q&A.

Pacific Standard is a national magazine and website (psmag.com) based in Santa Barbara. (We’re right on Garden and De La Guerra!) We cover research-based solutions to issues of social, environmental, economic, and educational justice. Nick Jackson is Pacific Standard’s editor-in-chief. He previously worked as the digital editorial director at Outside magazine and as an associate editor at the Atlantic, where he launched theatlantic.com‘s health and technology channel. Francie Diep is a staff writer with Pacific Standard. She has a master’s in science journalism and previously worked as a contributing writer with Popular Science.

You can join remotely from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/653578053

Or dial in using your phone.
United States : +1 (408) 650-3123

Access Code: 653-578-053

REdZe-pBfrancie_blue_shirt_headshot

Nick Jackson (left)
http://nbjackson.com/
njackson@psmag.com or @nbj914 on Twitter

Francie Diep (right)
http://www.franciediep.com/
fcdiep@gmail.com or @franciediep on Twitter

An evolving vision for the next generation of NCEAS [Wed. June 15]

As I am about to step into the role of Director at NCEAS, I wanted to share my ideas, plans, and vision for where I’d like to take NCEAS in the next few years as well as get your feedback and ideas. I’ll give a short, informal presentation and then open things up to discussion.

Please join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
You can also dial in using your phone.
United States : +1 (408) 650-3123
Access Code: 256-304-101

 

Benjamin S. Halpern

halpern

Professor, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management
UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA 93106
halpern@bren.ucsb.edu

Deputy Director, Nat’l. Center for Ecol. Anal. & Synth. (NCEAS)
735 State St., Suite 300, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Chair in Marine Conservation, Imperial College London

Director, Center for Marine Assessment and Planning (CMAP)

Senior Fellow, UN Envir. Prog.- World Conserv. Monitor. Cent. (UNEP-WCMC)

Model-based assessment to inform ecology education & communication [Wed. June 8]

As children, we often make sense of nature and the world around us by relying on naive mental models, and all too often, these naive mental models are never corrected, exhibiting themselves as persistent scientific misconceptions: animals adapt to their surroundings so they can survive; plants get their food from the soil; removing a species from a food web affects only the species immediately above and below it in the web; humans have caused the majority of extinctions on Earth.

Science educators who recognize student misconceptions about fundamental scientific concepts can lead students to greater educational gains; science communicators who understand public misconceptions can lead their audience to deeper understanding of scientific issues.  Physics education research has long leveraged the Force Concept Inventory (FCI), a model-based assessment of student understanding of classical Newtonian mechanics.  The FCI has become a valuable tool for physics education, providing researchers with data to improve physics pedagogy and curricula.  Since the development of the FCI two decades ago, other concept inventories have been designed to inform chemistry, physical science, and biology curricula as well.

In this talk, I propose the development of a Ecosystem Concept Inventory to examine how students, and the general public, understand fundamental models of ecology.  I will make an argument for model-centered ecology education and how an Ecosystem Concept Inventory is a critical first step.  I will lay out a series of simple models that I believe provide the fundamental structure for a scientifically literate understanding of ecology, and ask the audience for input and insights into developing a model-based assessment to inform ecology education and communication.

Sharky_McSharkface

Casey O’Hara
Project Scientist, Ocean Health Index
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
735 State Street, Suite 300, Santa Barbara  CA  93101

ohara@nceas.ucsb.edu

Enhancing Conservation Outcomes and Improving Rangeland Monitoring Efficiency with RDMapper [Wed. June 1]

RDMapper is a web-based application that allows rangeland forage production to be tracked bi-weekly using remotely sensed MODIS vegetation indices. Combining these data with monthly precipitation data and annual on-the-ground monitoring records, RDMapper provides statistical and graphical information and context that supports predictions of end-of-season residual dry matter (RDM). RDM is a landscape-scale metric that has been shown to be a good predictor of rangeland productivity and overall rangeland condition, and is used by grazing managers to monitor grazing impacts, and by land trusts and agencies for conservation easement compliance monitoring. RDMapper can help reduce grazing-related compliance issues and potential conflict between landowners and easement holders, strengthening the overall relationship with cooperating landowners and leading to greater protection of biodiversity values. We developed RDMapper using software written in the R programming language, including the Shiny package. In 2015, we predicted compliance with RDM objectives across approximately 44,000 hectares of conservation easement lands held by The Nature Conservancy in California. We based predictions on past RDM compliance and our interpretation of statistics and graphics that demonstrate differences in vegetation indices and precipitation characteristics for years that were in versus out of compliance with RDM objectives. We tested a framework for adding efficiency to field-based RDM monitoring in future years by evaluating pastures that we had a high confidence would be in RDM compliance in 2015. For these pastures, our prediction of ‘in compliance with high confidence’ was correct on 109 of 110 pastures. We propose that in future years, pastures we are confident will be in compliance can be monitored with a simple visual estimate of RDM, instead of more expensive field methods. We are currently testing RDMapper at additional properties and have transitioned it to a more powerful data processing framework based on MODIS and PRISM web services and Google’s Earth Engine. 

Scott Butterfield
Senior Scientist
The Nature Conservancy
scott_butterfield@tnc.org

scott

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.
 Filazzola

Alex Filazzola
PhD Student
York University
Toronto, Canada
alex.filazzola@outlook.com