We evaluate knowledge gaps related to shale development and prioritize research needs using a quantitative framework that includes spatial and temporal extent, mitigation difficulty, and current level of understanding. Identified threats to biota from shale development include: surface and groundwater contamination; diminished stream flow; stream siltation; habitat loss and fragmentation; localized air, noise, and light pollution; climate change; and cumulative impacts.
We find the highest research priorities to be probabilistic threats (underground chemical migration; contaminant release during storage, during disposal, or from accidents; and cumulative impacts), the study of which will require major scientific coordination among researchers, industry, and government decision makers.
Taken together, our research prioritization outlines a way forward to better understand how energy development affects the natural world.
Authors: Sara Souther, Morgan W Tingley, Viorel D Popescu, David TS Hayman, Maureen E Ryan,Tabitha A Graves, Brett Hartl and Kimberly Terrell - 2014
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