Global Change Center awards first Seed Grant

In Fall 2014, The Global Change Center (GCC) at Virginia Tech released its first call for proposals to support interdisciplinary research that will lead to collaborative proposals submitted to extramural funding sources. Priority was given to funding proposals that advance the collaborative, interdisciplinary mission of the GCC.

In January, 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.”

The team, which includes Dr. John ...

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Cordie Diggins’ research featured in Nature Conservancy Magazine

In West Virginia, conservationists have set out to revive heavily logged red spruce forests in hopes of saving an endangered flying squirrel from extinction. Cordie Diggins, a Virginia Tech doctoral student and an IGC Fellow, is featured in the following Nature Conservancy Magazine article.

Flying High

“Craig Stihler holds the squirming rodent in his gloved hands. “It’s a biter,” warns the bespectacled biologist as he handles the animal using only calm, deliberate movements. With its ...

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New Course- Biology 6064: Freshwaters in the Anthropocene

BIOL 6064: Spring Semester 2015
2 credits- M/W 9:05-9:55am

Dr. Cayelan Carey is teaching a new special topics graduate course in the spring, ‘Freshwaters in the Anthropocene,’ which will be centered on reading discussions of research papers and policy-related documents (e.g., the EU Water Framework Directive), as well as a few in-class modeling exercises and lectures.  The overall goal of the course is to examine the effects and interactions of altered climate, eutrophication, invasive species, and unsustainable ...

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New interdisciplinary course: Systems Conservation

NEW GRADUATE COURSE FOR SPRING 2015

FIW 5984 : Systems Conservation of Animal Populations

Instructor: Leandro Castello

Systems Conservation of Animal Populations adopts an integrative approach to understanding problems of sustainable management and conservation of animals in natural landscapes. The course is founded on the idea that effective conservation of animal populations can only be achieved through consideration and management of broader, multifaceted factors related to natural ecosystems and human societies. The course seeks to help students conceptualize and articulate their own ...

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New Course: Theories of Globalization

Economies and Ecologies of Planetary Change

PSCI 6204/ASPT 6014
Spring Semester
Thursdays, 5:00-8:00 p.m.

This 3-credit course will theorize globalization from an inter-disciplinary perspective, with special focus on the relationship between economy and ecology at the planetary scale.  How has the globalization of industrial capitalism over the past two and half centuries impacted our planet and how are we to understand the political, cultural, and social dimensions of this ongoing transformation?  What roles do humans play in shaping non-human life ...

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Jacob Barney’s research in PNAS: New pasture plants intensify risk of invasive species

From VT News

In quest for greener pastures, don’t plant invasive species, researchers say

BLACKSBURG, December 2, 2014 – Few agribusinesses or governments regulate the types of plants that farmers use in their pastures to feed their livestock, according to an international team of researchers that includes one plant scientist from Virginia Tech. The problem is most of these so-called pasture plants are invasive weeds.

In a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study this month, the scientists recommended tighter ...

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Protected forests, parks & marine sanctuaries are basic life support systems

From the New York Times

By Thomas Friedman

I PARTICIPATED in the World Parks Congress in Sydney last week and learned a new phrase: “a black elephant.” A black elephant, explained the London-based investor and environmentalist Adam Sweidan, is a cross between “a black swan” (an unlikely, unexpected event with enormous ramifications) and the “elephant in the room” (a problem that is visible to everyone, yet no one still wants to address it) even though we know ...

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McGlothlin research explores the evolution of toxin resistance in snakes

From VT News:

Snakes in evolutionary arms race with poisonous newt

Blacksburg, November 17, 2014: The rough-skinned newt is easily one of the most toxic animals on the planet, yet the common garter snake routinely eats it. How does a newt which produces enough toxin to kill several grown humans manage to become prey in the food chain?

The answer comes in the form of an evolutionary arms race that pits the toxin of the newt, tetrodotoxin or TTX, against the voltage-gated sodium ...

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Jon Doubek is a GLEON fellow!

Jon Doubek , a PH.D. student in Biological Sciences and a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change Program, has been invited to be a Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) Fellow!

The GLEON Fellowship Program trains small cohorts of graduate students from around the world to analyze large and diverse data sets, operate effectively in diverse international teams, and communicate science to researchers, the public, and ...

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Lisa Belden receives the Innovator Award

From VT News

Lisa Belden, an associate professor of biological sciences and a faculty member in the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP, was recently recognized for her commitment to advancing the university’s research initiatives in engineering and the life sciences.

The Innovator Award, a new initiative jointly sponsored by the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences and the Fralin Life Science Institute, recognizes outstanding faculty members and includes a $25,000 stipend to be used to advance innovative research projects.

Dr. Belden studies ...

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Naomi Oreskes’ new book imagines the future history of climate change

From the New York Times

by Claudia Dreifus

Naomi Oreskes is a historian of science at Harvard, but she is attracting wide notice these days for a work of science fiction.

“The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future,” written with Erik M. Conway, takes the point of view of a historian in 2393 explaining how “the Great Collapse of 2093” occurred.

“Without spoiling the story,” she ...

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Laura Schoenle receives a 2014 EPA STAR Fellowship

Laura Schoenle, a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change Program, was recently awarded a EPA STAR Fellowship for 2014.  This very competitive graduate fellowship program from the Environmental Protection Agency supports masters and doctoral candidates in environmental studies. Her award will cover tuition, salary, and $10,000 for research/expenses.

Laura will be studying the effects of mercury exposure on how red-winged blackbirds resist and tolerate infection with avian malaria. Laura is co-advised by Ignacio ...

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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issues starkest warning yet

From the New York Times

“The gathering risks of climate change are so profound that they could stall or even reverse generations of progress against poverty and hunger if greenhouse emissions continue at a runaway pace, according to a major new United Nations report.

Despite growing efforts in many countries to tackle the problem, the global situation is becoming more acute as developing countries join the West in burning huge amounts of fossil ...

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Emerging infection could easily spread to U.S. amphibians

From the New York Times

An emerging infection similar to one that has caused the extinction of hundreds of frog and toad species around the world is killing salamanders in Europe and could easily spread to the United States, with disastrous effects, scientists reported Thursday.

Writing in the journal Science, an international team of 27 researchers blamed the spread of the disease on “globalization and a lack of biosecurity” and said the importation ...

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IGC students attend the installation of President Sands

International students Angie Estrada and Daniel Medina, fellows in the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP, attended the recent installation ceremonies for Virginia Tech’s new president, Dr. Timothy Sands. Burruss Hall was awash in color for this special occasion. The Cranwell International Center displayed their entire international flag collection, which honors the 3,000+ international students at Virginia Tech and represents the 128 nations from which they hail.

In no time at all, Angie and Daniel found the flag of their ...

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Emmanual Frimpong named Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow

From VT News

October 2014:  Emmanuel Frimpong, associate professor of fisheries science and a faculty member in the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech, has been named a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow.

The scholar program, which supports 100 short-term faculty fellowships for African-born academics, is offered by the Institute of International Education and funded by a two-year grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Frimpong, who joined the faculty of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation in 2007, focuses on ...

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Amy Pruden receives the 2014 Busch Award

Amy Pruden, professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate dean and director of interdisciplinary graduate education in the Graduate School at Virginia Tech, is the 2014 recipient of the Paul L. Busch Award which includes a $100,000 research grant.

A well-recognized researcher in her field, Pruden is instrumental in developing a new way of thinking about controlling aquatic pathogens and expanding the use of recycled water. She ...

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Climate-induced warming alters walrus behavior

USGS Science Feature: October 1, 2014

“Once again, an extreme retreat of Alaska’s summer sea ice has led large numbers of Pacific walruses to haul out on land to rest instead of resting on offshore ice. The walruses are hauling out on land in a spectacle that has become all too common in six of the last eight years as a consequence of climate-induced warming. Summer sea ice is retreating far north of the shallow continental shelf waters of the Chukchi ...

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Vertebrate species populations have declined

Message from the World Wildlife Fund International Director General

livingplanet“The latest edition of the Living Planet Report is not for the faint-hearted.  One key point that jumps out and captures the overall picture is that the Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, has declined by 52 percent since 1970. Put another way, in ...

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