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The international carbon market provides a unique opportunity to increase ecosystem services and biodiversity through the revegetation of agricultural landscapes. Although the primary motivation for revegetation is to increase carbon sequestration, revegetated areas can provide additional financial, social, and environmental cobenefits that provide different levels of private and public net benefit. Conversely, carbon farming, if it is not implemented carefully, can create disbenefits, such as increased land clearing, monoculture plantations replacing diverse remnants, and unintended impacts across national borders. Economic models of carbon revegetation show that policies aimed at maximizing carbon sequestration alone will not necessarily lead to high uptake or maximize cobenefits. Careful consideration of policy incentives that encourage carbon plantings to deliver both public and private cobenefits is required, and solutions will need to balance both objectives in order to incentivize the sustainable, long-term management of carbon plantings across the landscape.
A great part of the Earth's biodiversity occurs on islands, to which humans have brought a legion of invasive species that have caused population declines and even extinctions. The domestic cat is one of the most damaging species introduced to islands, being a primary extinction driver for at least 33 insular endemic vertebrates. Here, we examine the role of feral cats in the context of the island biodiversity crisis, by combining data from reviews of trophic studies, species conservation status reports, and eradication campaigns. The integration of these reviews permits us to identify priority islands where feral cat eradications are likely to be feasible and where cats are predicted to cause the next vertebrate extinctions. Funding agencies and global conservation organizations can use these results to prioritize scarce conservation funds, and national and regional natural resource management agencies can rank their islands in need of feral cat eradication within a global context.
Biology is extremely diverse in its methodologies, concepts, theories, and goals. It is also developing rapidly and revealing deeper complexities at almost every level of organic organization. For these and other reasons, biology is becoming increasingly specialized and fragmented. Is there a remedy for this state of affairs? Are there historical or philosophical resources to help? Can biologists communicate more effectively and establish a new, truly all-inclusive modern synthesis? Toward answering these questions, we discuss the need for the specialist and the generalist in the biological sciences and argue that these two roles are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, although comparatively rare, the specialist—generalist is illustrated by the achievements of Charles Darwin and Louis Pasteur, among others. We also discuss the crosscutting science concepts identified by the National Academy of Sciences Board of Education, particularly in the context of teaching an integrated and specialized biology.
Can one foresee whether young scientists will publish successfully during their careers? For academic biologists on four continents, we evaluated the effects of gender, native language, prestige of the institution at which they received their PhD, the date of their first publication (relative to the year of PhD completion), and their pre-PhD publication record as potential indicators of long-term publication success (10 years post-PhD). Pre-PhD publication success was the strongest correlate of long-term success. Gender, language, and the date of first publication had ancillary roles, with native English speakers, males, and those who published earlier in their career having minor advantages. Once these aspects were accounted for, university prestige had almost no discernable effect. We suggest that early publication success is vital for aspiring young scientists and that one of the easiest ways to identify rising stars is simply to find those who have published early and often.