Postdoc Survey on Synthesis Ecology

Dear NCEAS community:

We have been reflecting on our time at NCEAS as postdocs, and like many of you hope that NCEAS will move forward and continue to push the boundaries in ecology. In an effort to celebrate what NCEAS has sparked or contributed, the 115 current and former NCEAS postdocs are reflecting on the major contributions and future questions in Synthesis Ecology.

Synthesis Ecology is the integration and analysis of existing data, concepts, or theories to find emergent patterns and principles that address major fundamental questions in ecology and allied fields. (Comments on definition welcome!)

A survey of all the NCEAS postdocs is being conducted concurrently with the celebration event, with these two major questions:

1. What have been the most important contributions in Synthesis Ecology since 1995?

2. Looking to the future, what are the most important opportunities or questions to address in Synthesis Ecology over the next decade?

The collective answers will drive a meta-synthesis effort to identify the major areas of contributions in Synthesis Ecology, and to offer ideas on where this way of doing science is moving—all from the perspective of NCEAS postdocs.

The exposure to a plethora of ideas from the community of postdocs and flux of working group scientists has enabled broad thinking and created a crucible for new ideas and insights. With this vantage point, we aim to develop a consensus statement on the major contributions in Synthesis Ecology over the past decade and the next challenges and opportunities.

The synthesized results will be made available soon in a public forum where the NCEAS community can take part in a dynamic conversation. Stay tuned!

If you’d like to offer your insight on these questions now, or comment on our proposed definition–please feel free to post your ideas below.

Best regards,

Jennifer K. Balch, Stacy Rebich Hespanha, and Jarrett Byrnes
Current NCEAS Postdocs