Study Abroad in the Dominican Republic: Climate Change Impacts

Climate change impacts and policy in the Dominican Republic

This Wintermester study abroad course uses the Dominican Republic as a case study to introduce students to the impacts of climate change on key ecosystems (e.g., coastal areas) and natural resources (e.g., forests, biodiversity) and related mitigation and adaptation strategies. Students will also learn about ongoing impacts on agricultural production and people’s livelihoods and strategies to decrease GHG emissions and reduce vulnerability to climate change. Students will meet with scientists, environmental NGOs, ...

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Todd Schenk’s new paper examines role-play simulations for climate change education and engagement

Climate change threatens our local communities and built environments. Public officials and other stakeholders need to rapidly enhance their understanding of the risks and adopt adaptive strategies in response. If these efforts are to be effective, the myriad of public and private actors need to find ways to collaborate, particularly when the risks cross traditional sectoral and geographical boundaries.

A recent article in Nature Climate Change co-authored by School of Public and International Affairs Assistant Professor and Global Change Center ...

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Fred Benfield honored for 45 years of service to Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech professor Fred Benfield has spent the better part of the past 45 years pursuing a variety of interests, from freshwater ecology research to performing live music.

Raised in rural North Carolina near the Blue Ridge Mountains, he spent many hours roaming the woods and creeks as a child. As an undergraduate student at Appalachian State University, he took several ecology courses, but said that his interest in freshwater ecology specifically developed as a graduate student in Virginia Tech’s  Read More →


Toxic algae blooms are spreading

From National Geographic

When sea lions suffered seizures and birds and porpoises started dying on the California coast last year, scientists weren’t entirely surprised. Toxic algae is known to harm marine mammals.

But when researchers found enormous amounts of toxin in a pelican that had been slurping anchovies, they decided to sample fresh-caught fish. To their surprise, they found toxins at such dangerous levels in anchovy meat that the state urged people to immediately stop eating them.

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A resurgence of malaria from the gold mines of Venezuela

From the New York Times:

by Nicholas Casey

THE ALBINO MINE, Venezuela — The 12th time Reinaldo Balocha got malaria, he hardly rested at all. With the fever still rattling his body, he threw a pick ax over his shoulder and got back to work — smashing stones in an illegal gold mine.

As a computer technician from a big city, Mr. Balocha was ill-suited for the mines, his soft hands used to working ...

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Last month was the single warmest month ever

From Time Magazine

And 2016 will almost definitely be the hottest year yet

July 2016 was the warmest month ever recorded, the latest in a slew of new temperature records set in the past several years, according to two new reports.

Scientists have recorded month after month of record-breaking temperatures this year, but July shattered all those records to become the hottest of any month in any year since record keeping began. The data was confirmed separately by 

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Two sections of Communicating Science offered this fall on campus

For the first time, two fall sections of GRAD 5144, Communicating Science, are being offered, and currently there is space in both sections (CRN 84376 and CRN 88914). To accommodate the cycle of work in grad students’ lives at the beginning and end of the semester, the course is compressed into ten sessions, beginning the week of September 12 and wrapping up the week of November 14.

This 2-credit participatory course uses theatre improv games and writing exercises to help students ...

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As plantet warms, disasters like Louisiana Floods will continue

From The Guardian:

The historic and devastating floods in Louisiana are the latest in a series of heavy deluges that some climate scientists warn will become even more common as the world continues to warm.

On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) is set to classify the Louisiana disaster as the eighth flood considered to be a once in every 500-year event to have taken place in the US in little over 12 ...

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Graduate course of interest to IGC: Modeling Infections Diseases

Dr. Kaja Abbas, an Assistant Professor in Population Health Sciences, is offering this graduate course in fall semester 2016:

Modeling Infectious Diseases

PHS 5354 /3 credits/ Fall 2016

Course description 

Mathematical modeling of infectious diseases in humans and animals. Topics include deterministic susceptibles-infectious-recovered (SIR) and related models, estimation of reproductive number, host heterogeneities, multi-pathogen/multi-host models, spatio-temporal models, stochastic dynamics, and modeling for public health policy.

Learning objectives 

• Gain knowledge and understanding of concepts and methods in

mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.

• Critically select the appropriate modeling methods ...

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