Weekly Update: Nicholas School Field Day, Hurricane Harvey, Talk Focusing on Male-Dominated STEM Field and more...

September 6, 2017
Field Day Tug of War story

Hi everyone,
I want to take a minute to remind you to join us NEXT (not this) Saturday, Sept. 16, for a special Nicholas School tradition: Field Day.
It’s a wonderful event: lots of fun and food. Festivities start at noon at the Troy Couch Farm in Duke Forest. Lunch – including BBQ, chicken, vegetarian and vegan options – will be served from 12:30-2 p.m., followed by games like cross-cut saw competition, caber toss and tug 'o war (check out last year’s tug o’ war above).
There also will be live music from Magnolia Still and Plus An Inconvenient Tune, featuring MEM students Alex Rudee, Dani Arostegui, Brendan Hannon and Dexter Liu.
Hope to see all of our students, faculty and staff there!

  1. Susan Lozier, Martin Doyle and Deb Gallagher will present a free talk, “Hurricane Harvey: The Science, Policy and Business of Natural Disasters” at 5-6:15 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, in the French Family Science Auditorium (French 2231). It’s hard to imagine a more timely topic, as the East Coast nervously braces for a potential landfall by Hurricane Irma, yet another monster storm. Because Susan, Martin and Deb’s talk is of interest to everyone in our environmental community (and, we hope, to our leaders in Washington), we are streaming it to the Duke Marine Lab and recording and posting it online. 
  2. Alejandra Ortiz, assistant professor at NC State’s Department of Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering, will share insights from her experience as a woman working in a traditionally male-dominated STEM field in the latest Rising Tide Roundtable Discussion at 10:30 a.m. this Friday in Environment Hall 1111. You can RSVP to reserve a seat here. Following her hour-long talk, Alejandra will present this week’s EOS seminar, "Why Do Atolls and Reef Islands Look the Way They Do,” at 12:30 p.m. 
  3. A new study by Nic School alum Patrick Brown PhD'16 finds that tropical and subtropical regions could see sharp increases in natural temperature variability as Earth’s climate warms over coming decades. These local changes could occur even though Earth’s global mean surface air temperature is likely to become less variable, the research shows. Wenhong Li co-authored the study. You can learn more here
  4. New PhD student Nick Bruns arrived this fall with serious bragging rights: He’s a co-author on a new paper in Science Advances this week that’s creating a buzz in the world of conservation finance. The paper presents a novel approach for using water markets to cost effectively create seasonally flooded habitats for migratory birds by timing the purchase of temporary water options to the flocks’ movements and locations. Sweet! It’s great to have Nick at the Nic School, where he’s being advised by Martin Doyle and Jim Heffernan
  5. Nic School alum Leif Olson MEM'16 is lead author of a new study on coal ash’s impacts on wetlands. The study, which Leif conducted with Curt Richardson at the Duke Wetland Center, sheds light on coal ash’s adverse effects on wetland communities. It also suggests that certain wetland grasses could be more widely planted to help filter out the coal ash contaminants and protect downstream watersheds. 
  6. A new analysis co-authored by Bill Schlesinger finds that human production of fixed nitrogen, used mostly to fertilize crops, now accounts for about half of the total fixed nitrogen added to the Earth both on land and in the oceans. Human production of this nitrogen is now five times higher than it was 60 years ago, and could pose as much of a danger to the planet as the rapid increase in climate-warming carbon dioxide. You can learn more here.

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