Examining the connection between human health and environment in Central Appalachia

Research team (from left): Emily Satterwhite, Susan West Marmagas, Leigh-Anne Krometis, Linsey Marr, Korine Kolivras, and Julia Gohlke.

From VT News

AUG 2 2017 | Spend enough time driving through Central Appalachia, and you’ll see lush green mountain ranges brimming with diverse plant and animal species. Within those mountains, though, you can also find some of the most dramatic human health disparities in the nation.

Past studies going back to the 1970s indicate heightened incidences of ...

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New Course for Fall 2017: The Science and Policy of Invasions

A new team-taught course will be offered this fall at Virginia Tech!

COURSE TITLE:
The Science and Policy of Invasions (GRAD 6984; Special Topics; 3 credits)

TIME:
The class will meet once per week during Fall Semester 2017; Time TBD

INSTRUCTORS:
Jacob Barney (jnbarney@vt.edu), Bryan Brown (brown51@vt.edu), David Haak (dhaak@vt.edu), Erin Hotchkiss (ehotchkiss@vt.edu), and Scott Salom (salom@vt.edu)

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Invasive species are one of the five elements of global change that shape ecosystem structure and function worldwide. This course will take a “deep ...

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Climate change is trouble for cutthroat trout in the Rockies

From NPR:

There’s an unplanned experiment going on in the northern Rocky Mountains. What’s happening is that spring is arriving earlier, and it’s generally warmer and drier than usual. And that’s messing with some of the fish that live there.

The fish is the iconic cutthroat trout. It’s a native North American fish that thrives in cold, small streams. Explorer Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark Expedition fame was among the first ...

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Jon Doubek, GLEON Fellow, publishes in PNAS

Jon Doubek, a PH.D. candidate in Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech, is a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change Program and the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON).

Jon’s GLEON Fellowship Program trains small cohorts of graduate students from around the world to analyze large and diverse data sets, operate effectively in diverse international teams, and communicate science to researchers, the public, and managers. In addition to taking part in three international workshops, Jon ...

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Global water expert, Brian Richter to give GCC Distinguished Lecture April 7th

From VT News:

Brian Richter, the chief scientist for the Global Water Program of The Nature Conservancy, will visit Virginia Tech on April 7. He will give a 4 p.m. distinguished lecture entitled “Chasing Water in a Rapidly Changing World” at the Lyric Theatre, followed by a question and answer period and book signing.

The event, coordinated by the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech and the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, is free and open to the public.

Richter has been a global ...

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Strickland and Wepking: Agricultural antibiotics impact soil ecosystems

From VT News

Manure from cattle administered antibiotics drastically changes the bacterial and fungal make-up of surrounding soil, leading to ecosystem dysfunction, according to a Virginia Tech research team.

The team analyzed soil samples from 11 dairy farms in the United States and found that the amount of antibiotic resistant genes was 200 times greater in soil near manure piles compared with soil that wasn’t.

Furthermore, microbes with greater antibiotic resistance showed higher stress levels. Their findings were published March 29 in ...

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“Between Earth and Sky: Climate Change on the Last Frontier” screened April 12 at the Lyric

From VT News

The documentary film “Between Earth and Sky: Climate Change on the Last Frontier” will be screened at 7 p.m. on April 12 at The Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg. David Weindorf, the film’s executive producer, will be on hand to introduce the movie to a Blacksburg audience.

Sponsored by the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech and the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech, the event is free and open to the public. Among ...

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Global Change Researchers help Water Authority maintain water quality

From VT NEWS

Pumping oxygen into the bottom waters of Southwest Virginia’s drinking water reservoirs can reduce treatment costs and help fish and other aquatic life, according to an interdisciplinary research team with the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech.

The team has installed oxygenation systems in three reservoirs that serve Roanoke and surrounding county residents — Carvins Cove, Falling Creek, and Spring Hollow — and are monitoring them to see how increased oxygen levels ...

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David Millican, IGC Fellow, studies impact of climate change & deforestation in Namibia

From VT News

A Virginia Tech graduate student is living in one of the hottest and driest countries in the world this semester so that he can study how climate change, land management, and other human-caused phenomena impact a community of animals known as the cavity guild.

Composed of birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and invertebrates, the cavity guild, biologically speaking, is a group of animals that depend on holes and crevices in trees for their ...

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James Hansen to give keynote talk at Appalachian Studies Conference

From VT News

Renowned climatologist James Hansen will visit Virginia Tech on March 10, 2017.
He will give a 4 p.m. lecture entitled “A Peaceful Revolution: Global Justice for Young People Requires a New Approach” in the Squires Student Center, followed by a question-and-answer period.
The event is free and open to the public as seating allows.

Hansen, who was among the first scientists to argue that the burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet, is the keynote speaker in the 40th Annual ...

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NASA and NOAA declare 2016 hottest on record

From The Washington Post

In a powerful testament to the warming of the planet, two leading U.S. science agencies Wednesday jointly declared 2016 the hottest year on record, surpassing the previous record set just last year — which itself had topped a record set in 2014.

Average surface temperatures in 2016, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, were 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than 2015 and featured eight successive months (January through August) that were individually the warmest since the agency’s records began ...

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The extinction crisis is far worse than you think

From CNN

The extinction crisis is far worse than you think. In all of Earth’s history, there have been five mass extinction events. You can see them charted here. Now, we’re on the verge of the sixth extinction. And three-quarters of all species could vanish. Imagine three out of four species that were common are gone. This is the first time humans have caused anything like this.

Experience this interactive report at CNN

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Tackling Nature’s Most Wicked Problems

From Virginia Tech Magazine

By Mason Adams

Virginia Tech’s new Global Systems Science Destination Area grows from roots that extend back to the university’s founding as a land-grant college, to branches that include the globe’s most urgent and complicated challenges.

One of five new Destination Areas — sites of interdisciplinary collaboration where experts are positioned to address the full complexities of pressing problems worldwide — Global Systems Science targets the interface between society and the environment.

“The heart of the ...

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Hotchkiss receives funding from Swedish Research Council Formas

Dr. Erin Hotchkiss, an Assistant Professor of Freshwater Ecology in the Department of Biological Sciences, recently received funding for two grants from the Swedish Research Council Formas.

  • Hotchkiss is a co-PI on the first grant: “Taking the pulse of Swedish rivers: Using metabolism to monitor ecosystem responses to environmental change”.
    • Project Goals: (1) determine how rates of ecosystem metabolism in Swedish rivers are shaped by regional climatic and anthropogenic gradients, (2) quantify the extent to which streams in the Swedish landscape degrade terrestrial organic carbon and contribute ...
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Toxic algae blooms are spreading

From National Geographic

When sea lions suffered seizures and birds and porpoises started dying on the California coast last year, scientists weren’t entirely surprised. Toxic algae is known to harm marine mammals.

But when researchers found enormous amounts of toxin in a pelican that had been slurping anchovies, they decided to sample fresh-caught fish. To their surprise, they found toxins at such dangerous levels in anchovy meat that the state urged people to immediately stop eating them.

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A resurgence of malaria from the gold mines of Venezuela

From the New York Times:

by Nicholas Casey

THE ALBINO MINE, Venezuela — The 12th time Reinaldo Balocha got malaria, he hardly rested at all. With the fever still rattling his body, he threw a pick ax over his shoulder and got back to work — smashing stones in an illegal gold mine.

As a computer technician from a big city, Mr. Balocha was ill-suited for the mines, his soft hands used to working ...

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Watershed flood-control strategies aided by new mapping approach

From VT News

It should come as no surprise that urban areas, with impenetrable rooftops and parking lots, contribute to flooding. But natural and manmade structures within the watersheds that serve urban and rural areas can influence the path and speed of water, for better or worse.

Landscape features, such as vegetative cover, soil type, and the steepness of hillsides, affect the magnitude and duration of only small floods, according to research by Beatriz “Tiz” Mogollón of Bogota, Colombia, who ...

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Megan O’Rourke is on a $2 million grant to combat agricultural pests in Asia

From VT News

A $2 million grant recently awarded to the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will empower farmers in Asia to grow food in a way that addresses challenges of climate change and uses sustainable farming methods to feed a global population that is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050.

“Investing in agriculture is essential for developing economies to move forward because it allows local populations to increase their incomes through improved agricultural productivity,” said  Read More →

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