Environment @ Brown

Leslie Lab undergraduate researcher and Voss course participant Megan Palmer published an op ed earlier this year in The Providence Journal on the merits of offshore wind power. Read it here. 

P3260150A lot of research shows that temperature can strongly influence species interactions and sometimes shape the appearance and functioning of biological communities. That’s why a newly published finding by Leslie lab alum and Fulbright scholar Emily Lamb, along with Heather and Emily’s co-mentor, Dr. Jenna Shinen of the Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas (ECIM) in Chile, that changes in temperature did not alter the competitive balance of power between two rival species of Chilean barnacles is an ecological surprise.

Read more…

Voss Environmental Fellows funds Brown juniors to undertake use-inspired research summer projects. Fellows are co-advised by Brown or Brown-MBL faculty member and the end user of the research, with the goal of producing new knowledge that is both scientifically valid and useful in improving environmental policy or practice. The program is open to students and faculty from all departments, and students receive a $3500 stipend and modest research fund.

The application (due February 14, 2014) requires a well-developed project concept, so we encourage applicants to start finding mentors and developing a project early. Learn more about the work of past Voss Fellows at http://blogs.brown.edu/bef/, and contact Program Director Prof. Heather Leslie with questions.

Click here to read the reflections of Leslie lab alums Harriet Booth and Katherine Siegel on their undergraduate engaged research projects. Harriet and Katherine, both Class of 2013, were members of the Leslie lab and participated in Heather’s upper level course on Engaged Environmental Scholarship and Communication in Spring 2013.

To learn more about the course or opportunities to participate in engaged research through the Voss Environmental Fellows program, contact Heather_Leslie(at)brown.edu

Brown undergraduates learn about the coastal ecology and human history of the bay from John Torgan, Coastal and Marine Program Director for the RI chapter of The Nature Conservancy

Brown undergraduates learn about the Bay’s natural and human history from John Torgan, director of Ocean and Coastal Conservation for the RI chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

In Fall 2013, 14 Brown University undergraduates are investigating the diversity of ways that humans are connected to and part of ecosystems in coastal Rhode Island. Through the seminar-style course Coastal Ecology and Conservation (ENVS 0455/BIOL 0455) taught by Prof. Heather Leslie and graduate teaching assistant Kara Pellowe, students are learning core ecological principles and how they are translated in the context of conservation in the Ocean State.

This course is writing intensive, as students gain experience writing in a variety of forms relevant for environmental science, including personal essays, research proposals, blog posts, and field reports. Students also experience engaged scholarship, as they have opportunities to interact with conservation professionals from both the non profit and government sectors and to shape their independent research projects in ways that are salient to real-world environmental problem-solving.

For example, in collaboration with staff from The Nature Conservancy, students have had the opportunity to contribute to coastal habitat restoration on Block Island and explore the diversity of marine life in upper Narragansett Bay.

Check back for news of the class’s guide to the urban coastlines of the Bay later this year!

2013-09-14 08.14.52Heather has written an inaugural article for the new online magazine, SNAP: Science for Nature and People. SNAP is a new collaboration between The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Wildlife Conservation Society and the National Center for Ecology Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), and will deliver rapid, implementable results. The goal of SNAP is to demonstrate how protecting nature can enhance human well-being.

Read her article, Ecosystem-Based Management: What We Need to Build on the Promise. 

Read more articles from the first issue… on urban conservation, preservation through an ecosystem services lens, prosperity and conservation, and what conservation looks like in Mongolia.


Heather will be heading to Baltimore soon for a symposium she’s organized in collaboration with Dr. Karen McLeod of COMPASS on Ecosystem-Based Management in Practice for the International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB). Check back for a post-session report!

Karen Cortes, Class of 2014, sampling water in the Bay.

Karen Cortes, Class of 2014, sampling water in the Bay.

This summer, Heather and several students are focused on elements of ocean health in Narragansett Bay and the broader New England region.

Read more…

Read of Alice Alpert, graduate student in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program, who studies what the chemistry of coral skeletons can tell us about the ocean in the past. This former Brown undergrad had the honor and challenge of being the muse for an Antarctic poet, Katharine Coles. See http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/feature/alpertandpoet.

More than 100 Brown faculty members in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences work on Latin America and the Caribbean. Focus on Faculty Issue No. 2 offers a window onto the cutting-edge scholarship that faculty across the University are carrying out on Latin America and the Caribbean. The issue includes a special section on “The Life Sciences and Latin American Studies,” which highlights some of the path-breaking research at Brown on environmental change and natural resource management.

See page 2 for an interview with Heather on her coupled systems work in the Gulf of California.


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