News


SwarmFest 2016 - 20th Annual Meeting on Agent-Based Modeling & Simulation - July 31 - August 3, 2016

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 14:25
SwarmFest is the annual meeting of the Swarm Development Group (SDG), and one of the oldest communities involved in the development and propagation of agent-based modeling. SwarmFest has traditionally involved a mix of both tool-users and tool-developers, drawn from many domains of expertise. These have included, in the past, computer scientists, software engineers, biomedical researchers, ecologists, economists, political scientists, social scientists, resource management specialists and evolutionary biologists. SwarmFest represents a low-key environment for researchers to explore new ideas and approaches, and benefit from a multi-disciplinary environment.
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Andrew Schroth Wins New NSF Award to Study Phosphorus-Iron Dynamics in Sediment and Water - A key driver of algal blooms

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 06:00

Dr. Andrew Schroth, VT EPSCoR Science Leader and Research Assistant Professor of Geology at the University of Vermont, has been awarded a three-year award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study phosphorus (P) loading from lake sediments in Lake Champlain. The collaborative award that will have implications for freshwater systems also includes Dr. Greg Druschel, Adjunct Associate Professor of Geology at the University of Vermont and Associate Professor, Earth Sciences, at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis. The award brings in $250,000 to the University of Vermont. Phosphorus is particularly important to understand in Vermont given the new Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)s established by the EPA for Lake Champlain, as well as its role in promoting and sustaining algal blooms. Schroth explained that this award "stems directly from our collaboration in Research on Adaptation to Climate Change in the Lake Champlain Basin (RACC) and is a logical next step towards improving our understanding phosphorus in Lake Champlain. We envision that this work will provide insights on improving water quality, and ideas around the potential use of legacy pollutant phosphorus in a world where accessible P supplies are actually dwindling". The work in Vermont "will use cutting-edge analytical methods and experiments to study in great detail the interaction between phosphorus and iron minerals in lake sediment and water of Missisquoi Bay during different times of the year and under fluctuating conditions. In fact, one reason that Missisquoi Bay sediments are ideal for this study is because we have characterized the system's biogeochemistry so thoroughly under RACC. New experiments can be realistically derived from our data collected in the Bay over the past 5 years ".
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2016 RACC High School Training Week

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 17:57

The CWDD welcomed 19 high school student/teacher teams to the Saint Michael's College campus for a week of research education, stream sampling, and career exploration. Teams traveled from Puerto Rico, and from all around the state of Vermont. Students learned about the EPSCoR program, received hands-on experience with RACC faculty, and were able to participate in a number of Vermont-based activities. Students had the opportunity to either view Lake Champlain up close on a kayaking trip, take a hike at Rock Point to see the Lake and the Champlain thrust fault, or take a trip on UVM's research vessel, the Melosira.

They will spend the next year working on RACC research which will culminate in their presenting their individual projects at the Vermont EPSCoR Student Research Symposium next spring!
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US|A 'Smart' Green Tech Hub in Vermont Reimagines the Status Quo - New York Times

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 17:57

New York Times

US|A 'Smart' Green Tech Hub in Vermont Reimagines the Status Quo
New York Times
Inside a plain brick building in Burlington lies the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies, a buzzing hipster incubator that looks as if it could be in Silicon Valley. It is powered invisibly by forces that any city would envy: a green grid that is ...

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Study role of climate change in extreme threats to water quality

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 23:10
With concerns about climate 'extremes' growing1, water is often the focus - either too much or too little. That is no coincidence: climate and the hydrological cycle are tightly coupled, and water is essential to ecosystems and societies. But it is not just the quantity of water that matters. So does its quality.

Last year, Lake Erie, one of the US Great Lakes (which contain one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water), experienced its biggest recorded harmful algal bloom. At its peak, the bloom spread some 200 kilometres across most of the lake2. Meanwhile, off the continent's west coast, another record harmful bloom stretched from Baja California in Mexico up to Alaska, probably triggered by unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean3. Both blooms were dominated by species of phytoplankton that produce powerful toxins.
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Climate change could curb malaria risk in West Africa by end of century - Carbon Brief

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 11:32

Carbon Brief

Climate change could curb malaria risk in West Africa by end of century
Carbon Brief
While a reduction in the spread of malaria might be one unintended benefit of human-caused climate change, it doesn't mean it will be favourable for Africa overall, says co-author Dr Arne Bomblies, an associate professor at the University of Vermont ...

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VT EPSCoR CWDD Macroinvertebrate Workshop

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 17:37

On July 14, 2016 Professor Declan McCabe from Saint Michael's College and CWDD Research Technician Janel Roberge welcomed four middle/high school teachers to the Saint Mike's Campus for an annual Macroinvertebrate Identification Workshop. As part of the Middle School Outreach Program, these teachers got to learn more about the history of macroinvertebrates in Vermont in addition to practicing their macroinvertebrate identification skills. Of course, they won't soon forget the live giant hellgrammite that Declan caught in a nearby stream before the workshop! In attendance were: Jane Walczykowski from Craftsbury Academy, Pamela Burke from Marlboro School, David Jensen from Camel's Hump Middle School, and Josepha Austin from Burlington High School.
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RACC Member Beverley Wemple Receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 17:37

Dr. Beverley Wemple, Associate Professor, Department of Geography at the University of Vermont was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant for 2016-17. Dr. Wemple will be continuing a project that she started in 2013 (Mazar River Project) and studying geomorphology of mountain rivers on the eastern cordillera of the Andes in Ecuador to construct the first hydraulic geometry for rivers of this region.

The overarching goals of Dr. Wemple's Fulbright proposal are to develop baseline data on Ecuadorian rivers as a basis for tracking future environmental change and to contribute to capacity building among Ecuadorian students and local stakeholders. The Fulbright grant will also enable Dr. Wemple to construct the first hydraulic geometry for rivers of that region by studying the geomorphology of mountain rivers on the eastern cordillera of the Andes in Ecuador.

The Mazar River Project generates information about stream flow and sediment to inform watershed management in the high-mountain areas of southern Ecuador. The Project is a collaboration between the Fundación Cordillera Tropical, the University of Vermont, and public hydroelectric companies in Ecuador. It includes three major initiatives:
* Scientific research on stream flow and sediment transport.
* Capacity building for Ecuadorian University students and professionals.
* Interventions to reduce erosion of sediment off nearby landscapes.

The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, and it is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. As a Fulbright grantee, Dr. Wemple will join the ranks of distinguished participants in the Program. Since its beginnings in 1946, more than 360,000 Fulbrighters have participated in the Program.
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RACC member Alan Betts is the first recipient of the Bert Bolin award from the American Geophysical Union

Fri, 07/01/2016 - 08:57

Alan Betts is the first recipient of the Bert Bolin award from the American Geophysical Union Global Environmental Change focus group. The award recognizes his work in Vermont as well as his RACC/BREE related research.

Bert Bolin was an outstanding researcher and an effective scientific statesmen and international leader who directly contributed to a broad understanding of the social, political and security consequences of climate change brought by human impacts. The Bert Bolin Award/lecture is designed in recognition of an earth scientist for his/her ground breaking research or/and leadership in global environmental change through cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and trans-disciplinary research in the past 10 years. The award consists of a certificate, a 40-50 minutes GEC named lecture, and dinner at the GEC dinner event during the Fall AGU Conference, where the award will be presented.

Dr. Rong Fu, President, Global Environmental Change Focus Group, and Chair, AGU Environmental Change Focus Group Award Committee, said that Dr. Betts' research "has been transformative by providing a new understanding of one of the fundamental climate processes - land-atmospheric coupling and how it varies across time scales from the diurnal scale, with land cover, and how it may vary under environmental change. His environmental change leadership in Vermont, and writings dealing with weather, climate, climate change, energy and policy issues have fostered positive debate and have encouraged the reader to explore alternative and hopeful paths for themselves, their families and society faced with the broader issues of climate and climate change".
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Dr. Arne Bomblies appointed Senior Associate Project Director for VT EPSCoR

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 03:09

VT EPSCoR and the VT Technology Council are very pleased to announce that Dr. Arne Bomblies has been appointed Senior Associate Project Director for VT EPSCoR at the University of Vermont.

Dr. Bomblies has an outstanding career of research, teaching and leadership. He joined the University of Vermont in 2009 and is currently Associate Professor in the School of Engineering. His research foci are broadly centered on the impacts of climate change and variability. Within this context, there are two specific focus areas of Dr. Bomblies' research: disease/climate connections and regional adaptation to climate change.

Within VT EPSCoR he has served as a leader for the Watershed Processes Group since 2011 and was instrumental in the development of the new five-year award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) focused on Lake Champlain Basin Resilience to Extreme Events (BREE). Dr. Bomblies has traveled to the National Science Foundation to report directly on progress for the Adaptation to Climate Change in the Lake Champlain Basin: New Understanding through Complex Systems (RACC) award; he has also presented many RACC related posters and talks at national venues and co-authored several publications.

Dr. Judith Van Houten, VT State EPSCoR Director, is delighted to welcome Dr. Bomblies in his new position. "We have benefitted greatly from Dr. Bomblies' insights and collaborative leadership contributions within our research and modeling efforts. Now we have even more benefit as he expands his role."

Please join in welcoming Arne Bomblies as the Senior Associate Project Director of VT EPSCoR.
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Job openings at Vermont EPSCoR

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 03:09

Vermont EPSCoR is currently hiring a Coordinator for the VT EPSCoR Center for Workforce Development and Diversity. We are also seeking applicants for a Program Specialist.

In addition to the above two positions, Vermont EPSCoR is recruiting several PhD level graduate students and postdoctoral associates to join our cutting-edge NSF funded research on Basin Resilience to Extreme Events (BREE). We are initiating a five-year award of large-scale interdisciplinary studies which will determine how the Lake Champlain Basin's landscape, watershed and lake conditions respond to extreme weather events and will test policy scenarios for enhancing resilience using our comprehensive Integrated Assessment Model (IAM). As a member of the BREE team, you will have excellent mentoring and participate in unique learning and professional development experiences including learning to communicate your science through our program with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.
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A first-of-its-kind event between the Chattanooga TN Library and the Burlington VT Fletcher Free Library enabled by VT EPSCOR

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 03:09

A first-of-its-kind event between the Chattanooga TN Public Library and the Burlington VT Fletcher Free Library enabled by VT EPSCoR! The technology used in this event (LOLA) only works over Internet2, and thus, this event was only possible because of our VT UCAN efforts.

After a series of tests, Chattanooga, TN Library and partners in Burlington, Vermont at the Fletcher Free Library decided to try to pull off an ambitious public event on Tuesday, June 21, as part of the International Make Music Day celebration of live music for cities across the globe. Make Music is held in more than 700 cities in 120 countries.
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Earth ignores politics - Rutland Herald

Sun, 06/19/2016 - 03:14

Earth ignores politics
Rutland Herald
There has been a lot of flooding across the planet this spring, perhaps because storm systems are traveling across the landscape less quickly and raining in the same place for longer. The day-to-day patterns of weather are so complicated that it is ...

and more »
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Net gain: Virtual workshops help statewide - Rutland Herald

Sun, 06/19/2016 - 03:14

Net gain: Virtual workshops help statewide
Rutland Herald
“David and others took a look and said, now that UVM faculty can do the work they need to do, how can we share this great networking capability with the rest of the Vermont,” says Patrick Clemins, cyber specialist at Vermont EPSCoR, a UVM-led research ...

and more »
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NSF announces 2016 EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-1 awards

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 03:05
University of Vermont (Judith Van Houten, Principal Investigator)

The Lake Champlain Basin is an enormous economic and ecological asset to Vermont, but the lake and surrounding area are increasingly under threat from extreme weather events. Adaptive strategies are needed to increase resiliency of the combined social-ecological system and protect lake and drinking-water quality. This project will support collaborative, team-based research in ecology, hydrology, social science and modeling. The project will advance the field of coupled social-environmental system research and the development of Integrated Assessment Models to enable managers and policy makers to assess a range of adaptive management strategies. Hands-on activities will engage and interest middle-and high-school students in STEM and lead to advanced training for a new generation of STEM researchers. Six Vermont universities and colleges will participate, led by the University of Vermont, with Castleton University, Lyndon State College, Johnson State College, Middlebury College, and Saint Michael's College.
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Pinder Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Leading Professional Association - UVM News

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 03:05

Pinder Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Leading Professional Association
UVM News
George Pinder holds a model that he uses in teaching numerical methods for engineers. He notes that while he could use a drawing instead, the three-dimensional object is more flexible and appealing to students who are learning how to represent physical ...

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Watershed Moments - Dr. Yu-shiou Tsai and Graduate Research Assistant, Kristen Underwood

Sun, 06/12/2016 - 12:09
Presented here is the third of three 2016 Watershed Moments Scholarly Conversations Videos.

"Watershed Moments", features brief, informal discussions between faculty, graduate students and post doctoral associates, sharing and learning about a recent accomplishment in the member's field of expertise with a colleague or student from outside their field of expertise.

This video features a discussion on:
"An interactive land use transition agent-based model: Endogenizing human-environment interactions in the Western Missisquoi Watershed." with Dr. Yu-shiou Tsai, Post-Doc Research Associate, VT EPSCoR and Kristen Underwood, Graduate Research Assistant, VT EPSCoR.
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2016 RACC Undergraduate Intern Orientation - May 23-27, 2016

Sun, 06/12/2016 - 12:09

On Sunday, May 22nd, thirty-three undergraduate students started their Summer Internships. Beginning with a comprehensive orientation, students learned about the VT EPSCoR Adaptation to Climate Change Research in the Lake Champlain Basin (RACC) program, and participated in several teambuilding exercises. Interns were introduced to their specific RACC research question, and through conversations with their mentors, gained understanding of how their research would tie into the bigger picture.

Dr. Christopher Koliba provided an introduction to the goals and products of RACC over the last five years. Following the presentation, roundtable discussions were held. These discussions allowed interns to learn not only about their own RACC Questions, but to learn what other interns would be researching over the summer as well, and how all of the questions are linked. A quick transition after lunch brought interns to the UVM ropes course at Farrell Park. At the ropes course, interns learned the value of teamwork, and discovered that a variety of skills is required to be successful during the internship.

Interns were able to see both projects funded through the NSF EPSCoR Track-1 and Track-2 NEWRnet (NorthEast Water Resources Network) and RACC technology during a "forest-farm-lake" field trip of the Missisquoi River basin. This watershed tour was led by Drs. Andrew Schroth, Steve Scheinert and Declan McCabe. While visiting various tributaries of the Missisquoi River, as well as the river itself, interns were able to see, first hand, the effects of phosphorus on the river, and how the effects vary from a forested stream; to a stream in close proximity to a farm. Interns also learned about some of the policies in place to help control the potentially negative effects of some farming practices on rivers, and how effective best practices can work hand in hand with policy makers. The field trip culminated with a visit to the Missisquoi Bay, where algal blooms frequently grow in late summer.

A Climate Change Workshop led by Drs. Carol Adair and Alan Betts followed the next day. The lectures addressed climate change, assumptions around the terminology, as well as data showing current trends. Students engaged in a lively discussion. After lunch, interns enjoyed a hike at Lone Rock Point in Burlington, VT. There, they were able to observe Lake Champlain, New York's Adirondack Mountains, and the Champlain Thrust Fault, a portion of the Point in which older rock had been thrust on top of newer rock.

The final day of orientation began with a library lecture at UVM to help interns learn where to find resources for their summer research. After the long Memorial Day weekend, interns jumped right into the internships, kicking off with their first workshop of the summer.
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2015 RACC Intern Nicolas Gomez Andujar to present RACC Research at Ecological Society of America Conference

Sun, 06/12/2016 - 12:09

2015 RACC Intern Nicolas Gomez Andujar has received a travel award to attend the Ecological Society of America conference in Florida! Nicolas will be presenting his RACC research at the conference which will be held on August 6th -12th, 2016. His internship was with RACC member Dr. Yu-shiou Tsai. He worked on evaluating an Interactive Land Use Transition Agent-based Model on the Missisquoi River watershed.
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RACC member Alan Betts: Reinventing Hydrometeorology using Cloud and Climate Observations

Sun, 06/12/2016 - 12:09

RACC member Alan Betts reciently gave a talk entitled "Reinventing Hydrometeorology using Cloud and Climate Observations" at a symposium at Princeton in honor of Eric Wood who has been a professor there for 40 years. The talk covered Dr. Betts' research on snow as a climate switch, the long memory in spring of precipitation back through winter, and the impact of cloud and precipitation memory on summer climate.
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