Dean’s Update: Van Dover’s new column, more accurate drought monitoring, student basketball game and more

March 6, 2019
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3.6.19

Hi everyone,

I know many of you are already looking forward to spring break. I’m excited to be leaving Friday on a week-long trip to China, where I’ll be visiting Duke Kunshan University while also meeting with current and prospective students, faculty, alumni and industry leaders. I think this will be a great opportunity to learn how our school can make an even greater global impact while also spreading the word about everything the Nicholas School has to offer.

Hope everyone has a relaxing break!

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CINDY VAN DOVER PENS COLUMN FOR NATURE ON IMPORTANT DISCOVERY

Cindy Van Dover wrote an insightful column in Nature on the significance of the discovery of ocean-floor hot springs teeming with animal life 40 years ago and the challenges that remain for their exploration and conservation. Cindy writes that knowing life can thrive in these deep-sea conditions forces us to “rethink our ideas about the extremes to which life can adapt, the origin of life on this planet, and even the potential for life elsewhere in the Universe.”

 

XAVIER BASURTO’S RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTED IN UN REPORT

A UN General Assembly report on the Right to Food references a Xavier Basurto study underway with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WorldFish. Item 75 of the report highlights the Illuminating Hidden Harvests project, a global study of the contributions of small-scale fisheries to inform policy processes and empower fishing communities. This is a great example of how our research impacts policy dialogue.

DANIEL DUNN LEADS WORKING GROUP ASSESSING OCEAN OBSERVATION

Daniel Dunn traveled to Santa Barbara, California to lead a National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)-Future Earth PEGASuS working group looking to design a globally coordinated and sustained observation system for the world’s oceans. This group will assess existing platforms and identify how to capitalize on what is already being achieved. Results will become part of the blueprint for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainability.

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A FASTER, MORE ACCURATE METHOD OF MONITORING DROUGHT

A new monitoring method developed at the Nicholas School allows scientists to identify the onset of drought sooner. The peer-reviewed findings, based on doctoral dissertation research by Bijan Seyednasrollah PhD’17, could help put conservation or remediation measures into place sooner to help limit damage. Faculty members Jean-Christophe Domec and Jim Clark, Bijan's advisor, were co-authors. Read more>

 

COASTAL WATERS ARE UNEXPECTED HOTSPOTS FOR NITROGEN FIXATION

A recent study led by PhD student Weiyi Tang finds that nitrogen fixation is surprisingly high in coastal waters and may play a larger role than expected in carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake. Knowing where and when nitrogen fixation is occurring will help scientists better quantify coastal waters’ ability to absorb and store carbon dioxide and aid in future climate predictions. PhD student Seaver Wang and advisor Nicolas Cassar co-authored the paper. Read more>

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SECOND YEARS BEAT FIRST YEARS IN BASKETBALL REMATCH

At Friday’s Nic School basketball game, second years defeated first years 42-34 to avenge their loss from the first game in November. The game was sponsored by the Global Connections Initiative.

 

 

 

INTERESTED IN SPENDING A SEMESTER STUDYING AT DUKE KUNSHAN?

Master’s students at the Nicholas School and Sanford School of Public Policy have the opportunity to study environmental policy in an international context at Duke Kunshan University during the third semester of their program. While living in China, students enroll in international Masters of Environmental Policy (iMEP) courses, including environmental law, GIS, planetary health and environmental epidemiology, statistics and program evaluation, and more. To learn more and to apply, contact Tatiana Sherman at tatiana.sherman@duke.edu.

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‘ASK AN EXPERT ALUM’ VIRTUAL SESSION TO FOCUS ON FIRE MANAGEMENT

I will be taking part in the Nicholas School Alumni Council’s first "Ask an Expert Alum" virtual session from 1-1:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 21. Jason Elliott MEM/MF'14, assistant director of sustainability at Duke University, will interview me about fire management in the face of climate change. A Q&A will follow the interview. Register>

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE SYMPOSIUM TO TAKE PLACE MARCH 8-9

The 2019 Environmental Justice Symposium will bring environmental justice leaders from across the country to Duke on March 8-9. The event will feature voices from the communities affected by disasters and engage participants in identifying paths forward. Mustafa Santiago Ali, former senior adviser to the Office of the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and founding member of the EPA's Office of Environmental Justice, will give the keynote address. Learn more>

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LONGTIME TOXICOLOGY PROGRAM MEMBER RANDY JIRTLE WINS AWARD

Retired Duke faculty member Randy Jirtle, a longtime member of the Integrated Toxicology Program, will receive the Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society’s Alexander Hollaender Award in September. The award, which honors contributions in the application of environmental mutagenesis to the protection of human health, recognizes Jirtle’s discovery that the environment can influence inheritance of phenotypic traits through epigenetic reprogramming. Read more>

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ALUMNUS ED NIXON T’52 PASSES AWAY AT 88

Ed Nixon T’52, a former Duke geology major and the younger brother of former President Richard Nixon, died last week in Washington State. He was a long-time advocate for the responsible use of natural resources around the world and served on the Board of Visitors for the Geology Department—one of our school's predecessors. In 2004, the Nicholas School awarded Nixon the Ralston Distinguished Alumni Award for his contributions to the field. Read more>

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Ryan Emanuel T'99 will give a talk on indigenous rights, environmental justice and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on March 6 @fhi_duke https://t.co/m3FEDxcymD

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Our @marine_uas researchers in Antarctica took this amazing drone shot of a humpback deep in the ice in Wilhelmina Bay. #NSFfunded #dronesforgood #dukeiseverywhere #WeAreDukeEnvironment
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#WeAreDukeEnvironment

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