Take the sustainability research leadership survey
Jul14

Take the sustainability research leadership survey

Calling ecological researchers around the globe: How do you collaborate across disciplines and institutional sectors? A guest post by Josh Tewksbury, natural historian, global hub director of Future Earth, board member for the Leopold Leadership Program, and a research professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder     The Leopold Leadership Program, Future Earth, START, and researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder would like 15 minutes of your time for a survey they have co-developed. The anonymous results will help them learn how to facilitate capacity for transdisciplinary research on sustainable development around the world. take the survey   Who: graduate students and post-docs; pre-, post-, and non-tenure-track folks in academic institutions; and researchers working in NGOs, think tanks, government, and the private sector Why: To build understanding of the skills, tools, competencies, and other capacities which researchers need in order to construct usable knowledge for sustainable development Intended outcomes: 1) A peer-reviewed paper; 2) a white paper to inform funding communities about where the gaps are; 3) data to inform program strategies for our organizations and for funders Time commitment: 10-15 minutes to complete the survey   Future Earth, the Leopold Leadership Program, and START, a global science capacity building organization, want to gain a greater understanding of the barriers, motivations, skills and competencies that researchers face as they attempt to work across disciplines and with non-research professionals.  The three organizations collaborated with Amanda Carrico an expert on survey design at the University of Colorado Boulder, to come up with the first global assessment focusing on these issues. The first survey is now live.  It takes about 15 minutes to complete and focuses on the skills, tools, and capacities which researchers need in fields critical to conservation and sustainable development in order to co-construct credible, relevant scientific knowledge with users of that knowledge. In addition, the survey explores the motivations for this work, and the barriers researchers face when they go down this path. The survey and associated information are anonymous. Our goal is to capture the diversity we need to provide some of the first global information on training needs for researchers who want to work across disciplines in fields related to conservation and sustainable development. We want to hear from people across the research community: graduate students and post-docs; pre-, post-, and non-tenure-track folks in academic institutions; and researchers working in NGOs, think tanks, government, and the private sector. We have results from almost 90 countries so far, but the penetration in ecology is still low. I would love to use the results of the survey to learn how ecologists see these problems, compared with, for example, economists, or engineers. The results from this...

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Finding the right words: A study of how and why we communicate our science with non-peers
Aug15

Finding the right words: A study of how and why we communicate our science with non-peers

Lesley Knoll and Peter Levi want to know how their fellow ecological scientists share knowledge about science outside peer groups. So Knoll, a director of research and education at Lacawac Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, and Levi, a postdoc at UW-Madison’s Center for Limnology, have created a survey. In this guest post, they explain the genesis of the project and how you can get involved.   Who are scientists communicating their science with and why? How are scientists communicating and are certain scientists more likely to communicate than others? Questions like these kept popping up among newly minted PhD’s at the most recent Ecological Dissertations in the Aquatic Sciences, or better known as Eco-DAS. During our time at the symposium in Hawaii, we chatted about the patterns of science communication – or lack thereof – among ourselves and our colleagues.  A group of us had discussions that extended into the evening and, with the help of Mai Tai’s and the Pacific Ocean, we began to come up with a plan. Though we are all aquatic scientists, our interests span the salty divide between freshwater and saltwater and all of us are interested in science communication. However, some of us were experienced and well-trained in communicating science with non-peer groups, while others learned with no guidance. We wondered how well our experiences reflected that of other scientists. Rather than muse about it endlessly, we decided to create a survey to find out! And here we are today with a survey and seeking help. Our scientific research project explores science communication patterns, styles, and expectations of ecologists in various positons, including government agencies, non-profits, academia, and industry. Whether you communicate your science with individuals or groups regularly, occasionally, or not at all, we would greatly appreciate 10 minutes of your time to assess how and why we as ecologists engage (or not) with others about science. To take the survey and for additional information on our research, please click here:   Our study is being conducted through the University of Hawai’i along with the following collaborators: Stacy Baez (Old Dominion University), Lauren Garske (UC-Davis), Jennifer Griffiths (Stockholm University), Emily Henry (Oregon State University), Lesley Knoll (Lacawac Sanctuary), Kevin Rose (UW-Madison), and Adrienne Sponberg (ASLO) with funding support from NSF (OCE08-12838). For more information, please contact one or both of the principal investigators: Drs. Paul Kemp (paulkemp @ hawaii.edu) or Peter Levi (plevi @ wisc.edu). Our research and recruitment materials were approved by UH-IRB on 07-JUN-2014. Survey icon designed by Icons8 from the Noun...

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Ill-informed prophecies and the future of women in ecology
Feb17

Ill-informed prophecies and the future of women in ecology

In May 2013, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment published a controversial article on “The future of ecology: a collision of expectations and desires?” In this guest post, Nathalie Pettorelli discusses her own response to the Lockwood paper, in the context of the broader sociological literature on women in science.

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the drones are coming
May21

the drones are coming

Unmanned vehicles bring in the data By Liza Lester, ESA communications officer   Earlier this month, a couple of environmental scientists from NOAA and WWF turned up at a symposium on drones in company with journalists, law & order types, engineers, gearheads and think tank fellows. The scientists were on the pro-drone docket. Drones can look for oil spills and tangles of derelict fishing nets, said Robbie Hood, Director of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at NOAA, speaking to an overflowing room at the New America Foundation (plus the live stream and viewers on C-Span). They can fly into dangerous weather conditions and remote locations. We’re not going to fly a lot of manned aircraft up there in the arctic because it’s so dangerous, she said, but maybe NOAA will send the drone fleet. Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund wanted to track animals with drones, and survey the depredations of man. He also wanted to track the people tracking animals – nefarious people, from his point of view. Some of the most wonderful parks in the world have been enshrined along borders, he said, because parks are nice buffer zones – they are mechanisms for neighboring countries to resolve disputes. This, he implied, is a benefit to people who want to skirt the law. Roberts wants to use drones to track down poachers and cross-border crime syndicates, “shadowy networks that operate across borders” and use the proceeds from illegal wildlife trade to buy guns and fund conflict. Drones in their many forms have potential to deliver valuable surveillance data for ecology – and for other applications you can imagine. An octocopter hovers over a wheat field on the cover of the April issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, illustrating Karen Anderson’s and Kevin Gaston’s view that “Lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles will revolutionize spatial ecology”. They outline the existing options, from modified MQ-9 Predator-B vehicles (expensive!) to DIY kit deals you can fly from your smartphone (US$400). Our overseas activities and the oncoming swarm of domestic unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have stirred up necessary debates over what technology we will chose to allow. Established interests care a lot about the labels we use. Sometime earlier in the morning session, another panelist had expressed displeasure with the label ‘drone.’ Michael Toscano, President and CEO of Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, aggressively asserted that unmanned aircraft are not drones because a person, a human being, pilots the vehicles from a remote location. The aircraft aren’t robots (yet). Unstated, but alluded to by others, was the complaint that ‘drone’ evokes an unfair primal reaction keyed to the image...

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