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We're joined by Dr. Pam McElwee, Professor of Human Ecology at Rutgers University, and Dr. Sarah Diamond, Associate Professor of Biology at Case Western Reserve University. They were here to discuss their recent BioScience article, Governing for Transformative Change across the Biodiversity–Climate–Society Nexus, which describes principles for addressing global environmental crises.The abstract of their article follows.Transformative governance is key to addressing the global environmental crisis. We explore how transformative governance of complex biodiversity–climate–society interactions can be achieved, drawing on the first joint report between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services to reflect on the current opportunities, barriers, and challenges for transformative governance. We identify principles for transformative governance under a biodiversity–climate–society nexus frame using four case studies: forest ecosystems, marine ecosystems, urban environments, and the Arctic. The principles are focused on creating conditions to build multifunctional interventions, integration, and innovation across scales; coalitions of support; equitable approaches; and positive social tipping dynamics. We posit that building on such transformative governance principles is not only possible but essential to effectively keep climate change within the desired 1.5 degrees Celsius global mean temperature increase, halt the ongoing accelerated decline of global biodiversity, and promote human well-being.
In this episode, we're joined by Dr. Robert Montgomery, Associate Professor of Biodiversity and Sustainability, Senior Research Fellow in Lady Margaret Hall College, and Senior Researcher in the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, at Oxford University. He's here to talk about his recent BioScience article, Integrating Social Justice into Higher Education Conservation Science. The abstract of the article follows.Because biodiversity loss has largely been attributed to human actions, people, particularly those in the Global South, are regularly depicted as threats to conservation. This context has facilitated rapid growth in green militarization, with fierce crackdowns against real or perceived environmental offenders. We designed an undergraduate course to assess student perspectives on biodiversity conservation and social justice and positioned those students to contribute to a human heritage-centered conservation (HHCC) initiative situated in Uganda. We evaluated changes in perspectives using pre- and postcourse surveys and reflection instruments. Although the students started the course prioritizing biodiversity conservation, even when it was costly to human well-being, by the end of the course, they were recognizing and remarking on the central importance of social justice within conservation. We present a framework for further integration of HHCC approaches into higher education courses so as to conserve the integrity of coupled human and natural systems globally.
Thomas Larsen and Patrick Roberts of the Max Planck Institute of the Science of Human History join us to discuss how we can learn about early hominins diets using stable isotope analysis. The abstract of their BioScience article follows.Stable isotope analysis of teeth and bones is regularly applied by archeologists and paleoanthropologists seeking to reconstruct diets, ecologies, and environments of past hominin populations. Moving beyond the now prevalent study of stable isotope ratios from bulk materials, researchers are increasingly turning to stable isotope ratios of individual amino acids to obtain more detailed and robust insights into trophic level and resource use. In the present article, we provide a guide on how to best use amino acid stable isotope ratios to determine hominin dietary behaviors and ecologies, past and present. We highlight existing uncertainties of interpretation and the methodological developments required to ensure good practice. In doing so, we hope to make this promising approach more broadly accessible to researchers at a variety of career stages and from a variety of methodological and academic backgrounds who seek to delve into new depths in the study of dietary composition.
In this episode, we're joined by Liam Zarri, PhD student at Cornell University, and Dr. Eric Palkovacs, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. They discuss their recent BioScience article on evolutionary effects of dams and other anthropogenic water barriers, such as culverts, on riverine fishes. The impacts they highlight include rapid evolution affecting behavior, migration, behavior, temperature tolerance, and body type. Damming waterways can also lead to reductions in genetic diversity, with possibly harmful effects for fish populations.
In this episode, we're joined by Kim Novick, Associate Professor in the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Richard Phillips, Professor in the Department of Biology at Indiana University, and Justin Maxwell, Associate Professor, Department of Geography at Indiana University. They were here to talk about their recent article in BioScience on the topic of drought resilience in eastern oaks, an issue of ever more urgent importance given the changing climate. 
The positive effects of scientist engagement with the general public are well documented, but most investigations have focused on the benefits to the public rather than on those performing engagement activities. Writing in BioScience, Nalini Nadkarni of the University of Utah and colleagues "reverse the lens" on public engagement with science, discovering numerous benefits for scientists involved in these efforts.The authors distributed pre- and post-event surveys to individuals who are incarcerated in a state prison and a county jail as part of the Initiative to Bring Science Programs to the Incarcerated (INSPIRE) program, through which scientists present informal scientific lectures in carceral settings. This sort of engagement is particularly important, say the authors, given the growing emphasis among funding agencies and in academia on broadening the reach of science to include scientifically underserved groups.The results of the surveys were striking, with 100% of the scientist participants reporting that they would recommend the program to their colleagues. Scientists who gave lectures also reported an increased interest in taking action on issues related to social justice, with one respondent stating, “It has motivated me to take more actions. A couple of years from now, I plan to design programs for young adults from minority families.”The experience also produced significant counterstereotypical effects, in which negative preconceived notions were dramatically shifted by their experiences. "My interaction with incarcerated individuals really opened my eyes. Previously, these individuals were a number or statistic that I hear on the news. After meeting individuals, I felt empathy for people in this situation," said one respondent.The authors are hopeful about the prospects for the expansion of such programs, for the benefit of scientists and people who are incarcerated alike. They note that the program is cost-effective and accessible, as they calculated that if only 10% US scientists were to engage in similar work, that would result in a ratio of 95 scientists per correctional facility, and "every incarcerated person in the United States would have access to a scientist’s presentation."Authors Nalini Nadkarni, Jeremy Morris, JJ Horns join us on this episode of BioScience Talks to discuss the article and the promise of greater public engagement with science.Additional ResourcesThe Go To Prison Handbook  More peer-reviewed publications. Learn more about science in prisons.The youth in custody program. 
While numerous studies have described the funding discrepancies faced by scientists at minority-serving institutions (MSIs), there is a relative paucity of information available about MSI-based scientists' participation in grant review, the process used by research funders to allocate their budgets. A new article from the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) sheds further light on grant review and the factors that underlie scientists' ability to participate in it. Writing in the journal BioScience, AIBS scientists Stephen A. Gallo, Joanne H. Sullivan, and DaJoie R. Croslan describe the results of a survey disseminated to thousands of MSI-based scientists aimed at elucidating discrepancies in grant review participation between MSI-based scientists and those who work at traditionally White institutions (TWIs). The survey questions addressed a range of topics, including the scientists' recent funding and peer review experiences, as well as their motivations for engaging in the grant review process.  The survey results point to serious issues in grant review: Only 45% of respondents from MSIs reported participating in the grant review process, compared with an earlier survey's finding that 76% of scientists from TWIs were. This mismatch cannot be accounted for by differences in frequency of grant submission (which is roughly the same) or in scientist preferences, say the authors—76% of MSI scientists reported an interest in taking part in grant review. In this episode of BioScience Talks, we're joined by the article's authors to discuss these and other findings described in their article—as well as the ways that these issues might be best addressed.
Natural resource managers worldwide face a growing challenge: Global change increasingly propels ecosystems on strong trajectories toward irreversible ecological transformations. As once-familiar historical ecological conditions fade, managers need new approaches to guide decision-making. In a special section in BioScience, three dozen authors, led by National Park Service (NPS) ecologist Gregor Schuurman and US Geological Survey social scientist Amanda Cravens, describe the Resist–Accept–Direct (RAD) framework, designed for and by managers. The collection of articles is focused on understanding and responding to the challenges of stewarding ecological systems in a time of intensifying global change.            According to the section authors, the RAD framework gives managers three general pathways for responding to change: They can take actions to resist the change, they can accept it, or they can try to direct the change to produce desirable outcomes. The NPS has honed the RAD framework with an expanding circle of parks and adaptation partners over the past half-dozen years, with federal natural resource management agencies collaborating to develop guidance for stewarding transforming ecosystems. The special section can be found in the January issue of BioScience. For this episode of BioScience Talks, we are joined by Dr. Schuurman to discuss the RAD framework and the special section that describes it. More about the RAD framework can be found on web pages maintained by the NPS and USGS. 
The American institute of Biological Sciences, publisher of the BioScience Talks podcast, mourns the loss of visionary ecologist Thomas E. Lovejoy III. Dr. Lovejoy was the AIBS President in 1994. In 2012, he received the AIBS Outstanding Service Award, an award given annually in recognition of individuals’ and organizations’ noteworthy service to the biological sciences. Earlier this year, he joined us for an episode of our oral history series, In Their Own Words, which we republish here in memoriam. A version of this interview was also published in BioScience. Lovejoy died on December 25, 2021 in McLean, Virginia. He was 80.
In this episode of BioScience Talks, we're joined by Dr. Michael Lesser, Professor Emeritus at the University of New Hampshire. He's here to talk about his recent BioScience article, which details the ways that coral is affected by nutrients, climate change, and other stressors— and what those interconnected stressors mean for the future of reefs.
The task of training an effective cadre of biodiversity scientists has grown more challenging in recent years, as foundational skills and knowledge in organismal biology have increasingly required complementary data skills and knowledge. Writing in BioScience, Dr. Anna K. Monfils, of Central Michigan University, and colleagues identify one way to address this training conundrum: biodiversity collections. Biodiversity collections operate at the nexus of foundational biological practice and contemporary data science, a product of their role as curator of not only specimens themselves but also the specimens' associated data and network of data resources (referred to as the "extended specimen").            The authors describe a module that leverages this feature of biodiversity collections to produce a holistic student learning experience. The module, “Connecting students to citizen science and curated collections," was designed by the authors with six learning goals in mind, ranging from plant specimen collection in the field to the deposition of data in national or international databases. Students also learned about the value of large data sets and the role of community members' contributions to them.            The authors reported strong learning results, stating that, according to a postmodule assessment, "the students felt well prepared, very well prepared, or totally prepared to use foundational and emerging plant collecting skills including maintaining a field notebook (89%), collecting specimens in the field (94%), and depositing specimens (89%) and digital data (92%) into national and international data repositories."            Joining us on this episode are authors Anna Monfils, Professor at Central Michigan University and Director of the Central Michigan University Herbarium, Erica Krimmel, Information Scientist with the iDigBio Project at Florida State University, and Travis Marsico, Professor of Botany at Arkansas State University and Curator of the Arkansas State University Herbarium. They discussed the learning model they designed from implementation to next steps.
In this episode of BioScience Talks, we're joined by Liz Browne, who has bachelor of science degree with honors from the University of Tasmania, and Scott Carver, disease ecologist at the University of Tasmania. They discuss the pathogen transmission, and in particular, the way that Sarcoptes scabiei, the mite responsible for mange, passes between members of different species, as well as the implications for epidemiology generally. Learn more in their recent BioScience article.
In this episode of BioScience Talks, we're joined by previous guest Paolo D'Odorico, professor of hydrology and the Chair of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. We're also joined by Willis Jenkins, Hollingsworth Professor of Ethics at the University of Virginia, where he is also Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. Our guests discuss their recent article in BioScience water security and the ways that our values play into its management, with implications for Indigenous rights, ecosystem health, economies, environmental justice, and more. 
Over recent decades, community-based environmental monitoring (often called "citizen science") has exploded in popularity, aided both by smartphones and rapid gains in computing power that make the analysis of large data sets far easier.             Publishing in BioScience, handling editors Rick Bonney, of Cornell University, Finn Danielsen, of the Nordic Foundation for Development and Ecology (NORDECO), and numerous colleagues share an open-access special section (already downloaded thousands of times) that highlights numerous community-based monitoring programs currently underway.             In an article on locally based monitoring, Danielsen and colleagues describe the potential for monitoring by community members—who may have little scientific training—to deliver "credible data at local scale independent of external experts and can be used to inform local and national decision making within a short timeframe."             Community-based monitoring efforts also have the potential to empower Indigenous rightsholders and stakeholders through their broader inclusion in the scientific process, writes Bonney in a Viewpoint article introducing the section. Moreover, he says, "Indigenous and local peoples’ in situ knowledge practices have the potential to make significant contributions to meeting contemporary sustainability challenges both locally and around the globe."             In this episode of BioScience Talks, Bonney and Danielsen join us to discuss the special section as well as the broader future for community-based monitoring.
This episode is the next in our oral history series, In Their Own Words. These pieces chronicle the stories of scientists who have made great contributions to their fields, particularly within the biological sciences. Each month, we will publish in the pages of BioScience, and on this podcast, the results of these conversations. Nalini Nadkarni is a professor of biology at the University of Utah.  Note: Both the text and audio versions have been edited for clarity and length.
In a year marked by unprecedented flooding, deadly avalanches, and scorching heat waves and wildfires, the climate emergency's enormous cost—whether measured in lost resources or human lives—is all too apparent. Writing in BioScience, a group led by William J. Ripple and Christopher Wolf, both with Oregon State University, update their striking 2019 "World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency" with new data on the climate's health. The news is not good.            Although fossil fuel use dipped slightly in 2020, a widely predicted result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the authors report that carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide "have all set new year-to-date records for atmospheric concentrations in both 2020 and 2021." Furthermore, 16 out of 31 tracked planetary vital signs, reflecting metrics such as greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat content, and ice mass, have also set disquieting records. However, there were a few bright spots, including fossil fuel subsidies reaching a record low and fossil fuel divestment reaching a record high.            In this episode of BioScience Talks, coauthor Jillian Gregg, who is with the Sustainability Double Degree program and the Department of Crop and Soil Science at Oregon State University, joins us to discuss the latest climate update and the urgent actions needed ensure the long-term sustainability of human civilization. Notes: For our discussion on extreme climate event attribution, we would like to clarify that current methods do not assess whether individual events are caused by climate change, but instead assess whether these events (floods, hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, fires) are larger, more intense, or more frequent, as a result of climate change.Links to some of the resources we discuss: Carbon Brief summarizes extreme weather events Al Gore Climate Reality Training Exeter University YouTube on how they are becoming carbon neutral We refer to the "Princeton group," which is the Climate Central Surging Seas site for visualizing sea level rise
Historically, shared resources such as forests, fishery stocks, and pasture lands have often been managed with an aim toward averting "tragedies of the commons," which are thought to result from selfish overuse. Writing in BioScience, Drs. Senay Yitbarek (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Karen Bailey (University of Colorado Boulder), Nyeema Harris (Yale University), and colleagues critique this model, arguing that, all too often, such conservation has failed to acknowledge the complex socioecological interactions that undergird the health of resource pools.The authors, who describe themselves as Blackologists (“'not simply scholars that are Black but, rather, are scholars who deliberately leverage and intersect Blackness into advancing knowledge production"), elucidate a model in which researchers' life experiences provide "unique perspectives to critically examine socioecological processes and the challenges and solutions that arise from them." In this episode of BioScience Talks, Yitbarek, Bailey, and Harris join us to discuss this model of inclusive sustainability and the ways in which it can be brought to bear in service of ecosystems and the humans who inhabit them. Please visit Dr. Bailey's podcast, The Creature Connection.
In this episode, we're joined by Dr. Charlie Fenster, Professor at South Dakota State University, Director of Oak Lake Field Station, and President of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), Dr. Pam Soltis of the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida, Director of University of Florida Biodiversity Institute, AIBS Board Member, and Past President of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, and Paul Turner, Rachel Carson Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University and Microbiology Faculty Member at the Yale School of Medicine. They describe their recent article in BioScience, "Pandemic Policy in the Vaccine Era: The Long Haul Approach," in which they discuss vaccines, viral evolution, and the ways that the life sciences community must contribute to a robust international response in order to meet the present and future global challenges to human health and wellbeing. 
A discussion of environmental DNA and RNA (eDNA and eRNA, respectively) and its potential for pathogen monitoring. eDNA and eRNA approaches work through the collection of a sample (often from an aquatic source), whose genetic contents are then sequenced to reveal the presence and prevalence of pathogens. This conversation focuses on two cases, that of a herpesvirus that causes cancers among as turtles, and SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Our guests are Jessica Farrell and David Duffy of the University of Florida's Whitney Lab and Sea Turtle Hospital and Liam Whitmore, of the University of Limerick, in Ireland. Read the article in BioScience here. The authors' case study is written up here.
This episode is the next in our oral history series, In Their Own Words. These pieces chronicle the stories of scientists who have made great contributions to their fields, particularly within the biological sciences. Each month, we will publish in the pages of BioScience, and on this podcast, the results of these conversations. John E. Burris is emeritus president of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. He is also a past president of AIBS. Note: Both the text and audio versions have been edited for clarity and length.Read this article in BioScience.
Comments (1)

Happy⚛️Heritic

Fascinating!

Nov 1st
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