Winter Storms To Heat Waves, How Better Climate Data Can Make Us More Prepared

From NPR

JANUARY 30, 2019

In a cow pasture near Shawnee in central Oklahoma, Kirk Wilson parks his work truck, grabs a harness, and prepares for a 30-foot climb. 

“We’re changing the sensor at the top of the tower that measures the wind direction,” explains Wilson, a burly meteorological electronics technician with a big beard and a booming laugh. 

On the ground, another tech uses a GPS receiver to make sure the sensitive instrument is properly aligned before it’s tightened in place.

When this ...

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Mammal diversity will take millions of years to recover from the current biodiversity crisis

Matt Davis, Søren Faurby, and Jens-Christian Svenning

Significance

Biodiversity is more than the number of species on Earth. It is also the amount of unique evolutionary history in the tree of life. We find that losses of this phylogenetic diversity (PD) are disproportionally large in mammals compared with ...

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Bill Gates launches effort to help the world adapt to climate change

In Bangladesh, low-lying and vulnerable to yearly flooding, farmers are shifting from raising chickens to raising ducks. Ducks can swim.

In the Philippines, where half the mangrove forests have been lost to development, biologists are replanting the trees to recreate nature’s protective coastal shield against deadly typhoons. The gnarled tangle of mangrove roots slows the movement of ...

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We’re Drowning In Plastic Trash. Jenna Jambeck Wants To Save Us

When a huge floating gyre of plastic waste was discovered in the Pacific in the late 1980s, people were shocked. When whales died and washed ashore with stomachs full of plastic, people were horrified. When photographs of beaches under knee-deep carpets of plastic trash were published, people were disgusted.

Though some of it came from ships, most, presumably, was from land. ...

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The earth has had warmer-than-average temperatures for 400 straight months now

From CNN

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Statistics’ Leah Johnson seeks to improve quantitative models for fighting diseases in humans, trees

From VT News

April 10, 2018  |   Leah R. Johnson, an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics, part of the Virginia Tech College of Science, is using a $700,000 National Science Foundation CAREER grant to improve mathematical and statistical models to help fight deadly diseases.

The vector-borne diseases that Johnson is targeting include dengue in humans and huanglongbing, commonly known as citrus greening, in fruit trees. The dengue virus, according to ...

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Friday, March 23: Mapping Climate Change Vulnerability Hotspots to Anticipate Migration and Resettlement

Please mark your calendar for the upcoming interdisciplinary speaker series presentation organized by Coastal@VT: 
Dr. Alex de Sherbinin 
Mapping Climate Change Vulnerability Hotspots
to Anticipate Migration and Resettlement 
Friday, March 23
11am – 12pm
Assembly Hall, Holtzman Alumni Center

Leandro Castello’s research explores links between deforestation and fisheries yields in the Amazon

From VT News:

The conversion of tropical forests to crop and pastureland has long been a concern for scientists, as forest loss can lead to decreased rainfall, increased droughts, and degraded freshwater ecosystems. A new study points to another unexpected consequence: changes in fish production.

The study, led by Leandro Castello, assistant professor of fisheries in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, explores how deforestation along the Amazon River floodplain affects fisheries yields. The study was published online Dec. ...

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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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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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New Course for Fall 2017: The Science and Policy of Invasions

A new team-taught course will be offered this fall at Virginia Tech!

COURSE TITLE:
The Science and Policy of Invasions (GRAD 6984; Special Topics; 3 credits)

TIME:
The class will meet once per week during Fall Semester 2017; Time TBD

INSTRUCTORS:
Jacob Barney (jnbarney@vt.edu), Bryan Brown (brown51@vt.edu), David Haak (dhaak@vt.edu), Erin Hotchkiss (ehotchkiss@vt.edu), and Scott Salom (salom@vt.edu)

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Invasive species are one of the five elements of global change that shape ecosystem structure and function worldwide. This course will take a “deep ...

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Climate change is trouble for cutthroat trout in the Rockies

From NPR:

There’s an unplanned experiment going on in the northern Rocky Mountains. What’s happening is that spring is arriving earlier, and it’s generally warmer and drier than usual. And that’s messing with some of the fish that live there.

The fish is the iconic cutthroat trout. It’s a native North American fish that thrives in cold, small streams. Explorer Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark Expedition fame was among the first ...

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Jon Doubek, GLEON Fellow, publishes in PNAS

Jon Doubek, a PH.D. candidate in Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech, is a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change Program and the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON).

Jon’s 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 managers. In addition to taking part in three international workshops, Jon ...

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Global water expert, Brian Richter to give GCC Distinguished Lecture April 7th

From VT News:

Brian Richter, the chief scientist for the Global Water Program of The Nature Conservancy, will visit Virginia Tech on April 7. He will give a 4 p.m. distinguished lecture entitled “Chasing Water in a Rapidly Changing World” at the Lyric Theatre, followed by a question and answer period and book signing.

The event, coordinated by the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech and the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, is free and open to the public.

Richter has been a global ...

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Strickland and Wepking: Agricultural antibiotics impact soil ecosystems

From VT News

Manure from cattle administered antibiotics drastically changes the bacterial and fungal make-up of surrounding soil, leading to ecosystem dysfunction, according to a Virginia Tech research team.

The team analyzed soil samples from 11 dairy farms in the United States and found that the amount of antibiotic resistant genes was 200 times greater in soil near manure piles compared with soil that wasn’t.

Furthermore, microbes with greater antibiotic resistance showed higher stress levels. Their findings were published March 29 in ...

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“Between Earth and Sky: Climate Change on the Last Frontier” screened April 12 at the Lyric

From VT News

The documentary film “Between Earth and Sky: Climate Change on the Last Frontier” will be screened at 7 p.m. on April 12 at The Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg. David Weindorf, the film’s executive producer, will be on hand to introduce the movie to a Blacksburg audience.

Sponsored by the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech and the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech, the event is free and open to the public. Among ...

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