Cultivating new initiatives for the School of Earth and Sustainability

New co-directors exemplify interdisciplinary collaboration The School of Earth and Sustainability (SES) has announced that Curt Griffin, environmental conservation, and Rob DeConto, geosciences, will serve as co-directors of the school.   Established in 2016, Griffin served as the founding director of the school and was instrumental in bringing together the ambitious interdisciplinary enterprise. In his role as co-director, DeConto will primarily focus on research, faculty engagement and graduate training. Under the leadership of Griffin and DeConto, SES is preparing to broaden its impact with new interdisciplinary research initiatives.  Both will work alongside the SES steering committee to advance the short and long-term goals of the school; including recruitment of high-quality students and faculty, interdisciplinary collaboration, student success, development and outside investment and excellence in research and teaching.   “We are proud to be a global leader in research, education and outreach in the area of sustainability and our participation in the School of Earth and Sustainability reflects that commitment,” says Tricia Serio, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “SES facilitates the kind of creative, interdisciplinary,...
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Removing Maine River Dams Can Boost Eco-connections

Removing Maine River Dams Can Boost Eco-connections

Courtesy: Umass News & Media Relations  10/2/2019 From their modeling study of fishes and ecosystems in the Gulf of Maine earlier this year, researchers led by graduate student Beatriz dos Santos Dias and her advisor Adrian Jordaan, environmental conservation and director of the Gloucester Marine Station, report that modeling demonstrates that improving river-ocean connectivity by removing dams not only makes more food available to larger species, but would enhance overall ecosystem functioning. They believe this is the first study to use historical, landscape-based estimates of anadromous fish species – those that return from the ocean to freshwater rivers to spawn – in the Gulf of Maine to model ecosystem responses. Increasing the numbers of forage fish such as river herring and Atlantic herring could promote energy flow in the gulf and benefit many other species, such as Atlantic cod, flounder and wildlife including marine mammals and seabirds, they note. Details are in a recent issue of PLOS ONE. “Our study highlights the benefits of increased...
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Renewed commitment to climate change leadership

NE CASC continues to bring climate science to resource managers for informed decision-making  The U.S. Department of the Interior has renewed its support for the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (NE CASC) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a five-year, $4.5 million commitment as the host campus for its six-member consortium of universities, says center co-director professor Richard Palmer. The Northeast region ranges from Maine to Wisconsin and Maryland to Missouri.    Scientists affiliated with the center provide federal, state and other agencies with region-specific results of targeted research on the effects of climate change on ecosystems, wildlife, water and other resources. These are used in resource management and planning. The new agreement continues Interior’s original seven-year, $11 million grant to the NE CASC at UMass Amherst that began in 2011.  One of the web-based tools created by the NE CASC is the Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (RISCC) Management project, which helps invasive species managers through working groups, information-sharing and targeted research.  Like many of the center’s projects, RISCC...
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Naturally evolving

State of the College community gathering celebrates new faces, initiatives This fall, the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) welcomed 69 new faculty and nine new staff members to its 15 departments and schools. Some are brand-new to the university, and some are assuming new roles.  The State of the College event on September 16 gives new and returning members of the college community an opportunity to celebrate recent achievements, to hear from the Dean about collective goals and initiatives for the current academic year and beyond, and to share food, drink, and social time with colleagues. All staff, faculty, postdocs, and graduate students are invited to attend.  New faculty and staff are also invited to have their portraits made by filling out this project request form. The 747 faculty members at CNS teach 7,450 undergraduate students and 983 graduate students, with over 600 staff members working to keep everything running smoothly for 33 bachelor’s degree programs, 39 different masters and PhD programs, and associate degrees in six areas.    We’re so pleased to have the diverse perspectives and skills of these new additions to our...
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