Tony Timpano’s paper in Science: Mountaintop mining & crop irrigation can increase salinity in freshwater, impacting diversity

From VT News

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 2, 2016 – Aquatic life can suffer when high concentrations of dissolved salts enter freshwater ecosystems, a process known as salinization.

An international, multi-institutional team of researchers that includes a Virginia Tech graduate student recommends ways that humans can protect freshwater from salts in a recent article in the journal Science.

The recommendations include the use of less water for agricultural practices, less salt for road de-icing, less discharge or sequestering salts during ...

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Brandon Semel will use drones to help save lemurs in Madagascar

Brandon Semel is a PhD student in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech and a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP.  This story was first published as a Student Spotlight at Fralin Life Science Institute.

Flying high for conservation: an Interfaces of Global Change fellow will use drones to help save lemurs

Brandon Semel’s doctoral research can be traced back to a picture book.

Within the book are images of bushy tailed lemurs, hand drawn ...

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Maya Wilson receives Rufford Small Grant for Nature Conservation

Maya Wilson, an IGC IGEP Fellow and Ph.D. student in Biological Sciences, was recently awarded a Rufford Foundation small grant to support her research on Bahama swallows.

Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation (RSGs) are intended to support small-scale or pilot projects with a nature, biodiversity, or conservation focus. The Foundation prefers to support projects which go beyond a species-specific focus to provide habitat protection at a wider scale. The overriding requirement is that the work must be structured to provide long-lasting and practical ...

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Postcards from the field: David Millican in Namibia

By David Millican

It’s late January in central Namibia, the time of year when heavy rain showers become a regular source of relief for many animals. If the rains arrive, a green carpet spreads across the landscape and food becomes plentiful for all, providing the necessary resources for many species to reproduce. If the rains fail to show, dehydration and starvation sweep through the land like a plague. All individuals suffer, but the young and old, the weakest and most vulnerable, ...

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Graduate students attend Alan Alda science communication workshop

From VT News

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 24, 2015 – Virginia Tech students recently learned that a well-written scientific abstract is helpful, but a good elevator speech can be more important for acquiring support for research projects.

Graduate students — from the departments of fish and wildlife conservation, biological sciences, entomology, and more — practiced talking about their research with experts from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.

The Global Change Center at Virginia Tech partnered with one of its faculty ...

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Communicating Science- What we learned from the Alan Alda Communicating Science Workshop

By Jennifer Wagner

“Communication Breakdown, It’s always the same
I’m having a nervous breakdown, drive me insane!”

This sentiment is not unique to Led Zeppelin fans. Nearly everyone has been in a situation where they felt they weren’t being heard or were frustrated about not understanding what someone else was saying… perhaps to the point of being driven insane. Scientists are not exempt from these feelings and the global change community at Virginia Tech is increasing its understanding of the importance of effective ...

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Interfaces of Global Change fellows attend the Woods Institute in Washington, DC

The Woods Institute Science & Policy Seminar

By Tamara Fetters

Good science and good policy should go hand-in-hand, yet the path from collecting data to constructing policy can seem nebulous and abstract. Many scientists find themselves wondering: What is the role of science in the decision-making process? How does our science impact policy?

This past week, scientists in the Interfaces of Global Change Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program (IGC IGEP) set off for Capitol Hill ...

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Cathy Jachowski and VDGIF capture rare footage of hellbender nests and eggs

Hellbenders! The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) tagged along with Cathy Jachowski and Bill Hopkins to learn more about how these unusual animals live and how they guard their eggs. This VDGIF video features some rare footage of hellbender egg collection and underwater use of artificial nest boxes!

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Postcards: IGC students participate in the Blue Ridge Parkway BioBlitz

In mid-September, Ben Vernasco, Leah Novak, and I participated in the National Park Service’s Blue Ridge Parkway BioBlitz near Rocky Knob in southwestern Virginia. The goal of the BioBlitz is to inventory as many species as possible in a 24 hour period, including plants, invertebrates, and wildlife. The Park Service uses these surveys of biodiversity to serve their mission of preserving natural resources – they need to know what is there in order to ...

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IGC Fellows sponsor social media campaign and booth at the Virginia Science Festival in Blacksburg

vascifestThe Virginia Science Festival features a full month dedicated to STEM events happening around Virginia. The goal is to “provide families with hands-on experiences, live performances, interactive demonstrations and techno entertainment that will inspire a wonder in science for all ages.” On Saturday, September 26th, the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP at Virginia Tech sponsored a booth at the Blacksburg Science Festival called “Why I Care For Nature.”

According to IGC Fellow, Tamara ...

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IGEPs discuss Merchants of Doubt documentary

merchantsThree Virginia Tech interdisciplinary graduate education programs (IGEPs) recently met in Torgerson Hall to discuss the documentary film, “Merchants of Doubt”. ...

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The Interfaces of Global Change IGEP welcomes eight new Ph.D. fellows

The Interfaces of Global Change Program will begin its third year with a banner recruitment class of eight new Ph.D. students! A private reception to welcome the incoming class of 2015-16 was held on August 26, 2015 in the Fralin Hall Atrium.

Meet our new fellows:

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Dr. Naomi Oreskes, Harvard historian and author, to give 2015 Distinguished Lecture

From VT News:

BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 25, 2015 – Naomi Oreskes, a world-renowned science historian who focuses on understanding scientific consensus and dissent in relation to environmental science, will visit Virginia Tech on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

She will give a 4 p.m. distinguished lecture entitled “Should We Trust Science? Perspectives from the History and Philosophy of Science” at the Lyric Theatre, followed by a question and answer period and book signing.

The event, coordinated by the Global Change Center at Virginia ...

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Think Piece: What makes a graduate superstar?

As the new academic year starts, it is timely to reflect on characteristics that help make a student successful in graduate school.  Raw intellect is only one part of a more complex recipe for success.

Characteristics of Graduate School Superstars

“Graduate school can be a traumatic experience. Some graduate students spend their time complaining about a heavy work load, uncaring attitudes of faculty, or constant pressure of being evaluated. These students quickly begin to devalue their graduate education, deny its ...

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“Science Girls!”: IGC Fellows host K-5 summer campers

August 6, 2015

IGC Fellows Tamara Fetters and Heather Govenor recently hosted a research tour in Derring Hall for a group of summer campers from the Science Museum of Western Virginia (SMWV). The K-5 summer camp, called “Science Girls!”, featured women working in STEM-related fields, and included field trips and presentations from women who currently work in those fields.

Tamara and Heather showed the girls around the Derring Hall “lizard room”, a brown anole colony, and talked about anole ecology ...

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Jon Doubek receives the Leo Bourassa Award

Jon Doubek has received the Leo Bourassa Award from the Virginia Lakes and Watershed Association for his research on the effects of anoxia on water quality in Virginia reservoirs. This award was chosen based on his contributions to the field of water resources in the commonwealth of Virginia and goes to the top graduate student doing water research in VA!

Jon has been monitoring the water quality of several reservoirs in southwestern VA the past two summers. Jon ...

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Postcards from the field: Angie Estrada in Panama

August 1, 2015
Postcard from Angie Estrada

“Hi All!

For the past six weeks, I have been working on collecting data for my first season and it has been super exciting! Fieldwork is much more intense and exhausting than you can imagine, but at the same time it is really fun and I have learned so much. I got to see amazing frogs, snakes, monkeys, birds, sloths and even humpback whales during my visit! I also realized that I am the luckiest person to be able ...

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Postcards from the field: Maya Wilson studies swallows in the Bahamas

July 12, 2015
Postcard from Maya Wilson

“I am just finishing up my four-month field season in The Bahamas! Overall, it has been a success!

I am here studying the Bahama Swallow, a poorly known and endangered bird species that only breeds on three islands in the northern Bahamas. I was here last summer for two months, but this is my first full season as a PhD student. I have spent most of the time on Abaco Island with my field ...

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