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Volume 31
Number 1
Special Issue 2014
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From the Editor
Published: 14 Nov 2014 (online)  •  25 Nov 2014 (in print)
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Seek, and you will find

Following is the same article as the "On the Cover" feature, "Biodiversity: Seek and you will find."

This insightful message has guided people on life’s journey for millennia, and more recently it has undoubtedly led visitors to national parks in search of restoration, health, and well-being. It is also relevant to the study of biological diversity, the theme of this issue of Park Science and a subject of great importance to the future of national parks.

All life-forms, from the smallest virus to the largest marine mammal, help define, regulate, and maintain park ecosystems. Understanding the functions of these organisms—the roles they play in the production of soils, provisioning of water, storage and recycling of nutrients, breakdown of pollution, and many other ecological services—is at the core of our task in the National Park Service to preserve parks unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. The story of biodiversity in national parks is part discovery, part science, and part management, and we touch on all three areas in this issue. A series of articles describes the trend in parks to conduct activities devoted to the discovery of biodiversity. When we commit time and resources to the search for life, we find species that are new to parks and new to science, and we deepen our understanding of familiar species. How we manage the information that comes from this endeavor and incorporate it into park decision making is equally important and is also discussed in several articles.

Much of the science related to biodiversity study is the same today as it has been traditionally, though the pool of taxonomists we rely on to make identifications is shrinking. Additionally, our focus has shifted to invertebrates, nonvascular plants, and other less studied taxa and how we organize our fieldwork, subjects we explore in several articles. Techniques for collecting, processing, and documenting species and communicating about biodiversity are progressing with the help of academic and conservation partners and volunteers. Data analysis now makes it possible to predict locations for species of conservation interest, and synthetic biology has emerged as a means to create novel yet likely controversial alternatives to remedy species restoration and control problems.

In total we share more than 40 articles describing work to explore, understand, and integrate knowledge of biological diversity in national parks. I invite you to read the stories, weigh our progress, and contemplate next steps. You may even find something of value that you didn’t know you were looking for.

—Jeff Selleck, Editor

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Departments
 
  From the Editor
Commentary
Getting Started
National Parks and Biodiversity Discovery
Notes from Abroad
Masthead Information
FEATURES
 
Biodiversity: Seek, and you will find
Biodiversity and national parks: What’s relevance got to do with it?
Ben Clark, Biodiversity Youth Ambassador
Inventory and monitoring of park biodiversity
Data management for National Park Service–National Geographic Society BioBlitzes
Benefits of biodiversity to human health and well-being
IUCN World Parks Conference to address values and benefits of biodiversity
Synthetic biology offers extraordinary opportunities and challenges for conservation
Synthetic biology and NPS policy
Engaging citizens on a large scale in biodiversity discovery
Saguaro National Park 2011 NPS-NGS BioBlitz!
The bioblitz: Good science, good outreach, good fun
Ocmulgee National Monument Butterfly Bioblitz
George Washington Carver Bioblitz
Upper Delaware Bioblitz
Perspectives on the ATBI
The GWMP All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory
Moving beyond the minimum: The addition of nonvascular plant inventories to vegetation research in Alaska’s national parks
All along the watchtower
The Call to Action Collect Dragonflies
Local experts identify insect biodiversity in Catoctin Mountain Park
The Crayfish Corps
Pollinators in peril?
Great Lakes pollinators
Insect pollinators of Denali
Monitoring bee diversity and abundance in Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
Biodiversity inventories and the advent of a volunteer-based natural resource management program at Wolf Trap
Bird diversity reflects battlefield park’s natural setting
Biodiversity discovery: Exploring arthropods in two NPS national monuments
Cameras and cell phones at the bioblitz
Vermont Atlas of Life Field Days
Camera-trap surveys in the southeastern Arizona national parks
Mammal diversity monitoring in Saguaro National Park, Arizona
Camera traps for monitoring biodiversity
Engaging park stewards through biodiversity discovery
Using monitoring data to map amphibian breeding hotspots and describe wetland vulnerability in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
Environmental DNA: Can it improve our understanding of biodiversity on NPS lands?
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