Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ethics in Field Biology

Posted by Richard B. Primack

On September 6, 1850 upon seeing a Great Blue Heron shot by a neighbor, Thoreau remarked “I am glad to recognize him for a native of America-- why not as an American citizen?”

Marine biologists investigating the effects of marine protected areas often catch and in the process kill large numbers of fish and invertebrates as bycatch that are not part of their study.

Seemingly benign activities such as photography and bird watching can have consequences. In this example, the photographer might be damaging juvenile plants and compacting the soil. 

Animals should be handled in a way that minimizes stress.

Plant ecologists focusing on their particular study system typically do not acknowledge the considerable damage that they do, including trampling adjacent vegetation, compacting soil, and harming and frightening animal life.

Plant ecologists should take care to minimize their impact on the surrounding vegetation and ecosystem.

In a recent article in Biological Conservation entitled "Field work ethics in biological research" scientists are asked to conduct research in a way that minimizes harm to species and ecosystems. While research often does have an impact, scientists should not be content with simply following the requirements of government agencies or university committees, but should conduct research using the best possible practices.

Read the full article HERE.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Richard Primack's University Lecture

Last week, Richard B. Primack delivered the annual Boston University Lecture.

To view a summary booklet of Dr. Primack's research on the effects of climate change on the plants and animals of Massachusetts, click HERE.

To read BU Today's coverage of Dr. Primack's University Lecture, click HERE.

Congratulations to Dr. Primack on this great honor!