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2014 August 29

August 29, 2014

Katie Meehan named to Fulbright Nexus scholars list

Professor Meehan has been named a Fulbright Nexus Regional Scholar for 2014-1016. This program selects twenty distinguished scholars to conduct individual research and participate in group discussions on climate change. The group then ends the two-year collaboration with a meeting in Washington DC where they share the policy-relevant results of their research.

Professor Meehan will be using this award to continue her research on social and behavioral adaptation to climate change in Mexico. Her research has focused on rainwater harvesting in Mexico City and examining why and how people conduct rainwater harvesting, including some of the technologies that have been developed. But she also focuses on the factors that challenge wider-scale adoption of these practices, especially in the context of urban migration and the inability of the government to provide adequate water.

This work has implications closer to home, too, especially in the context of the drought that the Western United States is currently experiencing. Professor Meehan argues that even places that are plugged into large-scale water grids should have alternative supply capabilities in place. It is possible that the US could learn about the mix of large and small-scale water supply systems that people rely on in places like Mexico City.

Professor Meehan hopes to develop a system where water quality can be tracked through cell phone technologies. She travelled to Brasilia, Brazil, in August to meet with the nineteen other members of her program, and she will be making research trips to Mexico City throughout her Fellowship.

Professor Chris Bone leads a team of researchers in a National Science Foundation-supported project examining the effects of climate change on the mountain pine beetle

Professors Chris Bone, Patrick Bartlein and Dan Gavin study impacts of climate change on forest insects

Professor Chris Bone is leading a team of researchers from the Department of Geography, Computer and Information Science, the Institute for Sustainable Development, The University of Chicago and the University College London in a National Science Foundation-supported project. The $1.3 million grant will examine the effects of climate change on the mountain pine beetle. This insect is responsible for the killing of tens of millions of acres of trees just in the past twenty years.

“Responses to these outbreaks have largely existed as federal or state-level initiatives aimed at mitigating ongoing damage caused by beetle infestations,” Bone said. “Minimal attention has been paid to how multiple levels of governance, from local stakeholders to federal agencies can interact to produce novel, flexible and timely responses that can potentially alter both current and future beetle impacts under the uncertainty of climate change.”

The team will use computer modeling to identify patterns of forest change under different scenarios to increase the understanding of pine beetle infestations. The hope is that providing more information about possible responses by the beetles to climate change scenarios, agencies charged with dealing with these infestations can be more proactive that reactive, and able to use the information to prevent or reduce future outbreaks of this destructive insect.