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Monday, February 15th
3:45 PM

Lean Six Sigma & Sustainability

Brion Hurley

Lean and Six Sigma are improvement methodologies that have helped organizations and businesses save money, improve delivery performance, reduce inventory and improve quality for decades. These techniques can also be used to help reduce negative impacts on the environment (energy, waste and landfill usage), and improve government agencies, education systems, nonprofits, healthcare, and more.

3:45 PM - 12:00 AM

Monday, February 22nd
3:45 PM

WETLANDS NOW! What are wetlands and what does USEPA Region 2 do to protect them?

Marco Finocchiaro, Environmental Protection Agency

Wetlands are important features in the landscape that provide numerous benefits for people and for fish and wildlife. Some of these benefits include protecting and improving water quality, providing fish and wildlife habitats, sustaining cultural uses, and storing floodwaters. In this presentation, Marco Finocchiaro will introduce us to how USEPA Region 2 accomplishes national wetland program goals, including increasing the quantity and quality of these valuable resources, through establishing standards for reviewing discharges that affect wetlands, conserving and restoring wetland acreage, and improving wetland condition in partnership with other federal agencies, as well as states, tribes, local governments.

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Monday, March 1st
3:45 PM

What can history tell us about the future? Using recent observations and paleoclimate proxies to constrain equilibrium climate sensitivity

Kate Marvel, Columbia University

Despite improvements in computing power, climate modeling, and basic theoretical understanding, the Earth’s physical response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide remains uncertain. Can observations be useful in constraining this theoretical quantity? We have high-­‐quality information on recent trends: greenhouse gas concentrations have increased since the industrial revolution, and the planet has warmed in response. But I will argue that this recent history provides only weak constraints on the eventual climate sensitivity: observations of a transient climate are poor predictors of a future equilibrium state. Reconstructions of past equilibria both colder (the Last Glacial Maximum) and warmer (the mid-­‐Pliocene) than the present provide stronger constraints, suggesting that the extremely high climate sensitivities of some state‐of‐the‐art climate models are unrealistic. I’ll present a framework for facilitating apples-to-apples comparisons of past and future climate and discuss how to understand, reduce, and communicate the uncertainties associated with future climate response.

3:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Monday, March 8th
3:45 PM

Primate Conservation & Endangered Species Hunting in Madagascar

Cortni Borgerson, Montclair State University

Ever wonder, “Who hunts endangered species and why?” Borgerson’s research demonstrates the importance of understanding human incentives when designing conservation action. Dr. Cortni Borgerson is excited to share with us her efforts working with local communities to better understand and improve food security in areas of high biodiversity, so that we may simultaneously support forests and the people who live within them.

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Monday, March 15th
3:45 PM

Seeking Sustainability for Computing

Stefan A. Robila, Montclair State University

The talk will provide two perspectives on how sustainability is considered in computing. First, the impact computing has on energy consumption and on the environment will be discussed through the prism of past and prior research projects. Computing currently drives advances in all areas of science and engineering, generates efficiencies in industries, and dominates the creation and delivery of entertainment. Computing is also a significant consumer of energy accounting for 3% of the global usage. Data centers account of a third of this consumption, yet also provide a case where efficiencies in system design have limited the energy use increase despite considerable growth in computational efficiency. Second, the sustainability of scientific software and data will be discussed. Scientific computing is often driven by applications and libraries created by small research groups that aim to share their work, improve the replicability of the results and provide a tool for a larger research community. Faced with limited funding, lack of academic recognition, and waning interest, such efforts however are often unsuccessful in creating, maintaining and sustaining quality software. Aspects on how software and data products can be sustained will be discussed.

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Monday, March 22nd
12:00 AM

Elemental hyper-accumulation in mushrooms with a focus on arsenic

Walter Goessler, Institute of Chemistry, University of Graz, Austria

Mushrooms play an important role in the biogeochemical cycling of trace elements. They do neither belong to plants nor to animals but form their own kingdom. Some mushrooms live in symbiosis with plants or as parasites on other living organisms. Mushrooms are abundant worldwide. Although omnipresent, they only become noticeable when fruiting bodies are produced. Mushrooms are becoming a more important part of our diet and are used in various aspects of our life. They are used for antibiotics production, in the food industry(wine, cheese...) but also as biological pesticides. New applications cover plastics degradation and use as a leather replacement. Some mushrooms can grow very fast and are able to (hyper)accumulate elements from the surrounding soil. This presentation will cover elemental accumulation by mushrooms with a focus on the unique arsenic speciation in mushrooms.

12:00 AM - 5:00 AM

Monday, March 29th
3:45 PM

Coastal Dune Morphodynamics: Insights Across Time and Space Scales

Nick Cohn, ERDC CHL Field Research Facility

Wind-blown (aeolian) sediment transport is an important modifier of landscape change in coastal environments. Gradients in the transport field contributes to the building of coastal foredunes, which are topographically high features that are increasingly relied on to protect low-lying infrastructure from storm-induced flooding hazards along sandy coastlines. While skill in predicting wave-induced dune erosion during storms is generally improving, there are currently limited reliable quantitative tools for predicting the recovery and subsequent growth of dunes by aeolian processes in coastal systems. As part of improving fundamental understanding of the mechanisms and time/space scales of coastal foredune growth, in this talk a number of field data collection efforts utilizing new remote sensing techniques using high resolution lidars will be presented that provide novel insights on (1) micro-scale windblown transport processes and (2) meso-scale morphodynamic feedbacks on dunes.

3:45 PM - 12:00 AM

Monday, April 5th
3:45 PM

The varying effects of accessing high-speed rail system on China’s county development: a geographically weighted panel regression analysis

Danlin Yu, Montclair State University

The construction of high-speed rail in China was initiated to answer increasing demand for fast and convenient transportation systems connecting large economic centers. It is commonly understood that access to HSR will have significant impact on economic development. It is, however, also quite possible that the benefits to economic development brought by HSR will have a diminishing marginal effect. With data of HSR stations distribution and a set of panel data of socioeconomic information at county-level from 2008 – 2015 in China, this study applies advanced spatiotemporal data analysis techniques to investigate the impact of HSR. Our results suggest that on average the presence of an HSR station suggests about 2.7% increase of that county’s per capita GDP. The geographically weighted panel regression suggests that in places where HSR is sparsely distributed, the relationship between HSR accessibility and GDP per capita is significant and positive. In places where HSR is densely distributed, the relationship is less apparent. We hope the results will offer significant insights of the relationships between infrastructure construction and county economic development in both China and beyond.

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Monday, April 12th
3:45 PM

Biometrics and the Public Realm: Urban Sustainability During the COVID Pandemic

Justin B. Hollander, Tufts University

Prof. Hollander will speak about the ways that sustainability scholars and professionals need to approach the design of the public realm differently today. These new requirements are due to social distancing requirements of the pandemic and in light of recent advances in psychology and neuroscience that help us understand better how people experience urban space. Professor Hollander will discuss some of the key findings from his forthcoming book on these topics, co-edited with Ann Sussman: Urban Experience and Design: Contemporary Perspectives on Improving the Public Realm (Routledge, 2021).

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Monday, April 19th
3:45 PM

Coastal Change Hazards: Understanding What’s At Stake and Planning for the Future

Erika Lentz, U.S. Geological Survey

Coastal hazards affect both human and natural systems in ways that can be sudden, dramatic, and/or irreversible. Flooding, erosion, and landscape change, driven by storms, sea-level rise, and human disturbances present a variety of challenges for those living and working on the coast. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) delivers a variety of products and tools that support the mitigation of coastal hazards, including protecting life and property. Our Coastal Change Hazards (CCH) programmatic focus was born from a goal to better serve communities’ needs using the best science available to support effective coastal management and inform decision making from local to national scales. The CCH focus integrates stakeholder engagement, public communication, and technical needs with traditional research expertise and external collaborators to continuously align federal priorities with science and products most beneficial, relevant and useful to our coastal communities. This presentation will feature several examples of co-developed research and engagement efforts that are part of CCH.

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Monday, April 26th
3:45 PM

The potential of carbon capture through mineral weathering

Noah Planavsky, Yale University

Noah Planavsky is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. He joined the faculty in 2012 after doing graduate work at University of California, Riverside. He is an isotope geochemist that works on environmental change in Earth’s past, present, and future. His work combines field studies, analytical chemistry, and geochemical modeling. He has worked extensively on atmospheric evolution—with a particular focus on changes in oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations. Current projects focus on changes in ocean oxygen levels and on the potential for carbon capture through enhanced mineral weathering in marine and terrestrial environments.

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Monday, May 3rd
3:45 PM

Compound Extreme Events

Radley Horton, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

There is a growing realization among scientists and decision makers that extreme events should not be considered in isolation. Compound events of three types will be described: 1) multivariate (e.g. heat plus humidity), 2) sequential (e.g. a heat wave after a tropical cyclone), and 3) concurrent (e.g. simultaneous temperature extremes in multiple regions). Research results will be presented for these compound extremes. More research is needed on correlations and physical mechanisms that can link seemingly independent extreme events. This research is especially urgent now, since climate change may shift the correlation structures of extreme events, and because compound extreme events can lead to outsized non-linear impacts, in part because of correlations that extend beyond climate variables into impacts and policy responses (e.g. simultaneous risk of heat waves, poor air quality, and power failures. Stakeholder driven approaches to identifying key impacts, and ultimately adapting to them, will also be discussed.

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Monday, May 10th
3:45 PM

How Can Collaborative Engagement Improve Water Quality? An On-the-Ground Perspective from the Musconetcong River

Alan R. Hunt, Musconetcong Watershed Association

Partnerships are instrumental to improving water quality, especially difficult challenges like addressing non-point source pollution. Hear how over a thirty year timespan local residents worked to improve water quality, first through protecting the Musconetcong River as a National Wild and Scenic River, and then using that status to work collaboratively with federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and local land owners to reduce pollution from farms and remove abandoned dams.

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Monday, May 17th
3:45 PM

Methane Discharge at High Northern Latitudes: Past and Present

Marta E. Torres, Oregon State University

Climate is intimately tied to Earth’s hydro- and cryo-spheres. To understand the consequences that predicted global warming can have on biogeochemical cycling and mass inventories in the Arctic Ocean, I will present results on two study sites: the Svalbard margin and the Chuchki sea, that provide information on present-day methane discharge and evidence for the likelihood that groundwater flow during the Early Holocene Thermal Maximum (EHTM). I will review how data collected in the water column and shallow sediment can be used to constrain sources, transport, transformation and timing of methane fluxes, including the potential role of gas hydrate dissociation. Specifically I will discuss the concentration and isotopic composition of various dissolved species and modeling approaches that are valuable to interpret these data in the context of geophysical surveys.

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM