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April 2019

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Assembling the Southeast Asian flora: different dispersal scenarios in relation to different plate tectonic reconstructions
Dr. Bob Morley

Assembling the Southeast Asian flora: different dispersal scenarios in relation to different plate tectonic reconstructions

Event date: 1 April 2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: Teaching room 3 (N1.1-B2-01d), NTU
Speaker: Dr. Bob Morley
About the speaker:

Bob Morley graduated from Hull University with a PhD in Quaternary palynology of the Sunda region a long time ago. After spending 16 years with an international geological consultancy company and two years at the British Geological Survey he established the consultancy ‘Palynova’, now in its 27th year, which specialises in high resolution sequence biostratigraphic evaluations of Southeast Asian basins.

He has published over 120 papers on Southeast Asian geology and biogeography, and also a book ‘Origin and Evolution of Tropical Rain Forests’ (John Wiley 2000). With a biostratigraphic database from over 300 wells from our region all uniformly interpreted in terms of climate driven depositional cycles, he is currently looking on the one hand at novel ways to examine the chronostratigraphy of the area, and on the other to use the fossil pollen record to help clarify the mode of origin and the pattern of development of the Southeast Asian flora.

 


The ultra-diverse flora of the Southeast Asian region has become established largely as a result of immigration following different phases of plate tectonic collision during the Cenozoic.

However, trying to piece together the details of the tectonic events that led to the different plate tectonic and palaeoclimatic scenarios that facilitated the different phases of floristic immigration into the region leaves many unanswered questions. There are major issues regarding the timing of plate collisions, the positions of plates and microplates through time, the areas of origin of the main clades and the timing of floral and faunal dispersals.

This discussion builds on the palaeoclimatic maps and dispersal events proposed recently by Morley (2018) firstly by examining dispersals from Africa via the Indian plate, emphasising the fossil record of Dipterocarpaceae, and secondly by recording the history of upland Sundaland floras over time, from the pollen record of gymnosperms and temperate angiosperms from over 200 petroleum exploration wells from across the region.

 

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USGS Near-real time Shaking & Loss Estimation: Challenges & Updates
David J. Wald

USGS Near-real time Shaking & Loss Estimation: Challenges & Updates

Event date: 5 April 2019 - 4:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3-D Visualization Lab (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: David J. Wald
About the speaker:

Dr. Wald is a Seismologist with the USGS in Golden, Colorado, and is on the Geophysics Faculty at the School of Mines (CSM). Wald is involved in research, development and operations of real-time information systems at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center. He developed and manages “ShakeMap”, “Did You Feel it?”, and is responsible for developing other systems for post-earthquake response and pre-earthquake mitigation, including ShakeCast and PAGER.

Wald earned his B.S. in Physics and Geology at St. Lawrence University, an M.S. in Geophysics at the University of Arizona, and his Ph.D. in Geophysics at Caltech. Previously at Caltech, and now at the CSM, Wald has advised dozens of post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students’ research projects. His own scientific interests include the characterization of rupture processes from complex earthquakes; analysis of ground motions and site effects; and modeling earthquake-induced landslides, liquefaction, and shaking-based losses. Wald has been the Seismological Society of America (SSA) Distinguished Lecturer a BSSA’s Associate Editor, and he served on the Society’s Board of Directors. He served on the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s (EERI) Board of Directors, as Associate Editor for Earthquake Spectra, and was EERI’s 2014 Distinguished Lecturer. He was awarded SSA’s 2009 Frank Press Public Service Award, the Department of the Interior Superior Service Award in 2010, and their Meritorious Service Award in 2016.


USGS continues to further develop several near-real time earthquake information systems that provide rapid and automated alerting of shaking distribution, critical facility inspection priorities, and estimates of economic and human impacts following earthquakes.

We’ll describe the evolving research and development behind the components required to rapidly assess an earthquake’s impact: rapid faulting characterization, estimates of shaking distribution, losses estimates, and communicating uncertain loss estimates in an appropriate form for actionable decision-making among a variety of critical users. New products and efforts include 1) rapid estimates of earthquake-induced landsliding and liquefaction around the globe, 2) refactored ShakeMap, ShakeCast, and DYFI codes and functionality, 3) and a focus on incorporating of ground-truth observations for rapidly updating loss models.
In addition to the critical response users of these tools, loss-modelers, (re)insurers, governments and aid organizations use rapid earthquake information for loss estimation, situational awareness, and financial adjudication. Such financial tools can be a significant benefit to the at-risk public by facilitating risk transfer, fostering sensible management of portfolios, and assisting disaster response.

Topics to be introduced that could be flagged for follow-up discussions include: spatial interpolation and variability of ground shaking and implications for loss estimates, portfolio fragility functions and loss estimation (ShakeCast); the use of earthquake scenarios for planning and portfolio analyses; and the details of our empirical models of loss estimation, landslide and liquefaction assessment, among others.

 

Link to shareable page
 
 
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Case Studies of Financial Decision-Making using Near–Real-time Post-Earthquake Information
Dr. David Wald

Case Studies of Financial Decision-Making using Near–Real-time Post-Earthquake Information

Event date: 9 April 2019 - 1:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: LT19 in North Spine: Basement 2, N2. Use lift (N2-2) / (N2-1)
Speaker: Dr. David Wald
About the speaker:

Dr. Wald is a Seismologist with the USGS in Golden, Colorado, and is on the Geophysics Faculty at the School of Mines (CSM). Wald is involved in research, development and operations of real-time information systems at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center. He developed and manages “ShakeMap”, “Did You Feel it?”, and is responsible for developing other systems for post-earthquake response and pre-earthquake mitigation, including ShakeCast and PAGER.

Wald earned his B.S. in Physics and Geology at St. Lawrence University, an M.S. in Geophysics at the University of Arizona, and his Ph.D. in Geophysics at Caltech. Previously at Caltech, and now at the CSM, Wald has advised dozens of post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students’ research projects. His own scientific interests include the characterization of rupture processes from complex earthquakes; analysis of ground motions and site effects; and modeling earthquake-induced landslides, liquefaction, and shaking-based losses. Wald has been the Seismological Society of America (SSA) Distinguished Lecturer a BSSA’s Associate Editor, and he served on the Society’s Board of Directors. He served on the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s (EERI) Board of Directors, as Associate Editor for Earthquake Spectra, and was EERI’s 2014 Distinguished Lecturer. He was awarded SSA’s 2009 Frank Press Public Service Award, the Department of the Interior Superior Service Award in 2010, and their Meritorious Service Award in 2016.


In the immediate aftermath of a damaging earthquake, billions of dollars of relief, recovery, and insurance funds are in the balance through new financial instruments that allow those with resources to hedge against disasters and those at risk to limit their earthquake losses and receive funds for response and recovery. Many of these mechanisms, such as catastrophe bonds (catbonds), have come to rely on near-realtime (NRT; typically minutes to a few hours) earthquake information that allows those affected by the consequences of a disaster to quickly access financial capital. NRT products had been routinely used for situational awareness, to support response and facilitate aid, and as such they should also be of interest to those in the earthquake hazard and risk community. Such financial strategies can have significant benefit for stakeholders: They facilitate risk transfer, foster sensible management of risk portfolios, and assist in disaster response and recovery.

Yet, making funds available for at-risk populations also provides opportunities for investors who benefit from financial diversification. We will discuss the general categories of post-earthquake financial decision-making that benefit from detailed NRT earthquake hazard input: (1) Rapid damage assessments that guide disaster response and aid deployment; (2) estimation of monetary loss to a portfolio of industrial, commercial, or residential exposures to guide the claims adjustment process; and (3) the triggering of so-called parametric transactions—insurance instruments that rely on the physical measurement of event characteristics to determine if the insured party receives compensation and how much. In this presentation I will focus on the latter two categories.

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Plant-soil interactions, ecosystem functioning and global change
ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)

Plant-soil interactions, ecosystem functioning and global change

Event date: 12 April 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: Prof. Richard Bardgett
Speaker: ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)
About the speaker:

Richard Bardgett is Professor of Ecology at The University of Manchester, United Kingdom. His main research interest is the study of plant-soil interactions and their impact on biogeochemical cycles and plant community dynamics, mostly in the context of global change. In particular, his research seeks to advance our understanding of the mechanisms by which complex soil biological communities influence ecosystem processes, and how plant functional diversity controls the structure and functioning of belowground communities at different temporal and spatial scales. His research also focusses on unravelling the mechanisms by which feedbacks between plant and soil communities regulate biogeochemical responses to climate change. He has written several books on these topics, including The Biology of Soil (2005), Aboveground-Belowground Interactions (with David Wardle) (2010), and Earth Matters: How Soil Underpins Civilization (2016), and is routinely recognized as a Highly Cited Researcher in ecology and environmental sciences. Richard is currently President of the British Ecological Society and Senior Editor of Journal of Ecology, and was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2006, Fellow Royal Society of Biology in 2011, and a member of Academia Europaea in 2015.

 


Human activities are rapidly changing the world’s ecosystems. The most obvious human impact is through the conversion of land for agriculture, but terrestrial ecosystems are also affected by other global change phenomena, including climate change. This has led to a groundswell of research aimed at improving understanding of the impact of global changes on biodiversity and ecosystem function, and on management strategies to mitigate them. Whilst this topic has received much attention, scientists have only recently become aware that understanding the consequences of global change for ecosystem functioning requires consideration of interactions between plant and soil communities. This is because the impact of global changes on the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems is often indirect: they operate via changes aboveground that cascade belowground to the soil biological community, which drives biogeochemical processes and feedbacks to the Earth’s climate system. In this talk, I will highlight some recent developments in this area that illustrate how a combined aboveground–belowground approach can improve understanding of the consequences of global change for the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. In particular, I will discuss recent research showing how plants influence the structure and functioning of complex belowground communities across different spatial scales, and how these interactions are modified by global change, especially climate extremes. Finally, I will consider how an improved understanding of ecological interactions between plants and belowground communities might be harnessed to meet sustainable management goals.

Link to shareable page
 
 
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Ecological strategies via species traits
Prof. Mark Westoby, Macquarie University

Ecological strategies via species traits

Event date: 23 April 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Prof. Mark Westoby, Macquarie University
About the speaker:

Westoby has been at Macquarie U in Sydney since 1975, and about 50 postgrads and postdocs from his group have gone on to research careers. Research interests have included diet selection by herbivores, vegetation dynamics on rangelands and non-equilibrium management, seed biology, and ecological strategies via traits. He has established an Australia-wide postgrad course in current ecology and evolution (2000-2011, now continuing in hands of Adrienne Nicotra), an Australia-NZ Research Network in Vegetation Function (2005-10) and a Genes to Geoscience Initiative at Macquarie (2006-2015).


Abstract:

  • How trait ecology arose out of research on plant ecological strategies, and where it is up to currently
  • Some achievements of plant trait ecology
  • Trait ecology for bacteria and archaea
  • Competitive exclusion, species boundaries and future communities

 

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Seminar by Jeremy Philips
Jeremy Philips

Seminar by Jeremy Philips

Event date: 30 April 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: To be confirmed
Speaker: Jeremy Philips
About the speaker:

Details to follow


Details to follow

Link to shareable page