Middlebury

Middlebury to host faculty research symposium on climate change March 10

February 25, 2008

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - On Monday, March 10, at 4:30 p.m., the "Middlebury College Faculty Research Symposium on Climate Change" will take place in Room 216 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall, located on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125). The afternoon symposium will consist of a series of seven research presentations by college faculty that are designed to represent a walk through time, from the geological past to the future that society must confront. After the talks, all of the speakers will return to the stage to answer audience questions.

According to symposium organizer, Middlebury College Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Steve Trombulak, "One of the most pressing environmental issues of our time is human-induced climate change, yet a full understanding of the issue is frighteningly complex and requires simultaneous appreciation of many phenomena operating on many time scales."

The seven 10-minute research presentations offered at the symposium will explore the importance of these phenomena and time scales from the perspectives of geology, biology, physics, and economics, from the distant past to the not-too-distant future.

Professor of Geology Patricia Manley will present her work on the deglaciation history of the Champlain Basin, and the potential impact of large pro-glacial lake pathways within the Basin on the Earth's climate for the last 14,000 years.

Assistant Professor of Geology Jeff Munroe will discuss climate variability in the Rocky Mountains during the post-glacial period, and will provide examples of how his work generates information about how climate changes can occur.

Associate in Science Instruction in Biology Matt Landis will explore whether Vermont tree species have migrated to higher elevations in response to the past two centuries of climate change, with some indications for how they will respond in the future.

Associate Professor of Biology Andrea Lloyd will discuss how climate change over the last 100 years has affected the global boreal forests, the effects of climate on the distribution of species and on forest productivity, and how changes in the boreal forest may accelerate the rate of climate warming at high latitudes.

Professor of Physics Rich Wolfson will describe collaborative research on geographical patterns of climate variability in the United States during the last century, especially as they may relate to solar variability.

Professor of Biology Steve Trombulak will present his work on how priority areas for the conservation of birds are likely to change in the 21st century as a result of the ecological responses by birds to climate change, and discuss whether ecological reserves today are projected to be sufficient to protect these species in the future.

Professor of International Environmental Economics Jon Isham will summarize his recent work with Middlebury students on building cost-effective local, national and global climate policies, including research on the potential for state-level clean-energy job creation, the design of a progressive national cap-and-trade policy, and alternatives to coal-fired electricity in China.

"This symposium illustrates the wide range of climate change expertise that Middlebury faculty bring to this discussion from the diverse disciplines of a liberal arts education. It exemplifies the opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and knowledge that benefit and directly involve our students while cementing the college's leadership in the face of global environmental issues," said Dean of Environmental Affairs Nan Jenks-Jay.

For more information about the symposium, contact Middlebury College Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Steve Trombulak at 802-443-5439 or trombula@middlebury.edu.

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