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