Dean's Update: Ferguson Fire, Marine Lab Alumni Reunion, Professorship to Klein and more …

July 31, 2018

Toddi Steelman | Dean's Update

07.30.18

Hello!
 
As I write this, I find myself about to board a plane to the Ferguson Fire outside of Yosemite National Park. My research aims to improve how we coordinate, communicate and collaborate more effectively during large-scale, complex disasters. Wildfires are our most commonly recurring disasters, so they make a good laboratory for examining complexity in action. Working with the men and women who fight fire across this country has been a real privilege for me and taught me much about leadership, which will serve me well as dean.   
 
Prior to heading out to do my wildfire research, I was in the office for a few weeks and was able to experience the full professionalism of our staff and faculty in action. I have been making the rounds to get to know our staff, and they have been doing everything they can to support me in my new role. What a pleasure it is to be back at Duke and feel so welcomed.
 
As part of the first two weeks in the dean’s chair, I participated in the reunion and open house at the Marine Lab along with Andy Read and Vincent Price. Loyalty runs deep there among our alumni and it was an honor to be part of that event that celebrated the history and community that is the Marine Lab.
 
As the previous few paragraphs should make clear, I have the best job in the world. If you have any doubt about that, read on for the news in this Update—which is coming to you in a new format. Let me know what you think of it, how we are doing and what you are up to so we can celebrate with you.

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Toddi has been tweeting from the frontlines of the Hendrix fire in Oregon, and now she is headed to Yosemite. Follow her here.

Price and Johnston

MORE THAN 700 ATTEND MARINE LAB ALUMNI REUNION AND OPEN HOUSE

Kudos to Andy Read and his staff at the Marine Lab for pulling off their most successful community Open House yet – on the same weekend (July 13-15) they also rolled out the red carpet for President Vincent Price’s first visit to Beaufort and hosted a two-day Alumni Reunion. All told, more than 700 visitors and alumni converged on Pivers Island to tour our labs and facilities, learn about our programs, and meet our faculty and students. President Price, Andy and I also had the opportunity to meet with Beaufort’s mayor, Rett Newton (a PhD student in Dave Johnston’s lab) and other area leaders to learn how our research and outreach benefit the local community and discuss ways to build even stronger ties in the future.

Faculty News
Emily Klein teaching

KLEIN AWARDED PRESTIGIOUS PROFESSORSHIP

Emily Klein has been awarded a University Distinguished Service Professorship, one of the rarest faculty honors Duke bestows. The professorship recognizes Emily’s exceptional service to Duke as a whole, particularly her leadership on two matters of great importance to the university: diversity and inclusion, and undergraduate education. Please join me in congratulating her on this well-deserved honor.

27 RECEIVE HIGH MARKS FOR TEACHING EXCELLENCE

Twenty-seven Nic School faculty members, PhD students or instructors received high marks from students for their exceptional teaching this year. Undergraduate students rated two faculty members, Stuart Pimm and Brian Silliman, among the top 5 percent of all Duke instructors teaching natural sciences. Twenty-five other Nic School instructors, representing all three of the school’s academic divisions, also received top ratings for the ENV and EOS courses they taught.

Alumni News

TWO MEMS ARE FINALISTS FOR MARINE POLICY FELLOWSHIPS

Jill Hamiltonand Chrissy Hayes, both MEM’18, have been named finalists for John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships. Now in its 40th year, the Knauss program places outstanding recent university graduates in yearlong fellowships at federal agencies in D.C. to work with policymakers on coastal policy issues of national consequence. Jill and Chrissy will begin their fellowships in January. Learn more>

Student News
Tropical Andes Biodiversity

STUDY PROVIDES INSIGHT INTO TROPICAL ANDES BIODIVERSITY

Few regions are as biodiverse as the tropical Andes nor as baffling to researchers trying to map the distribution of species found there. A new study led by PhD student Rubén Palacio may yield new insights by showing how the Andes’ complicated geological and climatic history has forged a patchwork of 15 distinct regions, each driving the evolution of a unique combination of rare and endemic species. Read more>

Research

PAPER PROVIDES STRATEGY FOR MAKING 'NO-MINING ZONES' IN THE DEEP SEA

paper by Daniel Dunn and Cindy Van Dover establishes new criteria to help the International Seabed Authority protect deep-sea biodiversity from mining activities in waters beyond national jurisdiction. The new framework identifies 18 quantitative metrics that the ISA can use to pinpoint areas of particular environmental importance and assess whether the proposed network of ‘no-mining’ buffer sites around these areas will be sufficient to protect them from harm. Learn more>
 

STUDY LOOKS AT COASTAL SANCTUARIES' IMPACT ON NEARBY COMMUNITIES

Grant Murray and PhD student Dana Baker have embarked on new research to measure the social and economic costs and benefits of marine protected areas along the East African nation of Tanzania’s coast. The research, which is funded by Duke’s Office of Global Affairs and the World Wildlife Fund, aims to quantify the impacts the marine protected areas have on fishing communities along the coast, and explore how giving the communities more say in management decisions could increase local support for the preserves.  

Google Earth Images of Stormwater Ponds

STORMWATER PONDS NOT A MAJOR SOURCE OF N20 EMISSIONS

A study led by 2018 PhD alum Joanna Blaszczak finds that stormwater retention ponds, a common feature in urban landscapes, aren’t a significant source of climate-warming nitrous oxide, as some scientists have feared. Joanna analyzed emissions from 64 ponds in eight cities and found scant evidence of a trade-off between the amount of nitrogen the ponds removed from stormwater and the amount of nitrous oxide they subsequently emitted into the air. Jim Heffernan and Emily Bernhardt co-authored the study.

Staff News

WELCOME NEWEST MEMBER OF MARINE LAB FAMILY

Please help me welcome the newest (and smallest) member of the Marine Lab family. Eloise Claire Ridge was born July 19, weighing 9 pounds and 1 ounce. Daddy Justin Ridge is a postdoc at our Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Laboratory, and he reports that both Eloise and her mom, Michelle Brodeur, a marine scientist and communications specialist at the National Estuarine Research Reserve, are doing smashingly.

Nicholas News

WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ADVOCATE, FRIEND OF NICHOLAS SCHOOL DIES

George C. “Tim” Hixon, an avid advocate for wildlife conservation and longtime friend of the Nic School, passed away on July 18. Hixon served as a member of our Board of Visitors from 1995 to 2001 and established the Tim and Karen Hixon Wildlife Conservation Fund to support students pursuing careers in wildlife management and conservation. Learn more about his remarkable legacy>

What's Trending on Social
Duke Environment on Twitter
Basurto Fisheries

@DukeEnvironment

Researchers from @DukeU, including Xavier Basurto, played key roles in organizing a U.N. FAO event July 9 on the importance of small-scale fisheries: global, regional and national initiatives. They also contributed to a recent white paper on the topic.

Duke Environment on Instagram
IG: EHAngle

@dukeenvironment
Look up at Environment Hall. Those fins aren't just for aesthetic purposes-- they are designed to allow as much natural light in as possible while minimizing seasonal heat transfer in and out of the building + reduce bird impacts. Photo: @amandaleedixon #WeAreDukeEnvironment

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