BBC News: Carbon credits undercut climate change actions

The vast majority of carbon credits generated by Russia and Ukraine did not represent cuts in emissions, according to a new study. The authors say that offsets created under a UN scheme “significantly undermined” efforts to tackle climate change. The credits may have increased emissions by 600 million tones. In some projects, chemicals known to warm the climate were created and then destroyed to claim cash.

As a result of political horse trading at UN negotiations ...

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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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Open Access Week: Victoria Stodden to speak on campus October 22nd

The Virginia Tech Libraries are bringing Dr. Victoria Stodden to campus to speak on Thursday October 22, 2015 as part of Open Access Week. Her keynote talk will address reproducibility as a frame for openness in computational research.

Victoria Stodden is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She completed both her PhD in statistics and her law degree at Stanford University. She also holds a master’s degree in economics ...

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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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New Agriculture & Environment Seminar Series at Virginia Tech

Announcement:

We would like to invite you to a new, interdepartmental seminar series entitled, “Agriculture and the Environment.” This seminar series will be held weekly, Fall 2015, each Tuesday from 3:00-4:00 in the Fralin Auditorium, Sept. 1 through Nov. 10, 2015.  The seminar is being co-sponsored by the departments of Entomology, CSES, PPWS, and Horticulture and features invited academic and industry speakers from outside the VT community.

Students are encouraged to register for the seminar for 1 credit under ALS 5984 or HORT ...

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GCC Seed Grant gains roots, bears fruits

Last fall, the Global Change Center released its first call for proposals to support interdisciplinary research. A team of VT researchers led by Dr. Cayelan Carey received ~$18,000 for their project titled, “Managing human needs and ecosystem services in drinking water reservoirs confronted with global change.” Dr. Carey’s team includes Dr. John LittleDr. Madeline Schreiber, and Dr. Quinn Thomas

This interdisciplinary group is currently examining the effects of altered climate on nutrient cycling and food web dynamics in four drinking-water reservoirs that supply Roanoke. Southeastern U.S. reservoirs are ...

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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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The first 21 days of a bee’s life: a Ted Talk photo journey

We’ve heard that bees are disappearing. But what is making bee colonies so vulnerable? Photographer Anand Varma raised bees in his backyard — in front of a camera — to get an up close view. This project, for National Geographic, gives a lyrical glimpse into a bee hive — and reveals one of the biggest threats to its health, a mite that preys on baby bees in the first 21 days of life. With his incredible footage, set ...

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VT researchers review the ecology and epidemiology of “opportunistic plumbing pathogens”

The following article from Environmental Health Perspectives reviews a new paper published by Virginia Tech researchers Joseph Falkingham, Amy Pruden, and Marc Edwards.

Plumbing pathogens: a fixture in hospitals and homes
By Carol Potera

Practicing good hygiene is supposed to make you healthier, not sicker. However, a growing body of research shows that certain bacteria can thrive in household and hospital plumbing systems and may cause life-threatening infections among susceptible individuals after inhalation or ingestion. In this issue of EHP, Joseph Falkinham ...

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Research in the Belden Lab could lead to protective probiotics for amphibians

Press Release from the American Society of Microbiology
Washington, DC – July 30, 2015

In research that could lead to protective probiotics to fight the “chytrid” fungus that has been decimating amphibian populations worldwide, Jenifer Walke, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, and her collaborators have grown bacterial species from the skin microbiome of four species of amphibians. The research appears July 10 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the ...

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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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City birds are more aggressive than country birds

A new study published in Behavioral Ecology suggests that increased aggression in urban song sparrows is related to resource availability. The study, by Virginia Tech researchers Sarah Foltz and Ignacio Moore, was featured this week in Science

“City folk have a reputation for being less friendly than their rural counterparts, and the same appears to be true for garden birds. Urban song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) are more aggressive toward their neighbors than are sparrows out in the country. But ...

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Science communication through music

Originally published at Ensia

When faced with the challenge of sharing the latest climate change discoveries, scientists often rely on data graphics and technical illustrations. University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford came up with a completely different approach. He’s using his cello to communicate the latest climate science through music.

Thermometer measurements show the average global temperature has risen about 1.4 °F (0.8 °C) since 1880. Typically, this warming is illustrated visually with line plots or ...

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New in Science: Polar bears fail to adapt to lack of food

From BBC NEWS

Polar bears are unable to adapt their behaviour to cope with the food losses associated with warmer summers in the Arctic. Scientists had believed that the animals would enter a type of ‘walking hibernation’ when deprived of prey. But new research says that that bears simply starve in hotter conditions when food is scarce.

The authors say that the implications for the survival of the species in a warmer world are grim.

Back in 2008 polar bears were  Read More →

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VT Scientists work to preserve biodiversity in the Amazon Rainforest

From VT News:

July 8, 2015

The Amazon Basin’s vast tropical rainforests, rivers, and soils are rich ecosystems vital to the basic functioning of the planet. They churn moisture into the atmosphere, sequester global carbon, regulate climate patterns, and house much of the world’s biodiversity.

But those extensive, interconnected ecosystems are increasingly fragmented and degraded by unsustainable agriculture and ranching, illegal logging, unmitigated mining, and exploitative commercial fishing practices.

Scientists from Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment — economists, fisheries ...

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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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