Cornell University researchers are conducting a survey to evaluate the long-term data potential of conservation paleobiology.

According to Jansen Smith, PhD candidate, in the last several decades, marine conservation biologists have recognized the value of long-term data and the temporal context that they can provide for modern ecosystems. Such data are also available from paleontology, but the enormous potential for integration of geohistorical records with ecological data remains a significant challenge. The lack of a common language for data integration and a tendency in each field to measure different variables, at scales that may differ by orders of magnitude, make data integration difficult.

To better understand how conservation paleobiology can maximize its potential, Jansen and his colleagues, Stephen Durham and Gregory Dietl, are conducting a survey of coastal marine biologists to answer questions some basic questions. These include, “how is “long-term” defined within the marine conservation community?; what types of “long-term” records do marine conservation biologists use?; and what are the shortcomings of long-term data in their opinions?”

The researchers hope participant responses will help them: 1) assess the conception of “long-term data” within marine conservation biology; 2) identify types of “long-term data” that marine conservation biologists need; and, 3) recommend corresponding outreach and research directions in conservation paleobiology that are likely to improve the integration of geohistorical data into ongoing conservation and restoration practices.

The survey will be active from September 15, 2015 to October 31, 2015 and can be accessed at The username and password are LTDsurvey and ocean2015.