Science Market Update

UCSB Researchers Participate in Initiative Awarded $1.9M

Posted by Robert Larkin on Wed, Feb 25, 2015

stormcloudsImportant things are on the horizon for scientists at UCSB.

Several researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara will take part in the newly funded UC-wide Institute for the Study of Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts (ISEECI). Biology professor Barry Sinervo from UC Santa Cruz is heading the initiative, which was awarded $1.9 million in 2014 as part of the UC President’s Research Catalyst Award.

As part of a collaboration involving all nine UC undergraduate campuses, the UCSB researchers will use the UC Natural Reserve System (NRS), which contain a varied and diverse range of climates, to detect and forecast the ecological impacts of climate change in California. According to the NRS website, "the UC Natural Reserve System is a network of protected natural areas throughout California, with 39 sites that include more than 756,000 acres. Most major state ecosystems are represented, from coastal tidepools to inland deserts, and lush wetlands to Sierra Nevada forests. The reserves also serve as a gateway to more than a million acres of public lands."

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“The (NRS) reserves lend themselves to this kind of study,” said Susan Mazer, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (EEMB). She organized the campus’s contribution to the ISEECI proposal. “They represent a broad spectrum of climatic regimes because they include both latitude and elevation gradients and a variety of plant communities, which range from relatively moist coastal and montane habitats to desert. There is a lot of climatic variation captured by the reserves, which means that we can use this geographic variation as a proxy for climatic conditions that may occur over time.”

In addition to ongoing climate studies in the reserves, the UCSB group will study wild populations of terrestrial and near-shore species to monitor and to predict their responses to climate change. The researchers are also creating a seed bank to assess microevolutionary responses to climate change.

Among the research teams that would benefit most from this initiative, there are already teams studying many different aspects of climate change at UCSB:

  • A team headed by Cherie Briggs is already examining climate change and Lyme disease in the NRS as a model for tick-borne diseases –research that could be expanded to include twice as many NRS sites as well as additional tick-borne diseases.
  • A team of researchers, led by Frank Davis from UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, is studying the effects of climate change on tree establishment and growth in the southern Sierras and the Tehachapis.
  • UCSB faculty members a working on a set of projects to examine patterns in climate, terrestrial vegetation and abiotic marine conditions. The patterns would help to evaluate historical changes in climate or plant community composition, and to forecast extreme weather conditions and events.

In contrast to most recent research conducted on climate change in the reserves, which have been independent studies, ISEECI a collaborative and coordinated approach to climate change on a large scale.

“We hope new collaborations that we don’t foresee will also emerge as more people with a similar sensibility use ISEECI’s infrastructure and focus in on the ecology and evolution of species that are widespread across the reserves,” Mazer said.

In addition to groundbreaking and potentially life saving studies on climate change and biology, scientists at UCSB are constantly receiving millions in funding and making important advances in life science research.

For example:

  • UC Santa Barbara will be conducting lineal trials for a new drug to prevent Alzheimer's with the support of $100 million over a five-year period.
  • Researchers at UCSB received $162.6 million in direct and indirect federal funding in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
  • The NIH awarded UCSB researchers a 5-year, $4.5 million grant for a study titled "Ambulatory Artificial Pancreas: Merging Physiology, Behavior, and Controldesign".
  • The NIH awarded UCSB researchers a grant of $2.27 million over 5 years to study neurodegenerative diseases.

UCSB2As a leading science research institution, the University of California, Santa Barbara is home to prominent scientists and educators who annually receive millions in funding for research supplies and lab equipment. Lab vendors or scientists interested in networking with industry professionals while learning about the latest research technology can attend the 6th Annual BioResearch Product Faire Front Line Event at UCSB on March 31, 2015.

Researchers from UCSB’s various well-funded life science departments will be in attendance, including from the new Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering.

To find out about attending this premier event at a highly-subsidized research institution, click the appropriate link below:

Get Pricing Researchers: Attend UCSB Event  



Tags: CA, California, 2015, BioResearch Product Faire Front Line Event, Research Funding, UCSB, Santa Barbara, UC Santa Barbara

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