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SoGES announces 2014-15 research teams, fellows

April 18, 2014

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability has named six diverse Global Challenges Research Teams and four Resident Faculty Fellows for the academic year 2014-15. The awards are a way to encourage interdisciplinary understanding of complex global environmental issues, foster collaborative cross-campus partnerships, and support sustainability research at CSU.

SoGES funds research projects that are innovative and interdisciplinary in nature, involving faculty members and researchers from across colleges. Selected projectstarget all six of the school’s Research Focal Areas:Climate Change and Energy, Food Security, Environmental Institutions and Governance, Sustainable Communities, Land and Water Resources, and Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management.

“This year’s cohort of Global Challenge Research Teams and Resident Fellows represent Colorado State University’s breadth of knowledge related to sustainability science as well as its commitment to solving the most pressing global challenges,” said Diana Wall, director of SoGES. “Through these research programs and interdisciplinary partnerships, the School stimulates critical thinking to address these challenges.”  

The 2014-2015 Global Challenges Research Teams

John Volckens

  • Air Quality, Climate, and Health: Examining the Impacts of Wildfire under a Changing Climate. Principal Investigators: John Volckens and Sheryl Magzamen, Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences; Jeffrey Pierce and Emily Fischer, Department of Atmospheric Sciences; and Monique Rocca, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability. This research team will promote multidisciplinary research on the interactions between forest ecosystems and human health, as mediated by wildfire and air quality, in addition to developing models and measures of wildfire impacts on society and environment.
  • Linking Water Quality and Water Quantity to Sustainably Manage Freshwater Ecosystems. Principal Investigators: N. LeRoy Poff, Department of Biology and Brian Bledsoe, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This research team will develop a multidisciplinary framework to positively influence land and water management practices that enhance the quality and sustainability of riverine Jill Baronecosystems.
  • Environmental History, Ecology, and Sustainability in Public Lands. Principal Investigators: Ruth M. Alexander, Department of History; and Jill S. Baron, Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory. This research team seeks to promote sustainability in public lands by bringing environmental historians into dialogue with sustainability scientists, specialists in the human dimensions of natural resource conservation, and natural resource managers.
  • Melinda LaituriThe Institutionalization of Equity and Environmental Justice at CSU: A Proposal for an Interdisciplinary Working Group. Principal Investigators: Tara O’Connor Shelley, Department of Sociology; Melinda Laituri, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability; and Dimitris Stevis, Department of Political Science. This research team’s mission is to explore how and why Equity and Environmental Justice are important elements of the study of the environment, public health, and sustainability at CSU.
  • Climbers and Bat Conservation: A Novel Partnership for Conservation. Principal Investigators: Robert Schorr, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology and Colorado Natural Heritage Program; Bernadette Kuhn, Colorado Natural Heritage Program; and Shawn Davis, Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. This research team will create a working group of rock climbing interest groups, CSU biologists and human dimension specialists, and CSU students to strategically collect information on bat roost locations and share bat conservation information with the climbing community.
  • Liba PejcharConservation Development: Sustaining Biodiversity and Human Communities in Rapidly Changing Landscapes. Principal Investigators: Liba Pejchar and Sarah Reed, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. This research team will continue developing a low-cost, high-impact research and outreach program to evaluate conservation development as a tool for protecting natural resources and building sustainable communities on rural private lands.

“The School of Global Environmental Sustainability has given us a wonderful opportunity to explore the historical connections between people and nature that have shaped both natural landscapes and our perceptions of them over time,” said Jill S. Baron, principal investigator of Environmental History, Ecology, and Sustainability in Public Lands. “A better understanding of how the environmental past shapes both present and future conditions will help us and our National Park Service and Forest Service collaborations prepare for and adapt to increasingly rapid global change.”

Resident Faculty Fellows

These four CSU faculty members also will receive support from the school to advance studies in global environmental sustainability. 

  • Erika Osborne, Department of Art. Osborne’s research focus will foster the creation of sustainable solutions by creating public awareness towards the issues that face our region. She will create several paintings in a larger body of work addressing contemporary artifacts of Manifest Destiny (the boom of industry, development and growth, with all its subsequent issues, that we see in the American West today).
  • Michael Gavin, Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. Gavin’s research focus will develop a network of researchers at CSU and beyond that seek to define, promote and examine biocultural approaches to conservation.
  • Delphine Farmer, Department of Chemistry. Farmer’s research focus will combining instrument development and advanced analytical chemistry, with atmospheric science and physical chemistry, to understand air pollution and climate-relevant processes.
  • Philip Cafaro, Department of Philosophy. Carfaro’s research focus will explore, articulate and defend the full scope of ethical arguments against anthropogenic species extinction and for the preservation of biodiversity.

 “I believe strongly in the School’s mission to use innovative and interdisciplinary approaches in education, research, and outreach to seek solutions to global sustainability challenges,” said Gavin. “I am excited about the opportunity to learn from and contribute to the School’s community.”

For more information, go to the SoGES website.