Novel ecosystems - where biotic and/or abiotic changes have led to systems that have no analog in the present or past - are a worldwide phenomenon. Myriad interacting environmental changes and thresholds to restoration prevent return to some historical state. What should restoration ecologists do when confronted by such systems? One answer may be to restore function to degraded systems.
Reduced diversity of populations can have far-reaching consequences for ecosystem functioning and resilience when it results in lost capacity for individuals to adapt or acclimate to changing environmental conditions. Such losses are of concern for species such as the submersed aquatic plant species Vallisneria americana that have experienced large declines due to anthropogenic factors.
Sustainability, social media, and women are a unique combination. How do people network around concepts of sustainability, and what is the role of social media and social networks in particular? The Global Women Scholars Research Network uses the platform of the Commission for Sustainable Development, Rio+20 to look at how women network around a science issue, particularly sustainability and climate change.
Redefining our Relationship to Nature: Alternative Environmental Metaphors and Socio-environmental Synthesis
Our approach to conservation—and to nature—is shaped in part by our metaphors. In this presentation, I examine alternative ways of conceptualizing invasive species (e.g., “invasional meltdown” versus “novel ecosystems”) and evaluate their implications for socio-environmental synthesis and, more broadly, for our relationship with nature.
Overfishing, the leading social-ecological problem in the marine realm, has modified ecosystem functioning and is jeopardizing the well-being of the billion people that depend on seafood as their primary source of protein. Over the past decade, fisher learning exchanges, in which representatives from different fisher communities are brought together to share knowledge, have become key tools in improving fisheries management.
One of the most prominent forms of environmental change in the modern era is the rapid loss in the diversity of genes, species, and biological traits in ecosystems. A consequence of this loss of biodiversity is that natural and managed ecosystems are less efficient in capturing biologically essential resources, which leads to a decline in ecosystem productivity and stability.
We will address two urgent problems: (1) designing and delivering undergraduate STEM courses that better engage students and increase their learning; and (2) preparing citizens to address global challenges (e.g., energy, environment, health, food) that are coupled with strong economic development. Research indicates that both problems can be addressed by connecting STEM education with real-world problems in sustainability.