McGlothlin research explores the evolution of toxin resistance in snakes

From VT News:

Snakes in evolutionary arms race with poisonous newt

Blacksburg, November 17, 2014: The rough-skinned newt is easily one of the most toxic animals on the planet, yet the common garter snake routinely eats it. How does a newt which produces enough toxin to kill several grown humans manage to become prey in the food chain?

The answer comes in the form of an evolutionary arms race that pits the toxin of the newt, tetrodotoxin or TTX, against the voltage-gated sodium ...

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Jon Doubek is a GLEON fellow!

Jon Doubek , a PH.D. student in Biological Sciences and a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change Program, has been invited to be a Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) Fellow!

The 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 ...

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Lisa Belden receives the Innovator Award

From VT News

Lisa Belden, an associate professor of biological sciences and a faculty member in the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP, was recently recognized for her commitment to advancing the university’s research initiatives in engineering and the life sciences.

The Innovator Award, a new initiative jointly sponsored by the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences and the Fralin Life Science Institute, recognizes outstanding faculty members and includes a $25,000 stipend to be used to advance innovative research projects.

Dr. Belden studies ...

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Naomi Oreskes’ new book imagines the future history of climate change

From the New York Times

by Claudia Dreifus

Naomi Oreskes is a historian of science at Harvard, but she is attracting wide notice these days for a work of science fiction.

“The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future,” written with Erik M. Conway, takes the point of view of a historian in 2393 explaining how “the Great Collapse of 2093” occurred.

“Without spoiling the story,” she ...

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Laura Schoenle receives a 2014 EPA STAR Fellowship

Laura Schoenle, a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change Program, was recently awarded a EPA STAR Fellowship for 2014.  This very competitive graduate fellowship program from the Environmental Protection Agency supports masters and doctoral candidates in environmental studies. Her award will cover tuition, salary, and $10,000 for research/expenses.

Laura will be studying the effects of mercury exposure on how red-winged blackbirds resist and tolerate infection with avian malaria. Laura is co-advised by Ignacio ...

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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issues starkest warning yet

From the New York Times

“The gathering risks of climate change are so profound that they could stall or even reverse generations of progress against poverty and hunger if greenhouse emissions continue at a runaway pace, according to a major new United Nations report.

Despite growing efforts in many countries to tackle the problem, the global situation is becoming more acute as developing countries join the West in burning huge amounts of fossil ...

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Emerging infection could easily spread to U.S. amphibians

From the New York Times

An emerging infection similar to one that has caused the extinction of hundreds of frog and toad species around the world is killing salamanders in Europe and could easily spread to the United States, with disastrous effects, scientists reported Thursday.

Writing in the journal Science, an international team of 27 researchers blamed the spread of the disease on “globalization and a lack of biosecurity” and said the importation ...

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IGC students attend the installation of President Sands

International students Angie Estrada and Daniel Medina, fellows in the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP, attended the recent installation ceremonies for Virginia Tech’s new president, Dr. Timothy Sands. Burruss Hall was awash in color for this special occasion. The Cranwell International Center displayed their entire international flag collection, which honors the 3,000+ international students at Virginia Tech and represents the 128 nations from which they hail.

In no time at all, Angie and Daniel found the flag of their ...

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Emmanual Frimpong named Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow

From VT News

October 2014:  Emmanuel Frimpong, associate professor of fisheries science and a faculty member in the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech, has been named a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow.

The scholar program, which supports 100 short-term faculty fellowships for African-born academics, is offered by the Institute of International Education and funded by a two-year grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Frimpong, who joined the faculty of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation in 2007, focuses on ...

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Amy Pruden receives the 2014 Busch Award

Amy Pruden, professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate dean and director of interdisciplinary graduate education in the Graduate School at Virginia Tech, is the 2014 recipient of the Paul L. Busch Award which includes a $100,000 research grant.

A well-recognized researcher in her field, Pruden is instrumental in developing a new way of thinking about controlling aquatic pathogens and expanding the use of recycled water. She ...

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Climate-induced warming alters walrus behavior

USGS Science Feature: October 1, 2014

“Once again, an extreme retreat of Alaska’s summer sea ice has led large numbers of Pacific walruses to haul out on land to rest instead of resting on offshore ice. The walruses are hauling out on land in a spectacle that has become all too common in six of the last eight years as a consequence of climate-induced warming. Summer sea ice is retreating far north of the shallow continental shelf waters of the Chukchi ...

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Vertebrate species populations have declined

Message from the World Wildlife Fund International Director General

livingplanet“The latest edition of the Living Planet Report is not for the faint-hearted.  One key point that jumps out and captures the overall picture is that the Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, has declined by 52 percent since 1970. Put another way, in ...

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A Special Supplement from PNAS: The Science of Science Communication

A special supplement to this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is dedicated to science communication.

“Better communication to the public and policy makers can help scientists send clearer signals regarding the accomplishments, promises, and uncertainties of their work. Better communication from the public and policy makers can provide scientists with clearer signals regarding the public’s concerns and science’s role in addressing them. The result would be a more productive dialogue about the science and the political, social, ...

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Heather Govenor receives the 2014 William R. Walker Award

Heather is a Ph.D. candidate at Virginia Tech in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change Program

Heather will be using the funds from this award to support her participation at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in Vancouver, Canada in November. She will be presenting a poster entitled “Sediment as a Surrogate for Multiple Stressors in Freshwater Ecosystems: ...

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Madeline Schreiber’s research will trace the long-term effects of coal ash spills

Monday, July 21, 2014 
By Tonia Moxley, at The Roanoke Times 

DANVILLE — Virginia Tech researchers hope a $25,000 National Science Foundation grant will help them find better ways to trace the long-term effects of coal ash spills like the one in February that fouled 70 miles of the Dan River from Eden, North Carolina, to Kerr Lake in Virginia.

The NSF RAPID grant will “help us get a snapshot of what’s going on,” said Madeline Schreiber, ...

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Bees and Colony Collapse

Our Bees, Ourselves

From the New York Times Opinion Pages: July 14, 2014

AROUND the world, honeybee colonies are dying in huge numbers: About one-third of hives collapse each year, a pattern going back a decade. For bees and the plants they pollinate — as well as for beekeepers, farmers, honey lovers and everyone else who appreciates this marvelous social insect — this is a catastrophe.

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Rhododendrons, nitrogen cycling, and global change

From VT News:

Global change research in Jeb Barrett’s lab is featured this week in VT News :

“How important is the soil beneath our feet to what grows above it? 

The short answer is very, according to Virginia Tech’s Mahtaab Bagherzadeh of Annandale, Virginia, a senior majoring in biological sciences in the College of Science and a 2014 Fralin Life Science InstituteSummer Undergraduate Research Fellow.

Bagherzadeh recently participated in a study that discovered invading ...

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