Congratulations to Cayelan Carey!

Cayelan Carey has been selected as the recipient of this year’s Yentsch-Schindler Early Career Award by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology & Oceanography (ASLO):

From the announcement:

“The Yentsch-Schindler Early Career Award honors an early-career scientist for outstanding and balanced contributions to research, education and society. Cayelan Carey is the 2018 recipient of the Yentsch-Schindler Award for outstanding and balanced contributions to research on the causes and effects of cyanobacterial blooms, science training, and broader societal issues such as ...

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Jacob Barney: Invasive plants have a surprising ability to pioneer new climates

From VT News

Virginia Tech scientists have discovered that invasive plant species are essentially able to change in order to thrive on new continents and in different types of climates, challenging the assumption that species occupy the same environment in native and invasive ranges.

It’s no secret that globalization, aided by climate change, is helping invasive species gain a foothold across the planet, but it was something of a surprise to Virginia Tech researchers just how mutable these invaders are.

The study, ...

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Dude…Where’d this weed come from?

Globalization and other human activities such as domestication can influence population structure of the earth’s flora and fauna, having broad implications for biodiversity.  For example, Cannabis sativa (a.k.a. hemp/marijuana) has been used by humans for diverse purposes including medicine, spirituality, entertainment, and as a source of fiber for thousands of years.  Because of its broad utility, this plant has been subject to extensive cultivation, artificial selection, and global trade.  As a result, the origins and historical patterns of genetic diversity of marijuana ...

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Brian Strahm named Research Fellow and spends 6 months in New Zealand

From VT News

When most Americans think of New Zealand, images of sprawling fantasy landscapes may come to mind; however for Brian Strahm, associate professor of forest soils and biogeochemistry in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, it’s all about trees.

Strahm was named a Research Fellow of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development through its Co-operative Research Program for Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agriculture Systems. The organization is an international body of 35 countries designed ...

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Warning to humanity signed by 16,000 scientists

From CNN

More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countries have published a second warning to humanity advising that we need to change our wicked ways to help the planet.

In 1992, 1,700 independent scientists signed the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” The letter warned that “human beings and the natural world are on a collision course” and if environmental damage was not stopped, our future was at risk.

That letter made headlines 25 years ago, but the world still faces daunting ...

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IGC Capstone class visits Capitol Hill for congressional operations seminar

October 23, 2017 |  Graduate students taking the Interfaces of Global Change capstone class this fall recently attended a Congressional Operations Seminar in Washington, DC, offered by the Woods Institute. The objective of the seminar was to provide the participants with a comprehensive understanding of the congressional legislative and budget processes, with an emphasis on issues relevant to the environment and natural resources. For students considering a career in the public policy arena, or just generally concerned with how science ...

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Carbon emissions are rising again

From National Geographic

For a while it looked as if the world might be turning the corner.

But after a three-year stall in their growth, human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions have not, in fact, peaked, an international team of scientists announced this morning.

In 2017, global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels and industry will once again rise by 2 percent, the scientists project, to a record 37 billion metric tons. ...

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New Course for Spring 2018: Advanced Soils

Dr. Brian Strahm is offering a new, broad-based soils course for those that have had little exposure to the belowground world.  If you are interested in…

•    terrestrial ecosystem ecology/biogeochemistry
•    plant productivity
•    water quality/quantity
•    global and/or land use change

…but have never had soils…this class is designed for you!

The course will introduce foundational concepts in soil physics, chemistry, biology/ecology, sampling and analysis, genesis and classification, nutrient cycling, and organic matter dynamics.  The course is intended to improve your understanding ...

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Now accepting applications for undergraduate science policy fellowships: apply by Dec. 1

The Global Change Center (GCC) offers competitive fellowships to undergraduate students to cover the cost of tuition (in-state, 6 credits), housing and fees to attend the Washington Semester Program during summer semester. This program offers a unique 11-week immersion into work experience within the nation’s capital. Students work on challenging science policy issues that shape communities locally and nationally while obtaining academic credit.

The School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at Virginia Tech offers the Washington Semester program to all ...

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Martha Munoz settles decades-old evolutionary biology question

From VT News:

Evolution can be both stimulated and halted by an animal’s behavior, it just depends which trait you’re talking about, according to a groundbreaking study led by a Virginia Tech researcher.

The study, published Oct. 25 in the journal American Naturalist, shows behavior can be both a brake and a motor for evolution in a manner where slowing evolution in one trait actually requires accelerating evolution in another, according to Martha Read More →

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Government report says climate is warming and humans are the cause

FROM NPR

It is “extremely likely” that human activities are the “dominant cause” of global warming, according to the most comprehensive study ever of climate science by U.S. government researchers.

The climate report, obtained by NPR, notes that the past 115 years are “the warmest in the history of modern civilization.” The global average temperature has increased by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over that period. Greenhouse gases from industry and agriculture are ...

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Hurricanes in 2017 pushed rare island species closer to the brink

From National Geographic

By Justin Nobel

As Hurricane Irma slammed into south Florida in September, Dan Clark, manager of a complex of four national wildlife refuges in the Florida Keys, had evacuated and was at his mother’s house near Tampa. His eye was on the weather and his mind was on the multitude of plants and animals that inhabit the unique refuge system he oversees, which includes the well-known Key Deer National Wildlife ...

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Even small amounts of oil made birds sick near Deepwater Horizon spill

From VT News

Photos from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on April 20, 2010, show heartbreaking images of deceased or soon-to-be-deceased sea life—birds, fish, sea turtles, and mammals coated in thick, black grime.

However, even small amounts of oil exposure affected the health of birds in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a Virginia Tech research team. Their findings were published Oct. 12 in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

The team examined samples ...

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Stream Ecology Course offered in Spring 2018

COURSE ANNOUNCEMENT

STREAM ECOLOGY  |  BIOLOGY 5074

Learn about the structure and function of streams and rivers. We will connect ecological principles to the structure and function of running waters, and explore how ecological processes in these dynamic ecosystems are affected by environmental change. This course includes lecture/discussion meetings as well as a lab/field component, during which students will conduct coordinated semester-long research projects. The final exam will include an oral presentation and write-up of project results in the format of a ...

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Science and policy come together at recent faculty workshop

From VT News

Today’s global problems, such as food security, clean water, and infectious disease, defy disciplinary silos and government jurisdictions.

That’s why approximately 70 members of Virginia Tech’s Global Systems Science Destination Area (GSS DA) and the Policy Strategic Growth Area (Policy SGA) met recently to identify areas for collaboration.

The all-day workshop, held Sept. 29 at the Inn at Virginia Tech, involved short talks in the morning by faculty-led research teams from science and policy areas.

Topics included freshwater resources, coastal ...

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Crowdfunding project aims to send a Hokie to Capitol Hill

From VT News

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Human health disparities in Appalachia. The Dan River coal ash spill in North Carolina. The water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Air pollution in urban industrialized areas around the world.

The list goes on.

Now more than ever, U.S. laws designed to protect and improve public health and the environment, such as the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Clean Air ...

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Declining songbirds need forests to survive

From VT News

Before cutting down forest, land managers in drought-prone areas might first consider the birds in the trees.

According to a new study by biologists at Virginia Tech and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, the offspring of a certain songbird, the wood thrush, are more likely to survive drought in larger forest plots that offer plenty of shade and resources.

These results were published Oct. 18 in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, a ...

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Amy Pruden and Marc Edwards receive NSF RAPID grant to help well owners after recent hurricanes

From VT News:

It all started with a few phone calls to check in on friends at Texas A&M and the University of Florida.

After hurricanes Harvey and Irma battered the southern coastline, Kelsey Pieper called Extension faculty from the two universities — friends she’d met through her work as a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech.

“We just reached out and were like, ‘Hey, we’re thinking of you, do you need anything?’ ...

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