New Course Update: Climate Change and Societal Impacts

Dr. Anamaria Bukvic provided this important update to her plans for GEOG 4984: Climate Change and Societal Impacts:

NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING AND RESEARCH with local partners in Hampton Roads on the issues of sea level rise and resilience!

Please note that the Resilience Research & Design Tidewater Collaboratory will be integrated into a special studies course on Climate Change and Societal Impacts (Course 5984/4984, fall 2017) as a project-based component focused on experiential learning. In addition to the baseline information, the course ...

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Private landowners will be critical partners in efforts to save coastal marshes

From VT News

While popular with conservation groups, coastal easements that prevent development in order to protect marshland are not favored by property owners, according to researchers from Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment and the University of Connecticut.

Findings from a study published this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offer broad implications for how to best design programs to ...

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Jeb Barrett’s research shows that extreme melt restructured the invertebrate ecosystem in Antarctica

From VT News

An extreme weather event can drastically change the structure of an ecosystem for many years to come, according to a team of ecologists working in Antarctica that includes a researcher with Virginia Tech’s Global Change Center.

In the McMurdo Dry Valleys, a warm summer in January 2002 contributed to record melt and re-arranged the composition of invertebrate communities, such as nematodes and tardigrades, or “water bears” that live there, establishing dominance among ...

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‘Dead Zone’ is largest ever in Gulf of Mexico

From National Geographic

A record-breaking, New Jersey-sized dead zone was measured by scientists in the Gulf of Mexico this week—a sign that water quality in U.S. waterways is worse than expected.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today that this summer’s dead zone is the largest ever recorded, measuring 8,776 miles. This is more expansive than the nearly 8,200 square-mile area that was forecast in July. Since monitoring began 32 years ago, the average ...

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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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Notes from the field: Finding fossils in the Triassic rocks of Wyoming

From @VT Research

JULY 31, 2017 | Over the past week, the VT Paleobiology group, led by Drs. Michelle Stocker and Sterling Nesbitt, headed out to Wyoming to find fossil bones from the Triassic (~199 to 252 million years ago) as a part of a month-long expedition to do field work across the Midwest. The area around Lander Wyoming is home to several exposures of Triassic sedimentary rocks, exactly the kind of place you want to look to ...

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Mary Lofton is honored with two awards for her research on water quality in reservoirs

Congratulations to Mary Lofton, who received the Leo Bourassa Award from the Virginia Lakes and Watershed Association for her research on the effects of water quality management on phytoplankton blooms in Virginia reservoirs! This award was chosen based on her contributions to the field of water resources in the commonwealth of Virginia and goes to the top graduate student doing water research in VA!

On top of this honor, Mary also received the $5000 grant from the Virginia Water Resources ...

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More rain, more pollution in the future

A comment on this article from Dr. Cayelan Carey:

“This study highlights the importance of studying both land use and climate change simultaneously when predicting future water quality: these two stressors will interact, potentially synergistically, to increase phytoplankton blooms that threaten human health and freshwater ecosystem services. One other take-home message that is important to keep in mind is that there will be large geographic variation in lake and reservoir water quality responses to altered climate and land use.”

Our research ...

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Ashley Dayer’s research calls for enhancing long-term conservation benefits of Farm Bill programs

From VT News

Many farmers, ranchers, and landowners rely on voluntary conservation incentive programs within the Farm Bill to make improvements to their land and operations that benefit them, the environment, and society.

According to a recent study by researchers from Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment and Point Blue Conservation Science published in the scientific journal Conservation Letters, it is necessary to find ways to sustain the benefits from these practices after the incentive program ends. This finding is crucial ...

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Hollins University students transform into young environmental researchers at Virginia Tech

From VT News

When Elaine Metz and Shannen Kelly started research at Virginia Tech in May, they already had an interest in improving the environment. But what they didn’t know was that they would soon be in the throes of fieldwork, complete with early mornings, heat, sweat, dirt, bug spray, and an ongoing threat of poison ivy.

Metz, of Salem, Virginia, and Kelly, of Tolland, Connecticut, both undergraduates at Hollins University, are spending the summer with Virginia Tech graduate students Read More →

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Ill winds: open burning of munitions waste at arsenals contaminates local air and land

From ProPublica

by Abrahm Lustgarten

The Pentagon’s handling of munitions and their waste has poisoned millions of acres, and left Americans to guess at the threat to their health.

Shortly after dawn most weekdays, a warning siren rips across the flat, swift water of the New River running alongside the Radford Army Ammunition Plant. Red lights warning away boaters and fishermen flash from the plant, the nation’s largest supplier of propellant for artillery and the source of explosives for almost every American ...

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The Global Change Center partners with Hollins University to enhance student careers in life science

From VT News

Pursuing graduate school in the sciences requires more than just passion – it also requires knowledge of the nuts and bolts of research, which usually comes through robust mentorship.

Developing strong mentor-mentee relationships is one of the main goals of a new partnership between the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech and Hollins University. The two universities recently signed a memorandum of understanding to offer Hollins undergraduate students summer research experience in Virginia ...

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Meagan O’Rourke’s SURF student works on bee-friendly flower garden project

From VT News

Local farmers and gardeners who want to attract native pollinators to their plants may be interested in the summer research project of Laura Stange, a rising senior majoring in horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Funded by the Fralin Life Science Institute’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Stange observes and analyzes the behavior patterns of pollinators around plots of native wildflowers at Kentland Farm in Blacksburg, Virginia. Her goal is to determine which pollinator species prefer which ...

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Geological Society of America honors Sterling Nesbitt with Young Scientist Award

From VT News

Sterling Nesbitt of Virginia Tech’s Department of Geosciences is being honored by the Geological Society of America with its Young Scientist Award, the 2017 Donath Medal.

Nesbitt, an assistant professor of geosciences in the College of Science and a faculty member with the Global Change Center, will receive the award at the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual conference in Seattle in October. The Young Scientist Award was established in 1988 to ...

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Climate change impacts airline schedules

From The Washington Post:

Rising Temperatures could bump you from your flight

Over three days in late June, American Airlines canceled 57 regional flights out of Phoenix due to extreme heat of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. More heat waves in the future could mean flights get canceled, delayed or have to lose some weight. That weight could be you.

In the aviation business, really hot days are called “weight restriction days,” because when it’s hot, fully loaded planes can’t get off the ground. There’s ...

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Hotchkiss awarded NSF funding to examine the consequences of warming in streams

Congratulations to Dr. Erin Hotchkiss in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech.  Dr. Hotchkiss and her colleagues recently received research funding from the National Science Foundation. Their project will examine the consequences of warming for organic matter cycling in streams.

Title: “Headwater stream networks in a warming world: Predicting heterotrophic ecosystem function using theory, multi-scale temperature manipulations, and modeling”

Principal Investigators: J.P. Benstead (Alabama), V. Gulis (Coastal Carolina), A.M. Helton (University of Connecticut), A.D. Rosemond (UGA), E.R. Hotchkiss (Virginia Tech).

Summary: This project will ...

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Jessica Hernandez awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Congratulations to IGC Fellow, Jessica Hernandez, who was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) in 2017!

Jessica is a doctoral student in biological sciences in the College of Science. She works in the lab of Dr. Ignacio Moore, where research focuses on better understanding how animals respond, both behaviorally and physiologically, to their constantly changing social and physical environments.

For her dissertation, Jessica will study a free-living population of polyandrous female tree swallows (Tachcineta bicolor) ...

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Six GCC faculty earn tenure and promotion in 2017

Congratulations to six Global Change Center affiliated faculty members who have earned tenure and promotion in June 2017 as a result of their outstanding achievements in teaching, research, and service. Tenure and promotion marks an important milestone in their academic careers, so please join us in congratulating our colleagues.

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved the following promotions and tenure:
Promotion to associate professor with tenure:

Bryan Brown, Biological Sciences

Julia Gohlke, Population Health Sciences

Leigh-Anne Krometis, Biological Systems Engineering

Brian ...

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Barrow receives Diggs Teaching Scholars Award

From VT News:

Mark Barrow, professor and chair of the Department of History in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and a faculty affiliate in the Global Change Center, has received the university’s 2017 Diggs Teaching Scholars Award.

Sponsored by the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research, the Diggs Teaching Scholars Award was established in 1992 and is presented annually to up to three Virginia Tech faculty ...

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Postcards from the field: Maya Wilson is on the “Pine Islands” in the Bahamas

From Birds Caribbean

Maya Wilson is a graduate student in Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech and a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change Program. She is researching the ecology and life history of the Bahama Swallow, an endangered species endemic to the Bahamas. Maya is one of the dedicated young scholars who were awarded the BirdsCaribbean David S. Lee Fund Grant and her work is critical to understanding the Bahama Swallow and informing conservation strategies. Here, she discusses her ...

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