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- Microbiology Resource Announcements
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With the help of the National Science Foundation (NSF), many Principal Investigators (PIs) have been able to mentor undergraduates through Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site awards. These REU sites are critical to the development of future graduate students, but can be challenging to run due to several required skills outside the scope of most faculty members' expertise, e.g., recruiting applicants, navigating the logistics of housing visiting undergraduate students, and tracking student outcomes after their REU experiences. In recent years, REU PIs in NSF's Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) Directorate have come together through PI meetings to share best practices for running a successful REU site. While PIs inevitably take different approaches to running their sites based on their research projects, there is still a need to provide new PIs with guidance on the different aspects of an REU site such as identifying resources that can assist in recruiting women and underrepresented minority applicants, providing training for graduate students acting as mentors, and strategies for keeping a mentoring connection to undergraduate researchers after they return to their home institutions. Currently, REU site preparation and orientation for new PIs is a face-to-face process that requires careful planning and significant travel costs. The REU PI Guide, a set of web-based resources at https://www.vrac.iastate.edu/cise-reu-pi-resources/, was developed to share best practices of experienced PIs and build capacity within the REU PI community in a more scalable and cost-effective way. The REU PI Guide allows PIs to look up advice and guidance when needed and share their own best practices. This paper describes our approach to designing the REU PI Guide. The Guide is a database of documents, examples, and overviews of the different aspects of running an REU site. The Guide was developed by assessing new PIs' needs at an NSF workshop for new PIs, gathering existing resources from experienced PIs, creating and refining a website, and evaluation with new PIs. The website’s content and design will be refined through on-going feedback from PIs and other REU site stakeholders. This site has the potential broader impact to share best practices with REU PIs outside the CISE directorate and significantly ease the process of engaging future scientists via REU sites.more » « less
As we look to the future of natural history collections and a global integration of biodiversity data, we are reliant on a diverse workforce with the skills necessary to build, grow, and support the data, tools, and resources of the Digital Extended Specimen (DES; Webster 2019, Lendemer et al. 2020, Hardisty 2020). Future “DES Data Curators” – those who will be charged with maintaining resources created through the DES – will require skills and resources beyond what is currently available to most natural history collections staff. In training the workforce to support the DES we have an opportunity to broaden our community and ensure that, through the expansion of biodiversity data, the workforce landscape itself is diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible. A fully-implemented DES will provide training that encapsulates capacity building, skills development, unifying protocols and best practices guidance, and cutting-edge technology that also creates inclusive, equitable, and accessible systems, workflows, and communities. As members of the biodiversity community and the current workforce, we can leverage our knowledge and skills to develop innovative training models that: include a range of educational settings and modalities; address the needs of new communities not currently engaged with digital data; from their onset, provide attribution for past and future work and do not perpetuate the legacy of colonial practices and historic inequalities found in many physical natural history collections. Recent reports from the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN 2019) and the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2020) specifically address workforce needs in support of the DES. To address workforce training and inclusivity within the context of global data integration, the Alliance for Biodiversity Knowledge included a topic on Workforce capacity development and inclusivity in Phase 2 of the consultation on Converging Digital Specimens and Extended Specimens - Towards a global specification for data integration. Across these efforts, several common themes have emerged relative to workforce training and the DES. A call for a community needs assessment: As a community, we have several unknowns related to the current collections workforce and training needs. We would benefit from a baseline assessment of collections professionals to define current job responsibilities, demographics, education and training, incentives, compensation, and benefits. This includes an evaluation of current employment prospects and opportunities. Defined skills and training for the 21st century collections professional: We need to be proactive and define the 21st century workforce skills necessary to support the development and implementation of the DES. When we define the skills and content needs we can create appropriate training opportunities that include scalable materials for capacity building, educational materials that develop relevant skills, unifying protocols across the DES network, and best practices guidance for professionals. Training for data end-users: We need to train data end-users in biodiversity and data science at all levels of formal and informal education from primary and secondary education through the existing workforce. This includes developing training and educational materials, creating data portals, and building analyses that are inclusive, accessible, and engage the appropriate community of science educators, data scientists, and biodiversity researchers. Foster a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible and professional workforce: As the DES develops and new tools and resources emerge, we need to be intentional in our commitment to building tools that are accessible and in assuring that access is equitable. This includes establishing best practices to ensure the community providing and accessing data is inclusive and representative of the diverse global community of potential data providers and users. Upfront, we must acknowledge and address issues of historic inequalities and colonial practices and provide appropriate attribution for past and future work while ensuring legal and regulatory compliance. Efforts must include creating transparent linkages among data and the humans that create the data that drives the DES. In this presentation, we will highlight recommendations for building workforce capacity within the DES that are diverse, inclusive, equitable and accessible, take into account the requirements of the biodiversity science community, and that are flexible to meet the needs of an evolving field.more » « less
To achieve their mission and goals, HPC centers continually strive to improve the effectiveness of their resources and services to best serve their constituencies. Collectively, the community has learned a great deal about how to manage and operate HPC centers, provide robust and effective services, and develop new communities as well as about other important aspects. Yet, cataloguing best practices to help inform and guide the broader HPC community is not often done. To improve the situation, the Blue Waters project has documented sets of best practices that have been adopted for the deployment and operation over the past five years of the Blue Waters leadership system, a large Cray XE6/XK7 supercomputer at NCSA. Those practices, described in this paper, cover aspects of managing and operating the system and its resources, supporting its users, and expanding the diversity of applications and communities. Although the technical practices are sometimes discussed relative to Cray systems and leadership‐scale systems, we believe that they would benefit the deployment and operation of other large HPC installations as well.
Protection of coastal ecosystems from deforestation may be the best way to protect coral reefs from sediment runoff. However, given the importance of generating economic activities for coastal livelihoods, the prohibition of development is often not feasible. In light of this, logging codes of practice have been developed to mitigate the impacts of logging on downstream ecosystems. However, no studies have assessed whether managed land‐clearing can occur in tandem with coral reef conservation goals.
This study quantifies the impacts of current land use and the risk of potential logging activities on downstream coral reef condition and fisheries using a novel suite of linked land‐sea models, using Kolombangara Island in the Solomon Islands as a case study. Further, we examine the ability of erosion reduction strategies stipulated in logging codes of practice to reduce these impacts as clearing extent increases.
We found that with present‐day land use, reductions in live and branching coral cover and increases in turf algae were associated with exposure to sediment runoff from catchments and log ponds. Critically, reductions in fish grazer abundance and biomass were associated with increasing sediment runoff, a functional group that accounts for ~25% of subsistence fishing. At low clearing extents, although best management practices minimize the exposure of coral reefs to increased runoff, it would still result in 32% of the reef experiencing an increase in sediment exposure. If clearing extent increased, best management practices would have no impact, with a staggering 89% of coral reef area at risk compared to logging with no management.
Synthesis and applications. Assessing trade‐offs between coastal development and protection of marine resources is a challenge for decision makers globally. Although development activities requiring clearing can be important for livelihoods, our results demonstrate that new logging in intact forest risks downstream resources important for both food and livelihood security. Importantly, our approach allows for spatially explicit recommendations for where terrestrial management might best complement marine management. Finally, given the critical degradation feedback loops that increased sediment runoff can reinforce on coral reefs, minimizing sediment runoff could play an important role in helping coral reefs recover from climate‐related disturbances.
null (Ed.)The Northeast Cyberteam Program is a collaborative effort across Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts that seeks to assist researchers at small and medium-sized institutions in the region with making use of cyberinfrastructure, while simultaneously building the next generation of research computing facilitators. Recognizing that research computing facilitators are frequently in short supply, the program also places intentional emphasis on capturing and disseminating best practices in an effort to enable opportunities to leverage and build on existing solutions whenever practical. The program combines direct assistance to computationally intensive research projects; experiential learning opportunities that pair experienced mentors with students interested in research computing facilitation; sharing of resources and knowledge across large and small institutions; and tools that enable efficient oversight and possible replication of these ideas in other regions. Each project involves a researcher seeking to better utilize cyberinfrastructure in research, a student facilitator, and a mentor with relevant domain expertise. These individuals may be at the same institution or at separate institutions. The student works with the researcher and the mentor to become a bridge between the infrastructure and the research domain. Through this model, students receive training and opportunities that otherwise would not be available, research projects get taken to a higher level, and the effectiveness of the mentor is multiplied. Providing tools to enable self-service learning is a key concept in our strategy to develop facilitators through experiential learning, recognizing that one of the most fundamental skills of successful facilitators is their ability to quickly learn enough about new domains and applications to be able draw parallels with their existing knowledge and help to solve the problem at hand. The Cyberteam Portal is used to access the self-service learning resources developed to provide just-in-time information delivery to participants as they embark on projects in unfamiliar domains, and also serves as a receptacle for best practices, tools, and techniques developed during a project. Tools include Ask.CI, an interactive site for questions and answers; a learning resources repository used to collect online training modules vetted by Cyberteam projects that provide starting points for subsequent projects or independent activities; and a Github repository. The Northeast Cyberteam was created with funding from the National Science Foundation, but has developed strategies for sustainable operations.more » « less