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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Summit talks ‘green’ research

    While students celebrated Earth Day at the block party on University Boulevard with music and crafts, UA faculty discussed and presented their latest cutting-edge environmental research at the UA Environmental Summit.

    Some of the greatest environmental minds at the UA gathered in the Gallagher Theater Wednesday from 1 to 5 p.m. for a discussion about the most pressing environmental issues facing the region and the world today.

    President Robert Shelton and Provost Meredith Hay gave an overview of UA’s environmental research and 38 faculty scientists spoke for about five minutes each on their research, ranging from climate change and environmental monitoring to water conservation and protecting animals in danger.

    At the summit, sponsored by the Institute of the Environment, climate control and water seemed to be two of the biggest areas of concern.

    “”Water is one of the flagship areas of research at the University of Arizona,”” said Diana Liverman, co-director of the event.

    “”We are facing a water crisis and I have some strong thoughts on what to do about it,”” said Robert Glennon, a law professor who gave a presentation called “”Unquenchable: American’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It.””

    “”We humans have an infinite ability to deny reality,”” he said about the lack of concern and measures being put into place to conserve water in the United States.

    Several professors, including Julio Betancourt, a professor of geosciences, and Don Falk, a professor from the College of Natural Resources, discussed the dangers of fires in the desert habitat from climate change and species invasions from nonnative plants, such as bufflegrass.

    Lisa Graumlich and Brian McGill, both professors in the College of Natural Resources, were among those who gave presentations on how climate change and global warming would affect animal populations. Graumlich said because of temperature changes, the Southwest could loose up to 20 percent of the species in the area.

    “”In response to climate change, species’ ranges are going to change,”” McGill said.

    Willem van Leeuwen and Theresa Crimmins, professors of arid land studies, discussed new research in phenology. Phenology is the study of plant and animal life cycle events and how they are influenced by seasonal and climate changes, said Crimmins.

    “”Phenology is one of the best ways we have to document climate change,”” she said, encouraging people to look into the National Phenology Network for ways to contribute.

    The Institute of the Environment’s goal with the summit was to enhance the visibility, research competitiveness and effectiveness of the scholars at the UA who exhibit strength in research, training and outreach on the environmental front, they said in a press release.

    Kevin Fitzsimmons, a soil, water and environment professor, said he has been working with environmental research at the UA since it began.

    “”It’s really encouraging to see all this happening,”” he said.

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