Laura Schoenle participates in Scientist in the Classroom

From the blog of the National Center for Science in the Classroom

By this point in the school year, I hope that you have heard of NCSE’s Scientist in the Classroom program. But if not, please check it out!

In designing the program, we wanted to be sure that scientists and teachers were able to work together to come up with a hands-on activity that fit in with what was going on in the classroom as opposed to a prescribed activity. ...

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Dr. Jill Welter discusses alternative careers in academia with IGC students

The EEB Seminar on November 3, 2016 featured Dr. Jill Welter, an ecosystem scientist from St. Catherine University in Minnesota. Dr. Welter’s work focuses on understanding how environmental change, including climate warming and eutrophication, influences species interactions and nutrient cycling in stream ecosystems. Her seminar talk was titled:

“Start seeing nitrogen fixation: the potential impact of cyanobacteria on river ecosystems in a changing world.”

During her visit, Dr. Welter led a brownbag discussion for fellows in the Interfaces of Global Change Program where they discussed alternative ...

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IGC Fellow Angie Estrada awarded a doctoral fellowship to continue amphibian research in Panama

IGC Fellow, Angie Estrada was awarded the SENACYT-IFARHU Doctoral Fellowship 2016. She will receive three years of support to continue her graduate education in the Department of Biological Sciences under Dr. Lisa Belden’s supervision.

SENACYT (National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation) is Panama’s government authority in charge of planning and implementing the national strategy of science and technology. It is the equivalent to the NSF in the United Sates. SENACYT supports outstanding Panamanian students who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate ...

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IGC students float down the New River in Bucket Boats

Postcard from the New River

On a recent Saturday in September, a group of IGC graduate students launched 3 “Bucket Boats” just above McCoy Falls on the New River. The Bucket Boats, which are an older style of raft that are not self draining (thus necessitating the use of a bucket to bail water out of the boat after a rapid), were outfitted by the Virginia Tech Whitewater Club.

The IGC crew spent the day floating downstream, through the series of slow-moving flat-water sections ...

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Tony Timpano’s work in water quality research is at the interface of science and policy

Story by Cassandra Hockman
Fralin Life Science Institute

Along the Mississippi River there is one species many people who live there know well. Mayflies. These long, dragonfly-looking creatures live on the bottom of the river and burrow in the muck and sand. They grow and develop there before they come to the surface to fly away and mate.

When they fly away, they do it en masse.

“They come out in huge swarms so big they show up on Doppler radar,” said Tony ...

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IGC Fellow, Cordie Diggins, defends her dissertation

On June 30, 2016, Interfaces of Global Change Fellow, Cordie Diggins, successfully defended her dissertation in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech.  Her seminar was titled, “Determining Habitat Associations of Virginia and Carolina Northern Flying Squirrels in the Appalachian Mountains from Bioacoustic and Telemetry Surveys”.

Dr. Diggins will start a post doctoral appointment in August with the USGS Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.  She will be studying the federally endangered spruce-fir moss spider, as well as ...

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Postcards from the field: Brandon Semel in Madagascar

POSTCARD from:
Brandon Semel, Ph.D. student in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation

“I’m currently writing this at 2:30 am, Madagascar time, as I wait for the local taxi brousse (or bush taxi) to take me from the small town of Daraina to the coastal cities of Vohemar and Sambava where I can finalize my research permits. Let’s just say that things here don’t always go according to a western schedule, as my ride is already half an hour late ...

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Dean Karen DePauw honored at first annual Interfaces of Global Change research symposium

From VT News

If you’re going to develop an interdisciplinary graduate research program at Virginia Tech, it’s good to have a champion of interdisciplinary education. In this case, Karen DePauw, the university’s  vice president and dean of graduate education, serves as that champion.

On April 22, DePauw was honored with an award in her name at the first research symposium held by the Interfaces of Global Change interdisciplinary graduate education program.

During the symposium’s opening remarks, Bill Hopkins, the director of the  Read More →

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Cathy Jachowski defends her dissertation: first IGC graduate!

On Monday, May 9, 2016, Cathy Jachowski successfully defended her dissertaton in Fralin Auditorium. Her public seminar in Fralin Auditorium was titled, “Effects of Land Use and Parasitism on Hellbender Salamanders: A Multilevel Perspective”.

Cathy, a member of the Hopkins Lab, is the first Interfaces of Global Change graduate student to complete a doctoral program at Virginia Tech! Congratulations, Cathy!


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The first annual Interfaces of Global Change Research Symposium brings campus labs together to solve global problems

The first annual Interfaces of Global Change (IGC) Graduate Research Symposium was a great opportunity for IGC Fellows to share their research with the entire global change community at Virginia Tech. The 2-day symposium began on Thursday evening, April 21st, with a special Distinguished Lecture at the Lyric Theatre featuring Dr. Josh Tewksbury, Future Earth. A full slate of events on Friday, April 22nd, provided a forum for students and faculty to interact and explore connections between labs.

During two platform sessions, nine IGC fellows gave ...

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IGC IGEP participates in the Gilbert Linkous Elementary Science Fair

By Heather Govenor

It was a big night for little scientists at the Gilbert Linkous Elementary School Science Fair on March 16, 2016, where there was no shortage of creativity or enthusiasm! The annual science fair features the research of kindergarten through 5th graders, and is fast becoming a favorite IGC Spring outreach opportunity. Fellows Tamara Fetters, Kaan Kerman, and Julie Wiemerslage served as judges, evaluating the scientific thought process and presentation skills of the young participants. Nearby, Matt Aberle, ...

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Global Change Fellows and Ecology graduate students meet with NSF Program Officer

Dr. Cayelan Carey recently hosted Dr. Michael Vanni, Professor of Zoology at the University of Miami-Ohio for an EEB seminar in Fralin Auditorium. Dr. Vanni’s presentation was titled “Farms, fish, phosphorus, and phytoplankton: Watershed subsidies and food webs regulate ecosystem dynamics in an agricultural reservoir.”

Dr. Vanni is a renowned freshwater ecology and fisheries expert; his lab studies the ecology of lakes and their surrounding landscapes, particularly focusing on how watersheds and lake food webs interact to regulate nutrient cycling ...

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Tony Timpano’s paper in Science: Mountaintop mining & crop irrigation can increase salinity in freshwater, impacting diversity

From VT News

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 2, 2016 – Aquatic life can suffer when high concentrations of dissolved salts enter freshwater ecosystems, a process known as salinization.

An international, multi-institutional team of researchers that includes a Virginia Tech graduate student recommends ways that humans can protect freshwater from salts in a recent article in the journal Science.

The recommendations include the use of less water for agricultural practices, less salt for road de-icing, less discharge or sequestering salts during ...

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Brandon Semel will use drones to help save lemurs in Madagascar

Brandon Semel is a PhD student in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech and a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP.  This story was first published as a Student Spotlight at Fralin Life Science Institute.

Flying high for conservation: an Interfaces of Global Change fellow will use drones to help save lemurs

Brandon Semel’s doctoral research can be traced back to a picture book.

Within the book are images of bushy tailed lemurs, hand drawn ...

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Maya Wilson receives Rufford Small Grant for Nature Conservation

Maya Wilson, an IGC IGEP Fellow and Ph.D. student in Biological Sciences, was recently awarded a Rufford Foundation small grant to support her research on Bahama swallows.

Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation (RSGs) are intended to support small-scale or pilot projects with a nature, biodiversity, or conservation focus. The Foundation prefers to support projects which go beyond a species-specific focus to provide habitat protection at a wider scale. The overriding requirement is that the work must be structured to provide long-lasting and practical ...

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Postcards from the field: David Millican in Namibia

By David Millican

It’s late January in central Namibia, the time of year when heavy rain showers become a regular source of relief for many animals. If the rains arrive, a green carpet spreads across the landscape and food becomes plentiful for all, providing the necessary resources for many species to reproduce. If the rains fail to show, dehydration and starvation sweep through the land like a plague. All individuals suffer, but the young and old, the weakest and most vulnerable, ...

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Graduate students attend Alan Alda science communication workshop

From VT News

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 24, 2015 – Virginia Tech students recently learned that a well-written scientific abstract is helpful, but a good elevator speech can be more important for acquiring support for research projects.

Graduate students — from the departments of fish and wildlife conservation, biological sciences, entomology, and more — practiced talking about their research with experts from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.

The Global Change Center at Virginia Tech partnered with one of its faculty ...

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Communicating Science- What we learned from the Alan Alda Communicating Science Workshop

By Jennifer Wagner

“Communication Breakdown, It’s always the same
I’m having a nervous breakdown, drive me insane!”

This sentiment is not unique to Led Zeppelin fans. Nearly everyone has been in a situation where they felt they weren’t being heard or were frustrated about not understanding what someone else was saying… perhaps to the point of being driven insane. Scientists are not exempt from these feelings and the global change community at Virginia Tech is increasing its understanding of the importance of effective ...

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Interfaces of Global Change fellows attend the Woods Institute in Washington, DC

The Woods Institute Science & Policy Seminar

By Tamara Fetters

Good science and good policy should go hand-in-hand, yet the path from collecting data to constructing policy can seem nebulous and abstract. Many scientists find themselves wondering: What is the role of science in the decision-making process? How does our science impact policy?

This past week, scientists in the Interfaces of Global Change Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program (IGC IGEP) set off for Capitol Hill ...

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