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  • richardmitnick 4:34 pm on January 18, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Oracle of Leaves", A large gene pool gives plants more leeway to react to negative environmental factors such as pests or droughts., , Biodiversity, , , , , Computer models help them pinpoint concordance between spectral and field data and provide input on how to read the spectral information that they have obtained., , , Leaves reflect infrared rays at the edge of the visible light spectrum., Monitoring plant life using satellites airplanes and drones, Pigments like green chlorophyll absorb specific wavelengths of the spectrum of light waves., Scientists are in the process of finding out which aspects of plant biodiversity can be measured with remote sensing., Scientists developed a spectral diversity index that shows diversity both within and between plant communities (alpha and beta diversity respectively)., , , The characteristics of plants, The combination of laser scanning and spectroscopy is considered highly promising as these data allow researchers to calculate the biomass and the amount of stored carbon., The folded leaf of an oak tree-faded yellow-dotted with dark spots., The spectrum is like a fingerprint unique to each plant., , Using a spectrometer scientists measure the light reflected by leaves which gives them insight into the chemical and structural properties of plants.   

    From The University of Zürich (Universität Zürich) (CH): “The Oracle of Leaves” 

    From The University of Zürich (Universität Zürich) (CH)

    1.18.23
    Text by Stéphanie Hegelbach
    English translation by Gena Olson

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    Biodiversity from above: View of the forest “Lägern” mountain range near the city of Zurich. (Picture used with permission)

    Two UZH researchers are harnessing the light reflections from leaves to learn more about biodiversity and the characteristics of plants. Analyzing spectral data is revolutionizing not only the way in which we research ecosystems but also allows us to protect them more effectively.

    The folded leaf of an oak tree, faded yellow, dotted with dark spots. We pick up on the information contained in leaves almost subconsciously when strolling through the forest. But the researchers at UZH’s Remote Sensing Laboratories are taking this ability to the next level.

    Using a spectrometer, they measure the light reflected by leaves, which gives them insight into the chemical and structural properties of plants – even from outer space. “The spectrum is like a fingerprint unique to each plant,” explains Meredith Schuman, professor of spatial genetics in the Department of Geography.

    Monitoring plant life using satellites, airplanes and drones is known as remote sensing, and it could become an important tool to counteract the biodiversity crisis. Remote sensing makes it possible to monitor the health and species composition of ecosystems, almost in real time. This could help governments identify areas that require protection at an early stage and provide direct feedback on conservation measures.

    Calibration using field measurements

    “We’re in the process of finding out which aspects of plant biodiversity can be measured with remote sensing,” explains Anna Schweiger, a researcher at the UZH Remote Sensing Lab. Schweiger and Schuman need reference data from the field to ensure that they are interpreting the spectral data correctly. Computer models help them pinpoint concordance between spectral and field data and provide input on how to read the spectral information that they have obtained. “Pigments like green chlorophyll are the easiest to identify, since they absorb specific wavelengths,” explains Schuman.

    Spectrometry isn’t just confined to visible light, however: it also includes additional parts of the electromagnetic spectrum such as infrared light. Leaves reflect infrared rays at the edge of the visible light spectrum, the near-infrared spectrum, particularly strongly. “We call this transitional area the ‘red edge’,” says Schuman. “This reflection pattern provides insight into chlorophyll content and the waxy layer on the surface of the leaves.”

    Her group is working on using spectral data to obtain information about the genetic profiles of plants, which would allow researchers to study genetic differences within species and to draw conclusions about genetic diversity. A long-term study of beech trees in the Lägern mountain range led by doctoral student Ewa Czyz showed that spectral data points involving water content, phenols, pigments and wax composition are suitable indicators for obtaining information about the genetic structure of flora.

    One of the team’s goals is to improve their understanding of these relationships. Genetic variation within a species is particularly important for biodiversity, since a large gene pool gives plants more leeway to react to negative environmental factors such as pests or droughts. “If we lose genetic diversity and species diversity, ecosystems lose their ability to absorb external shocks,” explains Schweiger.

    Researchers in Schuman’s unit – chiefly the 4D Forests group led by Felix Morsdorf – combine spectroscopy with laser scanning, which involves measuring a laser beam reflected back by the soil or plants and recording the topography and height of the vegetation. “The 3D models that we calculate from this provide insight into the macrostructure – the structure of the plants visible to the eye – as well as how this influences spectral data,” says Schuman. The combination of laser scanning and spectroscopy is considered highly promising, as these data allows researchers to calculate the biomass and the amount of stored carbon, for example.

    Diverse plant communities

    The two researchers aren’t just looking for direct connections between spectra and plant characteristics; they are also comparing the spectra with one another. “Plants with similar characteristics and related species display similar spectra,” explains Schweiger.

    She has developed a spectral diversity index that shows diversity both within and between plant communities (alpha and beta diversity, respectively). The resolution of the spectral data is critical in terms of assessing diversity of this kind. “We need extremely high resolution in order to identify individual plants, which is required for estimating the alpha diversity. This means that there should only be one plant per pixel,” says Schweiger.

    Satellite-based image spectrometers – similar to what NASA and the ESA are currently developing – make records of the Earth’s surface in 30 x 30-meter chunks. “What’s easy to compare with these large pixels that capture a lot of individual specimens are the differences in species composition between plant communities: in other words, the beta diversity,” explains Schweiger.

    From leaf to soil

    The idea is that in the future, leaves should even be able to provide information about soil quality, since plants are a main contributor to soil characteristics. “Dead vegetation, for example, influences soil processes and microbial activities,” says Schweiger. She worked on a study that used remote sensing data to investigate which properties of plants impact the enzyme activity, microorganism diversity, organic carbon content and nitrogen content of soil.

    The results of the study indicate that the relationships between vegetation and soil processes vary depending on the ecosystem. “First we need to understand how productive and species-rich a particular ecosystem is compared to other ecosystems before we can start making statements about the properties of the soil,” adds Schweiger. It is this complexity that makes it a challenge to analyze remote sensing data – in addition to the vast quantities of information that remote sensing generates. The data points depend on when they were recorded and the environmental conditions at that moment – spectrums that change within a matter of seconds.

    Schuman would even like to extend remote sensing to certain chemical compounds that are emitted by cells and organisms to communicate with one another. Insects can detect molecules from food plants several kilometers away and use these scents to navigate toward their source of sustenance. “For our technology, it’s still difficult to record this kind of information remotely,” says Schuman. A geneticist by training, Schuman is particularly intrigued by the idea of using remote sensing to record molecules of this kind, since they have a direct tie to genes. “Genes contain the assembly instructions for proteins, which in turn put these chemical compounds together,” she explains.

    The only one of its kind

    Schuman and Schweiger found their way to their current research field in part thanks to conversations with UZH president and remote sensing expert Michael Schaepman. For decades now, the University of Zurich has been on the bleeding edge of developing remote sensing technology, and the university recognized the significance of remote sensing for biodiversity early on. UZH has been commissioned by NASA and the ESA to conduct test flights with AVIRIS-NG, the latest device in imaging spectrometry. “This measuring instrument is the only one of its kind in the world,” says Schweiger.

    It wasn’t always the case that the two researchers’ work forced them to gaze upon the heavens. They both spent a lot of time evaluating small patches of land in the field, particularly early on in their careers in ecology. “I always wondered if my findings also held true for nearby habitats,” says Schweiger. Remote sensing methods allow for field measurements to be extrapolated to larger areas and for larger areas to be monitored more easily. Remote sensing was also the missing piece for Schuman. “This method poses new questions and has changed the way we research ecosystems,” she says. It remains to be seen what mysteries leaves will reveal about the Earth’s ecosystems in the future.
    ________________________________________________________
    Keyword spectroscopy

    Depending on how they are structured, materials reflect electromagnetic waves of certain wavelengths. Spectroscopy is an analytical method that measures this interplay between electromagnetic waves and materials. This also involves hitting the object with certain desired wavelengths and using a spectroscope to break apart and analyze the waves that are reflected and absorbed – like a prism does to visible light. The distribution of intensity that results – the spectrum – is recorded in lines or bands with the help of a spectrometer. A rainbow is an example of a spectrum. Spectroscopy is an important method of analysis in physics, chemistry and astronomy. It is also used in industrial applications, for instance to detect impurities in food and medicine.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Zürich (Universität Zürich) (CH), located in the city of Zürich, is the largest university in Switzerland, with over 26,000 students. It was founded in 1833 from the existing colleges of theology, law, medicine and a new faculty of philosophy.

    Currently, the university has seven faculties: Philosophy, Human Medicine, Economic Sciences, Law, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Theology and Veterinary Medicine. The university offers the widest range of subjects and courses of any Swiss higher education institutions.

    As a member of the League of European Research Universities (EU) (LERU) and Universitas 21 (U21) network, a global network of 27 research universities from around the world, promoting research collaboration and exchange of knowledge.

    Numerous distinctions highlight the University’s international renown in the fields of medicine, immunology, genetics, neuroscience and structural biology as well as in economics. To date, the Nobel Prize has been conferred on twelve UZH scholars.

    Sharing Knowledge

    The academic excellence of the University of Zürich brings benefits to both the public and the private sectors not only in the Canton of Zürich, but throughout Switzerland. Knowledge is shared in a variety of ways: in addition to granting the general public access to its twelve museums and many of its libraries, the University makes findings from cutting-edge research available to the public in accessible and engaging lecture series and panel discussions.

    1. Identity of the University of Zürich

    Scholarship

    The University of Zürich (UZH) is an institution with a strong commitment to the free and open pursuit of scholarship.

    Scholarship is the acquisition, the advancement and the dissemination of knowledge in a methodological and critical manner.

    Academic freedom and responsibility

    To flourish, scholarship must be free from external influences, constraints and ideological pressures. The University of Zürich is committed to unrestricted freedom in research and teaching.

    Academic freedom calls for a high degree of responsibility, including reflection on the ethical implications of research activities for humans, animals and the environment.

    Universitas

    Work in all disciplines at the University is based on a scholarly inquiry into the realities of our world

    As Switzerland’s largest university, the University of Zürich promotes wide diversity in both scholarship and in the fields of study offered. The University fosters free dialogue, respects the individual characteristics of the disciplines, and advances interdisciplinary work.

    2. The University of Zurich’s goals and responsibilities

    Basic principles

    UZH pursues scholarly research and teaching, and provides services for the benefit of the public.

    UZH has successfully positioned itself among the world’s foremost universities. The University attracts the best researchers and students, and promotes junior scholars at all levels of their academic career.

    UZH sets priorities in research and teaching by considering academic requirements and the needs of society. These priorities presuppose basic research and interdisciplinary methods.

    UZH strives to uphold the highest quality in all its activities.
    To secure and improve quality, the University regularly monitors and evaluates its performance.

    Research

    UZH contributes to the increase of knowledge through the pursuit of cutting-edge research.

    UZH is primarily a research institution. As such, it enables and expects its members to conduct research, and supports them in doing so.

    While basic research is the core focus at UZH, the University also pursues applied research.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:42 am on December 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New Study Finds Animals Play Key Role in Restoring Forests", , , Animals play a key role in the recovery of tree species by carrying a wide variety of seeds into previously deforested areas., , Biodiversity, , , , , , Forests soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in biomass and soils., The researchers say the findings can serve as a road map for natural regeneration of forests that preserve biodiversity and capture and store carbon., , Tropical forests in particular play an important role in regulating global climate and supporting high plant and animal diversity., U.N. Decade of Ecosystem Restoration,   

    From The School of the Environment At Yale University: “New Study Finds Animals Play Key Role in Restoring Forests” 

    1

    From The School of the Environment

    at

    Yale University

    12.19.22

    Fran Silverman
    Associate Director of Communications
    fran.silverman@yale.edu
    +1 203-436-4842

    1
    A coati (Nasua narica) forages on palm fruits in a secondary forest, Panama. Credit: Christian Ziegler, MPG Institute of Animal Behavior.

    The world’s wildlife populations have declined by almost 70% in the last 50 years as their habitats have been polluted and cleared by humans. Yet, a new study has found animals play a crucial role in reforestation.

    As nations meet this week in Montreal on efforts to address an unprecedented loss of biodiversity — more than a million species are threatened with extinction — a new study published in The Royal Society journal Philosophical Transactions [below] points to the unique and vital role animals play in reforestation.

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    An aerial view of regenerating secondary tropical forest in the Barro Colorado Nature Monument, Panama. Credit: Christian Ziegler, MPG Institute of Animal Behavior. 

    Efforts to restore forests have often focused on trees, but the study found that animals play a key role in the recovery of tree species by carrying a wide variety of seeds into previously deforested areas.

    The study was conducted by an international team led by Sergio Estrada-Villegas, a postdoctoral associate at the Yale School of the Environment, working with Professor of Tropical Forest Ecology Liza Comita. The project, which examined a series of regenerating forests in central Panama spanning 20 to 100 years post-abandonment, was completed by Estrada-Villegas during his time as a Cullman Fellow in the joint program between YSE and the New York Botanical Garden. The study was published in a special theme issue of the journal that focused on forest landscape restoration as part of the U.N. Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.

    “When we talk about forest restoration, people typically think about going out and digging holes and planting seedlings,” Comita says. “That’s actually not a very cost-effective or efficient way to restore natural forests. If you have a nearby preserved intact forest, plus you have your animal seed dispersers around, you can get natural regeneration, which is a less costly and labor-intensive approach.”

    The research team analyzed a unique, long-term data set from the forest in Barro Colorado Nature Monument in Panama, which is overseen by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, to compare what proportion of tree species in forests were dispersed by animals or other methods, like wind or gravity, and how that changes over time as the forest ages. The team focused on the proportion of plants dispersed by four groups of animals: flightless mammals, large birds, small birds, and bats.

    Because the area has been intensely studied by biologists at the Smithsonian for about a century, the research team was able to delve into data stemming back decades, including aerial photographs taken in the 1940s-1950s. The area also presents a unique view into forests where there is very little hunting or logging. The results offer the most detailed data of animal seed dispersal across the longest time frame of natural restoration, according to the study.

    The role of flightless animals in seed dispersal across all forest ages, from 20 years to old growth, and the variety of animal species involved were among the most important findings of the study and point to the importance of natural regeneration of forests, Comita and Estrada-Villegas say. In tropical forests, more than 80% of tree species can be dispersed by animals.

    The researchers say the findings can serve as a road map for natural regeneration of forests that preserve biodiversity and capture and store carbon at a time when the U.N. Decade of Restoration is highlighting the need for land conservation, and world leaders are working to mitigate climate change stemming from fossil fuel emissions. Forests soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in biomass and soils. Tropical forests, in particular, play an important role in regulating global climate and supporting high plant and animal diversity, the researchers note.

    Estrada-Villegas, an ecologist who studies both bats and plants, says the study highlights how crucial animals are to healthy forests.

    “In these tropical environments, animals are paramount to a speedy recovery of forests,” says Estrada-Villegas, who has recently joined the faculty of Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia.

    The study was co-authored by Daisy H. Dent, a tropical ecologist from the MPG Institute for Animal Behavior; Pablo Stevenson, of the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Columbia; Omar López, of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Balboa, Panama; and Saara J. DeWalt, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Clemson University.

    Science paper:
    Philosophical Transactions

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Yale School of the Environment

    2

    Yale School of the Environment Vision and Mission

    We are leading the world toward a sustainable future with cutting-edge research, teaching, and public engagement on society’s evolving and urgent environmental challenges.

    Core Values

    Our Mission and Vision are grounded in seven fundamental values:

    Excellence: We promote and engage in path-breaking science, policy, and business models that build on a fundamental commitment to analytic rigor, data, intellectual integrity, and excellence.
    Leadership: We attract outstanding students nationally and internationally and offer a pioneering curriculum that defines the knowledge and skills needed to be a 21st century environmental leader in a range of professions.
    Sustainability: We generate knowledge that will advance thinking and understanding across the various dimensions of sustainability.
    Community: We offer a community that finds strength in its collegiality, diversity, independence, commitment to excellence, and lifelong learning.
    Diversity: We celebrate our differences and identify pathways to a sustainable future that respects diverse values including equity, liberty, and civil discourse.
    Collaboration: We foster collaborative learning, professional skill development, and problem-solving — and we strengthen our scholarship, teaching, policy work, and outreach through partnerships across the university and beyond.
    Responsibility: We encourage environmental stewardship and responsible behavior on campus and beyond.

    Guiding Principles

    In pursuit of our Mission and Vision, we:

    Build on more than a century of work bringing science-based strategies, ethical considerations, and conservation practices to natural resource management.
    Approach problems on a systems basis and from interdisciplinary perspectives.
    Integrate theory and practice, providing innovative solutions to society’s most pressing environmental problems.
    Address environmental challenges at multiple scales and settings — from local to global, urban to rural, managed to wild.
    Draw on the depth of resources at Yale University and our network of alumni who extend across the world.
    Create opportunities for research, policy application, and professional development through our unique centers and programs.
    Provide a diverse forum to convene conversations on difficult issues that are critical to progress on sustainability.
    Bring special focus on the most significant threats to a sustainable future including climate change, the corresponding need for clean energy, and the increasing stresses on our natural resources.

    Statement of Environmental Policy

    As faculty, staff, and students of the Yale School of the Environment, we affirm our commitment to responsible stewardship of the environment of our School, our University, the city of New Haven, and the other sites of our teaching, research, professional, and social activities.

    In the course of these activities, we shall strive to:

    Reduce our use of natural resources.
    Support the sustainable production of the resources we must use by purchasing renewable, reusable, recyclable, and recycled materials.
    Minimize our use of toxic substances and ensure that unavoidable use is in full compliance with federal, state, and local environmental regulations.
    Reduce the amount of waste we generate and promote strategies to reuse and recycle those wastes that cannot be avoided.
    Restore the environment where possible.

    Each member of the School community is encouraged to set an example for others by serving as an active steward of our environment.

    Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The Collegiate School was renamed Yale College in 1718 to honor the school’s largest private benefactor for the first century of its existence, Elihu Yale. Yale University is consistently ranked as one of the top universities and is considered one of the most prestigious in the nation.

    Chartered by Connecticut Colony, the Collegiate School was established in 1701 by clergy to educate Congregational ministers before moving to New Haven in 1716. Originally restricted to theology and sacred languages, the curriculum began to incorporate humanities and sciences by the time of the American Revolution. In the 19th century, the college expanded into graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first PhD in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887. Yale’s faculty and student populations grew after 1890 with rapid expansion of the physical campus and scientific research.

    Yale is organized into fourteen constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and twelve professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school’s faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the university owns athletic facilities in western New Haven, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and forests and nature preserves throughout New England. As of June 2020, the university’s endowment was valued at $31.1 billion, the second largest of any educational institution. The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Students compete in intercollegiate sports as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League.

    As of October 2020, 65 Nobel laureates, five Fields Medalists, four Abel Prize laureates, and three Turing award winners have been affiliated with Yale University. In addition, Yale has graduated many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 31 living billionaires, and many heads of state. Hundreds of members of Congress and many U.S. diplomats, 78 MacArthur Fellows, 252 Rhodes Scholars, 123 Marshall Scholars, and nine Mitchell Scholars have been affiliated with the university.

    Research

    Yale is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation , Yale spent $990 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 15th in the nation.

    Yale’s faculty include 61 members of the National Academy of Sciences , 7 members of the National Academy of Engineering and 49 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . The college is, after normalization for institution size, the tenth-largest baccalaureate source of doctoral degree recipients in the United States, and the largest such source within the Ivy League.

    Yale’s English and Comparative Literature departments were part of the New Criticism movement. Of the New Critics, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, and Cleanth Brooks were all Yale faculty. Later, the Yale Comparative literature department became a center of American deconstruction. Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstruction, taught at the Department of Comparative Literature from the late seventies to mid-1980s. Several other Yale faculty members were also associated with deconstruction, forming the so-called “Yale School”. These included Paul de Man who taught in the Departments of Comparative Literature and French, J. Hillis Miller, Geoffrey Hartman (both taught in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature), and Harold Bloom (English), whose theoretical position was always somewhat specific, and who ultimately took a very different path from the rest of this group. Yale’s history department has also originated important intellectual trends. Historians C. Vann Woodward and David Brion Davis are credited with beginning in the 1960s and 1970s an important stream of southern historians; likewise, David Montgomery, a labor historian, advised many of the current generation of labor historians in the country. Yale’s Music School and Department fostered the growth of Music Theory in the latter half of the 20th century. The Journal of Music Theory was founded there in 1957; Allen Forte and David Lewin were influential teachers and scholars.

    In addition to eminent faculty members, Yale research relies heavily on the presence of roughly 1200 Postdocs from various national and international origin working in the multiple laboratories in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools of the university. The university progressively recognized this working force with the recent creation of the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs and the Yale Postdoctoral Association.

    Notable alumni

    Over its history, Yale has produced many distinguished alumni in a variety of fields, ranging from the public to private sector. According to 2020 data, around 71% of undergraduates join the workforce, while the next largest majority of 16.6% go on to attend graduate or professional schools. Yale graduates have been recipients of 252 Rhodes Scholarships, 123 Marshall Scholarships, 67 Truman Scholarships, 21 Churchill Scholarships, and 9 Mitchell Scholarships. The university is also the second largest producer of Fulbright Scholars, with a total of 1,199 in its history and has produced 89 MacArthur Fellows. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ranked Yale fifth among research institutions producing the most 2020–2021 Fulbright Scholars. Additionally, 31 living billionaires are Yale alumni.

    At Yale, one of the most popular undergraduate majors among Juniors and Seniors is political science, with many students going on to serve careers in government and politics. Former presidents who attended Yale for undergrad include William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush while former presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton attended Yale Law School. Former vice-president and influential antebellum era politician John C. Calhoun also graduated from Yale. Former world leaders include Italian prime minister Mario Monti, Turkish prime minister Tansu Çiller, Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, German president Karl Carstens, Philippine president José Paciano Laurel, Latvian president Valdis Zatlers, Taiwanese premier Jiang Yi-huah, and Malawian president Peter Mutharika, among others. Prominent royals who graduated are Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Olympia Bonaparte, Princess Napoléon.

    Yale alumni have had considerable presence in U.S. government in all three branches. On the U.S. Supreme Court, 19 justices have been Yale alumni, including current Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh. Numerous Yale alumni have been U.S. Senators, including current Senators Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Chris Coons, Amy Klobuchar, Ben Sasse, and Sheldon Whitehouse. Current and former cabinet members include Secretaries of State John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Cyrus Vance, and Dean Acheson; U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Robert Rubin, Nicholas F. Brady, Steven Mnuchin, and Janet Yellen; U.S. Attorneys General Nicholas Katzenbach, John Ashcroft, and Edward H. Levi; and many others. Peace Corps founder and American diplomat Sargent Shriver and public official and urban planner Robert Moses are Yale alumni.

    Yale has produced numerous award-winning authors and influential writers, like Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Sinclair Lewis and Pulitzer Prize winners Stephen Vincent Benét, Thornton Wilder, Doug Wright, and David McCullough. Academy Award winning actors, actresses, and directors include Jodie Foster, Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Elia Kazan, George Roy Hill, Lupita Nyong’o, Oliver Stone, and Frances McDormand. Alumni from Yale have also made notable contributions to both music and the arts. Leading American composer from the 20th century Charles Ives, Broadway composer Cole Porter, Grammy award winner David Lang, and award-winning jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer all hail from Yale. Hugo Boss Prize winner Matthew Barney, famed American sculptor Richard Serra, President Barack Obama presidential portrait painter Kehinde Wiley, MacArthur Fellow and contemporary artist Sarah Sze, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau, and National Medal of Arts photorealist painter Chuck Close all graduated from Yale. Additional alumni include architect and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Maya Lin, Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster, and Gateway Arch designer Eero Saarinen. Journalists and pundits include Dick Cavett, Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Fareed Zakaria.

    In business, Yale has had numerous alumni and former students go on to become founders of influential business, like William Boeing (Boeing, United Airlines), Briton Hadden and Henry Luce (Time Magazine), Stephen A. Schwarzman (Blackstone Group), Frederick W. Smith (FedEx), Juan Trippe (Pan Am), Harold Stanley (Morgan Stanley), Bing Gordon (Electronic Arts), and Ben Silbermann (Pinterest). Other business people from Yale include former chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings Edward Lampert, former Time Warner president Jeffrey Bewkes, former PepsiCo chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi, sports agent Donald Dell, and investor/philanthropist Sir John Templeton.

    Yale alumni distinguished in academia include literary critic and historian Henry Louis Gates, economists Irving Fischer, Mahbub ul Haq, and Nobel Prize laureate Paul Krugman; Nobel Prize in Physics laureates Ernest Lawrence and Murray Gell-Mann; Fields Medalist John G. Thompson; Human Genome Project leader and National Institutes of Health director Francis S. Collins; brain surgery pioneer Harvey Cushing; pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper; influential mathematician and chemist Josiah Willard Gibbs; National Women’s Hall of Fame inductee and biochemist Florence B. Seibert; Turing Award recipient Ron Rivest; inventors Samuel F.B. Morse and Eli Whitney; Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate John B. Goodenough; lexicographer Noah Webster; and theologians Jonathan Edwards and Reinhold Niebuhr.

    In the sporting arena, Yale alumni include baseball players Ron Darling and Craig Breslow and baseball executives Theo Epstein and George Weiss; football players Calvin Hill, Gary Fenick, Amos Alonzo Stagg, and “the Father of American Football” Walter Camp; ice hockey players Chris Higgins and Olympian Helen Resor; Olympic figure skaters Sarah Hughes and Nathan Chen; nine-time U.S. Squash men’s champion Julian Illingworth; Olympic swimmer Don Schollander; Olympic rowers Josh West and Rusty Wailes; Olympic sailor Stuart McNay; Olympic runner Frank Shorter; and others.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:26 am on November 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Carbon Mapper" project, "DREAMS": Distributed Robotic Exploration and Mapping Systems Lab, "Global Airborne Observatory", "This imaginative tech is transforming conservation", Airborne observatory for research, , , “ ’Hyperspectral’ imaging”: going beyond visible wavelengths of light to capture those across the entire electromagnetic spectrum., “3D imaging”: using proprietary laser technology to see beneath the tops of trees or the water’s surface all the way to the forest or ocean floor and all the structures and life-forms in between, “Allen Coral Atlas”: using newer technology to improve coral maps., “Ultra-high-resolution imaging”: If the chemical scans reveal a methane leak in an agricultural area for example the high-res camera can zoom in to see exactly which cattle paddock it’s coming f, Biodiversity, , Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science, , , Conservation is a call to protect and restore life on our planet and the need is urgent., Environmental research, , Spectranomics research project,   

    From The Arizona State University: “This imaginative tech is transforming conservation” 

    From The Arizona State University

    11.14.22 [Just today in social media.]

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    Alumnus Rodney Staggers Jr. and grad student Aravind Adhith Pandian Saravanakumaran stand on a boat in Bermuda and launch their small robotic boat, which ferries several other pieces of equipment.

    Conservation is a call to protect and restore life on our planet, and the need is urgent. But the scientists who guide this work are limited by the amount of ground they can cover. At Arizona State University’s Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science, researchers are expanding their reach — and their senses — with labs that fly, drones that swim, cameras that orbit and other imaginative technology to study ecosystems around the world.

    The center, a unit of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, leads environmental research that helps communities adapt to and address the effects of global environmental change.

    “To do something at a scale beyond your visual, temporal or programmatic reach requires technology,” says Greg Asner, who directs the center. “It’s not the answer to conservation, but you won’t get the conservation done without it.”

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    Step inside the Global Airborne Observatory plane and you’ll see a carbon fiber interior with computer screens on one wall behind the pilot and co-pilot chairs, a supercomputer hard drive the size of a small filing cabinet, and in the back a giant copper cylinder on a rolling, pneumatic mount that holds all the sensor heads. Photo courtesy of Greg Asner.

    It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … no, wait, it is a plane

    The Global Airborne Observatory is a Dornier 228 airplane. Formerly a 21-seater, it has been gutted and crammed with an array of scanners and supercomputers, making it a high-tech hub for environmental science.

    As the plane scans regions of the Earth below, it gathers a slew of measurements and uses artificial intelligence to get a picture of an ecosystem’s health.

    Asner and his team help nations identify areas with the greatest variety of life, called biodiversity, to decide where to center conservation efforts.

    “We discovered those with the airborne observatory, and then many of those became new protected areas — new national parks, for example,” says Asner, who is also a professor in the School of Ocean Futures.

    Since joining ASU in 2019, he has focused much of his effort on mapping the world’s coral reefs for the Allan Coral Atlas. The project measures not just where reefs are, but also their health and the surrounding environmental conditions. This data gives governments and conservation groups guidance on where to set aside protected marine areas and where to focus resources.

    2
    The Global Airborne Observatory takes three main types of measurements: 3D images for mapping, “hyperspectral” images for chemical signatures, and ultra-high-resolution images for detailed visuals. Illustration by Shireen Dooling.

    The plane takes three main types of measurements. The first, 3D imaging, uses proprietary laser technology to see beneath the tops of trees or the water’s surface all the way to the forest or ocean floor, and all the structures and life-forms in between.

    It also takes “hyperspectral” images, which go beyond visible wavelengths of light to capture those across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. From these images, the team can tell what chemicals are present, which they use to measure oil spills or chemical leaks.

    The third type of data is ultra-high-resolution images. If the chemical scans reveal a methane leak in an agricultural area, for example, the high-res camera can zoom in to see exactly which cattle paddock it’s coming from.

    Saddle up, satellites

    In addition to flying for the Allen Coral Atlas project, Asner is using the plane to prepare for an upcoming project called Carbon Mapper in partnership with Planet, an organization that provides daily satellite data. The project will allow researchers to see the day-by-day changes happening in ecosystems all over Earth.

    Carbon Mapper’s two satellites, which are expected to launch in August 2023, have some of the same technology on board as the plane. Before the launch, the plane is flying over the U.S. to gather sample data. This data will supplement future satellite data as well as train Carbon Mapper’s machine-learning software to better analyze what it finds.

    Once the satellites are in operation, Carbon Mapper will observe methane and carbon dioxide emissions, land use and agricultural pollution, and coastal water quality. It will also begin a new stage for the Allen Coral Atlas team, who will use the newer technology to improve their coral maps.

    3
    The Hawaiian ohia tree is vulnerable to disease, but the Spectranomics research project may help conservationists track the spread of disease and find resistant tree populations. Photo courtesy of Robin Martin.

    Sensing some chemistry here

    Robin Martin is the brains behind the Global Airborne Observatory’s ability to detect the chemicals in an environment based on spectral imaging. Through her research project, Spectranomics, she found an amazing second use for this information. She can tell plant and coral species apart based on their unique chemical signatures. This lets her see which species are living in a certain area.

    Megan Seely, an ASU geography graduate student, is using Spectranomics to tell apart different varieties of ohia, a tree that grows in Hawaii. She hopes to map the spread of a disease called rapid ohia death to find out if some types of ohia are more resistant than others.

    “Spectranomics was developed to expand our knowledge of how remote sensing properties, particularly spectra, measure the underlying chemistry that has evolved through time,” says Martin, an associate professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and a core faculty member of the center.

    Martin had to do a lot of groundwork before the observatory plane was able to do its remote sensing from the sky. To develop this method, she sampled tropical trees, ground up their leaves in the lab, measured 23 chemical traits from each sample, and then used statistical analysis to match those traits to spectral signatures that the plane can recognize. Her lab has archived over 10,000 tree species.

    “One of the advantages of being able to use remote sensing is that you can take measurements in places that you can’t physically get to, and you can also look at patterns over much larger areas, which then reveal more about the landscape than if you’re walking around measuring plots, for example,” she says.

    In the future, she will be able to tap into Carbon Mapper’s sensing power to take measurements more frequently than she can with the plane.

    3
    Engineering graduate student Aravind Adhith Pandian Saravanakumaran checks drone equipment on an ocean field trip during the Bermuda Institute of Oceanic Sciences’ Mid-Atlantic Robotics IN Education (MARINE) program. Photo courtesy of Jnaneshwar Das.

    Seaworthy robot crew

    Jnaneshwar Das, director of the Distributed Robotic Exploration and Mapping Systems (DREAMS) Lab, builds teams of autonomous bots and drones that gather environmental data. As a core faculty member in the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science, he is developing underwater drones and other robots to analyze the ocean floor in collaboration with Asner and Martin.

    Typically, they need divers to take mapping equipment underwater to calibrate the plane’s measurements. Using drones that learn from scientists and collaborate with them means more reef coverage and less required diving time.

    “Technology can make us more efficient and can kind of expand our senses. It helps us to do dull and dangerous things,” says Das, who is also an assistant research professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. “There’s a symbiosis that’s happening.”

    Since the project’s beginnings as a sketch of an underwater drone on a napkin, it has grown into a veritable crew of seafaring bots, including the underwater drone, small flying drones, trebuchet-launched cameras and a robotic boat that ferries all of them over the water.

    Last summer, DREAMS Lab collaborated with the Bermuda Institute of Oceanic Sciences (BIOS) to create an educational course for Bermudian youths through the Mid-Atlantic Robotics IN Education (MARINE) program. BIOS announced a partnership with ASU last year and is now part of the Global Futures Laboratory.

    Two ASU students from the lab spent part of their summer in Bermuda testing the DREAMS Lab equipment in the ocean and using it to introduce marine technology to students from the MARINE program.

    Rodney Staggers Jr., now an engineering alumnus, and Aravind Adhith Pandian Saravanakumaran, an engineering graduate student, worked together on building and testing the drones in Arizona so they could withstand the ocean’s extreme conditions. Saravanakumaran focused on the “brains” of the drones, the automation software that guides them, while Staggers concentrated on the “bodies” by designing their durable hardware. Throughout the process, they learned from each other’s specialties and gained an appreciation for what engineering has to offer the planet.

    4
    Satellites and machine learning help ASU researcher Jiwei Li gather information about water quality by measuring aspects like cloudiness, colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and the chlorophyll present in phytoplankton. Image courtesy of Jiwei Li.

    The change of tides

    Jiwei Li uses satellite images and machine learning to study shallow water quality. Li is part of the center’s core faculty and is an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

    Shallow water is not as widely studied as deep ocean water, but it’s vital to the planet’s health. It is home to precious coral reefs, carbon-capturing seagrass and other aquatic wildlife, and it’s often a place where the land’s nutrients and pollutants flow into the water.

    Thomas Ingalls is a geological sciences graduate student working in Li’s lab. He sees shallow water as an important resource for nations seeking to lower their carbon emissions. That’s because these aquatic environments are also good at storing carbon.

    By gathering millions of shallow water spectral images from satellites around the world, Li’s team creates regional mosaic maps. Machine learning helps turn that data into information about the water’s quality by measuring aspects like cloudiness, amount of dissolved organic matter and amount of the photosynthesis pigment chlorophyll a. They also map coral reefs and monitor their health in collaboration with the Allen Coral Atlas project.

    “The water quality and turbidity are especially dynamic. It’s not like a forest that doesn’t change much in one or two years. Water might change day by day,” Li says. “We need to use as many satellites as possible to increase the chances that we observe the water conditions.”

    The Carbon Mapper satellites will be able to see over 50 times as many spectral bands as traditional satellites, promising a wealth of data. The technology will boost Li and Ingalls’ ability to detect water quality, carbon content, microbe species, seagrasses and pollution sources.

    Knowledge makes the best policy

    The Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science doesn’t stop at using its tech for research. A defining trait of the center is its goal to turn its findings into action, including helping to create informed policies.

    Part of that process involves closing the gap between policymakers and experts such as Indigenous communities and scientists.

    “In conservation research, there are traditional knowledges that come from people conserving and utilizing their areas for many generations,” Martin says. “Technology brings numbers to what is already known by those communities, but it acts as a way to translate information. It can give a visual picture that is sometimes more helpful to when you want to go to a policymaker and explain why we need to protect an area.”

    Li adds, “Sometimes the people using the technology don’t have a clear sense that what they can do can actually help people in policymaking. And policymakers don’t know what the technology side can give them. The Allen Coral Atlas is an example of a beautiful bridge that connects both.”

    The Allen Coral Atlas has helped nations’ leaders understand how to meet their goals for the 30 by 30 initiative, an agreement by over 100 countries that aims to protect 30% of Earth’s land and ocean by 2030. And it’s only one of many efforts at the center aiming for action and better policy. The Nature Conservancy’s Caribbean Division has used Li’s satellite work to plan its coral conservation efforts in that region. Martin’s use of Spectranomics in Peru led to the creation of a new national park. Seely is collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service and Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources to help protect ohia. And the Global Airborne Observatory has helped the state of Hawaii act to protect its coral reefs.

    While technology has advanced researchers’ ability to understand the environment, the need for this information continues to grow beyond what they can provide. Even planes can only travel so far in a day.

    The satellite technology from Carbon Mapper will be the next big advancement to help close this gap, giving policymakers around the world more immediate access to the knowledge they need and making an environmentally sustainable future possible all the sooner.

    The research efforts described in this article are funded in part by Vulcan Inc., Pew Trust, Avatar Alliance Foundation, Dalio Philanthropies, and the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

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    The Arizona State University Tempe Campus

    The Arizona State University is a public research university in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Founded in 1885 by the 13th Arizona Territorial Legislature, ASU is one of the largest public universities by enrollment in the U.S.

    One of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents, The Arizona State University is a member of the Universities Research Association and classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity.” The Arizona State University has nearly 150,000 students attending classes, with more than 38,000 students attending online, and 90,000 undergraduates and more nearly 20,000 postgraduates across its five campuses and four regional learning centers throughout Arizona. The Arizona State University offers 350 degree options from its 17 colleges and more than 170 cross-discipline centers and institutes for undergraduates students, as well as more than 400 graduate degree and certificate programs. The Arizona State Sun Devils compete in 26 varsity-level sports in the NCAA Division I Pac-12 Conference and is home to over 1,100 registered student organizations.

    The Arizona State University ‘s charter, approved by the board of regents in 2014, is based on the New American University model created by The Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow upon his appointment as the institution’s 16th president in 2002. It defines The Arizona State University as “a comprehensive public research university, measured not by whom it excludes, but rather by whom it includes and how they succeed; advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.” The model is widely credited with boosting The Arizona State University ‘s acceptance rate and increasing class size.

    The university’s faculty of more than 4,700 scholars has included 5 Nobel laureates, 6 Pulitzer Prize winners, 4 MacArthur Fellows, and 19 National Academy of Sciences members. Additionally, among the faculty are 180 Fulbright Program American Scholars, 72 National Endowment for the Humanities fellows, 38 American Council of Learned Societies fellows, 36 members of the Guggenheim Fellowship, 21 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 3 members of National Academy of Inventors, 9 National Academy of Engineering members and 3 National Academy of Medicine members. The National Academies has bestowed “highly prestigious” recognition on 227 Arizona State University faculty members.
    History

    The Arizona State University was established as the Territorial Normal School at Tempe on March 12, 1885, when the 13th Arizona Territorial Legislature passed an act to create a normal school to train teachers for the Arizona Territory. The campus consisted of a single, four-room schoolhouse on a 20-acre plot largely donated by Tempe residents George and Martha Wilson. Classes began with 33 students on February 8, 1886. The curriculum evolved over the years and the name was changed several times; the institution was also known as Tempe Normal School of Arizona (1889–1903), Tempe Normal School (1903–1925), Tempe State Teachers College (1925–1929), Arizona State Teachers College (1929–1945), Arizona State College (1945–1958) and, by a 2–1 margin of the state’s voters, The Arizona State University in 1958.

    In 1923, the school stopped offering high school courses and added a high school diploma to the admissions requirements. In 1925, the school became the Tempe State Teachers College and offered four-year Bachelor of Education degrees as well as two-year teaching certificates. In 1929, the 9th Arizona State Legislature authorized Bachelor of Arts in Education degrees as well, and the school was renamed The Arizona State Teachers College. Under the 30-year tenure of president Arthur John Matthews (1900–1930), the school was given all-college student status. The first dormitories built in the state were constructed under his supervision in 1902. Of the 18 buildings constructed while Matthews was president, six are still in use. Matthews envisioned an “evergreen campus,” with many shrubs brought to the campus, and implemented the planting of 110 Mexican Fan Palms on what is now known as Palm Walk, a century-old landmark of the Tempe campus.

    During the Great Depression, Ralph Waldo Swetman was hired to succeed President Matthews, coming to The Arizona State Teachers College in 1930 from The Humboldt State Teachers College where he had served as president. He served a three-year term, during which he focused on improving teacher-training programs. During his tenure, enrollment at the college doubled, topping the 1,000 mark for the first time. Matthews also conceived of a self-supported summer session at the school at The Arizona State Teachers College, a first for the school.

    1930–1989

    In 1933, Grady Gammage, then president of The Arizona State Teachers College at Flagstaff, became president of The Arizona State Teachers College at Tempe, beginning a tenure that would last for nearly 28 years, second only to Swetman’s 30 years at the college’s helm. Like President Arthur John Matthews before him, Gammage oversaw the construction of several buildings on the Tempe campus. He also guided the development of the university’s graduate programs; the first Master of Arts in Education was awarded in 1938, the first Doctor of Education degree in 1954 and 10 non-teaching master’s degrees were approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in 1956. During his presidency, the school’s name was changed to Arizona State College in 1945, and finally to The Arizona State University in 1958. At the time, two other names were considered: Tempe University and State University at Tempe. Among Gammage’s greatest achievements in Tempe was the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed construction of what is Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium/ASU Gammage. One of the university’s hallmark buildings, Arizona State University Gammage was completed in 1964, five years after the president’s (and Wright’s) death.

    Gammage was succeeded by Harold D. Richardson, who had served the school earlier in a variety of roles beginning in 1939, including director of graduate studies, college registrar, dean of instruction, dean of the College of Education and academic vice president. Although filling the role of acting president of the university for just nine months (Dec. 1959 to Sept. 1960), Richardson laid the groundwork for the future recruitment and appointment of well-credentialed research science faculty.

    By the 1960s, under G. Homer Durham, the university’s 11th president, The Arizona State University began to expand its curriculum by establishing several new colleges and, in 1961, the Arizona Board of Regents authorized doctoral degree programs in six fields, including Doctor of Philosophy. By the end of his nine-year tenure, The Arizona State University had more than doubled enrollment, reporting 23,000 in 1969.

    The next three presidents—Harry K. Newburn (1969–71), John W. Schwada (1971–81) and J. Russell Nelson (1981–89), including and Interim President Richard Peck (1989), led the university to increased academic stature, the establishment of The Arizona State University West campus in 1984 and its subsequent construction in 1986, a focus on computer-assisted learning and research, and rising enrollment.

    1990–present

    Under the leadership of Lattie F. Coor, president from 1990 to 2002, The Arizona State University grew through the creation of the Polytechnic campus and extended education sites. Increased commitment to diversity, quality in undergraduate education, research, and economic development occurred over his 12-year tenure. Part of Coor’s legacy to the university was a successful fundraising campaign: through private donations, more than $500 million was invested in areas that would significantly impact the future of The Arizona State University. Among the campaign’s achievements were the naming and endowing of Barrett, The Honors College, and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; the creation of many new endowed faculty positions; and hundreds of new scholarships and fellowships.

    In 2002, Michael M. Crow became the university’s 16th president. At his inauguration, he outlined his vision for transforming The Arizona State University into a “New American University”—one that would be open and inclusive, and set a goal for the university to meet Association of American Universities criteria and to become a member. Crow initiated the idea of transforming The Arizona State University into “One university in many places”—a single institution comprising several campuses, sharing students, faculty, staff and accreditation. Subsequent reorganizations combined academic departments, consolidated colleges and schools, and reduced staff and administration as the university expanded its West and Polytechnic campuses. The Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus was also expanded, with several colleges and schools relocating there. The university established learning centers throughout the state, including The Arizona State University Colleges at Lake Havasu City and programs in Thatcher, Yuma, and Tucson. Students at these centers can choose from several Arizona State University degree and certificate programs.

    During Crow’s tenure, and aided by hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, The Arizona State University began a years-long research facility capital building effort that led to the establishment of the Biodesign Institute at The Arizona State University, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and several large interdisciplinary research buildings. Along with the research facilities, the university faculty was expanded, including the addition of five Nobel Laureates. Since 2002, the university’s research expenditures have tripled and more than 1.5 million square feet of space has been added to the university’s research facilities.

    The economic downturn that began in 2008 took a particularly hard toll on Arizona, resulting in large cuts to The Arizona State University ‘s budget. In response to these cuts, The Arizona State University capped enrollment, closed some four dozen academic programs, combined academic departments, consolidated colleges and schools, and reduced university faculty, staff and administrators; however, with an economic recovery underway in 2011, the university continued its campaign to expand the West and Polytechnic Campuses, and establish a low-cost, teaching-focused extension campus in Lake Havasu City.

    As of 2011, an article in Slate reported that, “the bottom line looks good,” noting that:

    “Since Crow’s arrival, The Arizona State University’s research funding has almost tripled to nearly $350 million. Degree production has increased by 45 percent. And thanks to an ambitious aid program, enrollment of students from Arizona families below poverty is up 647 percent.”

    In 2015, the Thunderbird School of Global Management became the fifth Arizona State University campus, as the Thunderbird School of Global Management at The Arizona State University. Partnerships for education and research with Mayo Clinic established collaborative degree programs in health care and law, and shared administrator positions, laboratories and classes at the Mayo Clinic Arizona campus.

    The Beus Center for Law and Society, the new home of The Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, opened in fall 2016 on the Downtown Phoenix campus, relocating faculty and students from the Tempe campus to the state capital.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:36 am on November 8, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Study reveals how ancient fish colonized the deep sea", , , Biodiversity, Climate changes alone don’t explain how fish came to colonize the deep sea in the first place., , , , , , , , , Scientists have long thought the explanation for this was intuitive — shallow ocean waters are warm and full of resources., The College of the Environment, The deep sea contains more than 90% of the water in our oceans but only about a third of all fish species., The earliest fish that were able to transition into the deep sea tended to have large jaws. These likely gave them more opportunities to catch food., The new study reveals that throughout Earth’s ancient history there were several periods of time when many fish actually favored the cold and dark and barren waters of the deep sea., The researchers found that much later in history fish that had longer tapered tails tended to be most successful at making the transition to deep water. This allowed them to conserve energy., The study identified three major events that likely played a role: the breakup of Pangea; the Cretaceous Hot Greenhouse period; the middle Miocene climatic transition., , There were periods lasting tens of millions of years when new species were evolving faster in the deep sea than in more shallow areas.   

    From The College of the Environment At The University of Washington : “Study reveals how ancient fish colonized the deep sea” 

    1

    From The College of the Environment

    at

    The University of Washington

    11.2.22

    1
    A lanternfish, which is a deep-water fish that gets its name from its ability to produce light. Credit: Steven Haddock/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

    The deep sea contains more than 90% of the water in our oceans, but only about a third of all fish species. Scientists have long thought the explanation for this was intuitive — shallow ocean waters are warm and full of resources, making them a prime location for new species to evolve and thrive. But a new University of Washington study [PNAS (below)] led by Elizabeth Miller reports that throughout Earth’s ancient history, there were several periods of time when many fish actually favored the cold, dark, barren waters of the deep sea.

    “It’s easy to look at shallow habitats like coral reefs, which are very diverse and exciting, and assume that they’ve always been that way,” said Miller, who completed the study as a postdoctoral researcher in the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oklahoma. “These results really challenge that assumption, and help us understand how fish species have adapted to major changes to the climate.”

    The deep sea is typically defined as anything below about 650 feet, the depth at which there is no longer enough sunlight for photosynthesis to occur. That means there is far less food and warmth than in the shallows, making it a difficult place to live. But by analyzing the relationships of fish using their genetic records going back 200 million years, Miller was able to identify a surprising evolutionary pattern: the speciation rates — that is, how quickly new species evolved — flip-flopped over time. There were periods lasting tens of millions of years when new species were evolving faster in the deep sea than in more shallow areas.

    In some ways, this discovery raised more questions than it answered. What was causing fish to prefer one habitat over another? What made some fish able to move into the deep sea more easily than others? And how did these ancient shifts help create the diversity of species we have today?

    2
    A deep-sea bristlemouth fish. Credit: Steven Haddock/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

    When Miller mapped these flip-flopping speciation rates onto a timeline of Earth’s history, she was able to identify three major events that likely played a role.

    “The first was the breakup of Pangea, which occurred between 200 and 150 million years ago,” said Miller. “That created new coastlines and new oceans, which meant there were more opportunities for fishes to move from shallow to deep water. There were suddenly a lot more access points.”

    Next was the Cretaceous Hot Greenhouse period, which occurred approximately 100 million years ago and marked one of the warmest eras in Earth’s history. During this time, many continents were flooded due to sea-level rise, creating a large number of new, shallow areas across the earth.

    “It was around this period that we really see shallow-water fishes take off and diversify,” said Miller. “We can trace a lot of the species diversity we see in the shallows today to this time.”

    The third event was yet another major climatic change about 15 million years ago, known as the middle Miocene climatic transition. This was caused by further shifting of the continents, which caused major changes in ocean circulation and cooled the planet — all the way down to the deep sea.

    “Around this time we see deep-sea speciation rates really speed up,” Miller said. “This was especially driven by cold-water fishes. A lot of the species you see today off the coasts of Washington and Alaska diversified during this time.”

    But climate changes alone don’t explain how fish came to colonize the deep sea in the first place. Not every species has the right combination of traits to survive in deeper water and make use of the relatively limited resources beyond the reach of sunlight.

    “To evolve into a new species in the deep sea, first you have to get there,” said Miller. “What we found was that not only were the speciation rates flip-flopping through time, but what the deep-sea fishes looked like was as well.”

    The earliest fish that were able to transition into the deep sea tended to have large jaws. These likely gave them more opportunities to catch food, which can be scarce at depth. The researchers found that much later in history, fish that had longer, tapered tails tended to be most successful at making the transition to deep water. This allowed them to conserve energy by scooting along the seafloor instead of swimming in the water column.

    “If you look at who lives in the deep sea today, some species have a tapered body and others have big, scary, toothy jaws,” Miller said. “Those two body plans represent ancestors that colonized the deep sea millions of years apart.”

    While these events might seem like ancient history, they may be able to teach us about how today’s changing climate will affect life in our oceans. Miller hopes that future research can build on these findings and investigate how modern deep-sea fish will respond to climate change, and potentially inform conservation efforts.

    “What we learned from this study is that deep-sea fishes tend to do well when oceans are colder, but with climate change, oceans are getting warmer,” she said. “We can expect that this is really going to impact fish in the deep-sea in the coming years.”

    Science paper:
    PNAS

    See the full article here .


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    4

    The University of Washington College of the Environment

    Diversity, equity and inclusion at the Program on the Environment

    How do we accomplish change that lasts, especially with complex issues such as diversity, equity and inclusion? That question lies at the heart of conversations that have been occurring over the past two years in University of Washington’s Program on the Environment (PoE). PoE is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program where students study and reflect upon intersections of the environment and human societies, and the primary unit in the College of the Environment offering a Bachelor of Arts degree. Their unit’s size (5 core faculty, 2 staff, plus several pre- and post-doctoral instructors) allows everyone in PoE to meet as a whole and to focus regularly on discussions about diversity, equity and inclusion, rather than delegating DEI work to a committee.

    “One of the advantages of a small community is that we can all meet to talk about diversity initiatives at least quarterly,” said PoE Director Gary Handwerk. “The common university committee structure and bureaucracy itself can be impediments to real change.”

    Some of the changes so far have included major revisions to the curriculum that introduce new course requirements in sustainability and environmental justice, and embedding and threading DEI concepts throughout all courses, deeply weaving it into the fabric of environmental awareness.

    PoE also collaborated with Program on Climate Change’s Becky Alexander in creating a workshop for faculty to collaborate on integrating climate justice concepts into an array of courses across the College. These conversations among faculty from seven different units helped extend the “embed and thread” model across the College. Based on positive feedback from participants, this workshop will be offered again in winter 2022 and 2023, with participation expanded to faculty from across the University. Handwerk is “optimistic that this workshop will have long-term effects and create a framework for probing and transformative conversations across the College.”

    In fall of 2021, PoE members launched an annual Autumn Seminar Series focused on Environmental Justice. Students enrolled in an associated one-credit course and participated in live sessions with speakers on Zoom, while UW and community members could tune into a livestream (later archived on the PoE YouTube page). This dual format allowed students and attendees to converse beyond the walls of a classroom and university. Enrolled students also actively participated in an online discussion forum following each presentation. This year’s series, “Indigenous Perspectives on the Environment,” brought in Indigenous voices representing a number of tribes from across the United States and Canada.

    “I liked being able to hear different people’s experiences that I might not otherwise have been able to hear,” said student Tia Vontver. “The opportunity to hear from voices not through research papers or in a textbook, but directly from them was invaluable. Traditional ecological knowledge is passed down through stories, so I’ve been able to hear many different perspectives through these speakers.”

    Larger challenges, however, remain. It is one thing to feature marginalized voices weekly at a seminar, and quite another to shift the demographic diversity of the faculty or student body as a whole. Handwerk acknowledges that difficult and crucial goals like these remain ahead, but he is optimistic that efforts like those described above will help to create an infrastructure and climate conducive to recruiting and retaining a robustly diverse group of faculty and students.

    u-washington-campus

    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.

    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

    The University of Washington is a public research university in Seattle, Washington, United States. Founded in 1861, University of Washington is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast; it was established in downtown Seattle approximately a decade after the city’s founding to aid its economic development. Today, the university’s 703-acre main Seattle campus is in the University District above the Montlake Cut, within the urban Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest. The university has additional campuses in Tacoma and Bothell. Overall, University of Washington encompasses over 500 buildings and over 20 million gross square footage of space, including one of the largest library systems in the world with more than 26 university libraries, as well as the UW Tower, lecture halls, art centers, museums, laboratories, stadiums, and conference centers. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees through 140 departments in various colleges and schools, sees a total student enrollment of roughly 46,000 annually, and functions on a quarter system.

    University of Washington is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation, UW spent $1.41 billion on research and development in 2018, ranking it 5th in the nation. As the flagship institution of the six public universities in Washington state, it is known for its medical, engineering and scientific research as well as its highly competitive computer science and engineering programs. Additionally, University of Washington continues to benefit from its deep historic ties and major collaborations with numerous technology giants in the region, such as Amazon, Boeing, Nintendo, and particularly Microsoft. Paul G. Allen, Bill Gates and others spent significant time at Washington computer labs for a startup venture before founding Microsoft and other ventures. The University of Washington’s 22 varsity sports teams are also highly competitive, competing as the Huskies in the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA Division I, representing the United States at the Olympic Games, and other major competitions.

    The university has been affiliated with many notable alumni and faculty, including 21 Nobel Prize laureates and numerous Pulitzer Prize winners, Fulbright Scholars, Rhodes Scholars and Marshall Scholars.

    In 1854, territorial governor Isaac Stevens recommended the establishment of a university in the Washington Territory. Prominent Seattle-area residents, including Methodist preacher Daniel Bagley, saw this as a chance to add to the city’s potential and prestige. Bagley learned of a law that allowed United States territories to sell land to raise money in support of public schools. At the time, Arthur A. Denny, one of the founders of Seattle and a member of the territorial legislature, aimed to increase the city’s importance by moving the territory’s capital from Olympia to Seattle. However, Bagley eventually convinced Denny that the establishment of a university would assist more in the development of Seattle’s economy. Two universities were initially chartered, but later the decision was repealed in favor of a single university in Lewis County provided that locally donated land was available. When no site emerged, Denny successfully petitioned the legislature to reconsider Seattle as a location in 1858.

    In 1861, scouting began for an appropriate 10 acres (4 ha) site in Seattle to serve as a new university campus. Arthur and Mary Denny donated eight acres, while fellow pioneers Edward Lander, and Charlie and Mary Terry, donated two acres on Denny’s Knoll in downtown Seattle. More specifically, this tract was bounded by 4th Avenue to the west, 6th Avenue to the east, Union Street to the north, and Seneca Streets to the south.

    John Pike, for whom Pike Street is named, was the university’s architect and builder. It was opened on November 4, 1861, as the Territorial University of Washington. The legislature passed articles incorporating the University, and establishing its Board of Regents in 1862. The school initially struggled, closing three times: in 1863 for low enrollment, and again in 1867 and 1876 due to funds shortage. University of Washington awarded its first graduate Clara Antoinette McCarty Wilt in 1876, with a bachelor’s degree in science.

    19th century relocation

    By the time Washington state entered the Union in 1889, both Seattle and the University had grown substantially. University of Washington’s total undergraduate enrollment increased from 30 to nearly 300 students, and the campus’s relative isolation in downtown Seattle faced encroaching development. A special legislative committee, headed by University of Washington graduate Edmond Meany, was created to find a new campus to better serve the growing student population and faculty. The committee eventually selected a site on the northeast of downtown Seattle called Union Bay, which was the land of the Duwamish, and the legislature appropriated funds for its purchase and construction. In 1895, the University relocated to the new campus by moving into the newly built Denny Hall. The University Regents tried and failed to sell the old campus, eventually settling with leasing the area. This would later become one of the University’s most valuable pieces of real estate in modern-day Seattle, generating millions in annual revenue with what is now called the Metropolitan Tract. The original Territorial University building was torn down in 1908, and its former site now houses the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.

    The sole-surviving remnants of Washington’s first building are four 24-foot (7.3 m), white, hand-fluted cedar, Ionic columns. They were salvaged by Edmond S. Meany, one of the University’s first graduates and former head of its history department. Meany and his colleague, Dean Herbert T. Condon, dubbed the columns as “Loyalty,” “Industry,” “Faith”, and “Efficiency”, or “LIFE.” The columns now stand in the Sylvan Grove Theater.

    20th century expansion

    Organizers of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition eyed the still largely undeveloped campus as a prime setting for their world’s fair. They came to an agreement with Washington’s Board of Regents that allowed them to use the campus grounds for the exposition, surrounding today’s Drumheller Fountain facing towards Mount Rainier. In exchange, organizers agreed Washington would take over the campus and its development after the fair’s conclusion. This arrangement led to a detailed site plan and several new buildings, prepared in part by John Charles Olmsted. The plan was later incorporated into the overall University of Washington campus master plan, permanently affecting the campus layout.

    Both World Wars brought the military to campus, with certain facilities temporarily lent to the federal government. In spite of this, subsequent post-war periods were times of dramatic growth for the University. The period between the wars saw a significant expansion of the upper campus. Construction of the Liberal Arts Quadrangle, known to students as “The Quad,” began in 1916 and continued to 1939. The University’s architectural centerpiece, Suzzallo Library, was built in 1926 and expanded in 1935.

    After World War II, further growth came with the G.I. Bill. Among the most important developments of this period was the opening of the School of Medicine in 1946, which is now consistently ranked as the top medical school in the United States. It would eventually lead to the University of Washington Medical Center, ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top ten hospitals in the nation.

    In 1942, all persons of Japanese ancestry in the Seattle area were forced into inland internment camps as part of Executive Order 9066 following the attack on Pearl Harbor. During this difficult time, university president Lee Paul Sieg took an active and sympathetic leadership role in advocating for and facilitating the transfer of Japanese American students to universities and colleges away from the Pacific Coast to help them avoid the mass incarceration. Nevertheless, many Japanese American students and “soon-to-be” graduates were unable to transfer successfully in the short time window or receive diplomas before being incarcerated. It was only many years later that they would be recognized for their accomplishments during the University of Washington’s Long Journey Home ceremonial event that was held in May 2008.

    From 1958 to 1973, the University of Washington saw a tremendous growth in student enrollment, its faculties and operating budget, and also its prestige under the leadership of Charles Odegaard. University of Washington student enrollment had more than doubled to 34,000 as the baby boom generation came of age. However, this era was also marked by high levels of student activism, as was the case at many American universities. Much of the unrest focused around civil rights and opposition to the Vietnam War. In response to anti-Vietnam War protests by the late 1960s, the University Safety and Security Division became the University of Washington Police Department.

    Odegaard instituted a vision of building a “community of scholars”, convincing the Washington State legislatures to increase investment in the University. Washington senators, such as Henry M. Jackson and Warren G. Magnuson, also used their political clout to gather research funds for the University of Washington. The results included an increase in the operating budget from $37 million in 1958 to over $400 million in 1973, solidifying University of Washington as a top recipient of federal research funds in the United States. The establishment of technology giants such as Microsoft, Boeing and Amazon in the local area also proved to be highly influential in the University of Washington’s fortunes, not only improving graduate prospects but also helping to attract millions of dollars in university and research funding through its distinguished faculty and extensive alumni network.

    21st century

    In 1990, the University of Washington opened its additional campuses in Bothell and Tacoma. Although originally intended for students who have already completed two years of higher education, both schools have since become four-year universities with the authority to grant degrees. The first freshman classes at these campuses started in fall 2006. Today both Bothell and Tacoma also offer a selection of master’s degree programs.

    In 2012, the University began exploring plans and governmental approval to expand the main Seattle campus, including significant increases in student housing, teaching facilities for the growing student body and faculty, as well as expanded public transit options. The University of Washington light rail station was completed in March 2015, connecting Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood to the University of Washington Husky Stadium within five minutes of rail travel time. It offers a previously unavailable option of transportation into and out of the campus, designed specifically to reduce dependence on private vehicles, bicycles and local King County buses.

    University of Washington has been listed as a “Public Ivy” in Greene’s Guides since 2001, and is an elected member of the American Association of Universities. Among the faculty by 2012, there have been 151 members of American Association for the Advancement of Science, 68 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 67 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 53 members of the National Academy of Medicine, 29 winners of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 21 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators, 15 MacArthur Fellows, 9 winners of the Gairdner Foundation International Award, 5 winners of the National Medal of Science, 7 Nobel Prize laureates, 5 winners of Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research, 4 members of the American Philosophical Society, 2 winners of the National Book Award, 2 winners of the National Medal of Arts, 2 Pulitzer Prize winners, 1 winner of the Fields Medal, and 1 member of the National Academy of Public Administration. Among UW students by 2012, there were 136 Fulbright Scholars, 35 Rhodes Scholars, 7 Marshall Scholars and 4 Gates Cambridge Scholars. UW is recognized as a top producer of Fulbright Scholars, ranking 2nd in the US in 2017.

    The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) has consistently ranked University of Washington as one of the top 20 universities worldwide every year since its first release. In 2019, University of Washington ranked 14th worldwide out of 500 by the ARWU, 26th worldwide out of 981 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and 28th worldwide out of 101 in the Times World Reputation Rankings. Meanwhile, QS World University Rankings ranked it 68th worldwide, out of over 900.

    U.S. News & World Report ranked University of Washington 8th out of nearly 1,500 universities worldwide for 2021, with University of Washington’s undergraduate program tied for 58th among 389 national universities in the U.S. and tied for 19th among 209 public universities.

    In 2019, it ranked 10th among the universities around the world by SCImago Institutions Rankings. In 2017, the Leiden Ranking, which focuses on science and the impact of scientific publications among the world’s 500 major universities, ranked University of Washington 12th globally and 5th in the U.S.

    In 2019, Kiplinger Magazine’s review of “top college values” named University of Washington 5th for in-state students and 10th for out-of-state students among U.S. public colleges, and 84th overall out of 500 schools. In the Washington Monthly National University Rankings University of Washington was ranked 15th domestically in 2018, based on its contribution to the public good as measured by social mobility, research, and promoting public service.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:28 pm on October 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "DNA reference library a game-changer for environmental monitoring", , Biodiversity, , , , ,   

    From CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization: “DNA reference library a game-changer for environmental monitoring” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

    10.5.22
    Ms Andrea Wild
    Communication Advisor, National Research Collections Australia
    +61415199434

    CSIRO is building a National Biodiversity DNA Library which aims to deliver a complete collection of DNA reference sequences for all known Australian animal and plant species.

    A new DNA reference library which is set to transform how Australia monitors biodiversity was announced today by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, along with the library’s first campaign which is supported by founding partner, Minderoo Foundation.

    The National Biodiversity DNA Library (NBDL) aims to create a complete collection of DNA reference sequences for all known Australian animal and plant species. Just like COVID wastewater testing, it will enable DNA detected in the environment to be assigned to the species to which it belongs.

    CSIRO Director of the NBDL Jenny Giles said environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis has the potential to create a revolution in biodiversity monitoring.

    “Monitoring biodiversity and detecting pests is extremely important, but it’s hard to do and is expensive in a country as large as Australia. eDNA surveys could change that by allowing us to detect animals, plants and other organisms from traces of DNA left behind in the environment, but only if we can reliably assign this DNA to species,” Dr Giles said.

    “People may be surprised to realize that there are tiny pieces of DNA shed by animals, plants, and other life forms left in the air, soil, and water around us.

    “eDNA surveys are increasingly being used to detect and monitor species, but only a tiny fraction of Australian species have sufficient reference data available to support this approach. This means most eDNA we collect can’t currently be assigned to a species.

    “Our National Biodiversity DNA Library aims to provide this missing data through an open access online portal, that will allow Australian state and federal governments, industry, researchers and citizen scientists to take full advantage of this powerful technique to describe and detect changes in our environment,” she said.

    Minderoo Foundation is partnering with CSIRO to fund the first part of this DNA reference library, focusing on all species of Australian marine vertebrates, including fishes, whales, dolphins, seals, turtles, sea snakes and inshore sea and aquatic birds.

    Minderoo Foundation Director of the OceanOmics program Steve Burnell said eDNA approaches will transform how we monitor marine biodiversity and help manage and conserve marine species.

    “The NBDL will help our program and other researchers to detect and map marine vertebrate species around Australia, improving the speed, scale and precision at which we can provide information to resource managers,” Dr Burnell said.

    “We’re proud to support this powerful conservation tool – the surveillance of marine ecosystems using eDNA provides an exciting and non-invasive means to measure biodiversity and monitor the health of our oceans.”

    Dr Giles said the library will be built using unique laboratory techniques developed by CSIRO.

    “This technology enables the large-scale generation of DNA reference sequences from preserved specimens of any organism. This miniaturized, high-throughput approach can unlock genetic information from the millions of scientific specimens preserved in Australian research collections,” she said.

    CSIRO will work with Bioplatforms Australia, enabled by the Commonwealth Government National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, and Australian natural history collections to rapidly increase the DNA reference sequences available for Australian marine vertebrates. These data will be generated from expertly identified specimens held in collections including CSIRO’s Australian National Fish Collection and Australian National Wildlife Collection.

    The NBDL collaboration between CSIRO, its partners, and our nation’s vast research collections will result in greater understanding of Australia’s animal and plant species and will support industries across fisheries, agriculture, environmental management and tourism.

    The library’s first online data release is expected to occur by early 2024.

    1
    Stag and Plate coral. PHOTO: Minderoo OceanOmics Centre

    2
    Sea lion (Neophoca cinerea). PHOTO: Minderoo OceanOmics Centre

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organizations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organization as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organized into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Energy
    Land and Water
    Manufacturing
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities
    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Radio Telescope Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    STCA CSIRO Australia Compact Array (AU), six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (AU) Parkes Observatory [Murriyang, the traditional Indigenous name], located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 414.80m above sea level.

    NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: NASA.

    CSIRO Canberra campus.

    ESA DSA 1, hosts a 35-metre deep-space antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and is located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, near the town of New Norcia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) CSIRO R/V Investigator.

    UK Space NovaSAR-1 satellite (UK) synthetic aperture radar satellite.

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Magnus Cray XC40 supercomputer at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Galaxy Cray XC30 Series Supercomputer at at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Pausey Supercomputer CSIRO Zeus SGI Linux cluster.

    Others not shown

    SKA

    SKA- Square Kilometer Array.

    SKA Square Kilometre Array low frequency at Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

    EDGES telescope in a radio quiet zone at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia, on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:52 am on June 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Diverse Forests Outyield Monocultures", , Biodiversity, , ,   

    From The University of Zürich (Universität Zürich) (CH): “Diverse Forests Outyield Monocultures” 

    From The University of Zürich (Universität Zürich) (CH)

    13 Jun 2022
    Thomas Gull

    1
    Multispecies forests are more productive than monocultures, since they make better use of available resources such as light, water and nutrients. (Image: Department of Geography, UZH) (Image: Geographisches Institut UZH)

    Bernhard Schmid could be described as the unwavering champion of biodiversity. The UZH professor emeritus of environmental sciences regularly co-publishes papers in renowned journals that explore the benefits of diverse plant communities. His latest contribution in the field was recently published in Science and shows that species-rich forest plantations yield more than monocultures. They also improve other aspects of the ecosystem, for example by offering greater capacity for carbon storage.

    25 percent more timber

    The study, conducted by an international team of researchers led by Peking University, analyzed 270 studies from 255 sites around the world. For each site, the studies compared afforestation practices that featured single-species and multispecies tree plantations with equal planting density and stand age. Based on their findings, the researchers conclude that multiple species growing together can boost biomass. According to the study, plantations with a mix of tree species produce up to 25% more biomass than single-species plantations; in addition, the trees also grow taller and have greater trunk density. All things considered, this means that they yield 25% more timber and also bind 25% more carbon. Both of these findings have direct economic and ecological implications.

    The study offers further evidence that the often-held notion that monocultures yield more than multispecies forests is incorrect. “The presumed contradiction between economic and environmental goals in forestry thus disappears,” says second author Schmid. Rather, the findings suggest that when it comes to afforestation, using multispecies planting may actually offer greater benefits. However, most of the forest plantations on which the data used for the study are based consist of only two species, Schmid explains. While this shows that the principle of multispecies planting generally works, using a mix of four or more species would yield even better results, believes the environmental scientist. The important thing here is to find out which species complement each other particularly well, and where competition may get in the way of benefits. The researchers believe the main reason why multispecies forests outperform monocultures is because they use the various available resources – light, water and nutrients – more effectively. For example, coniferous and broad-leaved species can share the space in the canopy, while deciduous and evergreen species complement each other in terms of seasons.

    Nitrogen-fixing is irrelevant

    The study also found that mixing nitrogen-fixing and non-nitrogen-fixing species had no impact on the performance of diverse forests. This is a stark contrast to previous findings on diverse crop management on grasslands or in agriculture, where a mix of nitrogen-fixing legumes and other plants increases crop yields.

    But don’t multispecies forests make it more difficult to harvest timber? “This may be the case if you’re using a huge harvester to plow through a pure spruce forest in Sweden,” explains Bernhard Schmid. “But in Switzerland, trees are harvested individually, and timber yield is only one of many services that forests provide.” These services include protecting against erosion and avalanches, mitigating climate change (in urban and suburban areas) or storing carbon. In all of these areas, diverse forests performed better than monocultures.

    Lucrative biodiversity

    One of the key functions of forests is carbon storage. In a previous study, Schmid et al. demonstrated that diverse forests (in China) store 32 tons of carbon per hectare over eight years, while monocultures only manage 12 tons – i.e. less than half. A ton of carbon dioxide currently costs about CHF 120 in Switzerland and a ton of carbon thus costs CHF 440 (burning a ton of carbon results in 3.67 tons of carbon dioxide). This means that biodiverse forests may become quite lucrative in the future – significantly more so than single-species plantations – and multispecies reforestation can be an effective measure to mitigate climate change. According to Schmid, the important thing here is to manage the rules for selling CO2 certificates in a way that takes into account the greater productivity of biodiverse forests.

    “Our study shows that species-rich reforestation outperforms monocultures across the board,” says Schmid, summing up the new study. He hopes that this knowledge will soon also be applied in practice. At the moment, for example, some 85% of afforestation still uses monoculture tree planting.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Zürich (Universität Zürich) (CH), located in the city of Zürich, is the largest university in Switzerland, with over 26,000 students. It was founded in 1833 from the existing colleges of theology, law, medicine and a new faculty of philosophy.

    Currently, the university has seven faculties: Philosophy, Human Medicine, Economic Sciences, Law, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Theology and Veterinary Medicine. The university offers the widest range of subjects and courses of any Swiss higher education institutions.
    Since 1833

    As a member of the League of European Research Universities (EU) (LERU) and Universitas 21 (U21) network, the University of Zürich belongs to Europe’s most prestigious research institutions. In 2017, the University of Zürich became a member of the Universitas 21 (U21) network, a global network of 27 research universities from around the world, promoting research collaboration and exchange of knowledge.

    Numerous distinctions highlight the University’s international renown in the fields of medicine, immunology, genetics, neuroscience and structural biology as well as in economics. To date, the Nobel Prize has been conferred on twelve UZH scholars.

    Sharing Knowledge

    The academic excellence of the University of Zürich brings benefits to both the public and the private sectors not only in the Canton of Zürich, but throughout Switzerland. Knowledge is shared in a variety of ways: in addition to granting the general public access to its twelve museums and many of its libraries, the University makes findings from cutting-edge research available to the public in accessible and engaging lecture series and panel discussions.

    1. Identity of the University of Zürich

    Scholarship

    The University of Zürich (UZH) is an institution with a strong commitment to the free and open pursuit of scholarship.

    Scholarship is the acquisition, the advancement and the dissemination of knowledge in a methodological and critical manner.

    Academic freedom and responsibility

    To flourish, scholarship must be free from external influences, constraints and ideological pressures. The University of Zürich is committed to unrestricted freedom in research and teaching.

    Academic freedom calls for a high degree of responsibility, including reflection on the ethical implications of research activities for humans, animals and the environment.

    Universitas

    Work in all disciplines at the University is based on a scholarly inquiry into the realities of our world

    As Switzerland’s largest university, the University of Zürich promotes wide diversity in both scholarship and in the fields of study offered. The University fosters free dialogue, respects the individual characteristics of the disciplines, and advances interdisciplinary work.

    2. The University of Zurich’s goals and responsibilities

    Basic principles

    UZH pursues scholarly research and teaching, and provides services for the benefit of the public.

    UZH has successfully positioned itself among the world’s foremost universities. The University attracts the best researchers and students, and promotes junior scholars at all levels of their academic career.

    UZH sets priorities in research and teaching by considering academic requirements and the needs of society. These priorities presuppose basic research and interdisciplinary methods.

    UZH strives to uphold the highest quality in all its activities.
    To secure and improve quality, the University regularly monitors and evaluates its performance.

    Research

    UZH contributes to the increase of knowledge through the pursuit of cutting-edge research.

    UZH is primarily a research institution. As such, it enables and expects its members to conduct research, and supports them in doing so.

    While basic research is the core focus at UZH, the University also pursues applied research.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:07 am on June 12, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Reshuffled Rivers Bolster the Amazon’s Hyper-Biodiversity", , Biodiversity, , Conservation biology, , , Even some of the relatively small rivers in the Amazon are so big that “from the point of view of a bird it’s like looking at a horizon., From the window of a passenger plane flying over the Amazon the view is breathtaking. “It’s just miles across of river and river islands” said Lukas Musher-Drexel University, Gene flow, , , Many birds adapted to living on the dark forest floor don’t like to cross sunlit gaps., The rainforest's lush genetic diversity may be due in part to the dynamics of branching rivers which serve as invisible fences between bird populations., There is still a long way to go before we understand the relationships between the Amazon’s dynamic geology and its species., Though it’s counterintuitive to think that flying birds are restricted by rivers it’s well established that many birds can’t fly across them.,   

    From “WIRED“: “Reshuffled Rivers Bolster the Amazon’s Hyper-Biodiversity” 

    From “WIRED“

    Jun 12, 2022
    Yasemin Saplakoglu

    The rainforest’s lush genetic diversity may be due in part to the dynamics of branching rivers which serve as invisible fences between bird populations.

    1
    A satellite image of the Amazon lowlands shows the immense complexity of the constantly changing network of rivers carving their way through the forest landscape.Photograph: Jesse Allen/NASA Earth Observatory.

    From the window of a passenger plane flying over the Amazon, the view is breathtaking. “It’s just miles across of river and river islands,” said Lukas Musher, a postdoctoral researcher at Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences.

    The massive rivers below branch into a dense, treelike network that has continuously rearranged itself over hundreds of thousands of years, drawing new paths and erasing old ones. The rivers divide and subdivide the forest into spaces that are each an entire world for the innumerable creatures that swing, crawl, and fly within their ever-changing boundaries.

    In a new study in the journal Science Advances , Musher and his coauthors report that the endless reshuffling of rivers increases the biodiversity of the beautiful birds that color the Amazon’s dense rainforests. By acting as a “species pump,” the dynamic rivers could be playing a larger role than previously realized in molding the Amazon forest into one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Though the forest’s lowlands make up only half a percent of the planet’s land area, they harbor about 10 percent of all known species—and undoubtedly many unknown ones.

    The idea that shifting rivers can shape bird speciation dates to the 1960s [Biodiversity Heritage Library], but most researchers have disregarded the phenomenon as a driver of much diversification for birds or mammals. “For a long time, we really considered the rivers to be kind of static,” said John Bates, a curator at the Field Museum in Chicago, who was not involved in the study.

    But recently, biologists started paying attention to the louder and louder whispers from the geologists. “One of the most thought-provoking things for biologists was realizing how dynamic the geologists began to think the rivers were,” Bates said. The way that this paper weaves together biological data with geological ideas is very neat, he said.

    The relationship between geographic change and biodiversity is “one of the most contentious topics in evolutionary biology,” said Musher, who did the study as part of his doctoral work. Some researchers say Earth’s history has little influence on the patterns of biodiversity, but others suggest “an extremely tight, basically linear” relationship between the two, Musher said.

    Movement Across Time

    To understand how river rearrangements might be molding birds in the Amazon, Musher and his collaborators from the American Museum of Natural History and Louisiana State University made an expedition to the rivers running through the heart of Brazil in June 2018.

    They collected examples of birds from multiple spots on either side of two rivers: the Aripuanã River and the Roosevelt River, named after Teddy Roosevelt, who journeyed there in 1914 as part of a mapping team. They also borrowed samples previously collected near other rivers in the Amazon by other institutions.

    2
    River rearrangements greatly affect the evolution of studied groups of birds, including members of the Hypocnemis (left) and the Malacoptila (right) genera.Photograph: (Left) Hector Bottai; (Right) Gonzo Lubitsch.

    The team focused on six groups of bird species that aren’t strong flyers. (“If you want to know how the river affects birds, you have to pick the birds that the rivers are going to affect,” Musher said.) These birds, including the blue-necked jacamar (Galbula cyanicollis) and the black-spotted bare-eye (Phlegopsis nigromaculata), spend most of their time below the forest canopy of the southern Amazonian lowlands, where they follow swarms of ants and eat insects that the ants kick up.

    The researchers sequenced the birds’ genes and compared them to see how they had diverged over time. They then correlated those genomic changes with data in the geological literature about changes in rivers the birds lived near. They confirmed those findings with a model that used the number of mutations the species picked up to infer how long ago they had diverged from one another.

    As expected, the researchers found that rivers were barriers for these birds: When the rivers diverged, populations were cut off from one another. Even relatively small rivers could keep populations apart and facilitate divergence in their genomes.

    But the team also saw that the rivers were dynamic, not static, barriers. Rivers that split would often eventually come back together, allowing sundered populations to intermingle again. Sometimes the divergent populations were too different to interbreed and remained separate species. But mostly, these reunions became opportunities for the populations to exchange new genes they had each acquired.

    This “gene flow” led to new combinations of genes in the genome every time the process repeated, and it has likely been “contributing to a lot of new bird species over time,” Musher said. The patterns of diversification for the different species varied according to how the rivers changed and on what timescale.

    4
    The rivers crisscrossing through the Amazon partition the forest into microenvironments that can hold unique collections of species. Because the rivers keep changing, these microenvironments may be temporary on a geological scale. Photograph: Uwe Bergwitz/Shutterstock.

    They found that geology caused more gene flow between bird species in the west of the Amazon than in the east. In the western Amazon, where the landscape is flat, the rivers snake a lot because they’re much more likely to erode their banks and change course. In the east, where the landscape is very hilly, the rivers cut into bedrock and tend to be much more stable and less windy.

    Using a mathematical model, the researchers found that contemporary rivers were more important as predictors of genomic divergence than environmental conditions and the distance between the species were. They inferred that “since divergence is due to rivers, changes to the rivers must be important for contact like gene flow to occur,” Musher said. Other factors that they didn’t account for are also likely at play, but it’s clear that “the dynamics of Earth and its biodiversity are linked, sometimes inextricably.”

    The Vast Horizon

    Though it’s counterintuitive to think that flying birds are restricted by rivers, it’s well established that many birds can’t fly across them. Even some of the relatively small rivers in the Amazon are so big that “from the point of view of a bird, it’s like looking at a horizon,” said Philip Stouffer, a professor of conservation biology at Louisiana State who was not part of the study. “For birds that aren’t very prone to moving great distances, that’s just an impossible barrier.”

    Moreover, many birds adapted to living on the dark forest floor don’t like to cross sunlit gaps, so they may not be strongly motivated to leave their home region of the forest—nor may other species that live alongside them. River rearrangements are already known to be very important for diversifying aquatic organisms like fish in the Amazon, and the researchers think similar patterns likely hold for other species, such as primates and butterflies.

    Birds are probably the most completely inventoried group of organisms out there, but even so, “we’re still learning about these basic patterns of biodiversity,” Musher said. So there is still a long way to go before we understand the relationships between the Amazon’s dynamic geology and its species.

    It’s likely that similar geological processes—whether they involve river rearrangements or other changes—are driving local biodiversity elsewhere on the planet, as well, the authors say. But it might not look exactly like what’s happening in the Amazon, because “there’s just nothing else like it on Earth,” Musher said.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 10:49 am on December 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Visually stunning tree of all known life unveiled online", , , Biodiversity, , Conservation, , , ,   

    From Imperial College London (UK) : “Visually stunning tree of all known life unveiled online” 

    From Imperial College London (UK)

    14 December 2021
    Hayley Dunning


    OneZoom is a one-stop site for exploring all life on Earth, its evolutionary history, and how much of it is threatened with extinction.

    The OneZoom explorer – available at https://www.onezoom.org/ – maps the connections between 2.2 million living species, the closest thing yet to a single view of all species known to science.

    The interactive tree of life allows users to zoom in to any species and explore its relationships with others, in a seamless visualisation on a single web page. The explorer also includes images of over 85,000 species, plus, where known, their vulnerability to extinction.

    OneZoom was developed by Imperial College London biodiversity researcher Dr James Rosindell and The University of Oxford (UK) evolutionary biologist Dr Yan Wong. In a paper published today in Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Drs Wong and Rosindell present the result of over ten years of work, gradually creating what they regard as “the Google Earth of Biology”.

    Beautiful big data

    Dr Wong, from the Big Data Institute at the University of Oxford, said: “By developing new algorithms for visualisation and data processing, and combining them with ‘big data’ gathered from multiple sources, we’ve created something beautiful. It allows people to find their favourite living things, be they golden moles or giant sequoias, and see how evolutionary history connects them together to create a giant tree of all life on Earth.”

    Dr Rosindell, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial, said: “We have worked hard to make the tree easy to explore for everyone, and we also hope to send a powerful message: that much of our biodiversity is under threat.”

    2
    The ‘leaves’ representing each species on the tree are colour coded depending on their risk of extinction: green for not threatened, red for threatened, and black for recently extinct. However, most of the leaves on the tree are grey, meaning they have not been evaluated, or scientists don’t have enough data to know their extinction risk. Even among the species described by science, only a tiny fraction have been studied or have a known risk of extinction.

    Dr Wong added: “It’s extraordinary how much research there is still to be done. Building the OneZoom tree of life was only possible through sophisticated methods to gather and combine existing data – it would have been impossible to curate all this by hand.”

    Available to all

    The OneZoom explorer is configured to work with touchscreens, and the developers have made the software free to download and use by educational organisations such as museums and zoos.

    Dr Rosindell commented: “Two million species can feel like a number too big to visualise, and no museum or zoo can hold all of them! But our tool can help represent all Earth’s species and allow visitors to connect with their plight. We hope that now this project is complete and available, many venues will be interested in using it to complement their existing displays.”

    Drs Rosindell and Wong have also set up a OneZoom charity with the aim of using their tree of life to “advance the education of the public in the subjects of evolution, biodiversity and conservation of the variety of life on Earth.”

    Uniquely, to support this charity, each leaf on the tree is available for sponsorship, allowing anyone to ‘adopt’ a species and enabling OneZoom to continue their mission. More than 800 leaves have currently been sponsored by individuals and selected organisations, many with personal messages of how they feel connected to the conservation of nature.

    Tour the tree of life

    The team have also integrated the tree with data from the Wikipedia project to reveal the ‘popularity’ of every species, based on how often their Wikipedia page is viewed. Dr Wong said: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, humans come out on top, but it has swapped places a few times with the second most popular: the grey wolf – the ‘species’ that includes all domestic dogs.”

    4

    In the plant world, cannabis comes out on top, followed by cabbage, the potato, and the coconut. The most popular ray-finned fishes are sport fishing species, particularly salmon and trout.

    5

    Now the tree is complete, the team hope to create bespoke ‘tours’ and experiences of species connected in imaginative new ways – such as tours of iridescent animals, medicinal plants, or even species named after celebrities. They have created a special screen capture tool for easy saving and sharing of user-generated tours.

    Dr Rosindell said: “With OneZoom, we hope to give people a completely new way to appreciate evolutionary history and the vastness of life on Earth in all its beauty.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Imperial College London (UK) is a science-based university with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Consistently rated amongst the world’s best universities, Imperial is committed to developing the next generation of researchers, scientists and academics through collaboration across disciplines. Located in the heart of London, Imperial is a multidisciplinary space for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle global challenges.

    Imperial College London (legally Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine) is a public research university in London. Imperial grew out of Prince Albert’s vision of an area for culture, including the Royal Albert Hall; Imperial Institute; numerous museums and the Royal Colleges that would go on to form the college. In 1907, Imperial College was established by Royal Charter, merging the Royal College of Science; Royal School of Mines; and City and Guilds College. In 1988, the Imperial College School of Medicine was formed by combining with St Mary’s Hospital Medical School. In 2004, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Imperial College Business School.

    The college focuses exclusively on science; technology; medicine; and business. The college’s main campus is located in South Kensington, and it has an innovation campus in White City; a research field station at Silwood Park; and teaching hospitals throughout London. The college was a member of the University of London(UK) from 1908, becoming independent on its centenary in 2007. Imperial has an international community, with more than 59% of students from outside the UK and 140 countries represented on campus. Student, staff, and researcher affiliations include 14 Nobel laureates; 3 Fields Medalists; 2 Breakthrough Prize winners; 1 Turing Award winner; 74 Fellows of the Royal Society; 87 Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering; and 85 Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

    History

    19th century

    The earliest college that led to the formation of Imperial was the Royal College of Chemistry founded in 1845 with the support of Prince Albert and parliament. This was merged in 1853 into what became known as the Royal School of Mines. The medical school has roots in many different schools across London, the oldest of which being Charing Cross Hospital Medical School which can be traced back to 1823 followed by teaching starting at Westminster Hospital in 1834 and St Mary’s Hospital in 1851.

    In 1851 the Great Exhibition was organised as an exhibition of culture and industry by Henry Cole and by Prince Albert- husband of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom Queen Victoria. An enormously popular and financial success proceeds from the Great Exhibition were designated to develop an area for cultural and scientific advancement in South Kensington. Within the next 6 years the Victoria and Albert Museum and Science Museum had opened joined by new facilities in 1871 for the Royal College of Chemistry and in 1881 for the Royal School of Mines; the opening of the Natural History Museum in 1881; and in 1888 the Imperial Institute.

    In 1881 the Normal School of Science was established in South Kensington under the leadership of Thomas Huxley taking over responsibility for the teaching of the natural sciences and agriculture from the Royal School of Mines. The school was renamed the Royal College of Science by royal consent in 1890. The Central Institution of the City and Guilds of London Institute was opened as a technical education school on Exhibition Road by the Prince of Wales in early 1885.

    20th century

    At the start of the 20th century, there was a concern that Britain was falling behind Germany in scientific and technical education. A departmental committee was set up at the Board of Education in 1904, to look into the future of the Royal College of Science. A report released in 1906 called for the establishment of an institution unifying the Royal College of Science and the Royal School of Mines, as well as – if an agreement could be reached with the City and Guilds of London Institute – their Central Technical College.

    On 8 July 1907 King Edward VII granted a Royal Charter establishing the Imperial College of Science and Technology. This incorporated the Royal School of Mines and the Royal College of Science. It also made provisions for the City and Guilds College to join once conditions regarding its governance were met as well as for Imperial to become a college of the University of London. The college joined the University of London on 22 July 1908 with the City and Guilds College joining in 1910. The main campus of Imperial College was constructed beside the buildings of the Imperial Institute- the new building for the Royal College of Science having opened across from it in 1906 and the foundation stone for the Royal School of Mines building being laid by King Edward VII in July 1909.

    As students at Imperial had to study separately for London degrees in January 1919 students and alumni voted for a petition to make Imperial a university with its own degree awarding powers independent of the University of London. In response the University of London changed its regulations in 1925 so that the courses taught only at Imperial would be examined by the university enabling students to gain a BSc.

    In October 1945 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Imperial to commemorate the centenary of the Royal College of Chemistry which was the oldest of the institutions that united to form Imperial College. “Commemoration Day” named after this visit is held every October as the university’s main graduation ceremony. The college also acquired a biology field station at Silwood Park near Ascot, Berkshire in 1947.

    Following the Second World War, there was again concern that Britain was falling behind in science – this time to the United States. The Percy Report of 1945 and Barlow Committee in 1946 called for a “British MIT”-equivalent backed by influential scientists as politicians of the time including Lord Cherwell; Sir Lawrence Bragg; and Sir Edward Appleton. The University Grants Committee strongly opposed however. So a compromise was reached in 1953 where Imperial would remain within the university but double in size over the next ten years. The expansion led to a number of new buildings being erected. These included the Hill building in 1957 and the Physics building in 1960 and the completion of the East Quadrangle built in four stages between 1959 and 1965. The building work also meant the demolition of the City and Guilds College building in 1962–63 and the Imperial Institute’s building by 1967. Opposition from the Royal Fine Arts Commission and others meant that Queen’s Tower was retained with work carried out between 1966 and 1968 to make it free standing. New laboratories for biochemistry established with the support of a £350,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation were opened by the Queen in 1965.

    In 1988 Imperial merged with St Mary’s Hospital Medical School under the Imperial College Act 1988. Amendments to the royal charter changed the formal name of the institution to The Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine and made St Mary’s a constituent college. This was followed by mergers with the National Heart and Lung Institute in 1995 and the Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School; Royal Postgraduate Medical School; and the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1997 with the Imperial College Act 1997 formally establishing the Imperial College School of Medicine.

    21st century

    In 2003, Imperial was granted degree-awarding powers in its own right by the Privy Council. In 2004, the Imperial College Business School and a new main entrance on Exhibition Road were opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The UK Energy Research Centre was also established in 2004 and opened its headquarters at Imperial. On 9 December 2005, Imperial announced that it would commence negotiations to secede from the University of London. Imperial became fully independent of the University of London in July 2007.

    In April 2011 Imperial and King’s College London joined the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation as partners with a commitment of £40 million each to the project. The centre was later renamed the Francis Crick Institute and opened on 9 November 2016. It is the largest single biomedical laboratory in Europe. The college began moving into the new White City campus in 2016 with the launching of the Innovation Hub. This was followed by the opening of the Molecular Sciences Research Hub for the Department of Chemistry officially opened by Mayor of London- Sadiq Khan in 2019. The White City campus also includes another biomedical centre funded by a £40 million donation by alumnus Sir Michael Uren.

    Research

    Imperial submitted a total of 1,257 staff across 14 units of assessment to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment. This found that 91% of Imperial’s research is “world-leading” (46% achieved the highest possible 4* score) or “internationally excellent” (44% achieved 3*) giving an overall GPA of 3.36. In rankings produced by Times Higher Education based upon the REF results Imperial was ranked 2nd overall. Imperial is also widely known to have been a critical contributor of the discovery of penicillin; the invention of fiber optics; and the development of holography. The college promotes research commercialisation partly through its dedicated technology transfer company- Imperial Innovations- which has given rise to a large number of spin-out companies based on academic research. Imperial College has a long-term partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US) that dates back from World War II. The United States is the college’s top collaborating foreign country with more than 15,000 articles co-authored by Imperial and U.S.-based authors over the last 10 years.

    In January 2018 the mathematics department of Imperial and the CNRS-The National Center for Scientific Research[Centre national de la recherche scientifique](FR) launched UMI Abraham de Moivre at Imperial- a joint research laboratory of mathematics focused on unsolved problems and bridging British and French scientific communities. The Fields medallists Cédric Villani and Martin Hairer hosted the launch presentation. The CNRS-Imperial partnership started a joint PhD program in mathematics and further expanded in June 2020 to include other departments. In October 2018, Imperial College launched the Imperial Cancer Research UK Center- a research collaboration that aims to find innovative ways to improve the precision of cancer treatments inaugurated by former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden as part of his Biden Cancer Initiative.

    Imperial was one of the ten leading contributors to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) InSight Mars lander which landed on planet Mars in November 2018, with the college logo appearing on the craft. InSight’s Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, developed at Imperial, measured the first likely marsquake reading in April 2019. In 2019 it was revealed that the Blackett Laboratory would be constructing an instrument for the European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne](EU) Solar Orbiter in a mission to study the Sun, which launched in February 2020. The laboratory is also designing part of the DUNE/LBNF Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment(US).

    In early 2020 immunology research at the Faculty of Medicine focused on SARS-CoV-2 under the leadership of Professor Robin Shattock as part of the college’s COVID-19 Response Team including the search of a cheap vaccine which started human trials on 15 June 2020. Professor Neil Ferguson’s 16 March report entitled Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID- 19 mortality and healthcare demand was described in a 17 March The New York Times article as the coronavirus “report that jarred the U.S. and the U.K. to action”. Since 18 May 2020 Imperial College’s Dr. Samir Bhatt has been advising the state of New York for its reopening plan. Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo said that “the Imperial College model- as we’ve been following this for weeks- was the best most accurate model.” The hospitals from the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust which have been caring for COVID-19 infected patients partnered with Microsoft to use their HoloLens when treating those patients reducing the amount of time spent by staff in high-risk areas by up to 83% as well as saving up to 700 items of PPE per ward, per week.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:50 am on April 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Ancient Indigenous forest gardens promote a healthy ecosystem- Simon Fraser University (CA) study", , Biodiversity, ,   

    From Simon Fraser University (CA): “Ancient Indigenous forest gardens promote a healthy ecosystem- Simon Fraser University (CA) study” 

    From Simon Fraser University (CA)

    April 22, 2021

    1

    Study marks the first time that Indigenous forest gardens have been studied in North America.

    A new study by Simon Fraser University (CA) historical ecologists finds that Indigenous-managed forests—cared for as “forest gardens”—contain more biologically and functionally diverse species than surrounding conifer-dominated forests and create important habitat for animals and pollinators. The findings are published today in Ecology and Society.

    According to researchers, ancient forests were once tended by Ts’msyen and Coast Salish peoples living along the north and south Pacific coast. These forest gardens continue to grow at remote archaeological villages on Canada’s northwest coast and are composed of native fruit and nut trees and shrubs such as crabapple, hazelnut, cranberry, wild plum, and wild cherries. Important medicinal plants and root foods like wild ginger and wild rice root grow in the understory layers.

    “These plants never grow together in the wild,” says Chelsey Geralda Armstrong, a Simon Fraser University (CA) Indigenous Studies assistant professor and the study lead researcher. “It seemed obvious that people put them there to grow all in one spot – like a garden. Elders and knowledge holders talk about perennial management all the time.”

    “It’s no surprise these forest gardens continue to grow at archaeological village sites that haven’t yet been too severely disrupted by settler-colonial land-use.”

    2
    Willie Charlie from Sts’ailes Nation and paper co-author Patrick Morgan Ritchie with Darius Kelly-Lawrence from Sts’ailes Nation.

    Promoting a healthy & resilient ecosystem

    Ts’msyen and Coast Salish peoples’ management practices challenge the assumption that humans tend to overturn or exhaust the ecosystems they inhabit. This research highlights how Indigenous peoples not only improved the inhabited landscape, but were also keystone builders, facilitating the creation of habitat in some cases. The findings provide strong evidence that Indigenous management practices are tied to ecosystem health and resilience.

    “Human activities are often considered detrimental to biodiversity, and indeed, industrial land management has had devastating consequences for biodiversity,” says Jesse Miller, study co-author, ecologist and lecturer at Stanford University (US). “Our research, however, shows that human activities can also have substantial benefits for biodiversity and ecosystem function. Our findings highlight that there continues to be an important role for human activities in restoring and managing ecosystems in the present and future.”

    Study impact & significance

    Forest gardens are a common management regime identified in Indigenous communities around the world, especially in tropical regions. Armstrong says the study is the first time forest gardens have been studied in North America — showing how important Indigenous peoples are in the maintenance and defence of some of the most functionally diverse ecosystems on the Northwest Coast.

    “The forest gardens of Kitselas Canyon are a testament to the long-standing practice of Kitselas people shaping the landscape through stewardship and management,” says Chris Apps, director, Kitselas Lands & Resources Department. “Studies such as this reconnect the community with historic resources and support integration of traditional approaches with contemporary land-use management while promoting exciting initiatives for food sovereignty and cultural reflection.”

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Simon Fraser University (CA) is a public research university in British Columbia, Canada, with three campuses: Burnaby (main campus), Surrey, and Vancouver. The 170-hectare (420-acre) main Burnaby campus on Burnaby Mountain, located 20 kilometres (12 mi) from downtown Vancouver, was established in 1965 and comprises more than 30,000 students and 160,000 alumni. The university was created in an effort to expand higher education across Canada.

    Simon Fraser University (CA) is a member of multiple national and international higher education, including the Association of Commonwealth Universities, International Association of Universities, and Universities Canada (CA). Simon Fraser University has also partnered with other universities and agencies to operate joint research facilities such as the TRIUMF- Canada’s particle accelerator centre [Centre canadien d’accélération des particules] (CA) for particle and nuclear physics, which houses the world’s largest cyclotron, and Bamfield Marine Station, a major centre for teaching and research in marine biology.

    Undergraduate and graduate programs at Simon Fraser University (CA) operate on a year-round, three-semester schedule. Consistently ranked as Canada’s top comprehensive university and named to the Times Higher Education list of 100 world universities under 50, Simon Fraser University (CA)is also the first Canadian member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the world’s largest college sports association. In 2015, Simon Fraser University (CA) became the second Canadian university to receive accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Simon Fraser University (CA) faculty and alumni have won 43 fellowships to the Royal Society of Canada [Société royale du Canada](CA), three Rhodes Scholarships and one Pulitzer Prize. Among the list of alumni includes two former premiers of British Columbia, Gordon Campbell and Ujjal Dosanjh, owner of the Vancouver Canucks NHL team, Francesco Aquilini, Prime Minister of Lesotho, Pakalitha Mosisili, director at the Max Planck Society [Max Planck Gesellschaft](DE) , Robert Turner, and humanitarian and cancer research activist, Terry Fox.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:36 am on February 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Colorful connection found in coral’s ability to survive higher temperatures", , Biodiversity, , Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University [沖縄科学技術大学院大学; Okinawa Kagaku Gijutsu Daigakuin Daigaku](JP)   

    From Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University [沖縄科学技術大学院大学; Okinawa Kagaku Gijutsu Daigakuin Daigaku](JP): “Colorful connection found in coral’s ability to survive higher temperatures” 

    From Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University [沖縄科学技術大学院大学; Okinawa Kagaku Gijutsu Daigakuin Daigaku](JP)

    22 February 2021
    Lucy Dickie

    1
    Color morphs of the coral, Acropora tenuis, show different responses to environmental stress and different expression profiles of fluorescent-protein genes. Credit: OIST.

    Highlights

    Coral within the family Acropora are fast growers and thus important for reef growth, island formation, and coastal protection but, due to global environmental pressures, are in decline.
    A species within this family has three different color morphs – brown, yellow-green, and purple, which appear to respond differently to high temperatures.
    Researchers looked at the different proteins expressed by the different color morphs, to see whether these were related to their resilience to a changing environment.
    The green variant was found to maintain high levels of green fluorescent proteins during summer heatwaves and was less likely to bleach than the other two morphs.
    This suggest that resistance to thermal stress is influenced by a coral’s underlying genetics, which, coincidentally, also lead to the different color morphs.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Anyone who visits the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Southeast Asia’s coral triangle, or the reefs of Central America, will surely speak of how stunning and vibrant these environments are. Indeed, coral reefs are believed to house more biodiversity than any other ecosystem on the planet, with the coral providing protection and shelter for hundreds of species of fish and crustaceans.

    But these ecosystems are under threat. Global pressures, such as rising ocean temperatures, are causing coral to turn ghostly white, a phenomenon called bleaching, and die. One family of coral – Acropora – seems to be particularly susceptible and its numbers are expected to decline in the future. This is especially concerning as these corals are fast growers and thus structurally important for the reefs. Researchers took a close look at Acropora tenuis, a species within this family, which is known to have three color morphs – brown, purple, and yellow-green. Their new study, published in G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, indicates that these color morphs speak of the coral’s resilience to high temperatures, and found the underlying genetic factors that seem to be responsible for this.

    2
    Acropora Tenuis is a common coral around Okinawa. It has three distinct color morphs – brown, yellow-green, and purple. Credit: Daisuke Kezuka.

    “Coral reefs are very beautiful and have a whole variety of different colors,” said Professor Noriyuki Satoh, who leads the Marine Genomics Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST). “When we started looking at the different color morphs of A. tenuis we noticed that some morphs bleach more readily and die more frequently than others. During the summer of 2017, we saw that many of the brown and purple morphs bleached, with the brown morph dying at a higher rate, but the yellow-green morph seemed to show resilience to the summer temperatures.”

    The Unit worked with several individuals from the Okinawan community, including Koji Kinjo from Sea Seed, who directs a private aquarium where the different color morphs have been grown for around 20 years. This aquarium was instrumental for the researchers to observe the coral over the last two decades and to determine how resilient this species is to climate change, and the underlying causes.

    3
    4
    The three different color morphs of this coral have been grown in the private aquarium – Umino-Tane Co. LTD (Sea Seed) – located in Okinawa, for the last two decades. This aquarium was instrumental in the OIST researchers being able to conduct this study.

    In 2020, Professor Satoh and his collaborators decoded the genome of A. tenuis, which provided them with the toolkit for this research, allowing them to look at the genetic foundations that cause the different morphs.

    “At first, we thought the difference in resilience might be linked to the corals housing different kinds of symbiotic algae, which photosynthesize for the coral and thus provide the coral with energy. Previous research has shown that some symbiotic algae are more resilient to climate change than others. But when we looked at the three-color morphs, we found that they all housed very similar algae,” explained Professor Satoh.

    With this in mind, the research group instead focused the expression levels of the proteins that are thought responsible for the coral’s color. There are four different groups of these proteins – green fluorescent proteins (GFP), red fluorescent proteins (RFP), cyan fluorescent proteins (CFP), and non-fluorescent blue/purple chromoproteins (ChrP). The researchers looked at the gene expression levels of five types of GFP, three types of RFP, two types of CFP and seven types of ChrP in several coral in each morph.

    As can be expected, they found that the green morph expressed high quantities of FGPs, but the researchers found that two of the five were expressed at particularly high levels. More surprising was that these two proteins were expressed at even higher levels during summer, which indicates that they help the coral to withstand warmer temperatures. Specifically, these proteins seemed to protect the symbiotic algae, which meant that this color morph experienced very little bleaching.

    In contrast, the corals with the brown color morph, which express much lower quantities of these two proteins, bleached by around 50% over July and August 2017.

    The purple morph was different again. It expressed very little of any of the fluorescent proteins, but much higher levels of Chrp. The corals with this color morph bleached at levels in between that seen in corals with the brown morph and that seen in corals with the green morph.

    “Coral reefs are so important for biodiversity,” concluded Professor Satoh. “Finding out more about them will help us to conserve them. Right now, we cannot help so much about the coral reef situation but gathering this fundamental knowledge, understanding how corals work, is very important for long-term conservation.”

    This research has showcased that the color morphology of coral is very much involved in its response to high temperatures. The underlying reasons behind this, such as exactly how the green fluorescent protein protects the symbiosis, will no doubt be the topic of research in the future.

    5
    The green color morph (pictured in the lower right corner) was more resilient to rising sea temperatures than the purple color morph (also pictured) and the brown color morph. This research has shed light on the underlying genetic and protein factors that may be at work behind this. Credit: Kohei Shintaku.

    Professor Satoh and his Unit worked with people from Umino-Tane Co. LTD, IDEA Consultants, Inc., and Okinawa Environmental Research Co., Ltd., as well as researchers from the University of Tokyo. In addition, OIST’s DNA Sequencing Section and Imaging Section were also involved in this project. This research was partially funded by a donation from the Imano family.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (沖縄科学技術大学院大学; Okinawa Kagaku Gijutsu Daigakuin Daigaku, OIST) is a private, interdisciplinary graduate school located in Onna, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The school offers a 5-year PhD program in Science. Over half of the faculty and students are recruited from outside Japan, and all education and research is conducted entirely in English.

    OIST relies on public subsidies paid by the Japanese government. The government subsidy for OIST comes in two areas: a subsidy for operations and a subsidy for facilities.

    The PhD program is taught entirely in English and is individually tailored to each student. Students are encouraged to focus their research on cross-disciplinary areas of studies. Students are recruited through much higher levels of competition than that of the entrance examination for graduate schools of top national universities in Japan.

    According to a report completed by an external peer review panel in 2015, OIST is on a par with the 25 universities ranked highest by Times Higher Education, QS or Jiaotong World University Rankings in terms of physical campus infrastructure, management structure and management processes, academic program and recruitment of faculty, graduate program, instrumentation, course to research outcome, technology transfer and welfare, social, and cultural support programs.

    The faculty at OIST – which consists of assistant, associate, and tenured professors – are recruited from all around the world, including Japan, America, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe.

    The research community consists of faculty and researchers divided into “units” based on area of study. The university has no departments—OIST researchers conduct multi-disciplinary research in Neuroscience, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematical and Computational Sciences, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Environmental and Ecological Sciences and Marine Science. In 2019 OIST was ranked 1st in Japan and 9th in the world by the Nature Index for the proportion of its research that is published in high-quality science journals.

    In June 2001 Kōji Omi, former Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs and former Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy, announced plans to establish a new graduate university in Okinawa. A Board of Governors was appointed in 2004 and the following year, the Diet recognized OIST as an “Independent Administrative Institution”. The first class of students were welcomed in September 2012 after receiving approval.

     
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