news and events
River Basin Center Third Thursday Symposium Series
Each Third Thursday (formerly Second Friday) Symposium, in the tradition of ancient Greece, is "a convivial meeting for eating and drinking...and intellectual discussion" on a different topic each month. Please join us! Third Thursday Symposia take place at 4 pm on the Third Thursday of the month during the regular semester at the River Basin Center.
Thursday, June 7, 2012:
Engaging students in potentially controversial and/or emotionally charged academic projects
NOTE DATE, TIME, AND LOCATION!
THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 5 PM
UPSTAIRS @ THE GLOBE (corner of Clayton & Lumpkin, downtown Athens)
Discussion Leaders: Laurie Fowler, River Basin Center Co-director and Odum School of Ecology Associate Dean, UGA; Todd Rasmussen, Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources, UGA, and Mark Risse, Associate Professor, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, UGA
Join us in a discussion about whether it is appropriate to engage our students in potentially controversial and/or emotionally charged academic projects and if so, what kinds of safeguards do we need to put in place to protect the students and ensure the greatest learning opportunities? Are there other considerations as well? This should be an interesting discussion—we hold different viewpoints on this and we very much want to hear your ideas.
Thursday, April. 19, 2012: Hydraulic Fracturing: A new technology for increasing well yields
Discussion Leaders: Todd Rasmussen, Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources, UGA, and John F. Dowd, Assistant Professor of Geology, UGA
Also called "fracking", hydraulic fracturing is a method developed originally for increasing water yields to wells in low-permeability rocks. More recently, the method (combined with directional drilling) have substantially increased the production of oil and natural gas from geologic deposits. This presentation describes the method, and discusses the limitations and impacts of the technique.
Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012: Evaluating temporal changes in aquatic macroinvertebrate and stream fish assemblages at long-term monitoring sites in the Southeastern US
Discussion Leader: Brian Gregory, Water Quality/Aquatic Ecology Specialist at the National Park Service Southeast Coast Inventory & Monitoring Network
Brian will discuss his paper evaluating temporal changes in fish and invertebrate communities in the southeastern US focusing on an overall community response (rather than a species specific response) and attempts to link observed changes in the biotic community to environmental data sets.
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012: Red, Hot, and Dry: New South Responses to Drought
Discussion Leader: Chris Manganiello, Policy Director at Georgia River Network
Chris received his Ph.D. in history from UGA in 2011. His dissertation, Dam crazy with wild consequences, is about water and power in the American South between 1890 and 1990. He is the policy director at Georgia River Network.
Thursday, November 17, 2011: Arctic Legal Order
Discussion Leader: Dr. Elvira Pushkareva, Russian Academy of Science
Dr. Pushkareva is a Fulbright Fellow at the Odum School of Ecology.
Thursday, October 13, 2011: Georgia Water Planning
NOTE: This month, the Symposium is being held on the 2nd Thursday of the month
Discussion Leader: Robert Osborne, Senior Water Research Engineer, Black & Veatch Corporation
Black & Veatch has been assisting regional water councils in Georgia to develop their short- and long-term water supply and demand frameworks. They have recently been selected to assist the ACF Stakeholders Group where they will provide technical support for the tri-state water planning effort.
October 8, 2010:
Long term ecological monitoring in the National Park Service
Discussion Leader: Joe DeVivo,
Program Manager, Southeast Coast Inventory and Monitoring Network, National Park Service
September 10, 2010:
How Georgia was apprised of their vulnerability to oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Discussion Leader: Charles Hopkinson,
Professor of Marine Sciences and Director of Georgia Sea Grant
May 14, 2010: The ecological state of urban streams in Coimbra, Portugal
Discussion Leader: Ana Isabel del Arco Ochoa
Ana Isabel del Arco Ochoa will discuss the ecological assessment of urban stream of Coimbra, Portugal, her thesis project for the Erasmus Mundus European Master in Applied Ecology. Her aim is to identify the main pressures in order to suggest restoration measures to maintain ecosystem services that streams provide. She is visiting UGA to learn about urban stream restoration, management, and public education/implementation.
The Erasmus Mundus European Master in Applied Ecology is a competitive two-year program that takes place at four European universities and in partnership with universities in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Ecuador. For the first year of the program, classes are taken in France, the U.K., Germany, and Portugal; for the second year, students can carry out part of their research at one of the partner non-European universities.
The goal of the program is to form ecologists with a wide view of ecological knowledge during the first year; and, during the second year, to promote specialization in one of the topics that the universities involved are leaders in: conservation, toxicology, functional dynamics, evolutionary ecology, and environmental sciences. The partnership with non-European universities aims at providing skills and experience to deal with ecological problems under different political, economic, and cultural backgrounds.
Dec. 11 , 2009: Rio Tempisque Basin: Anticipating Mesoamerica Climate Change Scenarios in the Context of Changing Land Use
Discussion Leader: Ron Carroll, Co-Director, River Basin Center
Sept 11 , 2009: Creation of artificial shoals within the Savannah River basin: a potential solution to the crucial ecosystem issues of the Savannah River?
Discussion Leader: Oscar Flite, Research Director, Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy
Current ecosystem threats within the middle and lower watersheds of the Savannah River basin are low dissolved oxygen, decreased fish spawning habitat, especially for the endangered shortnose sturgeon, and diminished water during drought. Each of these issues stems from the impact of human alterations to the river system: dam construction, navigation cuts, point source discharges, and harbor deepening. One solution may hold the key to improving all of these issues within the Savannah River- creation of artificial shoals within the existing navigation cuts. This solution however, is not straightforward and requires considerable scientific, engineering, and legal discussions as well as an act of Congress in order to move forward. This presentation will provide an overview of the scientific framework, a synopsis of the proposed project design, and will serve as a foundation for the required discussions for this project to proceed.
April 10, 2009: Georgia Water Information System (GWIS)
Discussion Leader: Ibrahim Demir, PhD Candidate in Hydrology at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources
PhD candidate Ibrahim Demir will lead the discussion about GWIS, which he developed to provide a platform for integrating state-wide efforts in environmental information collection, collation, storage, analysis, retrieval, and dissemination to all potential stakeholders. Several data management, modeling, visualization, mapping and resource management tools for watersheds, as well as interfaces for integration across diverse and dispersed data sources, are included in the system. As its initial point of departure - to provide substantial and specific content - GWIS has been populated with the high-volume high-quality (HVHQ; near continuous) water quality data acquired during field monitoring campaigns over the past 11 years with the Environmental Process Control Laboratory (EPCL) of the University of Georgia.
Feb. 13, 2009: Lake Allatoona Nutrient TMDL
Discussion Leader: Steven Davie, Tetra Tech
Jan. 9, 2009: Integrated Coastal Planning from Land to Sea: Opportunities and Obstacles
Discussion Leader: Susan Crow
December 12, 2008: Mountains to the Sea: Integrating research at a watershed level in Georgia
Note: December's 2nd Friday will take place at 3 pm at the River Basin Center!
Discussion Leader: Jeb Byers, Associate Professor, Odum School of Ecology
November 14, 2008: Campus Sustainability
Discussion Leaders: Tyra Byers, Christina Faust, and Andrew Durso
Tyra Byers, Sustainability Coordinator for the River Basin Center, will discuss the role of sustainability offices in higher education, with examples from her experience at UNH, as well as other campuses across the country, and possibilities for UGA. Undergraduate environmental leaders Christina Faust and Andrew Durso will talk about current efforts by student organizations, including the recently released Student-Initiated Proposal for Sustainable Practices at the University of Georgia. Discussion will also cover the student learning initiative request for ideas as a step toward putting together a proposal with a sustainability focus.
October 10, 2008: An Introduction to Georgia's Flint River
Discussion Leaders: April Ingle and Mary Freeman
April Ingle (GA River Network) and Mary Freeman (US Geological Survey) will tag-team a discussion of the Flint River, including the true story o f the discovery of the Halloween darter, community involvement with protecting the river's natural values, and thoughts about what might happen next.
Sept. 12, 2008: Urban streams -- what we know, what we don't know, and what we need to know to manage them better.
Discussion Leader: Seth Wenger
This past May, the River Basin Center co-sponsored the Second Symposium on Urbanization and Stream Ecology in Salt Lake City, Utah. One of the purposes of the meeting was to identify the major unanswered research questions related to urban impacts on streams. As a follow-up to the meeting, an international team of scientists is preparing a paper on this topic for publication in the Journal of the North American Benthological Society. Seth will be giving a preview of that paper.
April 11, 2008: Water Quality Issues in China: Balancing Economic Development with Environmental Protection
Discussion Leaders: Todd Rasmussen, Mark Risse, Xianben Zhu, and Zhou Yi
March 28, 2008: The impact of frog extinctions on ecosystem processes in neotropical upland streams in Panama
Note: The March 2nd Friday Symposium will take place on the 4th Friday to avoid conflicting with Spring Break.
Discussion Leader: Susan Kilham, Professor, Dept. of Bioscience & Biotechnology, Drexel University
Feb. 8, 2008: Uncertainty in Runoff Estimates using the Curve Number Method
Discussion Leader: Steven McCutcheon, Faculty of Engineering, on assignment from USEPA NERL ERD
This discussion will review the overlooked limitations and uncertainness of the widely used simplified rainfall-runoff relationship that the Soil Conservation Service Curve Number method represents, concentrating especially on the greater uncertainties in estimating runoff from forests. This method is widely used in justifying urban development and is estimated to cost approximately $2 billion per year in some over design, while peak flows may be underestimated by allied methods, producing inadequate control to prevent some flooding. Forest runoff before development may be misestimated by orders of magnitude, further compounding problems with imprecise estimates due to urban runoff. Failure to maintain adequate volume and timing of flows destroys fisheries and invertebrate habitats and contributes to impairment of biological resources during urban development.
Dec. 14, 2007: The Bioeconomics of the Zebra Mussel Invasion
Note: December's 2nd Friday will take place at 3 pm at the School of Ecology Auditorium, and will be followed by the Odum School's annual Holiday Party.
In keeping with tradition, we will be collecting nonperishable food items for the Northeast Georgia Food Bank. Please drop those off in the main office or at the reception.
Discussion Leader: Jon Bossenbroek, Assistant Professor of Ecology, Department of Environmental Sciences, The University of Toledo
Dr. Bossenbroek works with John Drake of the Odum School of Ecology.
Nov. 9, 2007: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Processes
Discussion Leader: Alan Covich, Professor, Odum School of Ecology
Uncertainty regarding the importance of individual species in sustaining ecosystem processes exists in part because relatively few studies have yet been completed. The strength of species interactions, complexities of life histories, and species responses to drought all influence rates of stream ecosystem processes. Examples of detrital processing by benthic invertebrates demonstrate the importance of key species that strongly affect breakdown and cycling of organic matter in tropical headwater streams. Similar strong species interactions likely occur among shredder and filter-feeding species in temperate-zone streams.
Sept. 14, 2007: Habitat and Population Regulation in Southern Stream Fishes
Discussion Leader: Gary Grossman, Distinguished Research Professor, Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources
This talk will describe the links between habitat and population processes in southern stream fishes. Dr. Grossman will describe the mechanisms behind habitat selection in these fishes and discuss its relevance to conservation and management.
July 6, 2007: Why Every Ecologist Should Go To The Galapagos
Slide presentation by Gene Helfman
May 11, 2007: Riverbank Filtration - Technical, Legal, and Economic Issues
Discussion Leader: Chittaranjan Ray
Dr. Ray is a new faculty member of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
April 13, 2007: Mountaintop Removal / Valley Fill Mining: Unresolved Conflicts and Questions among Public, Conservation, Industry, and Government ("Political"?) Interests.
Discussion Leader: Bruce Wallace
March 9, 2007: A few thoughts about applying "natural" to ecological assessment and restoration.
Discussion Leader: Mary Freeman
Concepts of the "natural condition" are widely used as bases for assessing ecological condition and prescribing restoration actions for ecological systems. Examples in stream and river management include uses of "reference communities" to assess compliance with Clean Water Act standards, and application of the "natural flow regime" to prescribe flows intended to protect ecological function. A compelling argument for using the "natural condition" as a management benchmark is that this is the environmental context in which native biota evolved, including the biota that drive ecosystem processes. However, defining the natural condition and quantifying departure from it poses some tough questions. An immediately apparent example is the use of "natural" to establish flow requirements as part of water planning. Simply establishing "minimum flow" requirements, as under current GA regulations, will be deemed inadequate to protect the ecological integrity of GA's streams if the "natural flow" regime becomes our conceptual basis for management. Those responsible for basin planning might then reasonably ask, "How much departure from the natural condition is acceptable?" and scientists around the US and around the globe are indeed asking this very question.
Using about 15 minutes (maybe 20), I'd like to describe what I see as especially problematic in the application of "natural", using the "natural flow regime" as a particular example, and invite discussion of ways to address these challenges.
Feb. 9, 2007: Infectious Disease Mediated by Environmental Change: An Issue for Environmental Justice?
Discussion Leader: John Drake
Emergence of vector-borne infectious diseases is an active area of research in ecology. Two main drivers of environmental change in the Southeast US-land use and global climate change-have potential to amplify transmission and emergence of vector-borne parasites. This is a relevant issue for the River Basin Center because the dynamics of many arthropod vectors are dominated by life stages in the aquatic environment (larvae) and these are the most sensitive to environmental change. However, a related issue lurks in the background-if the persons causing environmental change are different than those who suffer its (health) consequences, and if these are not compensated in appropriate ways, then there is an inequity that is obscured by virtue of being indirectly mediated by the environment. This is a problem of social justice. One speculates that the dominant actors in land use change (e.g., developers, governments, landowners for resource extraction) and climate change (e.g., energy consumers) are different than the populations affected. Three questions at the intersection of science and policy remain to be addressed. First, are there differences among populations in exposure to infectious disease? Second, are these differences driven by environmental change? Third, are these differences inequitable?
Jan. 12, 2007: Climate Change in the Southeastern US: Consequences, Mitigation, and Drivers.
Discussion Leader: Ron Carroll
The rate and amplitude of climate change appears to be increasing as positive feedback loops become stronger. The most likely consequences of climate change include: increased temperatures especially at night, more variable rainfall, increased summer water deficits, possibility of so-called mega-droughts, and rising sea levels. Rapid population growth in the southeast, especially in the piedmont and along the coast, will exacerbate the negative effects of climate change. In the southeast, initiatives to mitigate (=slow down) the consequences of climate change have emphasized energy conservation and conversion of land to the production of biofuels, usually forest products or maize. The production systems proposed for biofuels in the southeast are likely to cause erosion and contribute in several ways to lower surface water quality.
Can we do better and is there a good role for the River Basin Center?
Powerpoint: Climate Change in the Southeastern US (large file 36.62 MB)