Ecologists conducting field research usually study areas that they hope won't be disturbed for a while. But in an article published in the November issue of BioScience, "Mapping the Design Process for Urban Ecology Researchers," Alexander Felson of Yale University and his colleagues describe how ecologists can perform hypothesis-driven research from the start of design through the construction and monitoring phases of major urban projects. The results from such "designed experiments" can provide site-specific data that improve how the projects are conceptualized, built and subsequently monitored.
In light of the billions of dollars spent each year on urban construction, Felson and his coauthors see important potential in improving its environmental benefits and minimizing its harms. Currently, environmental consultants advising on the designs for such projects usually rely on available knowledge and principles that were originally tested in natural settings.
The authors note that researchers must understand contracting, then work to establish their credentials with project designers and their clients to be awarded a recognized role in a construction project. Felson and colleagues therefore provide maps of the process for researchers' benefit. Ecologist researchers should try to involve themselves at the earliest stages, even before designing starts, and be ready to accept priorities that are alien to typical research settings.
Felson and his colleagues provide two case studies to show how it can be done.
One is the construction of a "green" parking lot and associated water gardens at an environmental center in New Jersey, the other a major tree-planting project in New York City. In both cases, researchers involved themselves during the contract phases of the projects by establishing the likely value of answering research questions. Although they had to make some compromises with commercial and political imperatives, the designed experiments undertaken allowed researchers to influence the design and implementation and improve environmental benefits, while also establishing viable long-term research sites in highly urbanized areas
BioScience, published monthly, is the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS. BioScience is a forum for integrating the life sciences that publishes commentary and peer-reviewed articles. The journal has been published since 1964. AIBS is a meta-level organization for professional scientific societies and organizations that are involved with biology. It represents nearly 160 member societies and organizations. The overview article by Felson and colleagues ("Mapping the Design Process for Urban Ecology Researchers") can be accessed ahead of print as an uncorrected proof at http://www.aibs.org/BioScience-press-releases/ until early November.
The complete list of peer-reviewed articles in the November 2013 issue of BioScience is as follows. These are now published ahead of print.
Mapping the Design Process for Urban Ecology Researchers by Alexander J. Felson, Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman, Timothy Carter, Franco Montalto, Bill Shuster, Nikki Springer, Emilie K. Stander, and Olyssa Starry
The Impacts of Changing Disturbance Regimes on Serotinous Plant Populations and Communities by Brian Buma, Carissa D. Brown, Dan C. Donato, Joseph B. Fontaine, and Jill F. Johnstone
Autocatalytic Sets: From the Origin of Life to the Economy by Wim Hordijk
Involving Ecologists in Shaping Large-Scale Green Infrastructure Projects by Alexander J. Felson, Emily E. Oldfield, and Mark A. Bradford
Next-Generation Field Guides by Elizabeth J. Farnsworth, Miyoko Chu, W. John Kress, Amanda K. Neill, Jason H. Best, John Pickering, Robert D. Stevenson, Gregory W. Courtney, John K. VanDyk, and Aaron M. Ellison
Tim Beardsley | Source: EurekAlert!
Further information: www.aibs.org
More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:
Saving the Great Plains water supply
13.12.2013 | Michigan State University
Neue Akteure im Ökosystem der Arktis
12.12.2013 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
A new type of transistor that could make possible fast and low-power computing devices for energy-constrained applications such as smart sensor networks, implantable medical electronics and ultra-mobile computing is feasible, according to Penn State researchers.
Called a near broken-gap tunnel field effect transistor (TFET), the new device uses the quantum mechanical tunneling of electrons through an ultrathin energy barrier to provide high current at low voltage.
Penn State, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and IQE, a specialty wafer manufacturer, jointly presented their findings at ...
The team of Johannes Zuber at the IMP in Vienna, Austria, managed to overcome remaining key limitations of RNA interference (RNAi) - a unique method to specifically shut off genes.
By using an optimized design, the scientists were able to inhibit genes with greatly enhanced efficiency and accuracy. The new method facilitates the search for drug targets and improves the interpretation of experimental results.
The IMP will make this „RNAi toolkit“ available to researchers. Results of the study are published in ...
Research The dangerous parasite Schistosoma mansoni that causes snail fever in humans could become significantly less common in the future a new international study led by researchers from the University of Copenhagen predicts.
The results are surprising because they contradict the general assumption that climate change leads to greater geographical spread of diseases. The explanation is that the parasite’s host snails stand to lose suitable habitat due to climate change.
“Our research shows that the expected effects of climate change will lead ...
A unique solar panel design made with a new ceramic material points the way to potentially providing sustainable power cheaper, more efficiently, and requiring less manufacturing time.
It also reaches a four-decade-old goal of discovering a bulk photovoltaic material that can harness energy from visible and infrared light, not just ultraviolet light.
Scaling up this new design from its tablet-size prototype to a full-size solar panel would be a large step toward making solar power affordable compared with ...
Atlantische Flohkrebse pflanzen sich jetzt auch in arktischen Gewässern fort
Biologen des Alfred-Wegener-Institutes, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung (AWI), haben zum ersten Mal nachgewiesen, dass sich in den arktischen Gewässern westlich Spitzbergens auch Flohkrebse aus dem wärmeren Atlantik fortpflanzen.
Diese überraschende Entdeckung deute auf einen möglichen Wandel der arktischen Zooplankton-Gemeinschaft hin, berichten die Wissenschaftler und Wissenschaftlerinnen in der Fachzeitschrift Marine Ecology ...
13.12.2013 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2013 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
13.12.2013 | Power and Electrical Engineering
11.12.2013 | Event News
10.12.2013 | Event News
05.12.2013 | Event News