The Nature of Ownership

Mine!

From the sandbox to the skies above, ownership is everywhere, even if you don’t see it. In their new book, Mine! How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives, James Salzman, a professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and co-author Michael Heller of Columbia Law School take an in-depth look at how we define ownership — and how it’s defined for us — and the various ways people lay claim to things. In a conversation with The Current, Salzman shared some insights into the ways conflicts around ownership impact our lives and how we can navigate them.

Reflections from the Future of Synthesis in Ecology and Environmental Science Workshop Demonstrate Opportunity to Increase Diversity and Inclusion in Synthesis

NCEAS

There is never a bad time to think about the future, but the past year has certainly given us an inflection point for careful forward-looking consideration of many things. NCEAS has been looking to the future of synthesis and ecology, of course. In February, NCEAS hosted – virtually – the Future of Synthesis in Ecology and Environmental Science Workshop, which brought together 125 synthesis-oriented researchers from around the world to think big about the pressing questions that synthesis should tackle in the next decade. It was originally planned to be in person and in 2020, in celebration of NCEAS’ 25th anniversary. As you might guess, the COVID pandemic forced the delay and the shift to virtual.

Global Assessment of Cumulative Human Impacts to At-risk Marine Species Over Time

marine-biodiversity-istock_0.jpg

Despite the fact that our planet is mostly ocean and human maritime activity is more intense than it has ever been, we know remarkably little about the state of the ocean's biodiversity -- the variety and balance of species that support healthy and productive ecosystems. And it's no surprise -- marine biodiversity is complex, human impacts are uneven, and species respond differently to different stressors.

Earth Day Organizers to Honor Greenpeace USA's Annie Leonard as 2021 Environmental Hero Award

CEC Annie Leonard

The Community Environmental Council (CEC) proudly announces Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, as the recipient of its 2021 Environmental Hero Award, presented as part of CEC’s Virtual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival being held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, April 22-24. The free festival is available to view at SBEarthDay.org.

Community Environmental Council Welcomes New Members and Officers to the Board of Directors

Community Environmental Council

The Community Environmental Council (CEC) is pleased to announce a high caliber cohort of new members and officers to its Board of Directors. In a pivotal year of program expansion coupled with federal momentum, these dynamic community leaders bring a wealth of experience that will propel CEC’s bold climate action plans. As ambassadors of the organization, they will advocate, network, and promote on behalf of CEC.

UCSB Scientist Locates Thousands of DDT-filled Barrels in Catalina Channel

underwater vehicle

In 2011, while studying methane seeps off of Catalina Island with a deep sea robot, Valentine decided to take a few extra hours to chase down Chartrand’s lead from more than 25 years ago. The robot descended 3,000 feet and slowly scanned the sea floor. It was there, Valentine discovered the dumping ground for Montrose Chemical’s DDT filled barrels. Valentine and his research team found about 60 barrels and collected sediment samples between 2011 and 2013, while also doing other research in the area. Some of the barrels photographed looked to have been struck with an axe, presumably to help them sink. The highest concentration of DDT observed by Valentine and his team wasn’t next to the barrels, but instead on a seamount, roughly 100 feet above the barrels.

Capturing the Complex

marine-biodiversity-istock

Despite the fact that our planet is mostly ocean and human maritime activity is more intense than it has ever been, we know remarkably little about the state of the ocean’s biodiversity — the variety and balance of species that support healthy and productive ecosystems. And it’s no surprise — marine biodiversity is complex, human impacts are uneven, and species respond differently to different stressors.

Geology Professor Witnesses Birth of Iceland’s Newest Volcano

celand-volcano-istock-uc-santa-barbara

On March 19, the Geldingadalur region of Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula gained a new volcano. While not the explosive, ash-spewing spectacles of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull or 2011 Grímsvötn eruptions that clouded the sky and disrupted air travel, the bubbling, flowing Fagradalsfjall volcano has nevertheless captured the imagination of locals and visitors alike, who flocked to the erupting fissure. UC Santa Barbara geology professor Matthew Jackson was one of those people. Jackson has been working in Iceland for nearly 20 years, and a recent research trip put him in the right place at the right time to catch this latest eruption.

Informing Ecological Recovery

ADRIAN STIER

Humans have mastered the art of changing the environment to fit our needs, and scientists such as UC Santa Barbara ecologist Adrian Stier are trying to figure out how the environment will respond. For his work advancing our understanding of the recovery of degraded marine species and ecosystems, Stier has been named a 2021 early career fellow by the Ecological Society of America (ESA). Early career fellows are ESA members who have furthered ecological knowledge and applications within eight years of completing their doctoral training, and who show promise of continuing to make outstanding contributions to a wide range of fields served by the society. They are elected for five years.

A Serendipitous Study

Scripps Institute research vessel Sally Ride

After learning in early 2017 that they had received research funding as members of a graduate student team, Sasha Kramer and Kelsey Bisson spent months planning the research cruise that would take place that December. But their plans changed when the Thomas Fire, which would become the largest California wildfire in history at that time, spread from Ventura to Santa Barbara County. The object of this part of their study was to describe the phytoplankton community, microscopic organisms that are foundational to the marine food web. Composed of several broad groups, including bacteria and single-celled algae, phytoplankton live in the sunlit upper regions of the ocean, not only feeding a diversity of animals in the Channel, from tiny zooplankton to whales, but also performing important roles in the ocean’s carbon and nutrient cycles. An imbalance in the phytoplankton community could lead to a range of phenomena, from toxic blooms to oxygen-free dead zones, affecting all who live in and use the Channel.