Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Hooper's Super Meta Analysis
Hooper’s Super Meta Analysis
May 29th 2012 at noon I sat in a small classroom, Willamette 110 on the UO campus, which gave me flashbacks to the countless lectures I listened to about Physics for Scientists and Engineers, and the occasional fleeting memory of a summer O-Chem course that made me lament over lost sunny days. The lecture I was about to attend by Prof. Hooper of Western Washington University, (bio: http://fire.biol.wwu.edu/hooper/hoopercv.pdf ), on biodiversity and ecosystem processes was already the best lecture I listened to in that room and he hadn’t even began speaking.
With a methodical reading of his paper just published in Nature, “A Global Synthesis Reveals Biodiversity Loss as a Major Driver of Ecosystem Changes” (it can be viewed at,http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature11118.html ), which is a meta analysis that shows species loss has significant impact on primary production and decomposition, I was prepared with a couple questions I hoped to have answered.
The first question that came to mind was, How can this new concept of biodiversity loss as a contributing factor to changes in ecosystem functions be explained and shared with the majority of the global population, those outside the scientific community? I have found a disparity between the information available to the scientific community and to the general public about life altering effects to our ecosystem functions. I thought the solution to my question was in the public lecture itself, but the audience seemed to be anything but the general public. I recognized many students, professors, and those that I didn’t recognize had an aura of academia about them.
In a continued attempt to find information suitable to the masses about biodiversity threats, without limitations such as verbose procedural terminology, AKA wordy words, I came across a paper by the lecturer himself titled, “10 things you can do to help biodiversity”. It can be viewed here, http://fire.biol.wwu.edu/hooper/10thingsforbiodiversity.pdf . Now I wasn’t lazily typing, the title is unassumingly in all lower case letters ,with simple words and start with the number “10”. Along with the paper’s title and simple, almost childish, numbered list format, I found this paper to be non intimidating to those that are outside the scientific or academic communities.
Another question I hoped would be answered was, How can one accurately study ecosystem functions and processes, which happen on such a large scale? It seems near impossible to accurately study because one would need an entire world as a test plot. It turns out this questions is a difficult one to answer and it was directed to the lecture audience before I had a chance to ask it.
Prof. Hooper’s lecture was very informative and allowed me to think of biodiversity and its effect on ecosystem functions in new ways. If any blog readers have answers to my unsolved questions please share them with me and our global community.