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Postdoc Presentation: What Do We Measure and What Do We Miss: Meta-research in Invasion Biology and Agroecology

February 14, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Robert Crystal-Ornelas

Ph.D. candidate 

What to Expect

Systematic review and meta-analysis are increasingly used in Ecology and Environmental Science to summarize data from hundreds or even thousands of studies. I use these evidence synthesis tools to identify points of consensus and research gaps within several disciplines: Invasion Biology, Agroecology, and Environmental Science.  During my Doctoral research, I created a database to summarize over 1,500 published articles on invasive species impacts to demonstrate that most research on invasive species happens at very short timescales (<1 year) and on a small number of the many existing invasive species. I used this database and cumulative meta-analysis to show that after 20 years of research on invasive species, we see that invasive species are associated with a mean biodiversity decrease of 21% when they are introduced.  My recent meta-research compares how different organic farming practices (organic amendments, cover crops, etc.) influence soil health metrics (Soil Organic C and Microbial Biomass C).  Finally, I will discuss my collaborative systematic review with NCEAS and DataONE.  In this review, we suggest standardizations for how researchers cite the data used in their research and cite the data they produce to achieve maximum data accessibility. My multi-disciplinary meta-research identifies gaps in the published evidence base, provides recommendations for land managers and policymakers, and suggests data standardization for Open Science practitioners.

Speaker Bio

Rob received his PhD in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University.  He uses meta-analysis and systematic review to identify field-wide biases in research effort within invasion ecology.  He also conducts meta-research on organic farming systems and their impact on soil health.  Rob is currently an adjunct professor and teaches Psychological Statistics at the University of San Francisco.  Rob is passionate about mentoring students in STEM and volunteers with the NGO Clubes de Ciencia each summer. He also hosts a podcast called Science in Progress.  His website is: www.robcrystalornelas.org


Charuleka Varadharajan


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