Early-career researchers and their role in synthesis groups: a discussion [Wed Mar 2]

This week’s round-table will be an informal discussion on the role of early career researchers (ECRs) – research assistants, research scientists and post-docs – within large and/or multi-disciplinary synthesis groups and working groups. We will cover topics including, the role and expectations of ECRs how these can be managed, challenges we may face in interacting with the rest of our collaborators and also, how we can manage our own work goals while doing so.

Here is an initial list of questions we’d like to discuss.

  1. What do we think the ECR should be doing?
  2. What are the challenges in aligning group expectations with the ECR’s own understanding of their role in the group?
  3. How does the ECR ensure that their own professional goals remain on track while working for the group?
  4. How best can the ECR use this period for learning new skills and making new collaborations?

Please feel free to bring additional questions/comments/thoughts to the session.

Coral reef management and island conservation: interdisciplinary environmental projects [Wednesday Feb 24]

This roundtable will be divided into two segments. In the first part I will discuss ideas for coral reef management that came out of the Future of Reefs in a Changing Environment project that I was involved in. In the second part I will give some of the background to a conference on ‘Humans and island environments’ that I am helping to organise. I will discuss the importance of islands for environmental conservation, the diverse research that is done on islands, and their role at the forefront of conservation solutions. This will lead into a discussion on the highs and lows of conferences, as I would like to get people’s thoughts on the most important aspects of a good conference.

If possible, please can everyone bring a device that can access the internet – I hope to have some not so fancy interactivity during the discussion!

Jason Flower

Research Assistant
Foundation for Environmental Conservation |foundationforec.org


Conserving mobile species [Wed Feb 17]

Many species move around land and seascapes. In this talk I’ll look at how these patterns of movement change the way we design conservation projects, and the outcomes for migratory species in contemporary conservation schemes. Often these species cross jurisdictions, and collaboration across diverse groups of people is essential to their persistence in a rapidly changing world.
I’ll explore these issues with three case studies – nomadic desert birds, a critically endangered koala population and mining development in southern Australia.
Be prepared for gratuitous photos of birds and cute fluffy things.


Claire Runge
Postdoctoral Scholar
SNAP Better Land-Use Decisions working group
National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS),
University of California Santa Barbara
Center of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED), University of Queensland
Twitter @Claire_Runge | runge@nceas.ucsb.edu | clairerunge.wordpress.com

Workshop: Vector spatial data in R [Wednesday February 10]

Next week’s event will be a workshop, not a roundtable. The workshop will be led by Casey O’ Hara at NCEAS. We will have facilities for remote participation for those who’d like and/or if we run out of space at the NCEAS conference room.
Please RSVP to attend and get follow-up emails.
Vector spatial data in R

GIS is a useful tool for viewing spatial data and creating maps, but R can do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to analyzing your spatial data.  We will focus on vector spatial data in this workshop (polygons, lines, points) but also touch on raster spatial data, building upon the raster workshop led by Jamie last fall.  Please RSVP by filling out this google form, so we can send you a follow up e-mail with further instructions to set up your laptop.  Newbies and experts are all welcome.

Some things we will look at; if you have specific questions please feel free to send them in advance (e-mail or on the RSVP form):

  • reading and writing vector spatial data (shapefiles and geodatabases)
  • projecting and displaying vector spatial data (incl. mapping in ggplot)
  • understanding the structure of R spatial polygon objects so we can take them apart, analyze them, modify them, and put them back together again.
  • using basic geoprocessing tools in R to manipulate geometry, e.g. intersect, difference, area, buffer, etc.
  • working with polygons and rasters together
  • checking and repairing geometries (beware of orphan holes!)

Please bring a laptop if you can, so we can work through the examples together.  You can find the materials (scripts, data, and workshop notes) here: https://github.com/eco-data-science/spatial_analysis2_R.  Clone or fork the repository (if you’re a GitHub person) or download the zip file (button on right, above the list of files).

We’ll send a followup e-mail to attendees with a to-do list of things to set up ahead of time, including software and R packages you might need to install or update.  Please make sure to RSVP!