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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Kendra Sewall receives NSF CAREER grant

From VT News:

Is overcrowding in cities bad for your brain?  Do children in preschool learn better because of the social enrichment? Are animals at zoos learning and behaving the way they would in the wild even if they aren’t in normal group sizes?

These are the types of questions behind the research of a Virginia Tech neurobiologist who studies the impacts of the social environment on the brain.

Kendra Sewall, an assistant professor of biological sciences in the College of Science and ...

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Deep cuts for research funding at flagship Midwestern universities will further weaken local economies

From The Atlantic

Four floors above a dull cinder-block lobby in a nondescript building at the Ohio State University, the doors of a slow-moving elevator open on an unexpectedly futuristic 10,000-square-foot laboratory bristling with technology. It’s a reveal reminiscent of a James Bond movie. In fact, the researchers who run this year-old, $750,000 lab at OSU’s Spine Research Institute resort often to Hollywood comparisons.

Thin beams of blue light shoot from 36 of the same kind of infrared motion cameras used ...

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Aquaculture: Mixing of farmed fish and their wild relatives could have adverse impacts on environment

From VT News

In Ghana, experts suspect that some fish farmers have started to raise unapproved, controversial strains of the Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus that have the ability to grow quickly on their farms.

A Virginia Tech graduate student seeks to establish which strains farmers are growing in the country, and whether these include the unapproved strains of genetically improved farm tilapia (GIFT).

“If it is confirmed that the GIFT strains are on the farms in ...

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Bryan Brown’s aquatic invertebrate research will contribute to a watershed restoration model

From VT News

Aquatic invertebrates found in mountain streams — crayfish, stoneflies and mayflies, among others — are important to ecosystems because they are part of the natural food web and are often used by state agencies as indicators of freshwater health.

Soon, land managers will be able to track the behaviors of these invertebrates using a computer model developed by a research team that includes Virginia Tech aquatic ecologist, Bryan Brown.

The model, supported by a National Science Foundation grant, ...

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STUDY ABROAD ECUADOR! Spring 2018

Dr. Ignacio Moore (BIOL) and Dr. William Hopkins (FWC) are offering “Tropical Ecology & Conservation BIOL 3954/FIW 3954 (6 credits)” in Spring and Summer I 2018. The course is open to all majors. The Spring course will be taught on campus.

During Summer I, the class will travel to Ecuador where students will traverse multiple ecosystems, from the Amazonian lowland rainforest to the high altitude Andes. Students will visit one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, and ...

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Cayelan Carey and Madeline Schreiber receive Junior Faculty Awards

Dr. Cayelan Carey and Dr. Madeline Schreiber recently received a Junior Faculty Award from the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science. Their project is titled: Rapid elemental fluxes in freshwater systems.

The Junior Faculty Award program provides seed funds for innovative research led by pre-tenure faculty, which supports early-stage projects with the potential to evolve into groundbreaking research programs. It also encourages the formation of collaborative teams that can leverage a broad range of perspectives to bring a fresh approach ...

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Climate change could wipe out a third of parasite species

From The Guardian:

Climate change could wipe out a third of all parasite species on Earth, according to the most comprehensive analysis to date.

Tapeworms, roundworms, ticks, lice and fleas are feared for the diseases they cause or carry, but scientists warn that they also play a vital role in ecosystems. Major extinctions among parasites could lead to unpredictable invasions of surviving parasites into new areas, affecting wildlife and humans and making a “significant contribution” to the sixth ...

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Congratulations, Dr. Timpano!

Interfaces of Global Change Fellow, Tony Timpano, successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, in Fralin Hall Auditorium.

His seminar was titled: “Toward Improved Assessment of Freshwater Salinization as a Benthic Macroinvertebrate Stressor.”

Tony is pictured above with committee members Dr. Stephen Schoenholtz, Dr. Dave Soucek, and Dr. Carl Zipper. (Not pictured: Dr. Bryan Brown)

Congratulations, Dr. Tony Timpano!

Tony's Dissertation Defense

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Hitching The Sun and Wind: new fall seminar series

The Renewable Energy Facility More Sustainable Siting Project is pleased to announce a new fall seminar series!

The first event of our fall speaker series is this Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 1:25 – 2:15 p.m. in Burruss Hall 120A.

Please see the flyer below. You are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion.

Please note there will be speakers every Wednesday throughout the semester, same time, same place!

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Tony Timpano to give his Ph.D. seminar on Tuesday, August 29th at 9 am

IGC Fellow, Tony Timpano will defend his Ph.D. dissertation on Tuesday morning, August 29, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Fralin Hall Auditorium.

His seminar title is: “Toward Improved Assessment of Freshwater Salinization as a Benthic Macroinvertebrate Stressor.”

Please join us! Coffee and refreshments will be served beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Related:

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

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Dinosaur unpacking party: August 31st in Museum of Geosciences

From VT News

The Virginia Tech Paleobiology Research Group had a busy summer in Africa and the western United States, and now they’re inviting the public to a party to unpack their specimens, which include dinosaurs, phytosaurs, and other reptiles.

The unpacking party will be be from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Aug. 31, at the Museum of Geosciences in 2062 Derring Hall.  Derring Hall is located at 926 West Campus Drive, Blacksburg.

“This is a unique opportunity to become a citizen-scientist and ...

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