IGC students float down the New River in Bucket Boats

Postcard from the New River

On a recent Saturday in September, a group of IGC graduate students launched 3 “Bucket Boats” just above McCoy Falls on the New River. The Bucket Boats, which are an older style of raft that are not self draining (thus necessitating the use of a bucket to bail water out of the boat after a rapid), were outfitted by the Virginia Tech Whitewater Club.

The IGC crew spent the day floating downstream, through the series of slow-moving flat-water sections ...

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

Story by Cassandra Hockman
Fralin Life Science Institute

Along the Mississippi River there is one species many people who live there know well. Mayflies. These long, dragonfly-looking creatures live on the bottom of the river and burrow in the muck and sand. They grow and develop there before they come to the surface to fly away and mate.

When they fly away, they do it en masse.

“They come out in huge swarms so big they show up on Doppler radar,” said Tony ...

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IGC Fellow, Cordie Diggins, defends her dissertation

On June 30, 2016, Interfaces of Global Change Fellow, Cordie Diggins, successfully defended her dissertation in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech.  Her seminar was titled, “Determining Habitat Associations of Virginia and Carolina Northern Flying Squirrels in the Appalachian Mountains from Bioacoustic and Telemetry Surveys”.

Dr. Diggins will start a post doctoral appointment in August with the USGS Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.  She will be studying the federally endangered spruce-fir moss spider, as well as ...

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Postcards from the field: Brandon Semel in Madagascar

POSTCARD from:
Brandon Semel, Ph.D. student in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation

“I’m currently writing this at 2:30 am, Madagascar time, as I wait for the local taxi brousse (or bush taxi) to take me from the small town of Daraina to the coastal cities of Vohemar and Sambava where I can finalize my research permits. Let’s just say that things here don’t always go according to a western schedule, as my ride is already half an hour late ...

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Cathy Jachowski defends her dissertation: first IGC graduate!

On Monday, May 9, 2016, Cathy Jachowski successfully defended her dissertaton in Fralin Auditorium. Her public seminar in Fralin Auditorium was titled, “Effects of Land Use and Parasitism on Hellbender Salamanders: A Multilevel Perspective”.

Cathy, a member of the Hopkins Lab, is the first Interfaces of Global Change graduate student to complete a doctoral program at Virginia Tech! Congratulations, Cathy!


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The first annual Interfaces of Global Change Research Symposium brings campus labs together to solve global problems

The first annual Interfaces of Global Change (IGC) Graduate Research Symposium was a great opportunity for IGC Fellows to share their research with the entire global change community at Virginia Tech. The 2-day symposium began on Thursday evening, April 21st, with a special Distinguished Lecture at the Lyric Theatre featuring Dr. Josh Tewksbury, Future Earth. A full slate of events on Friday, April 22nd, provided a forum for students and faculty to interact and explore connections between labs.

During two platform sessions, nine IGC fellows gave ...

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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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Jon Doubek receives NSF Doctoral Dissertation Grant

We are pleased to announce that IGC Fellow, Jonathan Doubek, has been awarded a prestigious NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant!

The grant will support Jon’s work in the Carey lab on zooplankton in freshwater lakes and reservoirs.  These organisms play a critical role in the food web and overall water quality in these ecosystems and a major factor in the negative impact of human activities.  The project is part of ...

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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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Jon Doubek co-chair elect of the GLEON Student Association

Congratulations to Jonathan Doubek, who was recently selected to serve as the co-chair elect of the GLEON Student Association (GSA). 

Jon is currently a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences and a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP at Virginia Tech. His advisor is long-term GLEON-ite Cayelan Carey. Jon has been involved in GLEON 15 (Argentina), GLEON 16 (Canada) and ...
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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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Laura Schoenle receives travel scholarship from the Graduate School

In April 2015, Laura Schoenle received a $2,000 travel scholarship from the Graduate School at Virginia Tech. The funds were used to travel to and lodge at the Queen’s University Biological Station in southeastern Ontario from April-July 2015.

Laura had this to say about the experience:

“I had a very successful field season! I conducted two experiments using the incredible outdoor aviary facilities at the biological station as well as a study on a population of free-living birds at nearby sites. I was able to ...

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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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Tony Timpano’s proposal funded by OSM: stream ecosystem responses to surface mining

A project proposal submitted by IGC graduate student, Tony Timpano, to the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining has been successful! This funding will support one full-time research associate for 12 months and one graduate student for two semesters to continue research on salt pollution (salinization) and selenium in headwater streams affected by coal mining in VA and WVA. Congratulations, Tony!

TITLE:
Stream Ecosystem Response to Mining-Induced Salinization in Appalachia

 

PROJECT GOALS

  • Assess long-term temporal patterns of chemical and biological changes in salinized Appalachian headwater ...
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IGC Fellows Estrada and Medina work on issues that address declining species worldwide

Video: In the rainforests of Central America, a research team studies a skin disease that may be the tipping point for amphibian life on the planet.

From VT News

As the clock ticks, populations of endangered species decline and threaten the functioning of healthy ecosystems.

Pollution, hunting, habitat degradation, climate change, and invasive species have dealt blows to global biodiversity. Climate change alone is putting one in six species on Earth at risk of extinction, according to a meta-analysis of 131 published studies ...

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Ben Vernasco studies the social dynamics and physiology of dancing birds

From Fralin Spotlight

by Cassandra Hockman

Ben Vernasco knew he wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in conservation biology while studying tropical birds in Peru. After his trip, he got in touch with his mentor, Brandt Ryder, a research ecologist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C.

Ryder and his Virginia Tech colleague Ignacio Moore, an associate professor of biological sciences in the College of Science, had just received a National Science Foundation ...

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Tony Timpano is investigating the impacts of coal mining on Appalachian streams

Tony Timpano is an IGC student and a Ph.D. candidate in Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. His field research is centered in the Appalachian “coal country” of southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia.

Tony is interested in understanding how coal mining affects stream water quality and aquatic life. Ultimately, he hopes that his research findings will help guide policies on monitoring and managing salt pollution in streams.

“I want to improve the science of water quality management to enhance the capability of regulators to ...

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