Connecting scientists to their communities

Survey finds that most science faculty members view science communications as a priority, but do not believe their peers feel the same  More than half of faculty members at U.S. land-grant universities believe engaging with the public about science is a high priority. At the same time, fewer than a quarter think their peers prioritize science communication, according to a new report. That gap suggests that faculty who engage with the public feel isolated and could weaken outreach programs that meet university missions and the goals of the scientific community at large, researchers say.    The findings come from a team that includes Ezra Markowitz, environmental conservation, and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and Dartmouth College.  For years, many scientific societies have urged academic researchers to increase their engagement with the public. Their goals include boosting participation in science, increasing support for science-based programs — such as public vaccination campaigns — and helping society grapple with big changes brought by scientific advances.  Markowitz says...
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A new view of salt marshes

A new view of salt marshes

Funded by EPA, environmental conservation and public policy professors will use aerial technology to study coastal salt marshes at all tide cycles Scott Jackson, environmental conservation, and Charlie Schweik, professor at the School of Public Policy and the department of environmental conservation, have received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It will fund a project that uses unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to develop methods to assess the ecological integrity of Massachusetts salt marshes. The new $125,000 grant is an extension of a $362,776 award the team received in 2018 for the project. The additional funding will allow the researchers to continue developing the methodologies and to expand their work to more sites on the eastern Massachusetts coast. The project’s goal is to provide environmental managers information on the ecological health of salt marches, including their vulnerability to flooding and their physical and biological condition. “Salt marshes serve important ecological functions,” Schweik said. “They act as a buffer for coastal land from stormy seas during dramatic weather events...
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The Do’s and Don’ts of Monitoring Many Wildlife Species at Once

The Do’s and Don’ts of Monitoring Many Wildlife Species at Once

Courtesy: UMass News and Media Relations  UMass Amherst ecologists name pitfalls of older methods and recommend best practices February 25, 2020 Contact: Kadambari Devarajan AMHERST, Mass. –  A new analysis of 92 studies from 27 countries conducted by ecologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests that many recent multi-species studies of wildlife communities often incorrectly use the analytical tools and methods available. Technology such as trail cameras and drones have “revolutionized wildlife monitoring studies” in recent years, says organismic and evolutionary biology doctoral student Kadambari Devarajan, who led the study, “but if not properly used in well-designed research, they will compromise the reliability of the results obtained.” Devarajan and co-authors report that the number of studies reporting community-level data has dramatically increased from fewer than five in 2009 to more than 50 in 2019. They believe that given the growth of ecological studies at the community level, it is important to identify the pitfalls that could arise from incorrectly applying certain methods and inconsistencies in reporting results,...
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