The Death of Natural History Research

At Kraken & Friends, we usually focus our posts on discussions of the science and conservation of the world oceans. We believe that by understanding ecosystems, we can learn about our relationship with the ocean and how we can prevent its overexploitation and destruction.

figb0282Central to our mission is the ability to understand the basic biology of the species we’re writing about and how they interact with the world around them. Scientists call this type of observation-based study  “natural history”. And unfortunately, in academia, natural history generally isn’t considered a sexy discipline.

This is a problem. Understanding how natural systems work by observing organisms in their natural state is the only way we can develop a complete understanding of how the environment functions.

Yesterday, Dr. Jonathan Foley, the Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences published a thoughtful essay on this topic. Check it out here for a more complete discussion of why this issue is so important.

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