The problem with science–and in particular science involving living ecosystems–is that you can’t just unplug everything and go home. If you’ve set up an experiment with specific schedules for data collection, or living organisms of any kind, anything from weeks to years of work could be interrupted or lost during a shutdown.
When you work with a living system, you have to follow the rhythms of your system. Corn harvests and neotropical songbird migration can’t be studied in January for most of the US. As I put together this post, I found the parts of the shutdown hardest to convey were the intangible effects on scientists.
When federal employees are furloughed, that doesn’t just mean federal scientific work stops. It means federal scientists can’t take phone calls or answer emails. They are not available for scientific collaboration or consultation with non-federal peers.
Read the full, original story here: “Federal Shutdown for Conservation and Ag Science?”