Owner’s connection to the land plays a major role in conservation efforts

From VT News







BY KRISTA TIMNEY  |  MAY 21, 2018
Some say location is everything, but when it comes to land conservation and management, it’s a landowner’s involvement and interest in working the land that matter more than residing on the property.
This finding is the result of a recent study led by Michael Sorice, associate professor of conservation social science, and master’s student Kiandra Rajala of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and ...

The earth has had warmer-than-average temperatures for 400 straight months now

From CNN







BY AJ GILLINGHAM  |  MAY 17, 2018
For 400 consecutive months — that’s more than 33 years — the earth’s temperature has been above average, and climatologists aren’t mincing words as to why.
The dubious milestone was reported in the April edition of NOAA’s monthly global climate report. The report also states that this April had the third-highest temperatures of any April since NOAA began collecting such records in 1880.
“It’s mainly ...

Ground Zero of Amphibian ‘Apocalypse’ Finally Found

From National Geographic







BY MICHAEL GRESHKO  |  MAY 10, 2018









Many of the world’s amphibians are staring down an existential threat: an ancient skin-eating fungus that can wipe out entire forests’ worth of frogs in a flash.


This ecological super-villain, the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has driven more than 200 amphibian species to extinction or near-extinction—radically rewiring ecosystems all over Earth.


It’s Not Just Hybrids: Pickup Trucks and Sedans Have Gotten More Efficient, Too

From The New York Times







BY BRAD PLUMER and NADJA POPOVICH  |  MAY 10, 2018


Automakers have steadily improved the fuel economy of new cars, S.U.V.s and pickup trucks, pushed by federal regulations. While some companies have introduced hybrid and electric cars, most of the recent gains have come from improving traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.
[Read the full article with visual graph comparisons here]


The Trump administration is now proposing to ...

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, will be banned for outdoor use in Europe thanks to environmental concerns

From National Geographic







BY STEPHEN LEAHY  |  APRIL 27, 2018

The European Union plans to ban the world’s most widely used insecticides in an effort to protect bees and other valuable pollinator insects.


The ban, approved by member countries Friday, targets insecticide compounds known as neonicotinoids (also called neonics for short). The ban is expected to come into force by the end of the year and will prohibit outdoor use of ...

Congratulations, Dr. Jonathan Doubek!

Congratulations to Dr. Jonathan Doubek in the Department of Biological Sciences, for passing his Ph.D. defense on Thursday, April 26, 2018 in Derring Hall. His dissertation seminar was titled “The effects of hypoxia on zooplankton communities in lakes and reservoirs”.
Jon joined the IGC program and the Carey Lab in Fall 2013, as a Ph.D. candidate studying freshwater biology. His primary research focus is quantifying how multiple stressors (e.g. land use changes, climate change, invasive species and nutrient loading) affect ...

Biological Sciences’ Fred Benfield honored with emeritus status by the Board of Visitors

From VT News
April 23, 2018  |   Fred Benfield, professor of ecology and alumnus in the College of Science’s Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of professor emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive an emeritus certificate ...