Science Communication

CONSERVATION, MISMATCH AND THE RESEARCH-IMPLEMENTATION GAP

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In July 2014 my colleague and I ran a workshop at Society for Conservation Biology Oceania Conference in Suva, Fiji, called “Bridging the research-implementation gap”. It was a fantastic! the participants (both researchers and practitioners) contributed to a lively discussion on the mismatches between conservation science and on the ground conservation action. The discussion on the research-implementation gap in conservation is not a new one, but the workshop highlighted the fact that it is still very much an issue in the conservation community. Our paper that came out of this workshop on the research-implementation gap is up on early view in Pacific Conservation Biology:

Jarvis, R.M., Borrelle, S.B., Bollard Breen, B., & Towns, D.R. (2015). Conservation, mismatch and the research-implementation gap. Pacific Conservation Biology (early view).

Abstract

Despite calls to better link research and practice, the gap between knowing and doing continues to limit conservation success. Here we report on the outcomes from a workshop at the Society for Conservation Biology Oceania Conference 2014 on bridging the research–implementation gap. The workshop highlighted how the gap is still very real in conservation and the importance of bringing together researchers and practitioners to discuss their work. Workshop participants discussed how the research–implementation gap influenced their conservation efforts, identified five key mismatches between research and practice, and recommended seven ways we can work together to bridge the gap. The outcomes identified by the workshop are highly relevant to conservation efforts around the world.

Mismatches

  • Scale mismatch
  • Temporal mismatch
  • Priority mismatch
  • Communication mismatch
  • Institutional mismatch

Bridging the gap

  • Multiscale projects coordinating broader goals and local actions
  • Action adaptive and future-oriented, while grounded in theory
  • Design research with action in mind
  • International open-access resource of projects
  • Institutions to encourage time spent linking research and action
  • Co-supervision of students by researchers and practitioners to develop complementary skills in research and implementation
  • Role for connectors to identify the most valuable links between researchers, practitioners and projects

You can read the full article here (open access)

The Global Change App

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And as if I wasn’t busy enough during my PhD, I went ahead and helped create The Global Change app – an interactive teaching tool that explains the role of the stomata in the global carbon and water cycles. If you’re keen to find out how human activities impact global cycles download the app for free on iTunes and Google Play. It’s also computer literate.

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The ‘Global Change’ app is a tablet application that explains the link between the carbon and water cycles in the stomata of terrestrial vegetation, and the effects of global change on their function. Stomata are microscopic pores on the surface of plants where carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour are exchanged simultaneously. No other biological organ has such a profound effect on global mass and energy transfers. Human activities are increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, which causes surface temperatures to rise and can influence the amount of water and CO2 available to plants. Consequently, the physiological function of stomata are being altered, which in turn feeds back onto the global carbon and water cycles [climate change].

The app connects the biotic and abiotic systems involved in the cycling of carbon and water through space and time, and illustrates how the cycles have changed since the pre-industrial era to now. The content is concise and informative, with graphics and video to illustrate complex ecological components in an approachable and meaningful way for students. Teachers and students can further explore each component of the cycles and climate change feedbacks illustrated in the app through links to up-to-date scientific research and useful resources. The in-built twitter functionality, with the #ecofact tag means users can share their new knowledge with friends, family and peers to create a social conversation around climate change issues. Follow @theGCApp for updates, news and more #ecofacts!

The app is free to download from iTunes and the Google Play stores.

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