Synthesizing Biodiversity

Synthesizing Biodiversity Series

Most scientists agree that the biosphere is experiencing a biodiversity crisis – loss of diversity, and reorganization of ecological systems from local to global scales. One of the most intense controversies in ecological science in the recent decade has centered on whether the data from biodiversity observation programs actually shows biodiversity loss! Data on biodiversity does not convincingly show a decline in the number of species in many places on the planet, and this finding has spurred serious criticism and debate over how we observe and compare biodiversity measurements. At a time when institutes and governments are investing major resources into biodiversity monitoring, it is essential that we solve these observation problems so our observations are not controversial in the future!

Our biodiversity observations at Hakai present a unique opportunity to develop and refine statistical and sampling approaches to most rigorously observe biodiversity and biodiversity change. We are in a position to develop standard-setting protocols and guidelines for how to observe biodiversity change, and how to learn from these observations. We will achieve this by engaging with partners who use and collect biodiversity data for assessments, and by identifying best practices that balance rigor with practicality.

The research problems central to this project are:

  1. How is biodiversity changing across scales of life?

  2. How can be most effectively integrate classic methods and emerging technologies to robustly detect and attribute biodiversity change? 

This is a continuation of talks begun in June 2020 which continued through November 2021