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Commentary — Page 4

Getting the picture – cameras, marine biodiversity and human impact

By Anthony Bicknell, Associate Research Fellow at the Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, UK. We have all been captivated by the television wildlife documentaries that provide breath-taking video images of the previously unseen marine world. Although these may rely on the expertise of an experienced camera operator, camera technology has advanced to such an extent over recent years…

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Bringing data-rich experiences to undergraduate classrooms – ESA Education Scholars pave the way

A guest post by Teresa Mourad, ESA  Director or Education and Diversity Programs with help from Arietta Fleming-Davies of QUBES and Radford University. Gaby Hamerlinck and Kristin Jenkins from QUBES and BioQuest, and Sam Donovan from QUBES and the University of Pittsburgh collaborated on this project. As computational power has expanded and cloud-based analytical tools become more accessible, the science…

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The notorious illegal fishing vessel Thunder sank off the coast of Sao Tome in April 2015. The loss of this vessel, one of the “Bandit Six” known for poaching Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) in the Southern Ocean, was insured by a legitimate financial institution. © Simon Ager/Sea Shepherd Global.

Stop insuring fishery pirates

By Dana Miller, postdoctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Economics Research Unit in Vancouver, Canada. “Pirate” evokes images of legendary figures from the days of the great tall-masted sailing galleons, like Captain Henry Morgan, the famous 17th century “pirate of the Caribbean.” But piracy is still with us today, and modern pirates do not only steal from passing…

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Predator control should not be a shot in the dark

Although the protection of livestock from predators like wolves, cougars, and bears is hotly contested in the United States and Europe, control methods are rarely subjected to rigorous scientific testing. Non-lethal methods face higher standards of evidence—and are also generally more effective than killing predators, say Adrian Teves, Miha Krofel and Jeannine McManus. The trio conducted a systematic review of the…

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Weigh in on NSF’s next strategic plan

By Elise Lipkowitz, Science Policy Analyst for the National Science Board Office   It’s time again for the National Science Foundation (NSF, Foundation) to revise its Strategic Plan.   As part of this process, the Foundation is looking for feedback from the science community on NSF’s current strategic plan (FY 2014-2018) and input on possible future strategic goals for the agency. If you…

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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…

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Monitoring mosquitos: Disease ecologist Shannon LaDeau samples puddles in a vacant lot in Baltimore, looking for the eggs and larvae of disease-carrying mosquitos that breed in shallow pools of still water. Mosquito surveillance and the removal of mosquito breeding habitat are our best tools for arresting the spread of diseases like chikungunya, dengue, West Nile—and now, Zika. The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Sciences and Baltimore Ecosystem Study work with neighborhood community leaders to develop management strategies. Credit, Cary Institute.

Zika: Are outbreaks in U.S. cities avoidable?

A guest commentary by Shannon LaDeau, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and a Baltimore Ecosystem Study NSF LTER co-principal investigator and Paul Leisnham, an associate professor of ecology and health at the University of Maryland’s Department of Environmental Science and Technology. When it comes to addressing emerging infectious disease, we have a short attention span. Forces are…

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Reflections on Flint and environmental justice

The Flint water crisis: a time for reflecting on the need for ecosystem resilience and human well-being in urban communities of color By Kellen Marshall, graduate student in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at and a fellow at the Institute for Environmental Science & Policy at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Follow her on Twitter @greenkels. All humans deserve clean drinking water. The Flint…

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Depiction of a shooting in Louisiana, Smith Bennett, 1875

De-Extinction, a risky ecological experiment

Genetic engineering may allow us to rebirth close facsimiles of extinct species. But would bringing back a few individuals of a famously gregarious bird like the passenger pigeon truly revive the species, when the great oak forests that sustained them are gone? And if it succeeds, what if the birds don’t fit in anymore in our changed world? Experience with biological…

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Schuler (lower left), Rick Relyea (upper middle), and Bill Hintz (lower right) survey Lake George for invasive banded and Chinese mystery snails. Credit, Brian Mattes.

Wiring food webs at Lake George

A collaborative project at Lake George, NY, merges sensory, experimental, and natural history data to develop a better model for environmental monitoring and prediction in lake ecosystems around the world. Guest post by Matt Schuler, a 2013 ESA Graduate Student Policy Award winner currently working as postdoctoral researcher in Rick Relyea’s lab at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. The clear waters of…

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ESA presidents comment on NEON de-scoping

A guest commentary from 16 current and past presidents of ESA addressing a recent move by the National Science Foundation to shrink the mission scope of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). Dear Colleague, During the recent ESA Centennial Meeting in mid-August, ESA Past-presidents gathered in Baltimore to discuss NEON’s (National Ecological Observatory Network) future. Here are some thoughts we’d like to share…

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