Center News

Dec 13, 2017
SESYNC Partner GSI Offering Geospatial Workshops

SESYNC is a partner in an NSF-funded effort to conceptualize a national Geospatial Software Institute, envisioned as a long-term hub of excellence in software infrastructure that can serve diverse research and education communities. A suite of community workshops will be convened to design the GSI.


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Dec 11, 2017
SESYNC Welcomes New Postdocs

SESYNC is excited to welcome two new postdocs to our current cohort of fellows.


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Dec 11, 2017
New research shows hydropower dams can be managed without an all-or-nothing choice between energy and fisheries

Arizona State University professor John Sabo; Albert Ruhi, Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) at the University of Maryland; and collaborators have proposed a solution to this problem in the Dec. 8 issue of Science Magazine that allows dam operators to generate power in ways that also protect – and possibly improve – food supplies and businesses throughout the Mekong river basin. The proposed solution, the first of its kind for this problem, can be applied to other large river systems around the world facing similar tradeoffs.


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Dec 07, 2017
SESYNC Featured in Themed Journal Issue

A special issue in the journal Sustainability Science, entitled "Applying Cultural Evolution to Sustainability Challenges", uses an evolutionary framework to examine socio-environmental systems and reveal where and how humans manage the environment sustainably.


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Nov 17, 2017
SESYNC Announces Four Postdoc Fellowship Opportunities

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) invites applications for four exciting new Postdoctoral Fellowship opportunities. These opportunities are open to applicants who have completed their PhD in a relevant field within the last four years.


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Nov 07, 2017
Job opportunity: SESYNC seeks a Science Communications Coordinator

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) seeks a full-time, experienced science communications professional to lead communications activities.  The primary focus of the Science Communications Coordinator is to enhance awareness and understanding of SESYNC research and opportunities within the community of socio-environmental scientists, scientific knowledge users, and policy makers. 


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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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