Remember taking a math test in, say sixth grade? There was that painful requirement that you show your work. If 2 + b = 7 and a – 5 = 10, what does a + b equal? Line up those little equations and hammer them out for the teacher, because she doesn’t care if you get the final answer, she wants to see how you got the answer.
Just like sixth grade all over again, the current generation of young ecologists* will have to deal with showing their work. Specifically, there is an abundance of data we are collecting and working with, much of which can be used for multiple purposes, from meta-analyses (See Christopher Lortie’s recent PeerJ pre-prints) to systematic reviews to reanalysis. Based on the era of big data, there is a considerable and ever-evolving discussion on how data should be shared, used and published within the ecological and larger research communities. . Some people find it to be an ethical issue, whether data is made publicly available. In the vein of elementary school math exams showing one’s work and data, various discussions have come up in the social media world lately:
I am pleased to introduce a guest piece by Peter Brewitt, PhD Candidate University of California Santa Cruz and blogger at http://damremoval.wordpress.com. In his PhD research, Peter is working on the politics and ecology of two of the dams mentioned in this series. Thanks to Peter for the quick turnaround on this article – please thank him by checking out his work at the above links.
-Nate and the ECE
The ecology of dams and dam removal: a socio-ecological history of the Elwha (Part 4)
By Peter Brewitt
The Elwha River used to be 45 miles long. It flowed north out of Washington’s Olympic Mountains, from glaciers to taiga to lowlands and into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It was far enough west to pick up the moisture rolling in off the Pacific ocean, far enough east to avoid getting scoured out like the rainforest rivers on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula. And… it was full of salmon. Continue reading →
The White Salmon River watershed and surrounding vicinity. Borrowed from friendsofthewhitesalmon.org
By Nate Hough-Snee
Near Washington State’s Mt. Adams, a small river begins, flowing south into the Pacific Northwest’s largest wild Salmon production facility, the Columbia River. This river begins in steep headwaters on one of the Pacific Northwest’s lesser volcanoes and runs 44 miles through forests ranging from the subalpine to second-growth plantations, draining roughly 400 square miles. Continue reading →
A map of the Rogue River Basin and associated Chinook salmon runs. Borrowed from rogueriverkeeper.org
By Nate Hough-Snee
Case one: the Savage Rapids Dam, Rogue River, OR.
The Rogue River begins a 215-mile journey to the sea from Crater Lake, the remnant caldera from the eruption of Mt. Mazama in south central, Oregon. From Crater Lake the river snakes through Oregon’s lushly forested Cascade Range before heading through the Klamath Mountains and the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and onward to the Pacific Ocean. Between the two mountain ranges, the river passes US Interstate 5 near Grants Pass, a former timber town and the county seat of Southern Oregon’s Josephine County. It’s near this point where the river seemingly parallels I-5, at which a major salvo was fired in the 21st century’s first Pacific Northwest dam wars.
When someone asks, “what is the signature of human beings on Earth?” what do you immediately think of? Does your mind wander to vast expanses of land converted to row-crop agriculture? Or do you think of a sea of urban pavement and rooftops? What about the earth’s brightened night sky, as captured from space? What systems have been ubiquitously changed, those large and small, across continents and cultures? Whatever your answer, many people can agree that the landscapes that humans have most heavily altered are those that they perhaps need most – water dependent ecosystems: streams, rivers and lakes. Continue reading →
Although we’re supposed to be doing the whole holiday thing – eggnog, ugly sweaters, holiday songs, Charlie Brown specials, and…not blogging – I’ve been lurking the ol’ email and would like to share something from across the wire.
This evening, the one and only Erin Pettit, sent along great news: the 2013 Girls on Ice applications are open! If you’re unacquainted, Girls on Ice is a National Science Foundation funded, science education, mountaineering and leadership experience that is offered to young women each year through the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The program finds exceptional individuals, from diverse economic backgrounds and geographic areas, and provides them an equally exceptional experience in Alaska or Washington State’s North Cascades. Being married to a 2001 program alum/former GOI employee, I personally know someone who can vouch for the value and life-changing potential of this program. But don’t take my word for it, check out what Erin sent along:
Glaciers on Mt. Rainier through a variable retention harvest in Washington State, USA
The Arctic Ocean outside of Kaktoviak, AK, USA 2006.
I have always struggled to describe the rise of my interest in ecology or how I became an ecologist. At this point, asking me why and how I became an ecologist is kind of like asking a backcountry snowboarder why he or she is checking the weather every 30 minutes. Ecological research and restoration have become a part of my identity – it’s just what I wake up thinking about. Oddly though, I never really anticipated that things would turn out this way. Eventually, I ended up in the woods, on the river and out in the muskeg. To narrate this I’ll focus on a few anecdotes that, in hindsight, determined the R-squared of how I became an ecologist. Continue reading →