Managers and scientists working on the islands of the Californias are invited to a multidisciplinary workshop to discuss whether we as scientists and managers should be more concerted and perhaps more coordinated in conducting survey work on and around the islands – and in deploying emerging research technologies (in genetics, remote sensing, etc.) – in order to better understand past and current conditions and trends, so that we can make better informed conservation management decisions today and in the future.
For context, over a century ago Joseph Grinnell collected a trove of data, specimens, and observations that have become invaluable in helping us understand California’s ecosystems and how they have changed – and are changing – through time. He did so with explicit intent: so that “…after the lapse of many years, possibly a century, the student of the future will have access to the original record of faunal conditions in California" (1910). In that spirit, and especially in the context of climate change, we have a generational imperative as conservationists and scientists to ask if there are things we should be doing to make sure that we are tracking the most important environmental changes – and leaving an archive of information so our colleagues of the future will be equipped to make the most informed conservation decisions.
This workshop will begin with overview presentations that frame three guiding questions, posed from the perspective of “our future selves” as conservationists and scientists: (1) Looking back from, say, the year 2100, what would we want our “present-day selves” to do to better document the past? (2) How should we better document the present? And, (3) how should we use those data and materials to improve our resource management decisions today? We will then present the results from a recent two-day workshop in which managers and scientists examined how such inquiry would apply to one of the California islands (Santa Cruz Island and its surrounding waters); specifically, we will present their recommendations for research and surveys related to marine ecosystems, terrestrial fauna and flora, and archeological and cultural resources. We will then break into smaller group discussions to ask whether similar, more deliberate, and perhaps more coordinated survey and research work is needed across the archipelago, maybe even including mainland comparison “sister sites”. We will close with a discussion of collaboration and proposed next steps.
Please join us for what we expect to be an important – and fun – discussion.