Laura Schoenle participates in Scientist in the Classroom

From the blog of the National Center for Science in the Classroom

By this point in the school year, I hope that you have heard of NCSE’s Scientist in the Classroom program. But if not, please check it out!

In designing the program, we wanted to be sure that scientists and teachers were able to work together to come up with a hands-on activity that fit in with what was going on in the classroom as opposed to a prescribed activity. ...

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NSF RET pays dividends through Sydney Hope’s high school outreach

Sydney Hope, a Ph.D. student in the Hopkins Lab, visited Franklin County High School on Friday, November 4, 2016 to speak about her research and experience as a scientist as part of the school’s “Moment of Science” program. The “Moment of Science” takes place during the activity period on select days and the school brings speakers in to talk about different aspects of science. All students from grades 9-12 are invited to attend.

Sydney spoke about her research on how incubation temperature ...

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Dr. Jill Welter discusses alternative careers in academia with IGC students

The EEB Seminar on November 3, 2016 featured Dr. Jill Welter, an ecosystem scientist from St. Catherine University in Minnesota. Dr. Welter’s work focuses on understanding how environmental change, including climate warming and eutrophication, influences species interactions and nutrient cycling in stream ecosystems. Her seminar talk was titled:

“Start seeing nitrogen fixation: the potential impact of cyanobacteria on river ecosystems in a changing world.”

During her visit, Dr. Welter led a brownbag discussion for fellows in the Interfaces of Global Change Program where they discussed alternative ...

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Anamaria Bukvic and team receive NSF grant to help fortify coastal cities against natural disasters

From VT News

Nov. 3, 2016 | Coastal cities are critical to the global economy and frequently exposed to hurricanes, flooding, sea level rise, and other natural disasters.

When infrastructure — water, energy, sewer, and transportation systems — as well as the built environment is compromised, the residents’ safety is also jeopardized. Emergency plans outline how coastal cities can endure and recover from natural disasters, but often do not contain a comprehensive strategy for infrastructure.

Virginia Tech’s Walid Saad, assistant professor in ...

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Erin Hotchkiss receives the Lindeman Award from the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography

ASLO honors Erin Hotchkiss with the 2016 Raymond L. Lindeman Award

Dr. Erin Hotchkiss, a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech and a Global Change Center affiliate, recently received The Raymond L. Lindeman Award from the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO). This award honors a scientist of 35 years of age or less for an outstanding peer-reviewed, English-language paper in the aquatic sciences. ASLO awarded Dr. Hotchkiss with the 2016 Lindeman Award for her ...

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IGC Fellow Angie Estrada awarded a doctoral fellowship to continue amphibian research in Panama

IGC Fellow, Angie Estrada was awarded the SENACYT-IFARHU Doctoral Fellowship 2016. She will receive three years of support to continue her graduate education in the Department of Biological Sciences under Dr. Lisa Belden’s supervision.

SENACYT (National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation) is Panama’s government authority in charge of planning and implementing the national strategy of science and technology. It is the equivalent to the NSF in the United Sates. SENACYT supports outstanding Panamanian students who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate ...

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Global Change Center Science Policy Fellowships give undergrads experience in Washington, DC

From VT News

The Washington Semester program at Virginia Tech began offering undergraduate students the chance to spend summers learning the ins and outs of policymaking on Capitol Hill 20 years ago.

Today, the university’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), which houses the summer program, has partnered with the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech to ensure students are exposed to the role science plays in this process.

As part of the new collaboration, the Global Change Center has established an  Read More →

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Global deal limits the use of hydrofluorocarbons

From The Guardian

A global deal to limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the battle to combat climate change is a “monumental step forward”, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has said.

The agreement, announced on Saturday morning after all-night negotiations in Kigali, Rwanda, caps and reduces the use of HFCs – a key contributor to greenhouse gases – in a gradual process beginning in 2019, with action by developed countries including the US, the world’s ...

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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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Michelle Stocker and team name a new species of extinct reptile

From VT News

Iconic dinosaur shapes were present in animals for at least 100 million years before dinosaurs themselves actually appeared.

A study published in Thursday’s issue of Current Biology describes how a multi-institutional team of paleontologists, including Virginia Tech College of Science researcher Michelle Stocker, identified and named a new species of extinct reptile estimated to be 230 million years old – predating dinosaurs.

Called Triopticus primus — meaning the “First of Three Eyes” because the large natural pit in ...

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Darwin’s Man in Brazil: Book Launch event in Fralin Sept. 30th

From VT News

The book “Darwin’s Man in Brazil: The Evolving Science of Fritz Müller,” by David A. West, associate professor emeritus of biological sciences (1962-1998) was published by the University Press of Florida in July 2016.

The book will be introduced to the Virginia Tech community from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on  Sept. 30, in the Fralin Life Science Institute auditorium and atrium. The book launch* will include a panel discussion to highlight the book and West’s story of how he ...

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Paul Angermeier co-edits new textbook on ‘reintroductions’

From VT News

Paul Angermeier, professor of fish conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, is co-editor of a new textbook on reintroducing fish and wildlife species into regions where they once thrived but now no longer live.

“The book synthesizes current scientific understanding of reintroduction of animal species,” Angermeier said. “The underlying theme is to meld societal goals, institutional capacity, and scientific knowledge . . . Our goal for ‘Reintroduction of Fish and Wildlife Populations’ was ...

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David Haak’s team uses CRISPR-Cas9 technology to improve crop efficiency

From VT News

September 20, 2016

A team that includes a Virginia Tech plant scientist recently used life sciences technology to edit 14 target sites encompassing eight plant genes at a time, without making unintended changes elsewhere in the genome.

The technology, a genome-editing tool called CRISPR-Cas9, revolutionized the life sciences when it appeared on the market in 2012. It is proving useful in the plant science community as a powerful tool for the improvement of agricultural crops.

The ability to alter several ...

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Military experts say climate change poses ‘significant risk’ to security

From The Guardian

A coalition of 25 military and national security experts, including former advisers to Ronald Reagan and George W Bush, has warned that climate change poses a “significant risk to US national security and international security” that requires more attention from the US federal government.

The prominent members of the US national security community warned that warming temperatures and rising seas will increasingly inundate military bases and fuel international conflict and mass migration, leading to “significant and direct ...

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Melting ice in Greenland uncovers world’s oldest fossils

From National Geographic

The oldest fossils yet known—an estimated 3.7 billion years old—were announced Wednesday, pushing back evidence of life on Earth by about 220 million years. These remains of ancient microbes were found in Greenland after they were exposed by melting ice—something that may become more common as the planet warms.

The fossils are known as stromatolites and are the evidence of ancient water-based bacterial colonies, which cemented sediments together into distinctive ...

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Bees dead after South Carolina sprays for Zika

From The Washington Post

September 1, 2016: On Sunday morning, the South Carolina honey bees began to die in massive numbers.

Death came suddenly to Dorchester County, S.C. Stressed insects tried to flee their nests, only to surrender in little clumps at hive entrances. The dead worker bees littering the farms suggested that colony collapse disorder was not the culprit — in that odd phenomenon, workers vanish as though raptured, leaving a living queen and young bees behind.

Instead, the dead heaps signaled the killer was less ...

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Ryan McClure receives the Leo Bourassa Award

IGC fellow, Ryan McClure, has received the Leo Bourassa Award from the Virginia Lakes and Watershed Association for his research on the effects of water quality management on water quality and greenhouse gas production in Virginia reservoirs. This award was chosen based on Ryan’s contributions to the field of water resources in the commonwealth of Virginia and goes to the top graduate student doing water research in Virginia.  

Ryan has been monitoring the water quality of several reservoirs in ...

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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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