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  • richardmitnick 11:00 am on December 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Artificial Intelligence helps speed up ecological surveys", A deep-learning model to count the number of seals in archived photos, Ecology, Monitoring seal populations with aerial photography, The new method could run through 100 images in less than one minute – versus one hour for a human expert., The next step will be to apply similar approaches to satellite images of inaccessible Arctic regions where several seal populations live.,   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH): “Artificial Intelligence helps speed up ecological surveys” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH)

    01.12.21
    Sandrine Perroud

    1
    Scientists at EPFL, The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research(NL) and Wageningen University & Research [Wageningen Universiteit & Onderzoek](NL) have developed a new deep-learning model for counting the number of seals in aerial photos that is considerably faster than doing it by hand. With this new method, valuable time and resources could be saved which can be used to further study and protect endangered species.

    Ecologists have been monitoring seal populations for decades, building up vast libraries of aerial photos in the process. Counting the number of seals in these photos require hours of meticulous work to manually identify the animals in each image.

    Today, a cross-disciplinary team of researchers including Jeroen Hoekendijk, a PhD student at Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and employed by the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), and Devis Tuia, an associate professor and head of the Environmental Computational Science and Earth Observation Laboratory at EPFL Valais, have come up with a more efficient approach to count objects in ecological surveys. In their study, published in Scientific Reports, they use a deep-learning model to count the number of seals in archived photos. Their method could run through 100 images in less than one minute – versus one hour for a human expert.

    No labeling needed

    “In ecology, the most commonly employed deep-learning models are first trained to detect individual objects, after which the detected objects are counted. This type of model requires extensive annotations of individual objects during training,” says Hoekendijk. However, the method applied by the research team eliminates the need to label individual seals beforehand, dramatically speeding up the procedure since only the total number of animals in the picture is needed. What’s more, their method can be used to count any items or individual animals, and thus potentially help to process not only the new photos, but also those that could not be analyzed for lack of time. This represents decades of photos that could provide important insight into how population size has evolved over time.

    From the macroscopic to the microscopic

    The way seals appear in aerial photos can vary significantly from one batch to the next, depending on the altitude and angle at which the photo was taken. The research team therefore evaluated robustness to such variation. In addition, to demonstrate the potential of their deep-learning model, the scientists tested their approach on a fundamentally different dataset, of a much smaller scale: images of microscopic growth rings in fishbones called otoliths.

    2
    Example of otolith image under the microscope. © NIOZ

    These otoliths, or hearing stones, are hard, calcium carbonate structures located directly behind a fish’s brain. The scientists trained their model to count the daily growth rings visible in the images, which are used to estimate the age of the fish. These growth rings are known for being extremely challenging to annotate individually. The research team found that their model had roughly the same margin of error as manual methods, but could work through 100 images in under a minute, whereas it would take three hours for an expert.

    Next step

    The next step will be to apply similar approaches to satellite images of inaccessible Arctic regions where several seal populations live that are on the Red List of Threatened Species compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. “We plan to use this approach to study endangered species in this remote part of the world, where temperatures are rising twice as fast as elsewhere on the planet”, says Tuia. “Knowing where the animals concentrate is essential to protect these often-endangered species.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EPFL bloc

    EPFL campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne] (CH) is a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specializes in natural sciences and engineering. It is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and it has three main missions: education, research and technology transfer.

    The QS World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) 14th in the world across all fields in their 2020/2021 ranking, whereas Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) as the world’s 19th best school for Engineering and Technology in 2020.

    EPFL(CH) is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland; the sister institution in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich)](CH) . Associated with several specialized research institutes, the two universities form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) which is directly dependent on the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. In connection with research and teaching activities, EPFL(CH) operates a nuclear reactor CROCUS; a Tokamak Fusion reactor; a Blue Gene/Q Supercomputer; and P3 bio-hazard facilities.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    The roots of modern-day EPFL(CH) can be traced back to the foundation of a private school under the name École spéciale de Lausanne in 1853 at the initiative of Lois Rivier, a graduate of the École Centrale Paris (FR) and John Gay the then professor and rector of the Académie de Lausanne. At its inception it had only 11 students and the offices was located at Rue du Valentin in Lausanne. In 1869, it became the technical department of the public Académie de Lausanne. When the Académie was reorganised and acquired the status of a university in 1890, the technical faculty changed its name to École d’ingénieurs de l’Université de Lausanne. In 1946, it was renamed the École polytechnique de l’Université de Lausanne (EPUL). In 1969, the EPUL was separated from the rest of the University of Lausanne and became a federal institute under its current name. EPFL(CH), like ETH Zürich(CH), is thus directly controlled by the Swiss federal government. In contrast, all other universities in Switzerland are controlled by their respective cantonal governments. Following the nomination of Patrick Aebischer as president in 2000, EPFL(CH) has started to develop into the field of life sciences. It absorbed the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) in 2008.

    In 1946, there were 360 students. In 1969, EPFL(CH) had 1,400 students and 55 professors. In the past two decades the university has grown rapidly and as of 2012 roughly 14,000 people study or work on campus, about 9,300 of these being Bachelor, Master or PhD students. The environment at modern day EPFL(CH) is highly international with the school attracting students and researchers from all over the world. More than 125 countries are represented on the campus and the university has two official languages, French and English.

    Organization

    EPFL is organised into eight schools, themselves formed of institutes that group research units (laboratories or chairs) around common themes:

    School of Basic Sciences (SB, Jan S. Hesthaven)

    Institute of Mathematics (MATH, Victor Panaretos)
    Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC, Emsley Lyndon)
    Institute of Physics (IPHYS, Harald Brune)
    European Centre of Atomic and Molecular Computations (CECAM, Ignacio Pagonabarraga Mora)
    Bernoulli Center (CIB, Nicolas Monod)
    Biomedical Imaging Research Center (CIBM, Rolf Gruetter)
    Interdisciplinary Center for Electron Microscopy (CIME, Cécile Hébert)
    Max Planck-EPFL Centre for Molecular Nanosciences and Technology (CMNT, Thomas Rizzo)
    Swiss Plasma Center (SPC, Ambrogio Fasoli)
    Laboratory of Astrophysics (LASTRO, Jean-Paul Kneib)

    School of Engineering (STI, Ali Sayed)

    Institute of Electrical Engineering (IEL, Giovanni De Micheli)
    Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IGM, Thomas Gmür)
    Institute of Materials (IMX, Michaud Véronique)
    Institute of Microengineering (IMT, Olivier Martin)
    Institute of Bioengineering (IBI, Matthias Lütolf)

    School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC, Claudia R. Binder)

    Institute of Architecture (IA, Luca Ortelli)
    Civil Engineering Institute (IIC, Eugen Brühwiler)
    Institute of Urban and Regional Sciences (INTER, Philippe Thalmann)
    Environmental Engineering Institute (IIE, David Andrew Barry)

    School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC, James Larus)

    Algorithms & Theoretical Computer Science
    Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
    Computational Biology
    Computer Architecture & Integrated Systems
    Data Management & Information Retrieval
    Graphics & Vision
    Human-Computer Interaction
    Information & Communication Theory
    Networking
    Programming Languages & Formal Methods
    Security & Cryptography
    Signal & Image Processing
    Systems

    School of Life Sciences (SV, Gisou van der Goot)

    Bachelor-Master Teaching Section in Life Sciences and Technologies (SSV)
    Brain Mind Institute (BMI, Carmen Sandi)
    Institute of Bioengineering (IBI, Melody Swartz)
    Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC, Douglas Hanahan)
    Global Health Institute (GHI, Bruno Lemaitre)
    Ten Technology Platforms & Core Facilities (PTECH)
    Center for Phenogenomics (CPG)
    NCCR Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases (NCCR-SYNAPSY)

    College of Management of Technology (CDM)

    Swiss Finance Institute at EPFL (CDM-SFI, Damir Filipovic)
    Section of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship (CDM-PMTE, Daniel Kuhn)
    Institute of Technology and Public Policy (CDM-ITPP, Matthias Finger)
    Institute of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship (CDM-MTEI, Ralf Seifert)
    Section of Financial Engineering (CDM-IF, Julien Hugonnier)

    College of Humanities (CDH, Thomas David)

    Human and social sciences teaching program (CDH-SHS, Thomas David)

    EPFL Middle East (EME, Dr. Franco Vigliotti)[62]

    Section of Energy Management and Sustainability (MES, Prof. Maher Kayal)

    In addition to the eight schools there are seven closely related institutions

    Swiss Cancer Centre
    Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM)
    Centre for Advanced Modelling Science (CADMOS)
    École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL)
    Campus Biotech
    Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuro-engineering
    Swiss National Supercomputing Centre

     
  • richardmitnick 9:12 am on November 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: " 'We must improve how we treat our Reef' ”, "Moving Corals Project" where coral larvae are grown in floating pools, , , , Ecology, , , Multiple coral larvae research projects   

    From CSIROscope (AU): ” ‘We must improve how we treat our Reef’ ” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope (AU)

    at

    CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    25 Nov, 2021
    Jane Adcroft, The Great Barrier Reef Foundation(AU)

    Dr. Christopher Doropoulos says utilising the masses of coral larvae released following annual spawning events could help restore our Reef.

    1
    Dr. Christopher Doropoulos.

    Chris’s early life story doesn’t read like your typical marine ecologist-in-the-making. While he was always fascinated by marine ecosystems, Chris grew up in a family of artists. He studied film and photography, later leaving university behind to follow his dreams of becoming a rock star.

    His bands played locally, toured nationally and once even internationally in the early 2000s, performing, recording and featuring on Triple J and the iconic Saturday morning TV music video program Rage.

    “I never imagined being a scientist – the dream was to be a rock star,” he admits.

    Coral captivated Chris

    But in the end, the life cycle of corals won Chris’s heart.

    And it’s little wonder why. To witness coral reproduction is to watch one of nature’s greatest phenomena. Once a year, on cue, millions of corals release their eggs and sperm in a synchronised mass spawning event. Fertilised eggs then develop into baby corals, known as larvae, which settle on the ocean floor and repopulate the Reef.

    Chris said he’s now lucky enough to watch spawning unfold each year as part of his research into the intricacies of coral ‘recruitment’. It looks at the factors that can help or hinder larvae’s chances of surviving to adulthood.

    “The various ecological interactions and trade-offs during the early life stages of corals are just endless! We’ll never know it all but there is so much opportunity for discovery,” he said.

    2
    Chris monitoring coral growth and survival. Credit: Marie Roman, The Australian Institute of Marine Science(AU).

    The importance of how we treat our Reef

    Chris’s love of coral began while working at Edith Cowan University(AU) as a Research Assistant at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. This led to a successful research career with The University of Queensland (AU), The ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, The Australian Coral Reef Society (AU) and as an advisor to Palau International Coral Reef Center and the Maldives Marine Research Institute.

    He is now a Senior Research Scientist with us based in Brisbane.

    Chris leads multiple coral larvae research projects as part of the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program, which aims to find large-scale solutions to help the Reef recover from the impacts of climate change.

    “It’s all about building on our ecological knowledge – understanding those early interactions – and thinking about and testing how we can use coral larvae to restore the Reef,” he said.

    “I love breaking things down into tiny detailed chunks, like fertilisation, larval development, larval settlement, and early coral growth and survival. Then, investigating how each stage responds to different interactions and disturbances.

    “We can utilise this information to predict and test what happens at larger scales,” he said.

    3
    Professor Peter Harrison of Southern Cross University (AU) (left) with his research assistant Christina Langley and Christopher. Credit: Southern Cross University.

    Teamwork makes the dream work

    4
    Chris co-leads the Moving Corals Project, where coral larvae are grown in floating pools. Credit: Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum.

    Chris has a desire to understand more about reef ecology. He’s also motivated and inspired by his mentors and the teams of people he works with from multiple fields that allow for experiments and trials to operate at unprecedented scales.

    “This work has really highlighted the value of working with experts from different areas to try and achieve effective scaling for coral restoration. This teamwork has really broaden my thoughts and confidence in just how possible it really is,” he said.

    Another draw card is the Reef itself

    “It’s so massive and incredible and full of life. For those of us who live in Australia, we are so fortunate to have it on our doorstep. We need to continually improve how we treat and respect it for long-term sustainability,” Chris said.

    “With climate change pressures constantly ramping up, it’s increasingly stressed. We can’t wait for the system to collapse because then it will be too late.”

    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 Organisation , is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations 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 organisation 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 organised 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 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 Organisation (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.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) Mopra radio telescope

    Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder

    NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US)

    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 10:09 am on November 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Stanford researchers reveal how wildfire accelerates forest changes", , As the climate changes animal and plant species are shifting their ranges toward conditions suitable for their growth and reproduction., , , Ecology,   

    From Stanford University (US) : “Stanford researchers reveal how wildfire accelerates forest changes” 

    Stanford University Name

    From Stanford University (US)

    November 15, 2021
    Chris Field
    Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
    (650) 823-5326
    cfield@stanford.edu

    Avery Hill
    School of Humanities & Sciences
    (707) 363-0168
    aph82@stanford.edu

    Rob Jordan
    Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
    (650) 721-1881
    rjordan@stanford.edu

    Refugees are on the move in forests across the western U.S. As climate conditions change, the ranges of tree species are shifting, especially toward cooler or wetter sites. A new Stanford analysis provides some of the first empirical evidence that wildfire is accelerating this process, likely by reducing competition from established species. The study, published Nov. 15 in Nature Communications, raises questions about how to manage land in an era of shifting ecosystems – a key issue as President Biden prepares to sign into law an infrastructure bill that allocates more than $5 billion for forest restoration and wildfire risk reduction.

    1
    Stanford researchers identified tree species that are shifting their ranges toward cooler, wetter sites – an expected response to the recent warming and drying. (Image credit: Intricate Explorer/Unsplash.)

    “Complex, interdependent forces are shaping the future of our forests,” said study lead author Avery Hill, a graduate student in biology at Stanford’s School of Humanities & Sciences. “We leveraged an immense amount of ecological data in the hopes of contributing to a growing body of work aimed at managing these ecosystem transitions.”

    As the climate changes animal and plant species are shifting their ranges toward conditions suitable for their growth and reproduction. Past research has shown that plant ranges are shifting to higher, cooler elevations at an average rate of almost five feet per year. In many studies, these range shifts lag behind the rate of climate change, suggesting that some species may become stranded in unsuitable habitats. The factors that impact plant species’ ability to keep up with climate change are key to maintaining healthy populations of the dominant trees in western forests, yet have remained largely mysterious.

    To better understand the distance, direction and rate at which tree ranges are shifting, Hill and study co-author Chris Field, the Perry L. McCarty Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, looked at how the phenomenon is affected by wildfire, a potent and widespread driver of ecosystem structure and composition in the western United States.

    Using U.S. Forest Service data collected from over 74,000 plots across nine Western states, the researchers identified tree species that are shifting their ranges toward cooler, wetter sites – an expected response to the recent warming and drying. Then, they compared the rate of these range shifts between places that were burned by wildfire and places that were not.

    Of eight species that had seedlings growing in climates significantly different from mature trees of the same species, Hill and Field found strong evidence that two – Douglas fir and canyon live oak – had larger range shifts in areas that burned than in areas that did not.

    Although the analysis did not reveal the mechanism for how wildfire accelerates range shifts for certain trees, the researchers hypothesized that burned areas with their open canopies and scorched understory present less competition from other plant species.

    The findings demonstrate not only that fire can accelerate tree migration, but that some species may be slowing the range shifts of others through competition. This, in turn, raises questions about the impact of fire management on trees’ ability to keep up with climate change, and points to the importance of low-intensity prescribed and natural fires.

    “This study highlights a natural mechanism that can help forests remain healthy, even in the face of small amounts of climate change,” said Field. “It also illustrates the way that ecosystem processes often have several layers of controls, a feature that emphasizes the value of detailed understanding for effective management.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Stanford University campus

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded Stanford University (US) to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members.

    Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is consistently ranked as among the most prestigious and top universities in the world by major education publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

    The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 126 NCAA team championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors’ Cup for 24 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.

    As of October 2020, 84 Nobel laureates, 28 Turing Award laureates, and eight Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty, or staff. In addition, Stanford is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, roughly equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world (as of 2020). Stanford is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Herbert Hoover), 74 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, and members of the United States Congress.

    Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, dedicated to Leland Stanford Jr, their only child. The institution opened in 1891 on Stanford’s previous Palo Alto farm.

    Jane and Leland Stanford modeled their university after the great eastern universities, most specifically Cornell University. Stanford opened being called the “Cornell of the West” in 1891 due to faculty being former Cornell affiliates (either professors, alumni, or both) including its first president, David Starr Jordan, and second president, John Casper Branner. Both Cornell and Stanford were among the first to have higher education be accessible, nonsectarian, and open to women as well as to men. Cornell is credited as one of the first American universities to adopt this radical departure from traditional education, and Stanford became an early adopter as well.

    Despite being impacted by earthquakes in both 1906 and 1989, the campus was rebuilt each time. In 1919, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace was started by Herbert Hoover to preserve artifacts related to World War I. The Stanford Medical Center, completed in 1959, is a teaching hospital with over 800 beds. The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory(US)(originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), established in 1962, performs research in particle physics.

    Land

    Most of Stanford is on an 8,180-acre (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km^2) campus, one of the largest in the United States. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (30 km) northwest of San Jose. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.

    Stanford’s main campus includes a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (such as the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.

    Non-central campus

    Stanford currently operates in various locations outside of its central campus.

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.
    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

    Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
    Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in several locations around the world; thus, each location has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a “mini-Stanford”.

    Redwood City campus for many of the university’s administrative offices located in Redwood City, California, a few miles north of the main campus. In 2005, the university purchased a small, 35-acre (14 ha) campus in Midpoint Technology Park intended for staff offices; development was delayed by The Great Recession. In 2015 the university announced a development plan and the Redwood City campus opened in March 2019.

    The Bass Center in Washington, DC provides a base, including housing, for the Stanford in Washington program for undergraduates. It includes a small art gallery open to the public.

    China: Stanford Center at Peking University, housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building, is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Beijing University [北京大学](CN) (Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University(CN) (KIAA-PKU).

    Administration and organization

    Stanford is a private, non-profit university that is administered as a corporate trust governed by a privately appointed board of trustees with a maximum membership of 38. Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[83] A new trustee is chosen by the current trustees by ballot. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center, and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital).

    The board appoints a president to serve as the chief executive officer of the university, to prescribe the duties of professors and course of study, to manage financial and business affairs, and to appoint nine vice presidents. The provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report. Persis Drell became the 13th provost in February 2017.

    As of 2018, the university was organized into seven academic schools. The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (nine departments), and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (four departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the Schools of Law, Medicine, Education and Business have graduate programs only. The powers and authority of the faculty are vested in the Academic Council, which is made up of tenure and non-tenure line faculty, research faculty, senior fellows in some policy centers and institutes, the president of the university, and some other academic administrators, but most matters are handled by the Faculty Senate, made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty.

    The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.

    Stanford is the beneficiary of a special clause in the California Constitution, which explicitly exempts Stanford property from taxation so long as the property is used for educational purposes.

    Endowment and donations

    The university’s endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $27.7 billion as of August 31, 2019. Payouts from the Stanford endowment covered approximately 21.8% of university expenses in the 2019 fiscal year. In the 2018 NACUBO-TIAA survey of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, only Harvard University(US), the University of Texas System(US), and Yale University(US) had larger endowments than Stanford.

    In 2006, President John L. Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale. Specifically, the campaign raised $253.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, as well as $2.33 billion for its initiative in “Seeking Solutions” to global problems, $1.61 billion for “Educating Leaders” by improving K-12 education, and $2.11 billion for “Foundation of Excellence” aimed at providing academic support for Stanford students and faculty. Funds supported 366 new fellowships for graduate students, 139 new endowed chairs for faculty, and 38 new or renovated buildings. The new funding also enabled the construction of a facility for stem cell research; a new campus for the business school; an expansion of the law school; a new Engineering Quad; a new art and art history building; an on-campus concert hall; a new art museum; and a planned expansion of the medical school, among other things. In 2012, the university raised $1.035 billion, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Research centers and institutes

    DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory(US)
    Stanford Research Institute, a center of innovation to support economic development in the region.
    Hoover Institution, a conservative American public policy institution and research institution that promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.
    Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam [Universität Potsdam](DE) that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education).
    Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, which grew out of and still contains the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project.
    John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists
    Center for Ocean Solutions
    Together with UC Berkeley(US) and UC San Francisco(US), Stanford is part of the Biohub, a new medical science research center founded in 2016 by a $600 million commitment from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician Priscilla Chan.

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

    Biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – Arthur Kornberg synthesized DNA material and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 for his work at Stanford.
    First Transgenic organism – Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer were the first scientists to transplant genes from one living organism to another, a fundamental discovery for genetic engineering. Thousands of products have been developed on the basis of their work, including human growth hormone and hepatitis B vaccine.
    Laser – Arthur Leonard Schawlow shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn for his work on lasers.
    Nuclear magnetic resonance – Felix Bloch developed new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements, which are the underlying principles of the MRI.

    Computer and applied sciences

    ARPANETStanford Research Institute, formerly part of Stanford but on a separate campus, was the site of one of the four original ARPANET nodes.

    Internet—Stanford was the site where the original design of the Internet was undertaken. Vint Cerf led a research group to elaborate the design of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) that he originally co-created with Robert E. Kahn (Bob Kahn) in 1973 and which formed the basis for the architecture of the Internet.

    Frequency modulation synthesis – John Chowning of the Music department invented the FM music synthesis algorithm in 1967, and Stanford later licensed it to Yamaha Corporation.

    Google – Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP’s goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library” and it was funded through the National Science Foundation, among other federal agencies.

    Klystron tube – invented by the brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian at Stanford. Their prototype was completed and demonstrated successfully on August 30, 1937. Upon publication in 1939, news of the klystron immediately influenced the work of U.S. and UK researchers working on radar equipment.

    RISCARPA funded VLSI project of microprocessor design. Stanford and UC Berkeley are most associated with the popularization of this concept. The Stanford MIPS would go on to be commercialized as the successful MIPS architecture, while Berkeley RISC gave its name to the entire concept, commercialized as the SPARC. Another success from this era were IBM’s efforts that eventually led to the IBM POWER instruction set architecture, PowerPC, and Power ISA. As these projects matured, a wide variety of similar designs flourished in the late 1980s and especially the early 1990s, representing a major force in the Unix workstation market as well as embedded processors in laser printers, routers and similar products.
    SUN workstation – Andy Bechtolsheim designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation, which led to Sun Microsystems.

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

    Stanford is one of the most successful universities in creating companies and licensing its inventions to existing companies; it is often held up as a model for technology transfer. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing is responsible for commercializing university research, intellectual property, and university-developed projects.

    The university is described as having a strong venture culture in which students are encouraged, and often funded, to launch their own companies.

    Companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

    Hewlett-Packard, 1939, co-founders William R. Hewlett (B.S, PhD) and David Packard (M.S).
    Silicon Graphics, 1981, co-founders James H. Clark (Associate Professor) and several of his grad students.
    Sun Microsystems, 1982, co-founders Vinod Khosla (M.B.A), Andy Bechtolsheim (PhD) and Scott McNealy (M.B.A).
    Cisco, 1984, founders Leonard Bosack (M.S) and Sandy Lerner (M.S) who were in charge of Stanford Computer Science and Graduate School of Business computer operations groups respectively when the hardware was developed.[163]
    Yahoo!, 1994, co-founders Jerry Yang (B.S, M.S) and David Filo (M.S).
    Google, 1998, co-founders Larry Page (M.S) and Sergey Brin (M.S).
    LinkedIn, 2002, co-founders Reid Hoffman (B.S), Konstantin Guericke (B.S, M.S), Eric Lee (B.S), and Alan Liu (B.S).
    Instagram, 2010, co-founders Kevin Systrom (B.S) and Mike Krieger (B.S).
    Snapchat, 2011, co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (B.S).
    Coursera, 2012, co-founders Andrew Ng (Associate Professor) and Daphne Koller (Professor, PhD).

    Student body

    Stanford enrolled 6,996 undergraduate and 10,253 graduate students as of the 2019–2020 school year. Women comprised 50.4% of undergraduates and 41.5% of graduate students. In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

    Stanford awarded 1,819 undergraduate degrees, 2,393 master’s degrees, 770 doctoral degrees, and 3270 professional degrees in the 2018–2019 school year. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2017 cohort was 72.9%, and the six-year rate was 94.4%. The relatively low four-year graduation rate is a function of the university’s coterminal degree (or “coterm”) program, which allows students to earn a master’s degree as a 1-to-2-year extension of their undergraduate program.

    As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates were first-generation students.

    Athletics

    As of 2016 Stanford had 16 male varsity sports and 20 female varsity sports, 19 club sports and about 27 intramural sports. In 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot “Indian.” The Indian symbol and name were dropped by President Richard Lyman in 1972, after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate. The sports teams are now officially referred to as the “Stanford Cardinal,” referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Stanford is a member of the Pac-12 Conference in most sports, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several other sports, and the America East Conference in field hockey with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA’s Division I FBS.

    Its traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, the neighbor to the north in the East Bay. The winner of the annual “Big Game” between the Cal and Cardinal football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe.

    Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year and has earned 126 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, the most among universities, and Stanford has won 522 individual national championships, the most by any university. Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked Division 1 athletic program—the NACDA Directors’ Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup—annually for the past twenty-four straight years. Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 270 Olympic medals total, 139 of them gold. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, and 2016 Summer Olympics, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States. Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics (12 gold, two silver and two bronze), and 27 medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

    Traditions

    The unofficial motto of Stanford, selected by President Jordan, is Die Luft der Freiheit weht. Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, “The wind of freedom blows.” The motto was controversial during World War I, when anything in German was suspect; at that time the university disavowed that this motto was official.
    Hail, Stanford, Hail! is the Stanford Hymn sometimes sung at ceremonies or adapted by the various University singing groups. It was written in 1892 by mechanical engineering professor Albert W. Smith and his wife, Mary Roberts Smith (in 1896 she earned the first Stanford doctorate in Economics and later became associate professor of Sociology), but was not officially adopted until after a performance on campus in March 1902 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman”: Stanford does not award honorary degrees, but in 1953 the degree of “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman” was created to recognize individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. Technically, this degree is awarded by the Stanford Associates, a voluntary group that is part of the university’s alumni association. As Stanford’s highest honor, it is not conferred at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.
    Big Game events: The events in the week leading up to the Big Game vs. UC Berkeley, including Gaieties (a musical written, composed, produced, and performed by the students of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society).
    “Viennese Ball”: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program. It is now open to all students.
    “Full Moon on the Quad”: An annual event at Main Quad, where students gather to kiss one another starting at midnight. Typically organized by the Junior class cabinet, the festivities include live entertainment, such as music and dance performances.
    “Band Run”: An annual festivity at the beginning of the school year, where the band picks up freshmen from dorms across campus while stopping to perform at each location, culminating in a finale performance at Main Quad.
    “Mausoleum Party”: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleum, the final resting place of Leland Stanford Jr. and his parents. A 20-year tradition, the “Mausoleum Party” was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005 due to a lack of funding, but was revived in 2006. In 2008, it was hosted in Old Union rather than at the actual Mausoleum, because rain prohibited generators from being rented. In 2009, after fundraising efforts by the Junior Class Presidents and the ASSU Executive, the event was able to return to the Mausoleum despite facing budget cuts earlier in the year.
    Former campus traditions include the “Big Game bonfire” on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which was formally ended in 1997 because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

    19 Nobel Prize laureates (as of October 2020, 85 affiliates in total)
    171 members of the National Academy of Sciences
    109 members of National Academy of Engineering
    76 members of National Academy of Medicine
    288 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    19 recipients of the National Medal of Science
    1 recipient of the National Medal of Technology
    4 recipients of the National Humanities Medal
    49 members of American Philosophical Society
    56 fellows of the American Physics Society (since 1995)
    4 Pulitzer Prize winners
    31 MacArthur Fellows
    4 Wolf Foundation Prize winners
    2 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award winners
    14 AAAI fellows
    2 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 10:13 am on November 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Finding Bright Spots in the Global Coral Reef Catastrophe", , , , Ecology, , ,   

    From Yale University (US) : “Finding Bright Spots in the Global Coral Reef Catastrophe” 

    From Yale University (US)

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    October 21, 2021
    Nicola Jones

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    A diver examines bleached coral in French Polynesia in 2019. Credit: Alexis Rosenfeld / Getty Images.

    The first-ever report on the world’s coral reefs presents a grim picture, as losses mount due to global warming. But there are signs of hope — some regions are having coral growth, and researchers found that corals can recover if given a decade of reprieve from hot water.

    When ecological genomicist Christian Voolstra started work on corals in Saudi Arabia in 2009, one of the biggest bonuses to his job was scuba diving on the gorgeous reefs. Things have changed. “I was just back in September and I was shocked,” says Voolstra, now at The University of Konstanz [Universität Konstanz](DE). “There’s a lot of rubble. The fish are missing. The colors are missing.”

    It’s a sad but now familiar story. Earlier this month, the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network released the first-ever report collating global statistics on corals, documenting the status of reefs across 12,000 sites in 73 countries over 40 years. Overall, they report, the world has lost 14 percent of its corals from 2009 to 2018 — that’s about 11,700 square kilometers of coral wiped out.

    “If this had happened to the Amazon, if overnight it had turned white or black, it would be in the news everywhere,” says Voolstra. “Because it’s underwater, no one notices.”

    Corals are facing tough times from global warming: Prolonged marine heat waves, which are on the rise, cause corals to expel their symbiotic algae (called zooxanthellae), leaving the bleached corals weak and vulnerable. Local pollution continues to be a problem for corals, but global warming is emerging as the predominant threat. In 2018, the International Panel on Climate Change reported that 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming would cause global coral reefs to decline by 70-90 percent (warming currently stands at 1.2 degrees C). A 2-degree C warmer world would lose more than 99 percent of its corals.

    There are some hints of hope. The Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network report shows that corals can recover globally if given about a decade of reprieve from hot waters. Some spots — particularly the Coral Triangle in East Asia, which hosts nearly a third of global corals — have bucked the trend and seen coral growth. There are hints that corals might be adapting to warmer conditions. And research is burgeoning on creative ways to improve coral restoration, from selectively breeding super corals to spreading probiotics on stressed reefs.

    “I’m hopeful,” says Voolstra. But it’s going to take a lot of quick action, he says, and even then we won’t be able to save all reefs. “That’s impossible. The point is you save some reefs so they can go through the dark ages of climate change.”

    From 1978, when the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network’s data collection began, hard coral on the world’s reefs held relatively steady for decades. That changed dramatically in 1998 with the first global mass bleaching event. Warm waters around the world caused in large part by a powerful El Niño wiped out about 8 percent of living coral globally, equivalent to a grand total of 6,500 square kilometers. “All the drama started in 1998,” says David Souter, coordinator of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and a researcher at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville. “Corals are actually pretty good at sustaining short, sharp temperature increases, but when it starts to last months, we see real issues.”

    Astonishingly, however, by 2010 global coral coverage was roughly back to pre-1998 levels. “That’s good news,” says Souter. “Even though reefs got knocked down, they got back up again.” When “old growth” corals are wiped out, the new ones that move in are often faster-growing, weedier species (just as with trees after a forest fire), says Souter. It’s great to have this growth, he says, but these opportunistic corals are often more vulnerable to disease, heat, and storms.

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    These graphs detail the change in hard coral cover in 10 regions over the last 40 years. After a heatwave killed about 8 percent of living coral in 1998, affected regions made a recovery; now, as temperatures rise, reefs globally are in decline. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Australian Institute of Marine Science.

    A global decline has largely been the trend since 2010, plunging corals back below 1998 levels. That’s due in large part to two more global bleaching events, in 2010 and 2015-2017, from which corals haven’t been given enough reprieve. There has been a tiny, 2 percent uptick in live coral since 2019, though it’s too soon to say if that might continue. “If you were a really optimistic person you might say that this occurred even while temperatures are high, so maybe we’re seeing adaptation,” says Souter.

    During the long, relatively stable and healthy period for corals in the 1990s and early 2000s, the average reef was about 30 percent live hard coral and 15 percent macroalgae like seaweeds and turf. That’s twice as much coral as algae. Since 2009, that ratio has slipped to about 1.5 as reef macroalgae has boomed by 20 percent. While seaweed also makes for a productive ecosystem, it’s not the same as the complex architecture made by reefs, and it supports different fish.

    Encouragingly, the so-called Coral Triangle of the East Asian Seas stands out as a bold exception. This region holds almost a third of the world’s coral reefs — and it anomalously hosts more live hard coral and less macroalgae today than in the early 1980s, despite rising water temperatures. That’s thought to be thanks to genetic diversity among the region’s 600 species of coral, which is allowing corals to adapt to warm waters. “Perhaps diversity has provided some protection,” says Souter, while a healthy population of herbivorous fish and urchins are keeping seaweeds down.

    The other three main global regions for coral — the Pacific, holding more than a quarter of the global total; Australia, with 16 percent; and the Caribbean, with 10 percent — all host less coral today than when measurements started. “The Caribbean is a really tragic and desperate case,” says Voolstra, with only 50 or so species of coral and a new disease wiping them out.

    It could all be worse, notes Souter. “Reefs are probably, on average, better off than I thought,” he says. “The fact that the reefs retain the ability to bounce back, that’s amazing.”

    In the face of punishing conditions, coral conservationists globally are working to protect corals from pollution and actively restore them. One recent study, led by Lisa Boström-Einarsson of James Cook University in Australia, trawled through the literature and found more than 360 coral restoration projects across 56 countries. Most are focused on transplanting bits of coral from a flourishing spot to a struggling one, or “gardening” baby corals in nurseries and planting them out. They also include innovative efforts like using electricity to prompt calcification on artificial reefs (an old but still-controversial idea), and using a diamond blade saw to slice tiny, fast-growing microfragments off slow-growing corals.

    Other researchers are piloting projects to spray coral larvae onto reefs that need it most — this should be faster and easier than hand-planting corals, but it’s unclear yet how many of the larvae survive. “If it works, it will produce much greater gains more rapidly,” says Souter.

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    Ecologist Christian Voolstra (left) and a colleague collect fragments of coral for a rapid stress test to determine their resilience. Credit: Pete West.

    Boström-Einarsson and colleagues found an encouragingly high average survival rate of 66 percent for the restored corals in these 362 projects. But these happy numbers mask more sobering facts. Almost half of the projects were in just a handful of countries; most lasted less than 18 months; and the median size was a tiny 100 square meters. Worse, the coral gains were often temporary. In one case in Indonesia, a three-year project dramatically increased coral cover and fish — which were then decimated by a heat wave six months after the project ended.

    Such efforts are still worthwhile and raise awareness about corals, says Voolstra. But there are some techniques that could make them far more effective and far bigger in scale.

    One bold strategy is to selectively breed corals to create super-strains best adapted to a warmer world — but this work is still very preliminary. “Corals take longer to breed and raise up than cows, so we have been betting more on finding heat-resistant individuals that are already out there than on making new ones in the lab,” says Stephen Palumbi at Stanford University (US), a marine biologist who focuses on corals around the Pacific Island nation of Palau. Palumbi has developed a tank that runs small samples of coral through a heat test on site, and is now working to make it cheaper — in part, he says, by borrowing components from the home brewing industry. Voolstra, too, has developed a tool for on-site stress testing; he was this summer granted $4 million from the Paul Allen Foundation to take his effort global.

    Heat tolerance, though, isn’t the only thing that corals need. Selecting the ones that can survive the heat might also inadvertently select ones that are less resistant to disease, for example, or slower growing. “We need to understand this better,” says Voolstra.

    A different strategy is to tweak the organisms that live in and around corals and help them to grow, including the symbiotic zooxanthellae and bacteria. Getting corals to adopt heat-tolerant zooxanthellae is a great idea that could theoretically have a huge impact, says Voolstra, but it’s hard to do. The union is like an intimate marriage, and it’s difficult to shift. Changing corals’ bacteria, which tend to live on a mucous layer on the outside of the corals, is easier, and seems to boost overall coral health. “They bleach the same way but recover better,” says Voolstra. One recent study led by microbiologist Raquel Peixoto from King Abdulla University showed that lathering corals in probiotics could improve coral survival after a heat wave by 40 percent. “It’s still experimental and proof of concept,” says Peixoto, who is experimenting with robotic submarines that could drop slow-release probiotic pills onto reefs to release bacteria slowly over weeks.

    A further-flung option being toyed with in Australia is the idea of brightening clouds over a reef in an attempt to shield them from extreme heat. “It’s totally left field,” laughs Souter, but should work the same way as cloud seeding for agriculture: A sprayed mist of seawater encourages clouds to form and shields the ground from direct light. This year researchers trialed the idea; they haven’t yet published their results. If it works, scaling up would be a massive project: they anticipate they would need a thousand stations with hundreds of sprayers each to lower solar radiation by about 6.5 percent over the Great Barrier Reef during a heat wave. Questions remain about whether the effort would be worth the energy cost, and what the net effects would be on ecosystems throughout the region.

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    Researchers grow corals on cinder blocks in a nursery in Ko Phi Phi, Thailand. Once reaching a certain size, the corals will be transplanted to a reef targeted for restoration. Credit: Anna Roik.

    A lot more work needs to be done on the real-world utility of these strategies, says Voolstra, to see what actually works. “Then you put truckloads of money into whatever really makes a difference,” he says. Different reefs will require different solutions, making all these strategies important says Peixoto. “It’s all hands on deck.:

    In the meantime, Voolstra supports the idea of investing heavily in sanctuaries: spots, like the Northern Red Sea, where corals are already adapted to handling hot waters but are threatened by other factors, like sewage, pollution, construction, and fish farms. Local efforts to tackle non-climate-related hazards for corals can be very effective. The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System was taken off the list of World Heritage sites in danger in 2018, for example, after a push to protect that ecosystem and ban oil development.

    If protecting a handful of refugia from humans doesn’t seem like a big enough effort, last year researchers also launched a project to build an emergency “Noah’s Ark” for corals across global aquaria, keeping their genetic diversity alive in tanks on land.

    When the IPCC declared in 2018 that 99 percent of corals would be lost in a 2-degree C warmer world, says Voolstra, that was really shocking. The goal now is to whittle that 99 percent down to 90 percent or less, he says, so that reefs have at least a chance of bouncing back. “Whatever we do, it gets much worse before it gets better.”

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Yale University (US) 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 (AAU) (US) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation (US), 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 (US), 7 members of the National Academy of Engineering (US) and 49 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (US). 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 (US) 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 8:29 pm on November 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How plants survive in the Atacama", , , , Ecology, , , , Only the most resilient plant life can cling on among the water-parched rocks and sand., Phylogenomics, Some Atacama plants are closely related to staple crops including grains; legumes and potatoes., The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is one of the driest and harshest environments on Earth., The European Southern Observatory, The international team of researchers has identified the smoking gun: key genes that have helped Atacama’s hardy shrubs adapt to their desiccated homelands., The research area is home to a surprising variety of plant species including grasses; annuals and perennial shrubs., The scientists sequenced the genes expressed in the 32 dominant plant species of the region as well as the genomes of the microbes living in the Atacama soil .   

    From COSMOS (AU) : “How plants survive in the Atacama” 

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    From COSMOS (AU)

    2 November 2021
    Amalyah Hart

    1
    The Atacama Desert in northern Chile, one of the driest and harshest environments on Earth. Credit: Melissa Aguilar.

    In the harsh, arid conditions of Chile’s vast Atacama Desert – the driest non-polar desert on the planet – only the most resilient plant life can cling on among the water-parched rocks and sand.

    How these plants came to thrive in such a hostile place is of particular interest to scientists hoping to understand how plant life might adapt to changing ecosystems in a warming world. Now, in a new study published today in PNAS, an international team of researchers has identified the smoking gun: key genes that have helped Atacama’s hardy shrubs adapt to their desiccated homelands.

    The study was an international collaboration between botanists, microbiologists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists and genomic scientists, headed up by a team of Chilean researchers who established a pioneering “natural laboratory” in the Atacama, where they conducted experiments over a decade to understand how the unforgiving landscape was able to nourish life. They measured climate, soil and plant life at 22 sites across varying elevations and types of vegetation.

    The research area is home to a surprising variety of plant species including grasses; annuals and perennial shrubs, all of which are adapted to manage the region’s aridity, altitude, nutrient-poor soil, and the Sun’s harsh radiation.

    2
    Gabriela Carrasco is identifying, labelling, collecting, and freezing plant samples in the Atacama Desert. These samples then travelled 1600km, kept under dry ice to be processed for RNA extractions in Santiago de Chile. The species Carrasco is collecting here are Jarava frigida and Lupinus oreophilus. Credit: Melissa Aguilar.

    The team brought samples 1000 miles (1600km) to their laboratory, where they sequenced the genes expressed in the 32 dominant plant species of the region as well as the genomes of the microbes living in the Atacama soil that co-exist with the plants.

    Critically, they found some plant species developed growth-promoting bacteria near their roots to optimise their uptake of nitrogen – a nutrient they need in order to grow, but which is notoriously sparse in the Atacama.

    Then, researchers at New York University (US) used an approach called phylogenomics to identify which genes had adapted protein sequences, comparing the 32 Atacama species with 32 genetically similar ‘sister’ species.

    “The goal was to use this evolutionary tree based on genome sequences to identify the changes in amino acid sequences encoded in the genes that support the evolution of the Atacama plant adaptation to desert conditions,” says Gloria Coruzzi, co-author of the study and a professor at NYU’s Department of Biology and Center for Genomics and Systems Biology.

    “This computationally intense genomic analysis involved comparing 1,686,950 protein sequences across more than 70 species,” adds Gil Eshel, who conducted the analysis using the High Performance Computing Cluster at NYU.

    3
    “Greene,” NYU’s New High-Performance Computing Cluster, is the most powerful supercomputer in the New York metropolitan area, one of the top 10 Most Powerful Supercomputers in Higher Education, and one of the Top 100 Greenest Supercomputers in the world.

    “We used the resulting super-matrix of 8,599,764 amino acids for phylogenomic reconstruction of the evolutionary history of the Atacama species.”

    The studied found 265 candidate genes whose protein sequences were found across multiple Atacama species. Some of these genes adapted the plants’ ability to respond to light and manage photosynthesis, which may have helped them adapt to the extreme irradiation of these high desert plains. Other genes found are involved in the regulation of stress responses and the management of salt intake and detoxification, which could have adapted the plants to Atacama’s high-stress, low-nutrient environment.

    A “genetic goldmine” of precious information

    The research is timely, as this week the world’s leaders attempt to negotiate a global approach to climate change at COP26.

    “Our study of plants in the Atacama Desert is directly relevant to regions around the world that are becoming increasingly arid, with factors such as drought, extreme temperatures, and salt in water and soil posing a significant threat to global food production,” says Rodrigo Gutiérrez, co-author of the study and a professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile] (CL).

    “Most of the plant species we characterised in this research have not been studied before,” he says. “As some Atacama plants are closely related to staple crops including grains; legumes and potatoes, the candidate genes we identified represent a genetic goldmine to engineer more resilient crops, a necessity given the increased desertification of our planet.”

    The Atacama is the home site for the astronomical assets of The European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL).

    Paranal Observatory pictured with Cerro Paranal in the background. The mountain is home to one of the most advanced ground-based telescopes in the world, the VLT. The VLT telescope consists of four unit telescopes with mirrors measuring 8.2 meters in diameter and work together with four smaller auxiliary telescopes to make interferometric observations. Each of the 8.2m diameter Unit Telescopes can also be used individually. With one such telescope, images of celestial objects as faint as magnitude 30 can be obtained in a one-hour exposure. This corresponds to seeing objects that are four billion (four thousand million) times fainter than what can be seen with the unaided eye.

    European Southern Observatory(EU) , Very Large Telescope at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ) •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ) •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star). Elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo.


    European Southern Observatory(EU) La Silla Observatory 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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  • richardmitnick 10:23 am on October 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What’s missing from forest mortality projections? A look underground", , , Ecology, , Riparian forests   

    From The University at Buffalo-SUNY (US): “What’s missing from forest mortality projections? A look underground” 

    SUNY Buffalo

    From The University at Buffalo-SUNY (US)

    October 22, 2021
    CHARLOTTE HSU

    1
    A cottonwood forest adjacent to the Oldman River in Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. In a recent study, researchers present new techniques for modeling the impact of climate change on riparian forests of this kind, focusing on a nearby region of this forest. Photo: Lawrence B. Flanagan.

    You can’t see it happening. But what goes on below ground in a forest is very important in determining its fate.

    In a new study, scientists conclude that the sideways flow of water through soil can have an important impact on how riparian forests respond to climate change. Models used to predict the future plight of forests typically don’t account for this factor — but they should, researchers say.

    “There hasn’t been a lot of attention on groundwater and how the movement of water from one location to another below ground can impact plants’ survival prospects, making some locations drier, and others wetter,” says lead author Xiaonan Tai, assistant professor of biological sciences at The New Jersey Institute of Technology(US). “Groundwater is a hidden water source for ecosystems that people have neglected over the years. It is very hard to observe and quantify, just because we can’t see it. The contribution of our new research is to begin characterizing lateral groundwater processes and quantifying how much of a role they can have in terms of influencing the future of forests.”

    The study was published in July in Environmental Research Letters, building on research themes that Tai explored as a PhD student in geography at UB, where she completed her doctoral degree in 2018.

    The new paper focuses on incorporating information about subsurface hydrology into computational models that predict the future fates of forests.

    “Our research will fundamentally change the way the Earth systems modeling community will think about the impacts of future climate change droughts on forests,” says Scott Mackay, UB professor and chair of geography and professor of environment and sustainability. “In essence, the various vegetation models out there today assume the world is flat. Our model changes the story by allowing for water to be moved laterally below the surface, while simultaneously modeling the physiological responses of trees on the landscape.”

    In addition to Tai and Mackay, authors of the new study include Martin D. Venturas at The Technical University of Madrid [Universidad Politécnica de Madrid] (ES); Paul D. Brooks at The University of Utah (US); and Lawrence B. Flanagan at The University of Lethbridge (CA). The research was funded by The National Science Foundation (US).

    3
    A cottonwood forest adjacent to the Red Deer River in Alberta, Canada. Visible in the photo is an eddy covariance flux tower — a type of scientific installation that was used in the recent study that presents new techniques for modeling the impact of climate change on riparian forests of this kind. Photo: Laurens J. Philipsen.

    The paper models potential futures for a riparian cottonwood forest in Alberta, Canada, focusing on a 20-year period at the end of the 21st century. Riparian forests are common ecosystems that are located next to a body of water like a stream or pond.

    Conventional wisdom suggests that as carbon dioxide levels in forests increase, tiny pores on leaves — called stomata — will not need to open as wide to absorb the carbon dioxide that plants need for photosynthesis. This, in turn, will lead to a reduction in water loss, which occurs through stomata.

    But the new study suggests that the amount of water saved for future use may not be as great as anticipated. “Once you introduce subsurface lateral water flow, there is still extra saved water, but that saved water won’t all stay local,” Tai says. “Some of it will move away, and once it’s gone, plants won’t be able to use it in future droughts.”

    In addition, models that fail to consider horizontal water flow may overestimate other mortality risks, Mackay says.

    “Within the soil, water can move in all directions from areas of high water content to areas of low water content,” he says. “This is pronounced in mountainous landscapes because water moves from high to low elevation, and in close proximity to water bodies, such as one finds in river floodplains.

    “By moving the water around horizontally, locations that would otherwise be very dry when the rain stops are made wetter, while areas that are typically wet can afford to give up some water without harming the plants.”

    The big-picture message of the research? If scientists and policymakers want to understand how riparian forests will fare in a warming world, they’ll need to think more about hydrology and the hard-to-see processes that occur beneath the forest floor.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    SUNY Buffalo Campus

    The State University of New York at Buffalo (US) is a public research university with campuses in Buffalo and Amherst, New York, United States. The university was founded in 1846 as a private medical college and merged with the State University of New York system in 1962. It is one of four university centers in the system, in addition to The University at Albany-SUNY (US), The University at Binghampton-SUNY (US), and The University at Stony Brook-SUNY (US) . As of fall 2020, the university enrolls 32,347 students in 13 colleges, making it the largest public university in the state of New York.

    Since its founding by a group which included future United States President Millard Fillmore, the university has evolved from a small medical school to a large research university. Today, in addition to the College of Arts and Sciences, the university houses the largest state-operated medical school, dental school, education school, business school, engineering school, and pharmacy school, and is also home to SUNY’s only law school. The University at Binghampton has the largest enrollment, largest endowment, and most research funding among the universities in the SUNY system. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in over 100 areas of study, as well as 205 master’s degrees, 84 doctoral degrees, and 10 professional degrees. The University at Buffalo and The University of Virginia (US) are the only colleges founded by United States Presidents.

    The University at Buffalo is classified as an R1 University, meaning that it engages in a very high level of research activity. In 1989, UB was elected to The Association of American Universities (US), a selective group of major research universities in North America. University at Buffalo’s alumni and faculty have included five Nobel laureates, five Pulitzer Prize winners, one head of government, two astronauts, three billionaires, one Academy Award winner, one Emmy Award winner, and Fulbright Scholars.

    The University at Buffalo intercollegiate athletic teams are the Bulls. They compete in Division I of the NCAA, and are members of the Mid-American Conference.

    The University at Buffalo is organized into 13 academic schools and colleges.

    The School of Architecture and Planning is the only combined architecture and urban planning school in the State University of New York system, offers the only accredited professional master’s degree in architecture, and is one of two SUNY schools that offer an accredited professional master’s degree in urban planning. In addition, the Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning also awards the original undergraduate four year pre-professional degrees in architecture and environmental design in the SUNY system. Other degree programs offered by the Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning include a research-oriented Master of Science in architecture with specializations in historic preservation/urban design, inclusive design, and computing and media technologies; a PhD in urban and regional planning; and, an advanced graduate certificate in historic preservation.
    The College of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1915 and is the largest and most comprehensive academic unit at University at Buffalo with 29 degree-granting departments, 16 academic programs, and 23 centers and institutes across the humanities, arts, and sciences.
    The School of Dental Medicine was founded in 1892 and offers accredited programs in DDS, oral surgery, and other oral sciences.
    The Graduate School of Education was founded in 1931 and is one of the largest graduate schools at University at Buffalo. The school has four academic departments: counseling and educational psychology, educational leadership and policy, learning and instruction, and library and information science. In academic year 2008–2009, the Graduate School of Education awarded 472 master’s degrees and 52 doctoral degrees.
    The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences was founded in 1946 and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in six departments. It is the largest public school of engineering in the state of New York. University at Buffalo is the only public school in New York State to offer a degree in Aerospace Engineering
    The School of Law was founded in 1887 and is the only law school in the SUNY system. The school awarded 265 JD degrees in the 2009–2010 academic year.
    The School of Management was founded in 1923 and offers AACSB-accredited undergraduate, MBA, and doctoral degrees.
    The School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is the founding faculty of the University at Buffalo and began in 1846. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the biomedical and biotechnical sciences as well as an MD program and residencies.
    The School of Nursing was founded in 1936 and offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in nursing practice and patient care.
    The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences was founded in 1886, making it the second-oldest faculty at University at Buffalo and one of only two pharmacy schools in the SUNY system.
    The School of Public Health and Health Professions was founded in 2003 from the merger of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and the University at Buffalo School of Health Related Professions. The school offers a bachelor’s degree in exercise science as well as professional, master’s and PhD degrees.
    The School of Social Work offers graduate MSW and doctoral degrees in social work.
    The Roswell Park Graduate Division is an affiliated academic unit within the Graduate School of UB, in partnership with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, an independent NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Roswell Park Graduate Division offers five PhD programs and two MS programs in basic and translational biomedical research related to cancer. Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center was founded in 1898 by Dr. Roswell Park and was the world’s first cancer research institute.

    The University at Buffalo houses two New York State Centers of Excellence (out of the total 11): Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS) and Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI). Emphasis has been placed on developing a community of research scientists centered around an economic initiative to promote Buffalo and create the Center of Excellence for Bioinformatics and Life Sciences as well as other advanced biomedical and engineering disciplines.

    Total research expenditures for the fiscal year of 2017 were $401 million, ranking 59th nationally.

    SUNY – The State University of New York (US) is a system of public colleges and universities in New York State. It is the largest comprehensive system of universities, colleges, and community colleges in the United States, with a total enrollment of 424,051 students, plus 2,195,082 adult education students, spanning 64 campuses across the state. The SUNY system has some 7,660 degree and certificate programs overall and a $13.08 billion budget.

    The SUNY system has four “university centers”: The University at Albany- SUNY (US) (1844), The University at Binghampton-(SUNY)(US) (1946), The University at Buffalo-SUNY (US) (1846), and The University at Stony Brook-SUNY (US) (1957). SUNY’s administrative offices are in Albany, the state’s capital, with satellite offices in Manhattan and Washington, D.C. With 25,000 acres of land, SUNY’s largest campus is The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (US), which neighbors the State University of New York Upstate Medical University – the largest employer in the SUNY system with over 10,959 employees. While the SUNY system doesn’t officially recognize a flagship university, the University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University are sometimes treated as unofficial flagships.

    The State University of New York was established in 1948 by Governor Thomas E. Dewey, through legislative implementation of recommendations made by the Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University (1946–1948). The commission was chaired by Owen D. Young, who was at the time Chairman of General Electric. The system was greatly expanded during the administration of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, who took a personal interest in design and construction of new SUNY facilities across the state.

    Apart from units of the unrelated City University of New York (CUNY)(US), SUNY comprises all state-supported institutions of higher education.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:30 pm on October 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Natural climate protection may be written in stone", A large carbon sink on land and in the ocean, , , , , Ecology, , Excess carbon is already harming people; economies; and our planet., , The rocky surface of our planet’s geology may provide a buffered bumper to absorb excess carbon.   

    From Cornell Chronicle (US) : “Natural climate protection may be written in stone” 

    From Cornell Chronicle (US)

    October 11, 2021
    Blaine Friedlander
    bpf2@cornell.edu

    1
    This tree-lined rocky creek demonstrates verdant woodland growth from bedrock weathering that slowly releases nitrogen. Provided.

    When it comes to reducing the impact of climate change, humanity appears caught between a rock and a hard place.

    But, in this case, the rock may offer a surprisingly softer landing.

    The rocky surface of our planet’s geology may provide a buffered bumper to absorb excess carbon – that is, if society wants to protect Earth, according to a new paper co-authored by Benjamin Houlton, Cornell’s Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

    The study, led by The University of California-Davis (US),The Northern Arizona University (US) and Cornell, published Oct. 4 in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles.

    “Excess carbon is already harming people; economies; and our planet,” said Houlton, the paper’s senior author “But we’ve been enjoying a free subsidy provided by Earth – a large carbon sink on land and in the ocean – and, as a society we’re not paying for the carbon-sink service explicitly. But where is this sink and how long will it last?”

    The new research demonstrates that something as simple as rock-weathering reactions – slowly releasing nitrogen once bound up in rocks, which nature has been doing long before humans – slowly deliver natural fertilizers around the world, allowing large areas of terrestrial habitat to take up carbon dioxide.

    Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, humanity has been pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, land and its vegetation has been naturally drawing down nearly a quarter of it. It was only in the late 1990s that scientists discovered this terrestrial carbon sink. With another quarter of the carbon dioxide going into the oceans, the remaining half of the carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere contributing to climate change.

    “We’re facing incredible threats from climate change and unless we find pathways to store and sequester carbon, it will get worse,” Houlton said.

    Through the rest of the century, background nitrogen inputs from rock weathering and biological fixation can contribute two to five times more to terrestrial carbon uptake than nitrogen pollution primarily from agricultural and industrial activities, said the scientists, looking at a business-as-usual scenario.

    “Previously, we had believed that this terrestrial carbon sink was more vulnerable,” said lead author Pawlok Dass, a postdoctoral researcher at Northern Arizona University, formerly in Houlton’s laboratory at the University of California-Davis, where Houlton conducted the research before coming to Cornell. “Now we’re suggesting that because of the previously undiscovered slow-release nitrogen, the terrestrial carbon sink will continue to be robust.”

    Still, society should not lower its guard, as fossil fuel use tends to add excess nitrogen to the atmosphere, which instead of acting as a fertilizer, bypasses terrestrial carbon cycles, which in turn, pollutes downstream water bodies. Abating such excess nitrogen pollution can boost human health, environment and the economy, Dass said, without jeopardizing the natural, terrestrial carbon sinks.

    Dass explained that to preserve carbon sinks, we need to conserve places where rock nitrogen weathering or biological nitrogen fixation is strong – such as the biologically diverse tropical forests, mountainous regions and the rapidly changing boreal zone (the entire stretch of forests stretching from Alaska to Canada to Siberia, for example).

    “Our work suggests that the conservation of these ecosystems, which have built-in capacity to absorb carbon dioxide,” Houlton said, “is going to be vital to making sure that we don’t lose out on Earth’s terrestrial carbon sink service in the future.”

    In addition to Dass and Houlton on the research, the other researchers include Yingping Wang, of The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Oceans and Atmosphere, Australia; David Warlind, Lund University [Lunds universitet] (SE); and Scott Morford, The University of Montana, Missoula.

    Funding for this research was provided by The National Science Foundation (US).

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Once called “the first American university” by educational historian Frederick Rudolph, Cornell University represents a distinctive mix of eminent scholarship and democratic ideals. Adding practical subjects to the classics and admitting qualified students regardless of nationality, race, social circumstance, gender, or religion was quite a departure when Cornell was founded in 1865.

    Today’s Cornell reflects this heritage of egalitarian excellence. It is home to the nation’s first colleges devoted to hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine. Both a private university and the land-grant institution of New York State, Cornell University is the most educationally diverse member of the Ivy League.

    On the Ithaca campus alone nearly 20,000 students representing every state and 120 countries choose from among 4,000 courses in 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. Many undergraduates participate in a wide range of interdisciplinary programs, play meaningful roles in original research, and study in Cornell programs in Washington, New York City, and the world over.

    Cornell University (US) is a private, statutory, Ivy League and land-grant research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell’s founding principle, a popular 1868 quotation from founder Ezra Cornell: “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”

    The university is broadly organized into seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions at its main Ithaca campus, with each college and division defining its specific admission standards and academic programs in near autonomy. The university also administers two satellite medical campuses, one in New York City and one in Education City, Qatar, and Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute(US) in New York City, a graduate program that incorporates technology, business, and creative thinking. The program moved from Google’s Chelsea Building in New York City to its permanent campus on Roosevelt Island in September 2017.

    Cornell is one of the few private land grant universities in the United States. Of its seven undergraduate colleges, three are state-supported statutory or contract colleges through the SUNY – The State University of New York (US) system, including its Agricultural and Human Ecology colleges as well as its Industrial Labor Relations school. Of Cornell’s graduate schools, only the veterinary college is state-supported. As a land grant college, Cornell operates a cooperative extension outreach program in every county of New York and receives annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions. The Cornell University Ithaca Campus comprises 745 acres, but is much larger when the Cornell Botanic Gardens (more than 4,300 acres) and the numerous university-owned lands in New York City are considered.

    Alumni and affiliates of Cornell have reached many notable and influential positions in politics, media, and science. As of January 2021, 61 Nobel laureates, four Turing Award winners and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with Cornell. Cornell counts more than 250,000 living alumni, and its former and present faculty and alumni include 34 Marshall Scholars, 33 Rhodes Scholars, 29 Truman Scholars, 7 Gates Scholars, 55 Olympic Medalists, 10 current Fortune 500 CEOs, and 35 billionaire alumni. Since its founding, Cornell has been a co-educational, non-sectarian institution where admission has not been restricted by religion or race. The student body consists of more than 15,000 undergraduate and 9,000 graduate students from all 50 American states and 119 countries.

    History

    Cornell University was founded on April 27, 1865; the New York State (NYS) Senate authorized the university as the state’s land grant institution. Senator Ezra Cornell offered his farm in Ithaca, New York, as a site and $500,000 of his personal fortune as an initial endowment. Fellow senator and educator Andrew Dickson White agreed to be the first president. During the next three years, White oversaw the construction of the first two buildings and traveled to attract students and faculty. The university was inaugurated on October 7, 1868, and 412 men were enrolled the next day.

    Cornell developed as a technologically innovative institution, applying its research to its own campus and to outreach efforts. For example, in 1883 it was one of the first university campuses to use electricity from a water-powered dynamo to light the grounds. Since 1894, Cornell has included colleges that are state funded and fulfill statutory requirements; it has also administered research and extension activities that have been jointly funded by state and federal matching programs.

    Cornell has had active alumni since its earliest classes. It was one of the first universities to include alumni-elected representatives on its Board of Trustees. Cornell was also among the Ivies that had heightened student activism during the 1960s related to cultural issues; civil rights; and opposition to the Vietnam War, with protests and occupations resulting in the resignation of Cornell’s president and the restructuring of university governance. Today the university has more than 4,000 courses. Cornell is also known for the Residential Club Fire of 1967, a fire in the Residential Club building that killed eight students and one professor.

    Since 2000, Cornell has been expanding its international programs. In 2004, the university opened the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. It has partnerships with institutions in India, Singapore, and the People’s Republic of China. Former president Jeffrey S. Lehman described the university, with its high international profile, a “transnational university”. On March 9, 2004, Cornell and Stanford University(US) laid the cornerstone for a new ‘Bridging the Rift Center’ to be built and jointly operated for education on the Israel–Jordan border.

    Research

    Cornell, a research university, is ranked fourth in the world in producing the largest number of graduates who go on to pursue PhDs in engineering or the natural sciences at American institutions, and fifth in the world in producing graduates who pursue PhDs at American institutions in any field. Research is a central element of the university’s mission; in 2009 Cornell spent $671 million on science and engineering research and development, the 16th highest in the United States. Cornell is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    For the 2016–17 fiscal year, the university spent $984.5 million on research. Federal sources constitute the largest source of research funding, with total federal investment of $438.2 million. The agencies contributing the largest share of that investment are the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Science Foundation(US), accounting for 49.6% and 24.4% of all federal investment, respectively. Cornell was on the top-ten list of U.S. universities receiving the most patents in 2003, and was one of the nation’s top five institutions in forming start-up companies. In 2004–05, Cornell received 200 invention disclosures; filed 203 U.S. patent applications; completed 77 commercial license agreements; and distributed royalties of more than $4.1 million to Cornell units and inventors.

    Since 1962, Cornell has been involved in unmanned missions to Mars. In the 21st century, Cornell had a hand in the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. Cornell’s Steve Squyres, Principal Investigator for the Athena Science Payload, led the selection of the landing zones and requested data collection features for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. NASA-JPL/Caltech(US) engineers took those requests and designed the rovers to meet them. The rovers, both of which have operated long past their original life expectancies, are responsible for the discoveries that were awarded 2004 Breakthrough of the Year honors by Science. Control of the Mars rovers has shifted between National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)’s JPL-Caltech (US) and Cornell’s Space Sciences Building.

    Further, Cornell researchers discovered the rings around the planet Uranus, and Cornell built and operated the telescope at Arecibo Observatory located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico(US) until 2011, when they transferred the operations to SRI International, the Universities Space Research Association (US) and the Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico [Universidad Metropolitana de Puerto Rico](US).

    The Automotive Crash Injury Research Project was begun in 1952. It pioneered the use of crash testing, originally using corpses rather than dummies. The project discovered that improved door locks; energy-absorbing steering wheels; padded dashboards; and seat belts could prevent an extraordinary percentage of injuries.

    In the early 1980s, Cornell deployed the first IBM 3090-400VF and coupled two IBM 3090-600E systems to investigate coarse-grained parallel computing. In 1984, the National Science Foundation began work on establishing five new supercomputer centers, including the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing, to provide high-speed computing resources for research within the United States. As an National Science Foundation (US) center, Cornell deployed the first IBM Scalable Parallel supercomputer.

    In the 1990s, Cornell developed scheduling software and deployed the first supercomputer built by Dell. Most recently, Cornell deployed Red Cloud, one of the first cloud computing services designed specifically for research. Today, the center is a partner on the National Science Foundation XSEDE-Extreme Science Engineering Discovery Environment supercomputing program, providing coordination for XSEDE architecture and design, systems reliability testing, and online training using the Cornell Virtual Workshop learning platform.

    Cornell scientists have researched the fundamental particles of nature for more than 70 years. Cornell physicists, such as Hans Bethe, contributed not only to the foundations of nuclear physics but also participated in the Manhattan Project. In the 1930s, Cornell built the second cyclotron in the United States. In the 1950s, Cornell physicists became the first to study synchrotron radiation.

    During the 1990s, the Cornell Electron Storage Ring, located beneath Alumni Field, was the world’s highest-luminosity electron-positron collider. After building the synchrotron at Cornell, Robert R. Wilson took a leave of absence to become the founding director of DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory(US), which involved designing and building the largest accelerator in the United States.

    Cornell’s accelerator and high-energy physics groups are involved in the design of the proposed ILC-International Linear Collider(JP) and plan to participate in its construction and operation. The International Linear Collider(JP), to be completed in the late 2010s, will complement the CERN Large Hadron Collider(CH) and shed light on questions such as the identity of dark matter and the existence of extra dimensions.

    As part of its research work, Cornell has established several research collaborations with universities around the globe. For example, a partnership with the University of Sussex(UK) (including the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex) allows research and teaching collaboration between the two institutions.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:35 am on September 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Ambitious Plan to Protect 80% of The Amazon Could Save It For Future Generations", , , , , Ecology, ,   

    From Science Alert (US) : “Ambitious Plan to Protect 80% of The Amazon Could Save It For Future Generations” 

    ScienceAlert

    From Science Alert (US)

    6 SEPTEMBER 2021
    MARLOWE HOOD, Agence France Pressé.com(FR)

    1
    Sailing down the Amazon River in Peru. Credit: Kim Schandorff/Moment/Getty Images.

    Should 80 percent of the Amazon be declared a protected area by 2025?

    The world’s top conservation body is on Sunday poised to decide whether its 1,400 members can vote on this controversial proposal, put forward by indigenous groups.

    Submitted under an emergency provision to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the measure calls for a “global action plan” to halt rampant deforestation and the destructive extraction of precious minerals and oil.

    Over the last two decades, the Amazon has lost roughly 10,000 square kilometers every year, according to assessments based on satellite data.

    “That’s the emergency, not just for us but for humanity,” Jose Gregorio Diaz Mirabal, a leader of the Curripaco people in Venezuela, told AFP at the Congress venue in Marseille.

    For the first time in the IUCN’s 70-year history, indigenous groups are now voting members alongside government agencies and national or international NGOs.

    Diaz Mirabal submitted the Amazon proposal for the organization COICA, which represents more than two million indigenous people in nine Amazon nations.

    “We have been neglected, and now we have a voice and will exercise that voting right,” he said.

    Territory of humanity

    Recent research has warned that massive destruction of tropical forests combined with climate change are pushing the Amazon towards a disastrous “tipping point” which would see tropical forests give way to savannah like landscapes.

    This would not only drastically change the region’s climate, but have an impact on global climate systems as well, scientists say.

    Rates of tree loss drop sharply in the forests where native peoples live, especially if they hold some degree of title – legal or customary – over land, other research has shown.

    IUCN officials are reviewing the COICA measure, along with 20 others proposals submitted after the deadline last year, “to make sure they are both ‘new’ and ‘urgent’,” said Enrique Lahmann, a senior administrator.

    “Both criteria are required.”

    A decision will be announced late Sunday or Monday, his office said.

    While the vote, which would be held in the coming week, would not have legal weight, it demonstrates the strength of feeling among indigenous groups.

    In an emotional press conference, Diaz Mirabal – flanked by indigenous leaders from French Guiana and Ecuador – implored world leaders to take head of his message.

    “We are asking governments to help us protect our territory, which is also the territory of humanity,” he said. “Because if the Amazon rainforest disappears, people will die everywhere, it’s that simple.”

    “It is crucial to stop extracting the oil, the gold, the uranium,” he added. “This is wealth for Europe, the United States, Russia, and China, but is poverty for us.”

    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 9:07 am on June 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "On the edge of discovery", , , Ecology, Endeavors at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, , Women in STEM-Stacy Zhang   

    From Endeavors at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill: Women in STEM-Stacy Zhang”On the edge of discovery” 

    From Endeavors at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

    June 8th, 2021 [Just now in social media.]
    Brandon Bieltz

    Carolina alumna Stacy Zhang first got her feet wet in marine ecology as an undergrad. Now a postdoctoral researcher with the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, she is on the frontlines of helping navigate challenges facing North Carolina’s coast.

    1
    Stacy Zhang ’12 conducts research on the North Carolina coast near Morehead City. (Photo by Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

    As a marine ecologist, Stacy Zhang ’12 says she studies the obvious. But that’s not as simple as it may sound.

    When we see fish swimming past us at the beach, we simply see fish in the water and then return to our vacationing. Zhang, on the other hand, examines what that fish is doing, why they’re doing it there and what it means to all the pieces of the ecosystem around it.

    “You can see patterns in nature with your naked eye. You can observe behaviors, but you don’t necessarily know what’s causing it,” she says. “That is our goal. You’re just trying to explain the obvious. It’s more complicated than you would expect.”

    Studying the obvious also means that Zhang often finds herself at the edge of crisis science, researching and combating a pressing issue happening in real-time with consequences already being felt. As a postdoctoral researcher studying fish biodiversity and coastal habitat restoration at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, Zhang is currently on the frontlines of helping navigate challenges facing North Carolina’s coast and the impacts they have on those who depend on marine habitats.

    Zhang calls it an “exciting and mildly terrifying” opportunity, but it’s one she’s been working toward for more than a decade, dating back to when she was an undergraduate at Carolina.

    Getting her feet wet

    As a Carolina undergraduate majoring in biology, Zhang knew that she didn’t want to be a medical doctor. Since her time at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, she knew the environmental sciences were her future.

    “I came to Carolina knowing that I love environmental science,” she says. “I wanted to be able to get my feet wet or at least go traipsing around a forest.”

    That opportunity arose late in her junior year when she applied for the Institute for the Environment’s Morehead City Field Site program. The semester-long program provides Carolina students experience conducting independent research at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences and learning from the institute’s faculty.

    Supported by her Carolina Covenant scholarship, Zhang spent the fall semester of her senior year in the field site program, working alongside experienced marine sciences researchers and conducting her own work on the formation of oyster reefs. The semester, she says, taught her the ropes of marine ecology and set the direction of her research career.

    “I love doing science because it feels like you’re on the edge of discovering something new, however small that is. Combining that with the ability to give something back is a huge motivating force for me,” she says. “I love it. I absolutely love it. Even if it means doing something tedious like changing aquarium water day in and day out.”

    Zhang spent two years after graduating from Carolina working in marine labs as a technician — including a year back at IMS — before returning to school to earn her doctorate in marine science and conservation from Duke University (US).

    Last year, she returned to IMS as a postdoctoral researcher in Joel Fodrie‘s lab, where she has continued to study the North Carolina coast and research fish biodiversity — a critical topic for North Carolinians and the state’s economy.

    Addressing North Carolina’s coastal challenges

    North Carolina’s wild commercial fishing industry is a nearly $300 million enterprise. Any change to a coastal habitat — from hurricane damage to warming waters — can change the entire dynamic of the ecosystem, impacting the bottom line for a fishery.

    Zhang is tracking those changes.

    The marine ecosystem, she says, isn’t much different than a forest. When human activity destroys a forest, the ecosystem is out of balance and animals are displaced. Understanding how marine ecosystems, such as seagrass beds and oyster reefs, are being damaged and the ramifications are crucial to keeping a balance.

    “So many of the commercial and recreationally important fishes that we rely on spend their youth in seagrass beds for protection before they grow to the size where they can migrate out of the inlet as adults, and we catch them offshore,” she says. “Even then, we catch a lot of adult flounder, red drum and tons of shrimp in estuarine waters, and all of those species rely in part on seagrass beds.”

    Zhang’s research has looked not only at how damage to seagrass beds caused by hurricanes temporarily affects the fish communities in the area but also at ways to restore the habitats by tapping into positive interactions between organisms like clams and oysters that allow seagrass beds to grow. Thriving seagrass beds create flourishing ecosystems of fish.

    “Just like no person is an island, no seagrass bed is an island,” she said. “In order to survive, you rely on the people around you to help you, and for a seagrass bed, you rely on the clams that live within you and the tiny shrimps that eat the algae on top of you.

    “It’s all interconnected. Baitfish then eat the small shrimps and algae. Larger fishes, like the ones we’re interested in catching for food, consume those baitfishes.”

    Zhang is also actively studying how fish diversity across the Atlantic Coast — from the Gulf of Mexico to Maine — is shifting because of warming waters. Zhang wants to see if fish that are typically found farther south are making their way into more northern waters, changing the diversity of fish in our estuaries.

    Understanding these challenges protects our coastline and helps researchers create a balance between preservation and commercial function. It’s that overlap between science and helping the community and local fishers, Zhang said, that she loves about her career and keeps her studying the obvious.

    “The oceans are such an important and vast environment, and our near-shore, coastal ecosystems are so valuable,” she says. “It’s really about wanting to protect these habitats but also recognizing that they’re working waters. We need that happy medium of making sure that we have these ecosystems for the future and that they’re able to still provide those benefits for society.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NC bloc

    UNC campus

    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The flagship of the University of North Carolina system, it is considered to be a Public Ivy, or a public institution which offers an academic experience similar to that of an Ivy League university. After being chartered in 1789, the university first began enrolling students in 1795, making it one of the oldest public universities in the United States. Among the claimants, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only one to have held classes and graduated students as a public university in the eighteenth century.

    The first public institution of higher education in North Carolina, the school opened its doors to students on February 12, 1795. North Carolina became coeducational under the leadership of President Kemp Plummer Battle in 1877 and began the process of desegregation under Chancellor Robert Burton House when African-American graduate students were admitted in 1951. In 1952, North Carolina opened its own hospital, UNC Health Care, for research and treatment, and has since specialized in cancer care through UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center which is one of only 51 national NCI designated comprehensive centers.

    The university offers degrees in over 70 courses of study and is administratively divided into 13 separate professional schools and a primary unit, the College of Arts & Sciences. Five of the schools have been named: the UNC Kenan–Flagler Business School, the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and the UNC Adams School of Dentistry. All undergraduates receive a liberal arts education and have the option to pursue a major within the professional schools of the university or within the College of Arts and Sciences from the time they obtain junior status. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”, and is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) (US). According to the National Science Foundation (US), UNC spent $1.14 billion on research and development in 2018, ranking it 12th in the nation.

    UNC’s faculty and alumni include 9 Nobel Prize laureates, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 51 Rhodes Scholars. Additional notable alumni include a U.S. President, a U.S. Vice President, 38 Governors of U.S. States, 98 members of the United States Congress, and nine Cabinet members as well as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, Olympians and professional athletes.

    The campus covers 729 acres (3 km^2) of Chapel Hill’s downtown area, encompassing the Morehead Planetarium and the many stores and shops located on Franklin Street. Students can participate in over 550 officially recognized student organizations. The student-run newspaper The Daily Tar Heel has won national awards for collegiate media, while the student radio station WXYC provided the world’s first internet radio broadcast. UNC Chapel Hill is one of the charter members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which was founded on June 14, 1953. Competing athletically as the Tar Heels, UNC has achieved great success in sports, most notably in men’s basketball, women’s soccer, and women’s field hockey.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:42 am on June 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "World’s Lakes Losing Oxygen Rapidly as Planet Warms", , , , Ecology, ,   

    From Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (US) : “World’s Lakes Losing Oxygen Rapidly as Planet Warms” 

    From Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (US)

    June 2, 2021
    Mary L. Martialay

    Changes threaten biodiversity and drinking water quality.

    1
    Credit: Gretchen Hansen, University of Minnesota (US)

    Oxygen levels in the world’s temperate freshwater lakes are declining rapidly — faster than in the oceans — a trend driven largely by climate change that threatens freshwater biodiversity and drinking water quality.

    Research published today in Nature found that oxygen levels in surveyed lakes across the temperate zone have declined 5.5% at the surface and 18.6% in deep waters since 1980. Meanwhile, in a large subset of mostly nutrient-polluted lakes, surface oxygen levels increased as water temperatures crossed a threshold favoring cyanobacteria, which can create toxins when they flourish in the form of harmful algal blooms.

    “All complex life depends on oxygen. It’s the support system for aquatic food webs. And when you start losing oxygen, you have the potential to lose species,” said Kevin Rose, author and professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “Lakes are losing oxygen 2.75-9.3 times faster than the oceans, a decline that will have impacts throughout the ecosystem.”

    Researchers analyzed a combined total of over 45,000 dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles collected since 1941 from nearly 400 lakes around the globe. Most long-term records were collected in the temperate zone, which spans 23 to 66 degrees north and south latitude. In addition to biodiversity, the concentration of dissolved oxygen in aquatic ecosystems influences greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient biogeochemistry, and ultimately, human health.

    Although lakes make up only about 3% of Earth’s land surface, they contain a disproportionate concentration of the planet’s biodiversity. Lead author Stephen F. Jane, who completed his Ph.D. with Rose, said the changes are concerning both for their potential impact on freshwater ecosystems and for what they suggest about environmental change in general.

    “Lakes are indicators or ‘sentinels’ of environmental change and potential threats to the environment because they respond to signals from the surrounding landscape and atmosphere. We found that these disproportionally more biodiverse systems are changing rapidly, indicating the extent to which ongoing atmospheric changes have already impacted ecosystems,” Jane said.


    World’s Lakes Losing Oxygen Rapidly as Planet Warms.

    Although widespread losses in dissolved oxygen across the studied lakes are linked to climate change, the path between warming climate and changing freshwater oxygen levels is driven by different mechanisms between surface and deep waters.

    Deoxygenation of surface waters was mostly driven by the most direct path: physics. As surface water temperatures increased by .38 degrees Centigrade per decade, surface water dissolved oxygen concentrations declined by .11 milligrams per liter per decade.

    “Oxygen saturation, or the amount of oxygen that water can hold, goes down as temperatures go up. That’s a known physical relationship and it explains most of the trend in surface oxygen that we see,” said Rose.

    However, some lakes experienced simultaneously increasing dissolved oxygen concentrations and warming temperatures. These lakes tended to be more polluted with nutrient-rich runoff from agricultural and developed watersheds and have high chlorophyll concentrations. Although the study did not include phytoplankton taxonomic measurements, warm temperatures and elevated nutrient content favor cyanobacteria blooms, whose photosynthesis is known to cause dissolved oxygen supersaturation in surface waters.

    “The fact that we’re seeing increasing dissolved oxygen in those types of lakes is potentially an indicator of widespread increases in algal blooms, some of which produce toxins and are harmful. Absent taxonomic data, however, we can’t say that definitively, but nothing else we’re aware of can explain this pattern,” Rose said.

    The loss of oxygen in deeper waters, where water temperatures have remained largely stable, follows a more complex path most likely tied to increasing surface water temperatures and a longer warm period each year. Warming surface waters combined with stable deep-water temperatures means that the difference in density between these layers, known as “stratification,” is increasing. The stronger this stratification, the less likely mixing is to occur between layers. The result is that oxygen in deep waters is less likely to get replenished during the warm stratified season, as oxygenation usually comes from processes that occur near the water surface.

    “The increase in stratification makes the mixing or renewal of oxygen from the atmosphere to deep waters more difficult and less frequent, and deep-water dissolved oxygen drops as a result,” said Rose. Water clarity losses were also associated with deep-water dissolved oxygen losses in some lakes. However, there was no overarching decline in clarity across lakes.

    Oxygen concentrations regulate many other characteristics of water quality. When oxygen levels decline, bacteria that thrive in environments without oxygen, such as those that produce the powerful greenhouse gas methane, begin to proliferate. This suggests the potential that lakes are releasing increased amounts of methane to the atmosphere as a result of oxygen loss. Additionally, sediments release more phosphorous under low oxygen conditions, adding nutrients to already stressed waters.

    “Ongoing research has shown that oxygen levels are declining rapidly in the world’s oceans. This study now proves that the problem is even more severe in fresh waters, threatening our drinking water supplies and the delicate balance that enables complex freshwater ecosystems to thrive,” said Curt Breneman, dean of the School of Science. “We hope this finding brings greater urgency to efforts to address the progressively detrimental effects of climate change.”

    “Widespread deoxygenation of temperate lakes” was published with support from the National Science Foundation. Rose and Jane were joined by dozens of collaborators in GLEON, the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network, and based in universities, environmental consulting firms, and government agencies around the world.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (US) is America’s first technological research university.

    With 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni, Rensselaer is addressing the global challenges facing the 21st century—to change lives, to advance society, and to change the world.

    RPI is organized into six main schools which contain 37 departments, with emphasis on science and technology It is recognized for its degree programs in engineering, computing, business and management, information technology, the sciences, design, and liberal arts. As of 2017, RPI’s faculty and alumni include six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame (US), six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, eight Fulbright Scholarship recipients, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics; in addition, 86 faculty or alumni are members of the National Academy of Engineering (US), 17 of the National Academy of Sciences (US), 25 of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (US), eight of the National Academy of Medicine (US), one of the National Academy of Public Administration (US), and nine of the National Academy of Inventors (US).

    From renewable energy to cybersecurity, from biotechnology to materials science, from big data to nanotechnology, the world needs problem solvers—exactly the kind of talent Rensselaer produces—to address the urgent issues of today and the emerging issues of tomorrow.

    Research and development

    Rensselaer is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. Rensselaer has established six areas of research as institute priorities: biotechnology, energy and the environment, nanotechnology, computation and information technology, and media and the arts. Research is organized under the Office of the Vice President for Research. In 2018, Rensselaer operated 34 research centers and maintained annual sponsored research expenditures of $100.8 million.
    Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies

    One of the most recent of Rensselaer’s research centers is the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, a 218,000 square-foot research facility and a national pacesetter for fundamental and applied research in biotechnology. The primary target of the research center is biologics, a research priority based on data-driven understanding of proteomics, protein regulation, and gene regulation. It involves using biocatalysis and synthetic biology tools to block or supplement the actions of specific cells or proteins in the immune system. Over the past decade, CBIS has produced over 2,000 peer-reviewed publications with over 30,000 citations and currently employs over 200 scientists and engineers. The center is also used primarily to train undergraduate and graduate students, with over 1,000 undergraduates and 200 doctoral students trained.

    The center also has numerous academic and industry partners including the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. These partnerships have resulted in numerous advances over the last decade through new commercial developments in diagnostics, therapeutics, medical devices, and regenerative medicine which are a direct result of research at the center. Examples of advancements include the creation of synthetic heparin, antimicrobial coatings, detoxification chemotherapy, on-demand bio-medicine, implantable sensors, and 3D cellular array chips.

    Rensselaer also hosts the Tetherless World Constellation (US), a multidisciplinary research institution focused on theories, methods, and applications of the World Wide Web. Research is carried out in three inter-connected themes: Future Web, Semantic Foundations and Xinformatics. At Rensselaer, a constellation is a multidisciplinary team composed of senior and junior faculty members, research scientists, and postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students. Faculty alumni of TWC includes Heng Ji (Natural Language Processing). In 2016, the Constellation received a one million dollar grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (US) for continuing work on a novel data visualization platform that will harness and accelerate the analysis of vast amounts of data for the foundation’s Healthy Birth, Growth, and Development Knowledge Integration initiative.

    In conjunction with the constellation, Rensselaer operates the Center for Computational Innovations which is the result of a $100 million collaboration between Rensselaer, IBM, and New York State to further nanotechnology innovations. The center’s main focus is on reducing the cost associated with the development of nanoscale materials and devices, such as used in the semiconductor industry. The university also utilizes the center for interdisciplinary research in biotechnology, medicine, energy, and other fields. Rensselaer additionally operates a nuclear reactor and testing facility – the only university-run reactor in New York State – as well as the Gaerttner Linear Accelerator, which is currently being upgraded under a $9.44 million grant from the Department of Energy (US).

     
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