Weekly Update: Aftermath of Harvey, MEM Earns Competitive Fellowship, PhD Alums Present to Mexico Forestry Commission and more...

September 14, 2017
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Hi Everyone,

Our community includes students, faculty, staff, alums, board members, and others with family and friends in the many places struck by the spate of recent natural disasters, from the 8.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico to the wildfires in the western United States and the seemingly endless series of tropical storms coming off the Atlantic. If you wish to help, please visit Duke’s site for Hurricane Harvey, which is being updated to include relief opportunities for victims of other disasters. Many have suffered as a result of these recent events, and our thoughts are with them.
Not all of these disasters are entirely natural. Human actions can contribute to their frequency and severity and worsen the injuries, loss of life, and damage they cause. You can read below about our recent event on Hurricane Harvey, in which three of our faculty experts shed light on these issues. If three experts on storms and flooding are not enough, keep your eyes open for news about two of our other experts, Assistant Professor of the Practice Betsy Albright and Professor Emeritus Orrin Pilkey, and see the story about coastal vulnerability expert Professor Brad Murray below.
We also have a wildfire expert with us this year, Rubenstein Fellow and MEM/MF alum Robert Bonnie, who penned this op-ed last month. Robert’s piece makes the important point that although the United States might be divided politically, on matters of natural resource management at least there is common ground to be found. We don’t need disasters to force us to find it.

  1. Congrats to Brad Murray on his recent election as the chairman of the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (CSDMS) Steering Committee. CSDMS is an international NSF-supported program that seeks to transform the science and practice of earth-surface dynamics modeling. Brad has served as chair of the organization’s Coastal Working Group since its founding in 2007 and has also led its Coastal Vulnerability Initiative since 2012. 
  2. Our Executive Education program welcomed 25 hydropower engineers from Huadong Engineering Corporation in Hangzhou, China, to campus last week for a 10-week course on international environmental project management. Please stop by LSRC A158 to say hello to our visitors. They bring a wealth of experience, and an international perspective on environmental issues, to our community. If you can’t make it by LSRC A158 to say hello, staff coordinator Mavis Zhou MEM'17 will be arranging some community mixer events where you can get to know them later this fall. Stay tuned! 
  3. Congratulations to MEM student Anna Windle for being named a 2017 N.C. Sea Grant/Space Grant Fellow. The highly competitive fellowships support research and scholarship by our state’s most promising graduate students in marine science and conservation. For her fellowship project, Anna will use satellite and remote sensing data to evaluate the impacts of commercial fishery harvests on oyster reef health. Fellow MEM student Sarah Poulin will work with her on the project. Anna’s advisor is Dave Johnston
  4. Three recent Nic School doctoral graduates, Luz Rodriguez Ramirez PhD'16, David Kaczan PhD'17 and Ruxandra Popovici PhD'17, traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico, with Liz Shapiro-Garza last month to give an invited presentation to the National Forestry Commission of Mexico. The findings they presented are the result of a four-year research program, co-led by Alex Pfaff and funded through the Tinker Foundation, that analyzed the effectiveness of a national-scale program supporting the establishment of local payments for ecosystem services on forestlands in Mexico. The Nic School team published initial findings from their project this summer in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. 
  5. Joel Meyer has been invited to serve as guest editor for an upcoming special issue of the journal Toxicology focusing on mitochondrial toxicity. In addition to editing the issue and co-writing its introductory article with co-guest editor Sherine Chan, Joel also has co-authored a paper with students Tess Leuthner and Anthony Luz (now a postdoc at NIEHS) on the roles of mitochondrial fusion and fission in toxicity. Other Nic School-affiliated publications in the special issue include a study on the interplay between epigenetic and mitochondrial impacts of pollutants by Caren Weinhouse, a postdoc in Bill Pan’s lab, and an article on the impact of mitochondrial toxicants on wildlife by Rich Di Giulio’s former postdoc Nishad Jayasundara
  6. Duke Campus Farm still has some spots open for this fall’s community supported agriculture (CSA) program. For $225, you’ll receive enough sustainably grown produce to feed two to four people for nine weeks. Your membership also helps support the farm’s hands-on learning programs in organic agriculture. You can learn more, or sign up for your share, here.
  7. If you couldn’t attend Monday’s timely talk by Susan Lozier, Martin Doyle and Deb Gallagher on “Lessons from Hurricane Harvey: The Science, Policy and Business of Natural Disasters,” you can watch a video of their insightful talk here. You can also listen to an interview on the future of hurricanes that Susan and Martin did earlier that same day on WUNC’s popular “The State of Things” news show.

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