Earlier this year, WEEL founder and PI Dan Childers attended the 2017 Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (GEER) meeting in Coral Spring, FL. While there, Dan had the opportunity to participate in the conferences neat DIG (Design, Innovation and Governance) session, where presenters gave short 10-minute talks on a variety of topics.
Dan's short presentation, titled "Sustainability," is a great introduction to the sustainability challenges and opportunities of the Greater Everglades. Be sure to check it out! You can find a link to the talk below:
Dan Childers - GEER 2017 DIG Session
Yufen REN, a visiting scholar from Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, has been visiting WEEL and CAP LTER, ASU since March, 2016, and she will be leaving us this month (March 2017). Yufen studies urban ecology and works for Beijing Urban Ecosystem Research Station (BUERS), Chinese Ecosystem Research Network (CERN).
"During my visit to the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Program (CAP LTER) this year, I was trying to help BUERS establish a feasible monitoring system, and fortunately Dan Childers, the PI of CAP LTER helped me get involved in lots of the field monitoring programs throughout CAP LTER. These included long-term meteorology observation, riparian herpetofauna surveys, birding, desert fertilization experiment, arthropod pitfall trapping, atmospheric deposition monitoring, flux tower operations, monitoring of stormwater hydrology and biogeochemistry, and more. I was also able to join the WEEL group for field work at the Tres Rios Constructed Treatment Wetland. This gave me some insight into the unique processes that occur in arid land treatment wetlands, including of plant mediation of surface water hydrology (the "biological tide"). I feel as though the CAP IV integrated research plan and those field monitoring efforts have made numerous contributions to urban ecology, and to some extent help bring new thinking to Beijing urban ecosystem research program. To enhance urban sustainability, I hope to perceive that Beijing metropolitan area as complex social-ecological systems, which requires a holistic perspective. My experience in Arizona, working with CAP and WEEL at ASU, will be hugely helpful in advancing this thinking."
Ph.D., Chinese Academy of Sciences
WEEL/CAP LTER Visiting Scholar, March 2016 - March 2017
WEEL graduate student Nich Weller and his colleague Michelle Sullivan recently published their first post on a blog that they recently started. Their new blog is called "Muddling Through Science, Policy, and Politics," and will feature on-going reflections on the messy relationship between science, policy, and politics.
Click the link to read their inaugural post!
WEEL Lab Manager
Just this morning, WEEL's very own Jorge Ramos successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation: "Methane and Nitrous Oxide Fluxes from Water, Plants, and Soils of a Constructed Treatment Wetland in Phoenix, AZ." Jorge came to ASU in 2010 and shortly after decided to join our lab to study urban wetlands. He was interested in understanding the tradeoffs between ecosystem services (namely water treatment) and disservices (namely greenhouse gas production) at the Tres Rios Constructed Treatment Wetland. His work builds on years of WEEL research at Tres Rios, and offers valuable new techniques and insights in understanding greenhouse gas emissions in urban wetlands.
Jorge very recently signed a job offer with Conservation International, where he will be leading their Blue Carbon initiative, focusing specifically on coastal wetlands throughout Latin America. We know he will go on to do big things in this position and beyond.
Our very own Dan Childers was recently in Changsu, China attending the 10th International INTECOL International Wetlands Conference. Apart from delivering a well-received talk about urban infrastructure, Dan also happened to come across the gem of a sign. Just a friendly reminder to everyone that "Protecting the wetlands is a societal duty!"
2016 is off to a great start for WEEL. Despite having to cut out some field days due to vehicle issues, our January field campaign at the Tres Rios Constructed Treatment Wetland came to a successful conclusion yesterday. This is due in large part to dedication of our students and volunteers, so a big thank you is in order to all of you that joined us on those cold mornings (before sunrise in most cases)! Having only been out to Tres Rios myself in January once during 2013, it was fun to more fully experience the site during the middle of winter. Check out the photos below to see our field crew in action, and get a taste of how cool Tres Rios looks on those early (and sometimes very foggy) winter mornings!
The Central Arizona-Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) program hosted its eighteenth annual All Scientists Meeting (ASM) on January 15th, 2016, and WEEL showed up in full force! All of our students did a fantastic job presenting posters about their projects and latest findings, and it was a great opportunity to see the work that the CAP LTER community as a whole has been doing over the course of the past year. Peter Groffman, a visiting professor and collaborator from City University of New York and the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER (BES LTER), gave the opening talk on "Baltimore, Phoenix and the Emergence of Long-Term Ecological Research in Cities." WEEL's very own Dan Childers, who is heading up the upcoming proposal to the National Science Foundation for the fourth funding cycle of the CAP LTER program (CAP IV), gave an interesting second keynote presentation on "Tomorrow’s Cities: Infrastructure to Enhance Urban Sustainability," detailing the importance of studying infrastructure in urban systems. Congratulations to all of the WEEL members for their hard work over the past year, and good luck in what will no doubt be another exciting and successful year! Check out the photos below to see our lab members representing WEEL and having fun at the ASM.
WEEL Lab Manager
WEEL has some very exciting news to share! The Tres Rios Constructed Tertiary Treatment Wetland was recently featured in a short documentary, and the film contains some footage of our very own Dan Childers, Chris Sanchez, and Brick Cummins, an awesome undergraduate student who has been working with WEEL this semester. The film was created as part of a sustainability story-telling class taught by Peter Byck, an ASU Professor of Practice who works with both the School of Sustainability (SoS) and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Students in the class worked in diverse groups representing both of these schools to create short, 5-minute documentaries on a variety of local sustainability related topics.
One group, comprised of SoS graduate students Suzanne Jumper and Yeowan Kim, as well as Cronkite school undergraduate Johnathan Rugg, decided to focus their documentary on Tres Rios. They did a fantastic job, capturing the purpose and context of the system and the central research questions that WEEL is investigating in our work there. Additionally, they shared perspectives from not just WEEL but also the City of Phoenix Water Services Department and the Audubon Society. To film part of the documentary, we invited the group on one of our regular field sampling trips and had them join us out in the marsh, waders and all! Working with them was a great time, and it was fun to show them what working in this "working wetland" is all about! Follow the Vimeo link below to watch the film, and check out some awesome behind-the-scenes photos of Dan getting interviewed by the film crew at Tres Rios! Congratulations to Suzanne, Yeowan and Johnathan for putting together a wonderful documentary!
If you are interested in being a part of WEEL's research out at Tres Rios, be sure to check out the Get Involved tab at the top of this page!
Dr. Dan Childers just returned from a workshop organized by Professor Melissa McHale who is part of the Urban Ecology Lab Group at the NCSU College of Natural Resources. The workshop was part of the NC State IMAGINE (International Mentoring of Advanced Graduates for INterdisciplinary Excellence) project which sets one of its goals to develop science that contributes to the health and well being of communities in need. Its main study area is in the region of Kruger National Park and they were working at the Wits Rural Facility Lab, which is part of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. To learn more about the benefits of studying urbanization in developing countries read Dr. McHale’s and others recent publication “Urban ecology in a developing world: why advanced socioecological theory needs Africa”. A cool fact about Dr. McHale is that she worked as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long Term Ecological ResearchProgram, Arizona State University from 2007-2008.
Here are some pictures from Dr. Childer’s very lucky camera!
December was one busy month for the WEEL lab! First, we all had an extra couple of days of field work to finish our 2013 annual Tres Rios Wetland Ecology sampling campaign! Second, Ben Warner, visited us for a couple of days and Dan organized a reunion for all of the lab to catch up with him about his research down in Costa Rica. You can read some of his updates on the research projects with his collaborators here and in Spanish too!
Eric, Amanda, and Jorge attended their first AGU conference in San Francisco, CA. In the2013 AGU Fall Meeting Jorge presented his research poster co-authored by Eric and Dantitled “Spatial and temporal variability of annual greenhouse gas fluxes from a constructed wetland in an arid region” in a session titled “Hydrodynamics and the Temporal-Spatial Variability of Emissions of Greenhouse Gases from Inland Waters” organized by Sally MacIntyre, Patrick Crill, Jan Karlsson, and John Lenters. Jorge was also a co-author onJessica Corman’s (from Jim Elser’s lab) poster presentation about their LiWe project: “Spatial and temporal variability of spring ecosystems in Cuatro Ciénegas, MX” in a session titled “Spring Ecosystems: The Quintessential Groundwater-Dependent Ecosystem Posters.” For more info on this AGU experience, check out his AGU Storify story (collection of twitters).
Last but not least, undergraduate student Olga Epshtein graduated from the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering with a degree in Civil Engineering and will continue her studies by pursuing a MS in Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering from the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. Congrats Olga!
Check out some of the pictures from our December activities below!