Váleri Vásquez wins Microsoft Fellowship!

Belated but still enthusiastic congratulations to Váleri Vásquez for winning a Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship! This two-year fellowship supports Váleri’s research on study genetic-based interventions, including CRISPR-Cas9 systems, to control mosquito-borne illness, and to optimize both the effectiveness and cost of their application as public health tools.

AGU is here and there and everywhere!

AGU logo

Several students and postdocs are giving posters and talks at the American Geophysical Union 2020 Fall Meeting – all virtual of course. Marshall Worsham is presenting a poster Dec 7 (An Enhanced Remote Sensing Method for Agent Attribution of Forest Disturbance); Julia Longmate is giving a talk Dec 8 (Biases in temperature and precipitation over the CONUS in ensembles of the historical model simulations of CMIP6); Polly Buotte is giving a talk Dec 9 (Controls on conifer coexistence in a vegetation demographic model); James Dennedy-Frank is giving two talks Dec 10 (Investigating watershed-scale hydrologic connections and sources with dynamic-flux particle tracking and isotope measurements) and Dec 15 (Reviewing the evidence: How do nature-based solutions affect water flows in agriculture and rangelands); and Barbara Bomfim Fernandes is giving a poster Dec 16 (Response and recovery of tropical forests after cyclone disturbance). Of course, you can view posters and recordings at your convenience. Congratulations to all for great contributions in these new formats.

1600 years of tree cover expansion in the southern Amazon forest

Postdoc Barbara Bomfim contributed to new research establishing a record of soil changes associated with both climate and human activity over the last 1,600 years based on radiocarbon dating in 83 sites across the transition zone between the Amazon and the Brazilian savanna. The study suggests a regional increase in moisture and expansion of woody vegetation prior to modern deforestation, which could help inform conservation and management efforts for climate change mitigation.

New Postdoc Modeling Wildfire and Vegetation

We are looking for a new postdoc to explore the dynamics of California and western US ecosystems under a changing climate and fire regime using the FATES-SPITFIRE vegetation demographic model. The work involves collaboration with a larger team of scientists seeking to advance the ability to predict changes to diverse wildfire regimes under ongoing climate change and varied land management efforts. Contact us with questions about the position at lmkueppers@lbl.gov.

Alpine phenology advances with heating-driven snowmelt

Photo by Ken Etzel

Congratulations to lab alum, Meredith Jabis, on publication of her dissertation research in Ecology! She found that whole alpine community flowering advanced with experimental heating that melted the snow earlier in summer. This was in spite of cooler soil temperatures earlier in the season, indicating that alpine plants are well adapted to flower under cool temperatures, and that snow disappearance is really driving the start of the flowering season, not temperature. At the same time, the length of the flowering season was not extended with warming for most species.

Field Work During Covid

After considerable delay, careful safety protocol development and a revision of our goals for the summer, we managed to get a team to the field to geo-locate and measure trees. This is part of our efforts to create a watershed scale map of forest structure in the East River Watershed in Colorado. Thanks to Tom Powell, Marshall Worsham and Sarah Hettema for persevering!

Adam Hanbury-Brown wins NASA Fellowship!

PhD student Adam Hanbury-Brown’s proposal to the Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) program was selected for 3 years of funding. It will enable him to pursue research on post-fire vegetation dynamics using remote sensing and the new vegetation demographic model, FATES. Congratulations, Adam!