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Posted by Morgan Kelly, Office of Communications on Feb 16, 2017
For decades, among the most enduring questions for ecologists have been: "Why do species live where they do? And what are the factors that keep them there?" A Princeton University-based study featured on the February cover of the journal Ecology could prove significant in answering that question, particularly for animals in the world's temperate mountain areas. The researchers spent two years documenting the distribution of 70 bird species across the Himalayas in India and found that temperature and habitat predominantly determine the elevations where the birds live. Earlier...
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Posted by Joanna M. Foster ’08 for the Princeton Environmental Institute on Feb 07, 2017
Princeton Environmental Institute has announced awards totaling $374,000 to support five faculty research projects as part of the Urban Grand Challenge – one of several long term research cooperatives that comprise its Grand Challenges program.  With the majority of the world’s population now living in urban areas, there is urgency  to establish models of sustainability, adaptation, and resiliency that are sensitive to environmental issues including global change, water resource management, energy efficiency, technology innovation, human and environmental health, while, at the...
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Posted by Holly Welles on Feb 06, 2017
​Corina Tarnita, a Princeton University assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and PEI associated faculty member, was among seven researchers nationwide to be named an Early Career Fellow of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). Fellows are ESA members who have or have potential to make outstanding contributions to the advancement or application of ecological knowledge to a variety of fields served by ESA, including academics, government, nonprofit organizations and the private sector. Fellows are elected for five years. Tarnita and the other fellows will be honored during...
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Posted by Joanna M. Foster ’08 for the Princeton Environmental Institute on Feb 01, 2017
The Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) is pleased to welcome Gabriel Vecchi, Luc Deike, Laure Resplandy, and Xinning Zhang to the Princeton University faculty. Gabriel Vecchi Gabriel Vecchi joins the faculty as a professor with a joint appointment in PEI and the Department of Geosciences. Since 2012, Vecchi has been the head of the climate variation and predictability group at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Princeton, NJ. He holds a Ph.D. in physical oceanography from the University of Washington and has...
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Posted by Wendy Plump for the Office of Engineering Communications on Jan 31, 2017
At a vegetable farm in West Africa, where the planting is done by hand, questions about weather boil down to the most urgent question of all:  Will the rains be good or bad? Princeton professor Eric Wood, a hydrologist who usually works with global data and computer models, visited the small farm an hour out of Niamey, Niger, in 2013. There, he spoke with the very people who would benefit from a new drought and flood risk monitoring system that he had created. Farmers in Niamey rely on their agricultural agents, and by extension Wood's program, to tell them when the rains will...
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Posted by Morgan Kelly, Office of Communications on Jan 26, 2017
Until recently, Princeton University junior Anne Merrill wasn't aware of how time and distance can dampen a person's awareness of the pervasiveness and the toxic endurance of environmental degradation. As someone who is well-read on environmental topics and active in environmental clubs on campus, Merrill, a comparative literature major, was shocked upon enrolling in the course, "The Literature of Environmental Disaster," to learn about environmental crises of which she'd never heard or realized the scale. Decades of rapacious oil drilling in the distant Niger River delta that...
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Posted by Morgan Kelly, Office of Communications on Jan 19, 2017
Be it the Mima mounds of Washington state or the famous "fairy circles" of Namibia in southwestern Africa, people are captivated by the regular patterns of plant growth that blanket desert and grassland landscapes, often with mesmerizing consistency. Scientists have long debated how these phenomena originate and persist. Now, a new theory suggests that instead of a single overarching cause, large-scale vegetation patterns in arid ecosystems could occasionally stem from millions of local interactions among neighboring plants and animals, according to a Princeton University-led study...
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Posted by Morgan Kelly Office of Communications on Jan 19, 2017
Scientists from Princeton University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have produced the first global analysis of how climate change may affect the frequency and location of mild-weather days — and it may be soon. In a report published Jan. 18 in the journal Climatic Change, the researchers define mild weather as temperatures between 64 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (18 and 30 degrees Celsius); less than 0.04 inches (1 mm) of rain; and a dew point below 68 degrees F (20 degrees Celsius), which indicates low humidity. NOAA funded the work. Within...
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Posted by Matt Soniak for the Office of Engineering Communications on Jan 13, 2017
In August 2015, a dust storm blanketed large areas of seven Middle East nations in a haze of dust and sand thick enough to obscure them from satellite view. The storm led to several deaths, thousands of cases of respiratory ailments and injuries, and canceled airline flights and closed ports.  At the time, the storm's unusual severity was attributed to the ongoing civil war in Syria by media outlets in the Middle East, Europe and the United States. Reports blamed the conflict for changes in land use and cover — and for activities like increased military traffic over unpaved surfaces...
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Posted by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research on Jan 11, 2017
A new study has found that trees worldwide develop thicker bark when they live in fire-prone areas. The findings suggest that bark thickness could help predict which forests and savannas will survive a warmer climate in which wildfires are expected to increase in frequency. Trees in regions where fire is common, such as savannas and the forests of western North America, tend to have thicker bark, while trees in tropical rainforests have thinner bark, researchers at Princeton University and collaborating institutions reported Jan. 9 in the journal Ecology Letters. Bark protects the inside...
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