From the AIBS Public Policy Report: Credit: M. Downs/LTER-NCO. CC BY-SA 4.0.Reports abound from professional societies, the Academies, government agencies, and researchers calling attention to the fact that science is increasingly an interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, inter-institutional, and international endeavor. In short, science has become a “team sport.” There is a real and present need to better… Read more »
Researchers from Coweeta LTER are changing the way we monitor drought by showing that indicators of drought can be monitored at large spatial scales and in near real-time.
Within the science and natural resource management fields, people often say what gets measured gets managed. But in a well studied ecosystem such as the Everglades, how do decades of scientific information get accurately translated into restoration plans? Through the use of synthesis science, researchers from the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER site compiled interdisciplinary data to evaluate… Read more »
The McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV), the largest ice-free portion of Antarctica, is a unique and fragile ecosystem that has been designated as an Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA). Human activities, including scientific research, are thus carefully regulated to minimize potential damage to the landscape and ecosystem. A workshop, held in May 2016, outlined actions to… Read more »
How do you begin to approach wicked problems, those that span socioeconomic and ecological spheres, when solutions involve multiple and varied stakeholders? Researchers at the Kellogg Biological Station LTER began to tackle one of U.S. agriculture’s greatest challenges, excess nitrogen pollution, by hosting “The N Roundtable,” to improve the flow of information through a farming landscape that has changed dramatically in the past few decades.
In the United States, society spends billions of dollars each year on stream restoration. Knowing where restoration efforts are likely to be most effective could help get more restoration-bang for those bucks. A recent study of 13 river restoration projects by investigators from the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER found that restoration appeared to be more effective at… Read more »
What information is needed to predict where fires will start in desert grasslands and how big they will get? Soil type turns out to play a larger role than expected.
There are certain events, such as severe storms or a crash in financial markets, that catalyze transitions in social-ecological systems, in a process that is akin to the way a hurricane or insect outbreak might catalyze an ecological transition. To understand the patterns that emerge in social-ecological systems, ecologists must understand governance, a process rooted in the key social science concepts of power and networks.
How-and when-do ecosystems change character? Are those shifts reversible? And what signs might precede them? Such questions are hard enough to answer in a single place. One might think that incorporating different kinds of ecosystems would only complicate the problem. But a group of scientists in the Long-Term Ecological Research Network is finding a remarkably consistent pattern by combining models and data across several long-term ecological experiments.
Novel ecosystems can emerge through many kinds of changes, including changes in mean climate, species invasions, and increased or decreased variability. Researchers at Jordana Basin LTER have highlighted the role of interannual climate variability in changing the outcome when an exotic grass species invades dry shrubland. Using a process-based model, they predicted three outcomes, depending on the degree of variability and timing relative to invasion.