The Society for Conservation
Biology (SCB) is an international community of conservation professionals who
seek to share knowledge and promote the practice of conservation through global
and regional conferences, and the publication of two peer-reviewed journals: Conservation Biology and Conservation Letters. The vision of the
SBC includes developing awareness of the intrinsic value of the Earth’s
ecological systems and biodiversity, and collaboration among scientists in
order to share information and mutually affect policy decisions involving the
environment. Two genres found in every issue of Conservation Biology that contribute to the fulfillment of SCB’s
vision are editorials and scholarly articles. These genres facilitate the
transmission of information and ideas between scientists in the conservation
biology discourse community as well as professionals in complementary fields in
order to develop and advance the science of conservation biology.
leading conservation biologists publish their research in Conservation Biology and the journal has become a platform for
communication among conservation specialists. One such specialist in the
conservation biology discourse community is Dr. Mark Burgman. Dr. Burgman is an
Australian ecologist, an honorary professor at the University of Melbourne, and
a Conservation Biology editor. Dr.
Burgman also won the Eureka prize in 2005 for his work in biodiversity
research. In addition to conservation professionals, the readership of Conservation Biology may also consist of
economists, government employees, educators, students, and the increasing
number of individuals of the general public who are concerned about
environmental issues such as climate change and pollution.
typical issue of Conservation Biology contains
editorials, essays, contributed scholarly papers, and book reviews. The subject
matter of each article is related to conservation biology, however the range of
topics varies. Editorials may address mildly philosophical topics such as
“Moral Dimensions of Human-Wildlife Conflict” (Lute, Navarette, Nelson, &
Gore, 2016) or, intensive subjects such as “Use of Ecoacoustics to Determine Biodiversity
Patterns across Ecological Gradients” (Grant & Samways, 2016).
editorial piece “Promoting Transparancy in Conservation Science” is a non
peer-reviewed article in Conservation
Biology in which authors Parker, Main, Nakagawa, Gurevitch, Jarrad, and
Burgman (2016) discuss the need for transparency in the design, implementation,
and publication of conservation science research projects. Parker et al.
suggest that “a greater capacity to include results in data syntheses” and
“[reporting] of basic information such as sample sizes, directions of effects,
and measures of variation for all or a subset of the results” are important
components of research by which absolute transparency would benefit (p. 1149).
The specialized vocabulary and formal tone used by the authors in this article
suggest that they intend to address an audience of their peers and those
involved in scientific inquiry to announce their perspective on effective
research methods and categorical conveyance of results. Although Parker et al.
use citations to illustrate their objective in this article, they are providing
their point of view and arguing its merit. This confirms that despite formal
tone, citations, and specialized vocabulary, an opinion is being presented and
the genre of the publication is indeed an editorial. The lead author of this piece,
T.H. Parker, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Whitman
College. Parker has also authored “Apparent Survival Estimates for Five Species
of Tropical Birds in an Endangered Forest Habitat in Western Ecuador” (2006),
and “Promoting Transparency in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology” (2016).
Parker’s credentials and publications demonstrate his credibility as a
contributing member of the conservation biology discourse community and justify
the consideration of his ideas and research.