Earth & Environmental Sciences

Focus on Climate Change & Biodiversity

World Environment day has been celebrated on June 5th, since 1974 and engages governments, businesses and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue. Without greater interaction between the science, government and business communities, widespread and effective application of solutions to the SN Sustainable Development Goals will be almost impossible. The theme of this year's World Environment Day is Biodiversity. The 21st Century is becoming known as the century of mega-challenges: climate change, resource scarcity, rising population growth, and urbanisation are all impacting humans and nature in a variety of adverse ways. From its origins in deep time, through its development, patterns and maintenance, to its preservation and importance to society, biodiversity is the foundation that supports all life on land and below water. It affects every aspect of human health, providing clean air and water, nutritious foods, scientific understanding and medicine sources, natural disease resistance, and climate change mitigation.

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Promoting the Importance of Biodiversity to the Wider World

Tackling global challenges with ecological and evolutionary research

One of the youngest Nature Research Journals, Nature Ecology & Evolution launched in 2017 as an online only publication. Despite being one of the newest additions to Nature’s growing family of research journals, the fields of ecology and evolution reach furthest back in Nature’s history, with the first issue featuring an article about a study by Darwin.

“Ecological and evolutionary research is becoming more and more directly relevant to social and global concerns.” Patrick Goymer

Promoting dialogue and collaboration between researchers and policymakers

The broad range of fundamental research covered in Nature Ecology & Evolution impacts almost every one of Springer Nature's Sustainable Development Program, with biodiversity and the global consequences of its depletion connecting all of the journal’s subject areas.

In addition to its core mission of furthering research in every aspect of ecology and evolution, Nature Ecology & Evolution is actively working to promote dialogue and collaboration between researchers and policymakers. Without greater interaction between the science, government and business communities, widespread and effective application of solutions to the SN Sustainable Development Goals will be almost impossible.

Nature Ecology & Evolution intersects directly with many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including: Zero Hunger (2), Good Health & Wellbeing (3), Life Below Water (14) and Life on Land (15). Amongst some of the journal’s most prominent topics and those regularly reflected across its research, editorial, news and comment are: conservation biology, protected areas, agriculture, aquaculture, endangered species and infectious disease.

Each issue of the journal has added to the range of topics covered within its broad scope. An article in the first issue explored the effect of international trade on biodiversity, particularly in relation to developing countries. What is the impact, for example, of a London office worker buying a morning cup of coffee on the developing world? The journal’s research and analysis of global food and agriculture ranges from honey bees, other pollinators, and the impact of pests on crops, to areas as niche as different styles of agriculture and resulting ecologies either side of the former iron curtain. Coverage of oceans, fisheries and aquaculture spans topics such as the degree to which food security can be satisfied by marine life and the micro-plastic crisis.

One of the pillars of Springer Nature's SDG Program is Climate Change and Nature Ecology & Evolution addresses the biological aspects of this threat. The journal assesses the impact of climate change on biodiversity and how species are both migrating and declining in response to global warming. However, ecosystems such as oceans and forests are not just the victims of climate change but also an important part of the solution through their crucial roles in the carbon cycle.

“Human activity has caused a vast increase in the extinction rate, and the ecosystem services we depend on are severely threatened.” Patrick Goymer

Bringing evolutionary history into health, human behavior and conservation

Nature Ecology & Evolution has less obvious but important links to the UN’s SDGs 11 and 12: Sustainable Cities & Communities and Responsible Consumption & Production. Amongst topics of interest to the journal in relation to cities and urban ecology are the consequences of light pollution and the changing structure of microbial ecosystems.  

Evolution plays a huge role in improving global health and tackling the many challenges associated with this ambition. Since its launch last year, the journal has published extensive original research on the antibiotic crisis as it relates to evolution, varied explorations of disease susceptibility, and the presentation of vaccination and cancer as evolutionary processes.

“antimicrobial resistance crisis, which is an evolutionary problem, rates alongside the climate and extinction crises in terms of existential threat to humanity.”  Patrick Goymer

It also explores the complex subject of human-environment interaction, how this has evolved over thousands of years, and what it can teach us about tackling issues such as climate change.  

Supporting global initiatives

Tackling any one of the SDGs not only involves effective collaboration between different professions, it also requires active and ongoing communication across a network of different global organisations, from research institutions, publishers and funding bodies, to scientific societies and NGOs. Nature Ecology & Evolution works in tandem with many such organisations, inviting and publishing articles, comment and reviews from scientists and practitioners working for bodies such as the IUCN; the Wildlife Conservation Society; the global network of tree diversity experiments: TreeDivNet; and the Cultural Evolution Society. In addition to publishing contributions from these organisations, the journal also facilitates active discussion across its community of readers on significant ecological projects such as the Ocean Health Index and the 2020 target for protected areas on land and sea. By being in active conversation with the people driving these global initiatives and publishing their research, Nature Ecology & Evolution provides a further stage for global collaboration in tackling threats to the world’s ecosystems.

Deepening conversations between science, policy and the public

Having already published significant research in the biological and environmental sciences, Nature Ecology & Evolution has big ambitions for the future. Speaking about his vision for the journal, Chief Editor Patrick Goymer stressed the growing link between ecology and evolution when it comes to tackling some of the most pressing challenges faced by the planet. He and his editorial team aim to integrate more disparate areas of research over the coming months and years. They want to get research subfields such as population genetics, climate science, and evolution and conservation biology talking to each other more. They also want to bring conservation biology into much greater exposure, which will mean publishing more evidence-based research in the field. Goymer is also keen to increase the journal’s health-related content and build its portfolio of research in the applied health implications of areas such as antibiotics and cancer. Finally, in a bid to make more impact on some of the grand societal challenges, the Chief Editor wants Nature Ecology & Evolution to use its coverage and its community to narrow the gap between scientists and practitioners, and reduce evidence complacency.

“Our research should be embedded deep in the world-views of policymakers and public alike, not just as an optional add-on which can be rejected without significant consequences.” Patrick Goymer

Patrick Goymer joined Springer Nature in 2005 as an Assistant Editor at Nature Reviews Genetics and Nature Reviews Cancer. In 2008 he moved to Nature, where he served as Senior Editor covering ecology and evolution, before becoming Chief Editor of Nature Ecology & Evolution in 2016. He has handled primary manuscripts and review articles across the entire breadth of ecology and evolution, as well as advising and writing for other sections of Nature. Patrick completed his DPhil in experimental evolution in Paul Rainey’s lab at the University of Oxford, and did his postdoctoral work on evolutionary and ecological genetics in Linda Partridge’s lab at University College London in association with Charles Godfray’s lab at Imperial College London.

This article was written by Emma Warren-Jones, Director of Edible Content, from an interview with Patrick this year.

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Patrick Goymer, PhD

Chief Editor, Nature Ecology & Evolution

About the journal

About the journal

Blogs for the research community

Ecology & Evolution




Lessons from the corona virus response when it comes to climate change

Lee White, Research Fellow, Australian National University

Energy transition, like corona virus response, is a global scale problem that will rely on sub-national actors to pick up the slack where national and international action falls short shows us how governments worldwide respond to an urgent and pressing problem on the type of scale that climate change is expected to impact over the next several decades...

Thomas Sterner - University of Gothenburg (Sweden) et al.

COVID response: Use public finances to support change. The amounts of money that governments worldwide are planning to spend to stimulate their economies in the wake of COVID-19 represent many years of ordinary budgetary reforms. This money must be spent efficiently, fairly, non-corruptly. And sustainably. If it is all spent saving airlines...

Johan Lilliestam Professor, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)

Crises as climate catalysts. The Corona crisis has strongly reduced CO2 emissions. Such short-term effects are nice, but mean little for climate protection. However, we know from past crises that they can speed up transformation processes. With the right policy responses, the crisis can be a turning point to carbon-neutrality...

Behind the paper. Authors share the story behind their paper from conception to publication, the highs and the lows:

Biodiversity hotspots are most...

Biodiversity hotspots are most...

Stuart Brown, Postdoctoral research associate, University of Adelaide

Soil biodiversity: slimy…

Soil biodiversity: slimy…

Manuel Delgado Baquerizo, Ramón y Cajal researcher, Pablo de Olavide University

The Microbiologists’ Warning

The Microbiologists’ Warning

Ricardo Cavicchioli, Professor, UNSW Sydney

The Future of the book and the environment

Why the wide appeal and trusted nature of books can help provide solutions that can be implemented anywhere in the world

As an extension of this year's Academic Book Week* theme, 'The Environment,' we asked our book authors who have published research in related fields to share their thoughts on the future of the academic book as it relates to climate change, how they engage with audiences beyond their scholarly circle to make an impact, and much more.

Palgrave author, Robert Brears, discusses some of the biggest challenges the world is facing today and why books are an exceptional medium for tackling these issues with a wider audience. 

>> Read the full article on The Source <<

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Robert Brears

The Editor-in-Chief of the Palgrave Handbook of Climate Resilient Societies Major Reference Work and author of several Palgrave Macmillan books. He is the editor of the Palgrave Pivot Climate Resilient Societies book series

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Some silence, this spring

Chief Editor Heike Langenberg reflects on the theme of Climate Action for Earth Day 2020, at a time when much action has been locked down.

Earth Day is turning fifty this year. At the time of its inception, its primary focus was on environmental problems in the economically more developed world. In 1970, Earth Day activities galvanized action: educational debates at universities across the US, termed Teach-Ins, played an important role in initiating a range of science-based policies in the US, such as the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts . At the time, Rachel Carson’s warning of a “Silent Spring” – a decline of the natural world brought about, potentially, by the overuse of pesticides – was ringing in people’s ears.

Read the rest of the article

The theme of this year’s Earth Day is “Climate Action” – while the world is in lock-down to avoid the spread of COVID-19. In the face of the virus, the FridaysForFuture climate demonstrations have fallen  largely silent (although some activities continue online). But so have airports and roads.

In my London garden, this beautiful spring is rich with singing birds. The most notable silence is the lack of the usual constant, distant hum of air traffic noise, reduced to levels not seen since the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull a decade ago brought European flights to a halt in an equally warm and sunny month of April. Out in the Essex countryside there seem to be more bicycles out than cars, on usually traffic-heavy main roads. Industrial activity, electricity demand and the transport sector more generally have been cut back. All this is helpful for climate change mitigation, and for the enjoyment and appreciation of nature’s beauty - for those whose circumstances allow them to go out to exercise. At the same time, the measures come at a high cost to the economy as well as individuals.

Yet the dent in emissions may not even be sufficient. The estimated reduction in carbon dioxide emission, compared to the global total in 2019, only amounts to about two thirds of what would be needed – every year from now on – to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 oC above preindustrial levels, according to an analysis in Carbon Brief. There are many uncertainties listed in this analysis. But if the estimated magnitudes are just roughly right, the implications for what “Climate Action” may mean, if it is to be meaningful, are sobering.

Carbon dioxide emissions do not cover all the greenhouse gases, either. Methane emissions, for example, are not necessarily reduced under the lock-down conditions; indeed, industrial methane emissions may even increase.

Meaningful climate action will require making trade-offs. Perhaps Earth Day under lock-down is an invitation to reflect. Now is the time to think deeply about how we can find a balance between equity, global welfare and individual freedom in the course of climate change mitigation. We need to find a way to apply the insights and innovations that are coming out of unprecedented global-scale restrictions on societies. And we should ensure that Climate Action is hard-wired into the global economy as it is being rebuilt.

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Heike Langenberg

Chief Editor, Communications Earth & Environment

New Open Access journal

Communications Earth & Environment will publish earth, planetary and environmental sciences research, reviews and commentary

Share with your users - Free issue, course & video

The trade routes that threaten biodiversity

One of the major threats to biodiversity worldwide is international trade. To figure out where the drive for these goods is coming from, researchers traced the production of goods in one country to consumers in another. This video shows how consumers in the US and Japan are endangering animal species in 'threat hotspots'.

Free first issue of Nature Reviews Earth & Environment

Free first issue of Nature Reviews Earth & Environment

Encourages Earth scientists to break down disciplinary barriers and collaborate with broader communities in pursuit of alleviating the environmental challenges of the modern world.

Free Espresso-Course: How to understand the climate system

Free Espresso-Course: How to understand the climate system

Prof. Dr. Mojib Latif, Prof. Dr. Jochem Marotzke, and Prof. Dr. Sonja Peterson talk about how mankind is dealing with climate change and how it will change in the future.

Focus is on climate solutions - Quick reads

Sperm banks help endangered amphibians

Habitat loss, climate change and fungal disease are conspiring to threaten many amphibians: 41% of those species are estimated to be at risk of imminent extinction. But some hope that in vitro fertilization could help. Last year, researchers created the first amphibian born from sperm that had been frozen, a tiny Puerto Rican crested toad (Peltophryne lemur) named Olaf. 
The Guardian | 9 min read

How hot will Earth get by 2100?

Climate scientists are studying a fresh set of socio-economic scenarios to model the future of the planet. The simulations range from optimistic worlds — in which governments join forces to advance low-carbon technologies — to bleak ones, with countries ramping up their use of cheap fossil fuels to pursue economic growth at any cost. The research could have a key role in the negotiations around a new set of commitments to reduce emissions. 
Nature | 9 min read

Deep learning takes on tumours

Cancer biologists are harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to deal with an explosive growth of data. The latest machine-learning techniques can find patterns that researchers might have missed. And increasingly, researchers are able to use off-the-shelf tools, rather than having to develop them in their labs. Applications range from predicting drug responses on the basis of a person’s cancer-genome sequence to assessing protein localization. Nature | 10 min read

Key titles from nature.comBrowse more content

  • Nature Climate Change
  • Ecology & Evolution
  • Nature Energy
  • Nature Food
  • Nature Microbiology
  • Nature Plants
  • Nature Sustainability
Nature Reviews Earth & Environment
Nature Reviews Microbiology

How the Review journals support your users

Reviews are an invaluable resource to get an in-depth update on a specific topic. Providing everything your users need to know on a subject in one place, they include clear and attractive figures that are an excellent resource for understanding and for using in talks and teaching. 

At Nature Reviews in particular, authors are asked to offer their own insights and to critique the data as well as describing the field. In that way, your user knows that they are getting a thorough, timely, expert-led view of the topic.

SDG 14: Life Below Water

SDG 14: Life Below Water

ISDG14 hub in collaboration with Oceanic Global. Explore, listen to and read research about life below water. 

Insights from Key Opinion Leaders

Insights from Key Opinion Leaders

Selected research and blogs written by key opinion leaders on the topic of Climate Change and Policy

Reflecting on Earth Day 2020

Reflecting on Earth Day 2020

Could this pandemic mark the start of a greener future? There is no denying that we are currently facing one of the biggest health crises in a long time. The...

Highlighted Major Reference Works and Books

  • Climate Action Planning

    Designed to help professionals working at local levels to develop and implement plans to mitigate a community's greenhouse gas emissions and increase the resilience of communities against climate change impacts. The most comprehensive book on the state of the art, science, and practice of local climate action planning.

  • Post-2020 Climate Action

    This book summarizes assessments of the Paris Agreement to provide an excellent introduction to this research field. The AIM/CGE (Asia-Pacific Integrated Modeling /Computable General Equilibrium) model, which is the core of AIM modeling framework, is used for the assessment.

  • Evaluating Climate Change...

    This authoritative book presents the ever progressing state of the art in evaluating climate change strategies and action. It includes perspectives from independent evaluations of the major international organisations supporting climate action in developing countries, such as the Global Environment Facility.

  • Demystifying Climate Models

    This book demystifies the models we use to simulate present and future climates, allowing readers to better understand how to use climate model results. In order to predict the future trajectory of the Earth’s climate, climate-system simulation models are necessary.

  • The Lived Experience of Climate...

    This book explores the idea that daily lived experiences of climate change are a crucial missing link in our knowledge that contrasts with scientific understandings of this global problem. It argues that both kinds of knowledge are limiting: the sciences by their disciplines and lived experiences by the boundaries of everyday lives.

  • Local Climate Action Planning

    Local Climate Action Planning guides planners, municipal staff and officials, citizens, and others working at local levels to develop climate action plans by explaining the plan development process, identifying the key considerations, and providing examples from existing planning efforts.

  • Climate and Conservation

    Climate and Conservation presents case studies from around the world of leading-edge projects focused on climate change adaptation-regional-scale endeavors where scientists, managers, and practitioners are working to protect biodiversity by protecting landscapes and seascapes in response to threats posed by climate change.

Highlighted Book Series

Climate Change Management
Climate Risk Management, Policy and Governance
Palgrave Studies in Environmental Sustainability
SpringerBriefs in Climate Studies

Resources during COVID-19 pandemic

Article: Coronavirus lockdowns are creating a natural experiment by drastically reducing emissions. But tantalizing signs that the situation is making the air cleaner aren’t as straightforward as they seem. The seasons and the weather also affect how much dangerous pollution is in the air. In China and Italy, the difference is so pronounced that experts think the lockdowns probably have an impact. In the United States, it’s too soon to say. (Nature | 5 min read)

Article: The COVID-19 pandemic is putting weather forecasts and long-term climate studies at risk of significant data gaps. For some research, this might be the first interruption in 40 years. (Nature | 5 min read)

Library resources during COVID-19 pandemic 

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