Working Group on TE


To address the gap between the practice of ecological research and the application of ecological knowledge to practical problems of natural-resource management. 

Translational ecology has been proposed as a way to bridge that gap, drawing from translational medicine and other emerging enterprises working at the boundary between science and decision-making.  Although ecology has a long and rich history of researchers engaging with practitioners, the communities of research and those of practice remain largely in separate silos.  Institutional, linguistic, cultural, and other barriers separate the communities.


Motivating Questions

  • How can translational ecology most effectively surmount those barriers?
  • Is it simply a matter of clearer and louder communication on the part of the researchers?
  • Are more fundamental changes in research practice required?
  • What can practitioners do to foster better dialogue?


Working Group on Translational Ecology – November 17-20, 2015

We assembled a diverse group to discuss these questions and related issues.  The group includes scientists from research institutions (universities and science agencies) and resource-management agencies, science translators and knowledge-brokers from boundary organizations (agencies, NGOs), and decision-makers from natural-resource management agencies and NGOs.

We discussed the opportunities and challenges of making translational ecology effective in the real world.  We aim to capitalize on the real-world experience of the participants – successes and failures alike—in order to identify compelling case studies, highlight challenges and their solutions, and develop a working set of practices or principles for application. 

The initial product of the working group is a special issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment devoted to translational ecology, published in December 2017. 


Workshop Organizers

Stephen T. JacksonDOI Southwest Climate Science Center, USGS

Carolyn EnquistDOI Southwest Climate Science Center, USGS

Gregg GarfinInstitute of the Environment, and School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona


Participating Organizations

Arizona State University

California Department of Fish and Game

CLIMAS (Climate Assessment for the Southwest)

College of the South

Department of the Interior (DOI) Alaska Climate Science Center, USGS

Department of the Interior (DOI) Northeast Climate Science Center, USGS

Department of the Interior (DOI) Southeast Climate Science Center, USGS

Desert Research Institute, California-Nevada Applications Program

Environmental Defense Fund

National Park Service (Sequoia – Kings Canyon National Park)

The Nature Conservancy

NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) Earth System Research Laboratory

University of Arizona

University of California – Davis

University of California – Santa Barbara

University of Colorado

University of Notre Dame

USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture)-Forest Service

U.S. Department of the Navy

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)

USGS Western Ecological Research Center

USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center

Western Water Assessment