Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Long term science, dedication beyond death.

I learned about the Long Term Ecological Research Network from fellow blogger Alegra. Currently, 26 sites around the world are involved in this work with the goal of understanding climate change, the human-environment interaction, and changes in biological cycles in both local ecologies and individual species. Scientists are tracking changes in the climate, vegetation, and wildlife using logs from the past and making observations in the present, while planning better data collection strategies for the future. Studies are mapped out for the next 200 years! Although some of these studies will likely reveal scary things about our coming environment, I find it both inspiring and peaceful to picture scientists looking at past data and taking data for future generations. Global warming aside, there is a human continuum beyond our individual lives, that can contribute to an understanding of nature. Hopefully this work will help us prevent the continuum of other species from ending.