Computational modeling may soon help researchers predict, and prevent, food insecurity

From VT News

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Institute for Science, Culture and the Environment awards seed funding to interdisciplinary teams

Adapted from VT News

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Owner’s connection to the land plays a major role in conservation efforts

From VT News

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Geosciences’ Michelle Stocker seeks evolutionary story behind snake-like animals that use heads to burrow

From VT News

April 12, 2018  |  Virginia Tech College of Science Assistant Professor Michelle Stocker is using a National Science Foundation grant to map the repeated evolution of similar head shapes among animals that use their head to dig into the ground.

During the multi-university study, Stocker and her team will examine what developmental and biomechanical properties led to a repeated evolution of body ...

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Paleontological Opportunity for Undergraduates: Petrified Forest National Park, Summer 2018

The Virginia Tech Paleobiology Research Group is looking for 3 undergraduate students to participate in a field expedition in search of early dinosaurs and other reptiles in Upper Triassic strata (~215 million years old) in Petrified Forest National Park (mid- May to early June, 2018). These paid positions include: one summer scholar at Petrified Forest (10 weeks) and two scholars that will be part of a two-week expedition to the park. All three ...

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Dr. Dana Hawley leads research linking bird immunity and pathogen virulence

From VT News

March 1, 2018  |  As annual flu shot patrons know, immune systems are not perfect and must be constantly reinforced to protect against rapidly evolving pathogens.

New research shows that, in the case of a common backyard bird, imperfect immunity to a dangerous pathogen that causes “bird pink eye” actually makes the pathogen stronger and more dangerous for its next victim.  The findings — from a multi-university team led by ...

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Restoration from streams to wetlands: Can we restore and should we?

Virginia Tech’s Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation hosted Dr. Margaret Palmer from the University of Maryland this morning as part of their Spring Seminar Series.  Dr. Palmer’s presentation, titled “Restoration from streams to wetlands: Can we restore and should we?” engaged a full auditorium to explore the impacts of temporary streams throughout natural, restored and agricultural environments, and to take a closer look at her team’s research differentiating structural versus ecological restoration techniques and evaluation for coastal streams ...

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Vikesland and Pruden: Effects of nanoparticles on microbes

From VT News

The environment is teeming with microbes. Soil, water, indoor surfaces, our own bodies — any habitat that hasn’t been rigorously sterilized is populated by thousands of species of interdependent bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic organisms.

These webs of microbiota are the biological foundation for larger-scale ecosystems, and small shifts in the microbial community can provoke seismic shifts in the environment.

Nanoparticles are one of a long list of substances that can perturb them, but teasing out their effects is ...

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Klaus Moeltner’s research examines the impact of climate change on household budgets

From VT News

January 9, 2018 | In a study involving 19 European Union nations, researchers have found that future climate change will make power outages more costly for European households.

The study is the first to consider the effect temperatures have on household power outage costs and to incorporate the role of climate change when analyzing such costs.

“Climate change is one of the biggest issues facing our planet today and we need to examine how it can impact household expenses,” said ...

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Brian Romans is on a sea expedition to study ice sheet response to climate change

From VT News

January 3, 2018 | Geosciences Associate Professor Brian Romans is setting sail for the Southern Ocean with a group of scientists who will drill into the ocean floor offshore of West Antarctica to better understand how polar ice sheets respond to climate change.

Romans’ two-month trip, departing Jan. 5 from New Zealand, is part of the International Ocean Discovery Program, Expedition 374. Working alongside 30 geologists and paleoclimatologists from around the world, Romans will drill ...

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Jacob Barney: Invasive plants have a surprising ability to pioneer new climates

From VT News

Virginia Tech scientists have discovered that invasive plant species are essentially able to change in order to thrive on new continents and in different types of climates, challenging the assumption that species occupy the same environment in native and invasive ranges.

It’s no secret that globalization, aided by climate change, is helping invasive species gain a foothold across the planet, but it was something of a surprise to Virginia Tech researchers just how mutable these invaders are.

The study, ...

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Brian Strahm named Research Fellow and spends 6 months in New Zealand

From VT News

When most Americans think of New Zealand, images of sprawling fantasy landscapes may come to mind; however for Brian Strahm, associate professor of forest soils and biogeochemistry in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, it’s all about trees.

Strahm was named a Research Fellow of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development through its Co-operative Research Program for Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agriculture Systems. The organization is an international body of 35 countries designed ...

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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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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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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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Jeb Barrett’s research shows that extreme melt restructured the invertebrate ecosystem in Antarctica

From VT News

An extreme weather event can drastically change the structure of an ecosystem for many years to come, according to a team of ecologists working in Antarctica that includes a researcher with Virginia Tech’s Global Change Center.

In the McMurdo Dry Valleys, a warm summer in January 2002 contributed to record melt and re-arranged the composition of invertebrate communities, such as nematodes and tardigrades, or “water bears” that live there, establishing dominance among ...

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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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