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May 2019

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Seismology in Alaska: earthquakes, bears, and high-performance computing
Dr. Carl Tape

Seismology in Alaska: earthquakes, bears, and high-performance computing

Event date: 3 May 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Dr. Carl Tape
About the speaker:

Carl Tape is a seismologist the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He develops and applies techniques in computational and observational seismology to obtain better images of Earth's internal structure and to obtain better representations of earthquakes. Improved seismic images of the crust and mantle provide an important snapshot of a dynamic Earth, and they can be used for scenario earthquake simulations that help assess seismic hazard in earthquake-prone regions. Dr. Tape received his B.A. in physics and geology from Carleton College, a M.S. from Oxford University, and a Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology. He did postdoctoral research at Harvard University before starting as faculty at UAF in 2010.


Alaska is one of the world's prolific producers of earthquakes, including the 2002 magnitude 7.9 strike-slip earthquake on the Denali fault, the 1964 magnitude 9.2 subduction earthquake on the Alaskan megathrust, and the recent 2018 magnitude 7.0 earthquake below Anchorage. Earthquakes occur throughout the state and are a reminder of the active subduction, collision, and faulting that have shaped the highest mountains in North America. Over the past five years, seismic stations have been deployed in some of Alaska's most inaccessible regions. New seismic data provide opportunities to characterize new fault zones and to image complex subsurface structures, from the underlying Pacific slab to sedimentary basins within the crust. Complex structures produce complex earthquake ground motion that can be modeled using high-performance computational resources. I will discuss new seismic deployments, discoveries, and scientific frontiers in Alaska.

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Modelling the dynamics and impacts of hazardous volcanic mudflows (lahars)
Dr Jeremy Philips

Modelling the dynamics and impacts of hazardous volcanic mudflows (lahars)

Event date: 9 May 2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Dr Jeremy Philips
About the speaker:

Jeremy Phillips is a Volcanologist with broad interest in environmental hazard, risk and resilience. He received his BSc degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Birmingham UK and his PhD in fluid mechanics of pesticide dispersion jointly from Universities of Cambridge and Birmingham. The primary theme of his postdoctoral research is the fluid mechanics of volcanic activity, from fundamental volcanic processes through to volcanic hazard and risk, and their impacts on global sustainable development. Major foci include dynamics of explosive and persistently-active volcanism, volcanic ash dispersion and impacts, and impacts of hazardous surface flows, including flash floods, volcanic mudflows and landslides. Most of his research now crosses disciplines to integrate hazard assessment with social and physical vulnerability, risk management structures and community engagement, in collaboration with social scientists, engineers, mathematicians and statisticians. He led the hazard workpackage of the UK multidisciplinary research project Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas, and is part of the hazards research team in the new UK £20M Urban Disaster Risk Research Hub. He has been Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University and Chargé de Cours at Université de Genève, and has published more than 90 research papers and book chapters. Most of his postdoctoral research has been conducted at University of Bristol, where he is now Reader in Physical Volcanology. 


When volcanic sediments are mixed with water the slurry of material can be highly mobile, flowing for long distances (up to 100 km) from steep volcanic flanks. These flows are commonly referred to as lahars and are one of the most dangerous hazards related to volcanic activity. They can inundate large areas up to depths of a few metres, destroying buildings and infrastructure and damaging agricultural land, and can occur during eruptions and for many years afterwards.

Physical models that describe lahar dynamics are useful tools in managing lahar hazards, allowing quantitative hazard assessments to be performed.  In addition to predicting flow routing and inundation, which are core components of hazard mapping, physical models can provide quantitative predictions of flow variables that are valuable for assessing impacts on infrastructure (such as depth, velocity, dynamic pressures), as well as arrival times of lahars, which are critical for emergency response planning and the development of early-warning systems. A new physics-based dynamic flood model, LaharFlow, can be used to simulate lahar flows and water flows. This seminar will include a hands-on practical session so that you can run lahar or flood simulations online.

 

 

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The earthquake cycle and lithospheric deformation in the continents
Dr Jeff Freymueller

The earthquake cycle and lithospheric deformation in the continents

Event date: 13 May 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Dr Jeff Freymueller
About the speaker:

Jeff Freymueller has held the Thomas A. Vogel Chair for Geology of the Solid Earth at Michigan State University since 2018, after 23 years on the faculty at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a PhD in Geology in 1991, then did postdoctoral work at Stanford University. Freymueller’s research focuses on the measurement and modeling of solid earth deformation caused by a variety of sources, including active tectonics and earthquakes, volcanism, and hydrological and cryospheric mass variations. Many of these processes also present hazards to society, and the study and characterization of these hazards is a basic step toward hazard and risk mitigation. In parallel, he works on improving the measurements themselves, and the more accurate definition of reference systems for the measurement of these motions.


Tectonic deformation in the continents is often distributed over a wide area. The India-Eurasia collision in Asia, and the Pacific-North America-Juan de Fuca plate boundary in western North America are classic examples of distributed plate boundary deformation. Present-day velocities from GPS measurements provide a powerful data set for measuring plate boundary kinematics and estimating rates of motion on faults. However, these data depend not only on the long-term geological motions, but also on deformation associated with the earthquake cycle. This talk will review basic earthquake cycle models and geodetic block models, and also explore some of the time-dependent aspects of earthquake cycle deformation.

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Seminar by Mark Westoby
Mark Westoby

Seminar by Mark Westoby

Event date: 15 May 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: To be confirmed
Speaker: Mark Westoby
About the speaker:

Details to follow


Details to follow

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Ecology and conservation of Asiatic lions Panthera leo persica
Dr. Ravi Chellam

Ecology and conservation of Asiatic lions Panthera leo persica

Event date: 16 May 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Dr. Ravi Chellam
About the speaker:

Ravi Chellam has been involved with wildlife research, education and conservation since the early 1980s.  During his career he has worked with the Wildlife Institute of India, United Nations Development Programme, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Wildlife Conservation Society - India Program, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, Gharial Conservation Alliance, Asian Nature Conservation Foundation, Foundation for Ecological Security and Greenpeace India.  He has played leadership roles in many of his assignments.  His current interests include conservation of large carnivores, conservation and management of wildlife and biodiversity outside Protected Areas, human-wildlife conflicts, restoration of wildlife habitats, mitigation of climate change, and using information technology to enable public participation in research, conservation and public health which particularly involves working with the India Biodiversity Portal and the Open Platform for Rare Diseases.  He is associated with other conservation NGOs in governance roles; serves on the Governing Council of BNHS and Board of Advisors of Nature Conservation Foundation.  He has served as an expert adviser to the Amicus Curiae of the Forest Bench of the Supreme Court of India which dealt with the lion translocation case and works closely with the government on several conservation projects as well as on policy issues.  He is currently a member of the expert committee appointed by the Government of India to guide the translocation of Asiatic lions.  He is closely associated with the Student Conference on Conservation Science-Bengaluru.  Apart from his scientific, technical publications and academic teaching, he writes for the general public in newspapers, magazines and websites as well as gives talks on wildlife and conservation.

He has a B.Sc. in Botany from University of Madras, a M.Sc. in Wildlife Biology from AVC College, Bharatidasan University and a Ph.D. from Saurashtra University based on his work on the ecology of Asiatic lions, research which was conducted through the Wildlife Institute of India.  


Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary located in Saurashtra peninsula of the western Indian state of Gujarat and its surrounding largely human-dominated landscapes are currently home to reportedly 600 to 800 lions.  This is the only population of free-ranging wild lions in all of Asia.  More than 50% of this population is outside the protected areas, living and interacting with people and their livestock on a regular basis.

The lions had a close brush with extinction in the late 1800s and early 1900s and their population has since recovered remarkably.  In what is otherwise a pretty grim global scenario for biodiversity, wildlife and especially large carnivores, the story of the lions in India is a fantastic success especially given India’s very dense human population and its economic development trajectory. Even for success to endure needs long-term planning, effective management, regular and credible monitoring.  The current conservation challenges faced by this endangered species are largely due to lacunae in these aspects.

In my talk, I will trace the conservation history of lions, describe their ecology, the current status of this population and talk about the conservation challenges and priority actions which are needed.

 

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The Influence of hydrospheric processes on intraplate seismicity
Dr Tim Craig, University of Leeds

The Influence of hydrospheric processes on intraplate seismicity

Event date: 21 May 2019 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Dr Tim Craig, University of Leeds
About the speaker:

Tim is a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the Institute for Geophysics and Tectonics, University of Leeds in the UK.  He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2013, looking at ways to used earthquake locations to constrain the brittle behaviour and structure of the lithosphere.  After this, he worked as a postdoc at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, looking at intracontinental deformation across a range of timescales, before returning to the UK in 2015, on an independent research fellowship funded by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.  Much of his work focuses on earthquakes that occur within (rather than between) plates, in both continental and oceanic settings, where he uses a combination of seismology, geodesy, and geodynamic modelling to constrain earthquake source processes and the forces that drive their occurrence.  Current focuses include the seismicity associated with the deformation of shallow subjecting slabs, and the ways in tectonic and non-tectonic processes interact, and how this may impact on seismicity.

 


The capacity for short-term non-tectonic processes, both natural and anthropogenic, to influence the occurrence of earthquakes in either active tectonic settings or in ‘stable’ plate interiors, remains a subject of much debate.  In particular, much recent work has focused on the potential for long-wavelength changes in continental water storage to produce observable surface deformation, and to impact on regional earthquake occurrence and seismicity rates on a range of timescales.

Previously demonstrated short-term variations in seismogenic behaviour due to surface or near-surface hydrospheric processes are typically limited to active plate-boundary regions (California, the Himalayas, the Japanese Archipelago).  In all of these environments, seismicity is the result of observable and ongoing tectonic processes, and the stresses due to water load variations are significantly smaller than the secular rates of stress accumulation.  Continental interiors present a different scenario, where secular stressing rates are low or negligible – often less than would be expected to result from short-term surface processes.  However, any modulating hydrological influence has been difficult to identify in intraplate earthquake sequences.

In this presentation, I will draw on observations of the variation in hydrological load in the central United States – a slowly-deforming plate interior -  based on a combination of surface hydrology and satellite gravity, and demonstrate how we can use these observations to explain short term geodetically-observed solid-Earth deformation in this area.  I will then show how the stress field induced by these migratory hydrological loads links this induced surface deformation to temporal variations in the seismicity rate, and discuss the implications of this for the mechanics of faulting in plate interiors.

 

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PhD Oral Defense of Stephen Chua: Quaternary Palaeoenvironments of the Kallang River Basin, Singapore
Stephen Chua

PhD Oral Defense of Stephen Chua: Quaternary Palaeoenvironments of the Kallang River Basin, Singapore

Event date: 21 May 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Event type: Oral Defense
Venue: ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Stephen Chua
About the speaker:

Stephen Chua received his B.A. (Hons) in Geography in 2003 and MSc (Environmental Science) in 2010 from NIE/NTU. His undergraduate dissertation focused on reconstructing palaeoenvironmental changes to the Sungei Buloh-Kranji mangrove coast, while his Master’s work involved monitoring and predicting potential impacts of sea level rise on the Pasir Ris mangroves. Stephen joined the Interdisciplinary Graduate School NTU as a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Associate Professor Adam Switzer (ASE) and Dr Beverly Goh (NIE) in 2014. He received an Endeavour Research Fellowship in 2017 to conduct isotopic analysis of sediments at the Advanced Analytical Centre, James Cook University, Cairns. Stephen was a recipient of the Outstanding Student Poster Award at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in 2018. During his Ph.D., he used borehole data to conduct geological modelling of the Kallang River Basin, and used sedimentological and geochemical records from sediment cores in Singapore to reconstruct past sea level, morphological and environmental changes.


The Quaternary period (last ~2.6 Ma) was marked by a series of >50 glacial–interglacial climate cycles. Palaeoenvironmental records from this period enable us to reconstruct past changes in sea level, climate and associated environmental response, and provide critical information to prepare for future environmental change. Unfortunately, there remains a paucity of such records in the Sunda shelf region where > 450 million people face environmental risks associated with future climate change, with a significant number living in coastal megacities built on Quaternary coastal-marine sequences. Singapore lies near the relatively tectonically-stable core of Sundaland, which coupled with a low tidal range (~2.2m) and relatively low-energy wave regime result in reliable sedimentary archives recording palaeoenvironmental coastal change.
 
I present the Quaternary stratigraphy, sea level, and coastal change, of the Kallang River Basin (KRB) based on high-resolution sedimentological and geochemical analysis of a ~38.5 m sediment core (~-50m MSL) sediment core (MSBH01B), constrained by 17 14C AMS dates, and augmented by borehole data within the KRB.  First, I created the first 3D geological model with chronology constrained by radiocarbon and OSL ages. I also added 4 new sea level index points (SLIPs) to existing SLIPs, and used a Bayesian modelling approach to produce a revised and extended Holocene sea level history for Singapore. Finally, I present an early-mid Holocene coastal evolution model for Singapore showing that coastal mangroves succeeded in colonising the early Holocene Singapore coast but eventually succumbed to continued rise in sea level as recorded by a prograding delta system by ~7.8 ka BP, coeval with global delta initiation. This study improves our understanding of Singapore’s Quaternary stratigraphy and contributes new knowledge about early-mid Holocene sea level and environmental change in Singapore and the region.

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Resistance To Invasion In Different Forest Ecosystems
Dr. Martín Nuñez

Resistance To Invasion In Different Forest Ecosystems

Event date: 21 May 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3-D Visualization Lab (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Dr. Martín Nuñez
About the speaker:

I am a forest ecologist with broad interests in community, ecosystem, and invasion ecology and belowground processes. I obtained my PhD at the University of Tennessee, USA, and I have conducted research in many tropical, subtropical and temperate locations. I am currently a professor at the National University of Comahue and a Researcher at CONICET, Argentina. I also serve as Senior Editor of the Journal of Applied Ecology, as well as a handling editor of other international scientific journals. I have published to date ca. 90 scientific papers, many in international journals such as Ecology, PNAS, Nature Plants, New Phytologist, and Global Change Biology. My main research focus is on invasion in forest ecosystems and the role of belowground processes in plant species coexistence and colonization.


Invasive species are one of the main drivers of global change, and they affect all ecosystems. Remarkably, forests in different parts of the world have generally not been invaded as much as other ecosystems. I will present research conducted in forests in different parts of the world where I’ve been studying factors such as propagule pressure, invasive species traits, disturbance, and belowground interactions. These factors seem to be key in explaining the pattern of lower invasion in forest ecosystems. Understanding the main drivers of invasion and what makes some species invasive and some ecosystems more or less resistant to invasion is fundamental to preventing future invasions and to managing current invasions effectively.

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An Introduction to Biological Invasions
Dr. Martín Nuñez

An Introduction to Biological Invasions

Event date: 22 May 2019 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3-D Visualization Lab (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Dr. Martín Nuñez
About the speaker:

I am a forest ecologist with broad interests in community, ecosystem, and invasion ecology and belowground processes. I obtained my PhD at the University of Tennessee, USA, and I have conducted research in many tropical, subtropical and temperate locations. I am currently a professor at the National University of Comahue and a Researcher at CONICET, Argentina. I also serve as Senior Editor of the Journal of Applied Ecology, as well as a handling editor of other international scientific journals. I have published to date ca. 90 scientific papers, many in international journals such as Ecology, PNAS, Nature Plants, New Phytologist, and Global Change Biology. My main research focus is on invasion in forest ecosystems and the role of belowground processes in plant species coexistence and colonization.


Invasive species are among the most important drivers of global change. In the Anthropocene humans are moving around an unprecedented number of species, which produce a growing number of ecological and economic problems. The impacts of invasive species include those on human health and wellbeing and species’ extinctions, and they are estimated to cost billions of dollars annually at a global scale. In this seminar I will lecture on what invasive species are, their ecological and economical impacts, and the tools we have to control and prevent their spread.

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An Introduction To Soil Nutrient Cycling
Dr. Ryan Mushinski

An Introduction To Soil Nutrient Cycling

Event date: 23 May 2019 - 10:00am to 11:00am
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3-D Visualization Lab (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Dr. Ryan Mushinski
About the speaker:

Ryan M. Mushinski is a United States Department of Agriculture Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. He earned his Bachelors of Science in Biology from Texas State University in 2012 and Ph.D. in Ecosystem Science from Texas A&M University in 2017. Ryan is an expert in the field of soil microbial biogeochemistry with a focus on plant-soil-microbial interactions, soil microbial ecology, and carbon and nutrient biogeochemistry. His primary research investigates the influence of land-use change and vegetation shifts on soil microbial ecology and associated function in forest ecosystems. Ryan utilizes an integrated approach involving molecular biology, genomics and bioinformatics, field ecology, soil science, and analytical chemistry. Because much of his research is applied, Ryan actively translates scientific knowledge to actionable outcomes by working with land-managers to develop programs that integrate stakeholder concerns into research planning.
More information about Ryan’s work can be found on his website: https://sites.google.com/site/rmmushinski/home.

 


The cycling of soil nutrients has tremendous contemporary significance due to their critical role in determining the structure and function of ecosystems, and their influence on atmospheric chemistry and the climate system. This seminar will provide a framework for understanding nutrient cycling, their significance at the ecosystem scale, and contemporary relevance to ecosystem science. The cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus will be emphasized due to their importance in plant and microbe metabolism.  By the end of the seminar, attendees will (1) gain an understanding of how nutrients cycle in ecosystems, (2) develop a hypothesis and design an experiment about nutrient limitation of net primary productivity, and (3) determine the factors that control nitrogen cycling in ecosystems. 

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Land-Use Change and Vegaetation Shifts In Forest Ecosystems: An Exploration Of Soil Ecology and Biogeochemistry
Dr. Ryan Mushinski

Land-Use Change and Vegaetation Shifts In Forest Ecosystems: An Exploration Of Soil Ecology and Biogeochemistry

Event date: 24 May 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3-D Visualization Lab (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Dr. Ryan Mushinski
About the speaker:

Ryan M. Mushinski is a United States Department of Agriculture Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. He earned his Bachelors of Science in Biology from Texas State University in 2012 and Ph.D. in Ecosystem Science from Texas A&M University in 2017. Ryan is an expert in the field of soil microbial biogeochemistry with a focus on plant-soil-microbial interactions, soil microbial ecology, and carbon and nutrient biogeochemistry. His primary research investigates the influence of land-use change and vegetation shifts on soil microbial ecology and associated function in forest ecosystems. Ryan utilizes an integrated approach involving molecular biology, genomics and bioinformatics, field ecology, soil science, and analytical chemistry. Because much of his research is applied, Ryan actively translates scientific knowledge to actionable outcomes by working with land-managers to develop programs that integrate stakeholder concerns into research planning.
More information about Ryan’s work can be found on his website: https://sites.google.com/site/rmmushinski/home.

 


Forest ecosystems provide a wide variety of ecological functions such as carbon storage, nutrient cycling, water and air purification, and maintenance of wildlife habitat. However, natural and anthropogenic forces such as climate change and forest overutilization can have direct consequences on the maintenance of these crucial forest ecosystem services. My research attempts to link aboveground changes to alterations in belowground processes by investigating two broad themes: (1) The resilience of soil biogeochemical processes and underlying microbial communities to anthropogenic disturbance such as timber harvest and (2) The effects of global-change-induced forest vegetation shifts and soil microbial structure on atmospheric chemistry. In this seminar, I will illustrate that both timber harvest and forest vegetation shifts can lead to complete reorganization of the soil microbial community thereby disrupting biogeochemical cycling, especially as it pertains to nitrogen cycle processes. I will also present ideas for future lines of research which will place strong emphasis on understanding how and why these observations differ in different geographic locations and across different lithology, novel interactions between carbon- and nitrogen-cycling microbes, and the biogeochemical role of underexplored microbial components such as soil viruses.

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Adapting To Novel Situations: The Evolution Of Root Systems and Mycorrhizal Partnerships in Seed Plants
Dr. Oscar J Valverde-Barrantes (Florida International University)

Adapting To Novel Situations: The Evolution Of Root Systems and Mycorrhizal Partnerships in Seed Plants

Event date: 27 May 2019 - 10:00am to 11:00am
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3-D Visualization Lab (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Dr. Oscar J Valverde-Barrantes (Florida International University)
About the speaker:

I am a botanist and microbiologist deeply interested in the study of the belowground interactions between plants and their associated microbial communities. My field of research includes the study of the co-evolution between mycorrhizal fungus and seed plants, the mechanisms driving the variation in functional root traits and the impacts of different root strategies on ecological processes like soil carbon dynamics and species coexistence. My ultimate goal is to incorporate the belowground component as a central topic of discussion, consolidating root ecology as a standalone ecology field.


The symbiotic association between roots and mycorrhizal fungi has fascinated botanists, mycologists and ecologists for centuries. Approximately 90% of all current plant species engage in some type of mycorrhizal association, making this symbiosis arguably the most widespread and ecologically important mutualism in nature. In this talk, I will describe the most important mycorrhizal types found in nature, the relationship with the anatomical and morphological diversity in fine-roots, the evolutionary history and the global impacts behind this important association.

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Making Ecology Rhizo-Centric: Exploring The Importance Of Fine-Roots As Drivers Of Ecological Processes
Dr. Oscar J Valverde-Barrantes (Florida International University)

Making Ecology Rhizo-Centric: Exploring The Importance Of Fine-Roots As Drivers Of Ecological Processes

Event date: 28 May 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3-D Visualization Lab (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Dr. Oscar J Valverde-Barrantes (Florida International University)
About the speaker:

I am a botanist and microbiologist deeply interested in the study of the belowground interactions between plants and their associated microbial communities. My field of research includes the study of the co-evolution between mycorrhizal fungus and seed plants, the mechanisms driving the variation in functional root traits and the impacts of different root strategies on ecological processes like soil carbon dynamics and species coexistence. My ultimate goal is to incorporate the belowground component as a central topic of discussion, consolidating root ecology as a standalone ecology field.


Roots are a central component for the soil biota and the main mediators in the interactions between below and aboveground compartments in terrestrial ecosystems. Nonetheless, our knowledge of the variation in root systems, their functional trade-offs, and their impact in ecological processes is still very limited. In this talk, I will address some of the main conceptual ideas in the emergent field of root ecology, the importance of root interactions maintaining plant community diversity, the impacts of root traits on ecological processes and the future role of root systems in a changing world, particularly in tropical ecosystems.

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