Alternative facts in science are the norm

From NPR News
Story by Andrew Shtulman
In an interview on Meet the Press in January, Kellyanne Conway introduced a new phrase into popular discourse: “alternative facts.”
Conway, a senior adviser to President Trump, was asked to defend the claim that Trump’s inauguration drew “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration.” She denied that it was a falsehood (despite photographic evidence to the contrary), claiming instead that the White House had based its conclusion on “alternative facts.”
The notion of alternative facts was roundly mocked ...

William Hopkins receives Graduate School’s outstanding mentor award

From VT News
William Hopkins, professor of wildlife in the College of Natural Resources and Environment and director of the Global Change Center, has received the Graduate School’s 2017 Faculty Outstanding Mentor Award.
Sponsored by the Graduate School, the new award, to be presented annually, recognizes excellence in mentoring graduate students. Recipients are nominated by graduate students, and one professor from each college receives an award.
Hopkins’ research focuses on physiological ecology and wildlife ecotoxicology, addressing pressing questions in both basic and applied science. ...

PhD defense: Laura Schoenle- The role of glucocorticoid hormones in coping with chronic infection

We are excited to announce: IGC Fellow, Laura Schoenle, will give her Ph.D. defense seminar on Friday, May 26, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. in Derring Hall.
Title: Coping with chronic infection: The role of glucocorticoid hormones in mediating resistance and tolerance to parasites
Place: Derring 4069
Time: Friday May 26, 9:30 a.m.
Parasite infections are ubiquitous, but the consequences to hosts can vary substantially. Variation in the consequences of infection can be related to individual differences in the use of two parasite ...

Trump urged to remain in Paris Climate Agreement

From National Public Radio
President Trump is expected to face pressure from European Union leaders at the G-7 summit in Italy next week to keep the U.S. in the Paris Climate Treaty.
Trump recently signed an executive order aiming to roll back President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan but did not address the Paris agreement. European Union leaders aren’t the only ones who are imploring Trump to keep the U.S. as part of the largest climate agreement in history.
Ben van Beurden ...

Course Announcement: Systems Ecology and Conservation

FIW 5984/19850 SS: Systems Ecology and Conservation 
Fall 2017 Course description
Systems Ecology and Conservation adopts an integrative approach to understanding problems of sustainable management and conservation of natural environments.  The course is founded on the idea that effective environmental conservation can only be achieved through consideration and management of broader, multifaceted factors related to natural ecosystems and human societies.  It seeks to help students conceptualize and articulate their own problems of study within an interdisciplinary framework.  The course introduces students ...

Zach Easton develops models to help urban areas plan for increased water pollution in the Chesapeake

Dr. Zachary Easton was recently interviewed on NPR about climate change and water quality:
Listen to this interview at NPR
Researcher Develops Models to Help Urban Areas Plan for Increased Pollution of Chesapeake Bay
Virginia Tech researchers say the cost to reduce pollution will increase with climate change, and are working on models to help urban planners develop management practices early enough to make a difference.
Zachary Easton is a lead project investigator for Virginia Tech who says most Americans don’t believe ...

Explaining the techniques of science denial makes people resistant to their effects

From The Guardian:
Study: to beat science denial, inoculate against misinformers’ tricks
After receiving misinformation from the anti-vaccine movement, including its founder Andrew Wakefield, immunization rates plummeted in a community of Somali immigrants in Minnesota, causing a measles outbreak among their children. It’s a disturbing trend on the rise in America that shows the importance of immunization and the dangerous power of misinformation.
A new paper published in PLOS One by John Cook, Stephan Lewandowsky, and Ullrich Ecker tests the power of ...

New Course: The Science and Policy of Invasions

A new team-taught course will be offered this fall at Virginia Tech!
COURSE TITLE: The Science and Policy of Invasions (GRAD 6984; Special Topics; 3 credits)
TIME: The class will meet once per week during Fall Semester 2017; Time TBD
INSTRUCTORS: Jacob Barney (, Bryan Brown (, David Haak (, Erin Hotchkiss (, and Scott Salom (
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Invasive species are one of the five elements of global change that shape ecosystem structure and function worldwide. This course will take a ...