Susan Susan Hassol’s recent Ted Talk is about the need for better science communication skills

We’re stymied in solving the climate change problem because of an underlying challenge – a communication failure – rooted in language and ideology. Aspects of this failure include how scientists communicate, how some people confound the science with the solutions, and an active disinformation campaign designed to cast doubt. Resolution of the communication failure is essential, as it can unleash our ability to solve the climate problem.

Susan Joy Hassol is a climate change communicator, analyst, and ...

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Lisa Belden’s research on Bd reveals new information about amphibian disease resistance

From VT News

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 26, 2015 – A team of scientists including Virginia Tech researchers is one step closer to understanding how bacteria on a frog’s skin affects its likelihood of contracting disease.

A frog-killing fungus known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, has already led to the decline of more than 200 amphibian species including the now extinct-in-the-wild Panamanian golden frog.

In a recent study, the research team attempted to apply beneficial bacteria found on the skin of various Bd-resistant ...

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IGC Science Communication Workshop is led by Susan Hassol and Michael Mann

A major part of the mission of the Interfaces of Global Change Ph.D. program (IGC) at Virginia Tech is to help graduate students identify the different positive roles that they can play in society. Effective communication of scientific information to audiences with diverse backgrounds will be central to their success, regardless of what role they pursue. By developing the skills to make accurate science accessible to broader audiences, the students can help citizens make informed decisions that affect their own health, the environment, ...

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Research by IGC Fellow Cordie Diggins featured on PBS blog

Cordie Diggins is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech. She is co-author on a paper that was published in Endangered Species Research and featured this week in the Rundown, the news blog for the PBS Newshour.

Can a new mapping model save the endangered flying squirrel?

By Carey Reed, The RUNDOWN

Scientists hope a new mapping model published this week that pinpoints where the endangered Carolina northern flying squirrel lives will help ...

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Laura Schoenle’s research featured on Virginia Water Radio

From Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 30, 2015.

Transcript:

“This week, we feature a mystery sound mix. Have a listen for about 15 seconds, and see if you can guess what water-related bird disease is the focus of research related to these sounds.

If you guessed avian malaria, you’re right! You heard Red-winged Blackbirds, a mosquito’s buzz, and the buzz of an electric-power station. All relate to aspects of research by Virginia Tech Biological Sciences graduate student Laura ...

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Booming population, looming drought and the worsening effects of climate change

By Richard Parker

From the New York Times Opinion Page

WIMBERLEY, Tex. — “WE don’t want you here,” warned the county commissioner, pointing an accusatory finger at the drilling company executives as 600 local residents rose to their feet. “We want you to leave Hays County.”

Normally, my small town is a placid place nestled in the Texas Hill Country, far from controversy, a peaceful hour’s ...

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Facing my fears, headlamp-on in Panama

By Lindsay Key, Fralin Life Science Institute Communications Officer

This is Lindsay Key’s second blog report from Panama. She is traveling over spring break with Angie Estrada and Daniel Medina, who are conducting field research near Gamboa.

One thing is for sure: field research is messy. Not just in the sense that nature is full of mud and water and bugs, but in terms of logistics. You have to learn to expect the unexpected.

On Wednesday, we leave Gamboa bright and ...

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Special IGC/EEB Seminar featuring Dr. Robert Lackey: science in public policy

“Science in Public Policy: Maintaining Relevance, Ensuring Accuracy, and Avoiding Advocacy”

The Interfaces of Global Change IGEP at Virginia Tech is pleased to welcome Dr. Robert Lackey for a special EEB Seminar on Thursday, March 5th, 2015.

SAVE THE DATE!
Thursday, March 5, 2015 | 2:00-3:00 p.m. | Fralin Auditorium | Virginia Tech


Abstract

Has science become irrelevant in informing policy debates?

Scientists in environmental science, natural resources, ecology, conservation biology, and similar disciplines are often not trusted by the public and decision-makers to present policy-neutral ...

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Postcards from the field: traveling with VT graduate student researchers in Soberania National Park

We’re going on a frog hunt!

by Lindsay Key, Fralin Life Science Institute Communications Officer

Hello from the extremely bumpy backseat of a white pick-up truck that is barreling down a washed-out pothole-ridden trail known as Pipeline Road (left, below) in Gamboa, Panama. This is a famous road— known for its wildlife viewing capabilities and accessed by thousands of scientists around the world who come to study and work at the nearby Smithsonian facility in the tiny research town of Gamboa.

It ...

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Four Global Change Center faculty receive New Investigator Award

Four Virginia Tech life science researchers have received Fralin’s New Investigator Award, which recognizes promising first-time tenure-track faculty who have joined Virginia Tech within the last two years. This year the recipients each received $10,000 to advance their research efforts as they see fit.

“We are delighted to provide some unrestricted funds to help several of our new investigators within the life sciences,” said Dr. Dennis Dean, the director of the Fralin Life Science Institute.

“These funds come from the Fralin endowment ...

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Global Change Science is Not Enough

By Bruce Hull

Global change science will not produce sustainable development.  Yes, of course, we need more global change science to better understand climate, biodiversity, pollution and the like. We also need better resource sciences (water, soil, oil), social sciences (economics, politics, sociology), and engineering sciences (agricultural, information, mechanical, and more recently biological).  But improved understanding will not be enough. The challenges that lie ahead also require leadership capacity.

A ...

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Distinguished Lecture: Dr. Michael Mann/The Climate Wars

“The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: The Battle Continues”

SAVE THE DATE!
Friday, March 20, 2015 | 4:00-5:00 p.m. | The Lyric Theatre | Blacksburg, Virginia

The Interfaces of Global Change Program at Virginia Tech is proud to host Dr. Michael Mann for a science communication workshop and public lecture on Friday, March 20, 2015. Dr. Mann is an award-winning climate scientist and central figure in the political debate over climate change. His lecture at the Lyric Theatre will ...

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SDAL Seminar: Global Change Initiatives at Virginia Tech

Emerging Collaborative Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Research and Training

Tue, Feb 24, 10:00am – 11:00am

William A. Hopkins, Ph.D. Director, The Global Change Center at Virginia Tech Director, Interfaces of Global Change Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

Dr. Hopkins will will visit the Social & Decision Analytics Laboratory to discuss the goals of the new Global Change Center at Virginia Tech and its associated Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program. These new programs are funded by the Fralin Life Science Institute and the Virginia Tech Graduate School, ...

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Verbal Warming: Labels in the Climate Debate

From the New York Times:

by Justin Gillis

“The words are hurled around like epithets.

People who reject the findings of climate science are dismissed as “deniers” and “disinformers.” Those who accept the science are attacked as “alarmists” or “warmistas. “ The second term, evoking the Sandinista revolutionaries of Nicaragua, is perhaps meant to suggest that the science is part of some socialist plot.

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Response to climate skeptics

By Bruce Hull

Organizations around the world are adapting to climate change, lending credibility to climate science. These organizations buy, study, and use the best available science to inform their multi-billion dollar decisions and strategies. They not only have access to all the science in the public domain, but have commissioned and kept confidential additional science that gives them competitive advantages. These organizations find climate science convincing enough to change business as usual. ...

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IGC students meet with AAAS Fellows

The fellows in the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP met today with Dr. Jimmy O’Dea, a 2014-15 AAAS Science & Engineering Congressional Fellow for U.S. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, and Dr. Julia Mundy, an AAAS fellow in the U.S. Department of Education.

The group met at Fralin Life Science Institute to discuss how to effectively communicate science in order to impact policy, and how to increase awareness of global change research.

Jennifer ...

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The Global Change Center at Virginia Tech is chartered

This year, the Fralin Life Science Institute launched a new center to support research, education, and outreach in the field of global change. Directed by Dr. William (Bill) A. Hopkins, professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation (CNRE), the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech was officially chartered in January 2015.

“Five of the most important threats to natural ecosystems are habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, disease, and climate change”, Hopkins said. “We have incredible expertise at Virginia Tech on ...

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New undergraduate water degree is approved by SCHEV

From VT News

Virginia Tech’s new undergraduate degree in water, approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia in early December, is one of the most innovative, interdisciplinary offerings in the country and will position graduates for a wide spectrum of careers in private industry, federal and state agencies, and nongovernmental organizations.

“The timing of this new program could not be better, nor more urgent,” said Brian Richter, director of global freshwater strategies for ...

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