New publications shed light on translational ecology

Two geese flying right above waterASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber co-authored two publications in the December 2017 issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment aimed at cultivating a scientific community engaged in translational ecology. That is, as the authors define it, “a research approach that yields useful scientific outcomes through ongoing collaboration between scientists and stakeholders.” Navigating translational ecology: creating opportunities for scientist participation Excerpt from abstract: Translational ecology brings together participants from different cultures and with different professional incentives. We address ways to cultivate a culture of TE, such as investing time in understanding one another’s decision context and incentives, and outline common entry points to translational research, such as working through boundary organizations, building place-based research programs, and being open to opportunities as they arise. We also highlight common institutional constraints on scientists and practitioners, and ways in which collaborative research can overcome these limitations, emphasizing considerations for navigating TE within current institutional frameworks, but also pointing out ways in which institutions are evolving to facilitate translational research approaches. Foundations of translational ecology Excerpt from abstract: TE is uniquely positioned to address complex issues through interdisciplinary team approaches and integrated scientist–practitioner partnerships. The creativity and context-specific knowledge of resource managers, practitioners, and decision makers inform and enrich the scientific process and help shape use-driven, actionable science. Moreover, addressing research questions that arise from on-the-ground management issues – as opposed to the top-down or expert-oriented perspectives of traditional science – can foster the high levels of trust and commitment that are critical for long-term, sustained engagement between partners.