Thursday, November 6, 2014

UW Botany research findings published in PNAS

Botany department's research scientist Jane Zelikova and professors Dave Williams and Elise Pendall along with scientists from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) studied the effect of elevated CO2 and warming on grassland vegetation which will provide insights that Wyoming ranchers and land managers need to make grassland ecosystems more resistant to wide fluctuations in rainfall and temperatures. Under elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations, they found that "grasslands changed from being dominated by two very common species now (western wheatgrass, an intermediate grass, and blue grama, a short grass) toward other gramonoids and forbs that aren't as dominant now".  These findings, commented Dave Williams, "will help us refine models used to predict how our grasslands will function and function 100 years from now".

Graduate students Amanda Brennan and Jennifer Bell in the field

These findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a prestigious multi-disciplinary journal on Oct 13, 2014 (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1414659111)

Link to Dr. Zelikova's web page - click here

Link to Dr. Williams's Lab web page - click here

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Jason Edwards won the 2014-15 US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) scholarship

Jason Edwards, a Botany/PiE PhD candidate working with Bill Reiners (Botany) and Steve Prager (Geography) won the US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) scholarship.  USGIF scholarships are awarded to Graduating high school seniors, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students "interested in using capabilities of geospatial science, data and technologies to address human security challenges".  Winners are "chosen based on their academic and professional excellence in a field related to the geospatial intelligence tradecraft".

View of the Ethiopian Highlands where Jason is conducting his research
Jason was one of the 5 doctoral students who this award. His research is centered on the national security implications of the response in agricultural regions to changing climate and government policy in the Horn of Africa. The research involves remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and python programming. More information about this scholarship program and this year's winners can be found at:

After long day in the field in Ethiopian Highlands, Jason is relaxing in the hut
Jason holds a B.S. in plant biology from the University of Texas at Austin. He served in the Air Force as an airborne Arabic linguist from 1998 to 2004.