Center News

Oct 16, 2017
Crossing Lines: Reaching Across the Table to Share Water

Apparently it takes the village to make a water agreement. At least that’s what I have found in my research on how people share water around the globe. It takes participation from all relevant users. If they’re not all included, there’s likely to be trouble down the line. To circumvent this, it is necessary for traditionally disparate sectors to sit down together, sometimes for the first time, and talk to one another.

Top-down directives for how water and other resources are shared are often less effectual. These mandates, mostly regulatory as opposed to participatory, can lead to resentment, rebellion and sometimes, litigation. Unfortunately, litigated decisions deliver narrow results which rarely satisfy the original needs and concerns of all stakeholders. They also do not address the changing requirements of watersheds as populations, usage and climate conditions evolve. Sadly, this often leads to more litigation. And around and around it goes, ad nauseam. This was the case for decades between Alabama, Florida and Georgia in the southeastern US regarding water usage in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin. At least at first.

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Oct 09, 2017
Global Kids Study: More Trees, Less Disease

A University of Vermont-led study of 300,000 children in 35 nations says kids whose watersheds have greater tree cover are less likely to experience diarrheal disease, the second leading cause of death for children under the age of five. 

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Oct 06, 2017
Predicting insect feeding preferences after deforestation

Understanding how parasitoids and hosts interact, and how their interactions change with human influence, is critically important to understanding ecosystems. New research by an international team of researchers finds mathematical models can predict complex insect behavioural changes using a simple description of insect preferences. The research, published in the journal Nature Communications on October 6, was able to predict parasitism rates after deforestation without the need for extensive field data.

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Oct 02, 2017
How Collaboration Helped Jamaican Marine Reserves

Lionfish are a popular choice for tropical aquariums, but they are incredibly invasive in much of the Western Atlantic. These stripy, spiny fish have devastated coastal ecosystems off the coast of Florida, all the way down to southern Brazil. A 2012 paper described the spread of lionfish across the Western Atlantic “of unparalleled speed and magnitude,” causing a 65 percent decrease in fish biomass between 2004 and 2010.

New research finds social networks – how people interact with each other – can play a huge role tackling environmental problems of this magnitude.

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Sep 25, 2017
SESYNC Welcomes Professor Julie Silva as a new Sabbatical Fellow

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) is pleased to welcome Professor Julie Silva as a Sabbatical Fellow for the Fall of 2017.

Julie joins us from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she is Associate Professor in Geography, specializing in economic and development geography with a regional emphasis in sub-Saharan Africa. Julie’s research focuses on poverty and inequality, and the intersection of human and physical geography.

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Sep 19, 2017
SESYNC Invites Proposals for Interdisciplinary Team-Based Research


The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) requests proposals for collaborative and interdisciplinary team-based research projects under two programs: Pursuits and Workshops. 

SESYNC is a synthesis research center that brings together diverse groups in new, interdisciplinary collaborations to identify solutions to society’s most challenging and complex environmental problems. Proposals are invited for synthesis projects focused on tools, methods, and other practices applicable to actionable team research on socio-environmental problems.

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Aug 24, 2017
New review of literature finds forest restoration and expansion may not improve water yields

Improving water quality and quantity is sometimes cited as motivation for restoring and expanding forest cover, especially in the tropics. But a new systematic review of literature finds that most studies show a reduction in water yield in response to forest restoration and expansion. 

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Aug 18, 2017
SESYNC Welcomes Carrie Hritz, Associate Director of Research

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) is pleased to welcome Dr. Carrie Hritz as our new Associate Director of Research. Carrie joins us from the Census Bureau where she was the Branch Chief of Partnership Communication and Outreach working with tribal, state, and local governments as well as other federal agencies. Before the Census Bureau, Carrie was an AAAS fellow placed in the Geosciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation working in International and Interdisciplinary funding initiatives.

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Aug 15, 2017
SESYNC Welcomes Postdoctoral Fellow Maia Call

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) is pleased to welcome Dr. Maia Call as a new Postdoctoral Fellow. Maia recently finished her Ph.D. in Georgraphy at the University of North Carolina. Get to know our newest researcher:

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Aug 15, 2017
SESYNC Welcomes Postdoctoral Fellow Bianca Lopez
The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) is pleased to welcome Dr. Bianca Lopez as a new Postdoctoral Fellow. Bianca recently finished her Ph.D. in Ecology at the University of North Carolina. Learn more about our new researcher:

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