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Snake removal research hopes to stop snake killings in Phoenix

July 12, 2021

A recent study published in Global Ecology and Conservation examined over 2,300 snake removals in Phoenix between 2018 and 2019, comparing removal locations to neighborhood-level socioeconomic and demographic factors. The article, entitled Unwanted residential wildlife: Evaluating social-ecological patterns for snake removals, found snake removals occurred more frequently in high-income neighborhoods with recently constructed homes closer to undeveloped desert.

Western diamondback rattlesnakes, which are venomous, were extracted most often, making up 68% of removals. The non-venomous Sonoran gopher snake was a distant runner-up, making up 16% of removals.

Sustainability scientist Heather Bateman, an associate professor at ASU who is the lead author the study, said the size and depth of the dataset from Rattlesnake Solutions is an invaluable new source of information.

Read more about the work, supported by the NSF-funded Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research program, in this AZ Central article.

The paper's abstract follows.

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New paper: Modest water policy implementation could offset 30 percent of outdoor demand

July 14, 2020

A new paper in Sustainability Science finds that the use of alternative water supplies, such as rainwater harvesting and greywater use, could offset up to 30 percent of total outdoor water demand for the Phoenix Metropolitan Area under modest implantation of these policies.

The paper, Simulating alternative sustainable water futures, is the work of sustainability scientists David Sampson and Nancy Grimm, sustainability fellow David Iwaniac, UREX affiliate Elizabeth Cook and CAP LTER affiliate Melissa Davidson. The authors adapted ASU’s WaterSim tool to explore differences in water demand and supply, as influenced by runoff, rainfall, changes in land use and land cover, population growth and improvements in water use efficiency.

The abstract follows.

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In an interdisciplinary effort, ASU researchers develop a framework to help decide sustainable futures

Science Direct | February 1, 2020

Image of wind turbinesAs we continue to witness the devastating impacts of climate change, there is a consensus that we as a human population need to transition to a more sustainable way of living. But with so many ideas and proposals, how do we decide which pathways are best? Experts from Arizona State University have created a tool to help: The Sustainable Future Scenarios (SFS).

According to a new paper published in the journal of Landscape and Urban Planning, "The co-production of sustainable future scenarios," the SFS “offers guidance to co-produce visions and transition pathways of positive futures that develop and integrate interventions for sustainability transformations of social-ecological-technological systems.”

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CAP LTER Seeking Postdoctoral Fellow

July 23, 2019

Tempe Town Lake at nightExplore opportunities for building positive futures by becoming a CAP LTER postdoctoral fellow. The fellow works with the Scenarios and Futures research team, focusing on scenario co-development and spatially-explicit scenario modeling of urban change under possible alternate future scenarios. He or she plays a key role in the scenario-development process, modeling, analysis and visualization.

The fellow’s postdoctoral research includes understanding trade-offs associated with possible interventions for social, ecological and technical domains of urban systems, as well as assessing how urban change will affect the future ability of ecosystems to provide services for sustainability, resilience and equity. Find additional details and apply here.

ASU experts creating solutions and mitigation strategies for extreme heat dangers

View Source | May 24, 2019

Downtown Phoenix skyline with yellow skyIn recognition of Arizona Heat Awareness Week May 27 through May 31, ASU Now is highlighting a slew of projects and initiatives that are expanding our understanding and capabilities as they concern the inescapable environmental reality of scorching temperatures.

The article, "Summer in the City," highlights the work of several senior sustainability scientists and fellows: Mikhail Chester, Ariane Middel, David Hondula, Nancy Selover, Sharon Harlan and Matei Georgescu.

All of these faculty are affiliated with the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research program, a unit of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

Grimm, Elser elected to National Academy of Sciences

View Source | May 3, 2019

Old Main buildingBeing elected to the National Academy of Sciences is one of the highest honors for a scientist, and it also means that members are qualified to inform the president and Congress about issues related to their expertise. Two Arizona State University sustainability scientists, Nancy Grimm and James Elser, can now add that accolade to their already celebrated resumes.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is an honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research dedicated to the advancement of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare of society. The academy announced Tuesday the election of 100 new members and 25 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

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Sustainability scientist serves on new environmental economics advisory committee

April 22, 2019

Keryy SmithASU faculty helps establish research organization to strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to assess social benefits and costs of environmental policies

Policies on air pollution, climate change and water have far-reaching effects on millions of Americans and businesses. Is the Environmental Protection Agency ─ the federal agency whose mission is to protect public health and the environment ─ using the best available economic science when designing and proposing such policy? The newly created External Environmental Economics Advisory Committee (E-EEAC) will convene nationally recognized environmental economists to ensure that it does.

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Streamlining the study of nature in cities

View Source | April 22, 2019

Nancy GrimmNancy Grimm, an Arizona State University professor in the the School of Life Sciences and a senior sustainability scientist, won an award for being part of a team that created an international consensus on how to approach urban ecology.

Along with nine co-authors, Grimm won the 2019 Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America. Grimm and her colleagues provided “an international perspective on how ecological research focused on urban areas can improve sustainability,” according to the society’s citation. “Urban areas are expected to be highly at risk from global environmental changes and this article highlights the need for a conceptual synthesis that allows urban residents to make better decisions concerning their environment and the social relations within it.”

Sustainability scientist Nancy Grimm wins fellowship

March 8, 2019

Nancy Grimm working in the fieldSenior Sustainability Scientist Nancy Grimm, the Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Ecology in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, was named a 2019 Fellow of the Society of Freshwater Science in honor of her outstanding contributions to stream and watershed science.

According to Grimm's biography on the Society of Freshwater Science fellows site, "Grimm studies urban and stream ecosystems. Initially working on stream nitrogen dynamics, she expanded out and down to riparian and hyporheic zones and then abruptly became an urban ecologist."

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Tempe Town Lake sends message in a bottle

View Source | November 1, 2018

Man and woman standing near lake holding a bottle of lake waterTempe Town Lake has been a part of the city's landscape for over 19 years, and Hilairy Hartnett's lab has been measuring and collecting data there for the past 13.

With over 1,200 samples of water, Hartnett's work with the Central Arizona Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Program hopes to better understand what it takes to maintain the ecological health of a man-made lake in one of the hottest regions of the United States.

The associate professor in Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration and the School of Molecular Sciences spoke with ASU Now about her decade-plus sampling Tempe Town Lake. Read Hartnett's interview on ASU Now.

CAP LTER urban ecology work highlighted by Arizona PBS

View Source | October 15, 2018

2 people making measurements in desert with city skyline in the backgroundThe Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research program, a unit of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, was recently featured in an episode of “Catalyst” by Arizona PBS. The episode, “Desert animals in urban centers,” discussed current research about how natural environments (including plant and animal life) are affected by urban development.

Sharon Hall, a senior sustainability scientist who works with the CAP LTER, said that some plant and animal life continues to flourish within or nearby Phoenix.

"There's all these hidden spots around the city that nature is thriving,” said Hall. “If we can think about finding those areas and protecting them — or at least understanding them a bit better, maybe then we can try to make our landscape a little bit more friendly to the types of animals that . . . are living among us all the time."

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CAP LTER urban ecology program funded another four years

July 9, 2018

Two researchers stand in mud and hold cameras at Tres Rios, Arizona
Sally Wittlinger and Lindsey Rustad at Tres Rios, Arizona. Photo courtesy of Mark Watkins
For 20 years, Arizona State University’s Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Program has been studying the Phoenix urban ecosystem from a holistic, interdisciplinary and social-ecological perspective. The National Science Foundation has funded CAP through grants since 1997 as part of its national network of 28 LTER sites. Recently, news broke that the fourth phase of CAP research will be fully funded through 2022.

“I was at a remote field camp in South Africa teaching my study abroad program when word came from the NSF that a decision had been made,” said Dan Childers, CAP’s director and School of Sustainability professor. “We didn’t even have cell service where we were, so I called our NSF program officer on a satellite phone. It was wonderful to get this very good news while in such a beautiful place!”

Much of the current CAP research is focused on urban ecological infrastructure, which is effectively everything except the built environment. The overarching goal of the program is to foster social-ecological research aimed at understanding complex urban ecosystems, using a holistic perspective while enhancing urban sustainability and resilience. The CAP research enterprise is organized around eight interdisciplinary research questions and includes nearly 60 ASU faculty from all four campuses, scientists from several other universities, and dozens of students and postdoctoral scholars.

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20th Annual Poster Symposium and All Scientists Meeting

November 17, 2017

Phoenix Night SkylineSave the date! CAP LTER will be holding its 20th Annual Poster Symposium and All Scientists Meeting on January 5th, 2018 at ASU's SkySong facility in Scottsdale. Weiqi Zhou, Professor in the State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, will be the keynote speaker. Dan Childers will give us an update on CAP LTER and there will be presentations by the leaders of the Integrated Research Teams.

Wisdom from the Director’s Lava Lamp

February 8, 2017

Yellow lava lamp on a table along with a mug and business cardsDear CAPpers:

As we begin a new year, a new phase of CAP, and a strange new world, I have some news and important information to pass along.

First, many thanks to Mark, Cindy, and everyone else who helped make our 2017 All Scientist Meeting such a success. Final head count was more than 100 attendees! I received a great deal of positive feedback about Diane’s excellent and very timely plenary talk, Nancy’s insightful infrastructure talk, and the wonderful collection of fire-talks we had about CAP modelling efforts. The posters were equally impressive.

Speaking of the posters, here are the results of our student poster contest (drumroll, please)... And the Winner of the 2017 CAP Student Poster Contest is Megan Wheeler, who presented “Residential soil water model evaluation to improve outdoor water use recommendations in Phoenix, Arizona” with Sharon Hall and Enrique Vivoni! Congratulations, Megan! You won up to $500 towards your travel to a conference where you present your CAP data!

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Undergraduate research opportunities at LTER sites

January 5, 2016

Searching for black widows at night.The Ecological Society of America's SEEDS initiative, which aims to increase diversity in the field of ecology, is recruiting undergraduate students from underrepresented groups for the SPUR fellowship program. This program places students at ecological research sites across the United States. Several LTER sites are part of the SPUR fellowship program this year: Central Arizona-Phoenix (CAP) LTER, Harvard Forest LTER, Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER, Cedar Creek LTER, and Kellogg Biological Station LTER. An additional site is the Llado River Field Station in Texas.

Students accepted as SPUR fellows will engage in a research project at one of these research sites under the mentorship of a faculty member, senior graduate student, or post-doctoral fellow. SPUR fellows will receive funding for travel and housing as well as a subsistence stipend.

To view the application requirements and apply, interested undergraduate students should visit the SPUR fellowship page on the SEEDS website. Applications are due January 15, 2016.

High school girls learn coding

November 2, 2015

Highschool Girls Learn CodingA group of high school girls in Mesa Public Schools spent their fall break learning to code in R, a computer language used for statistical analysis. This workshop was the brainchild of Jessica Guo, a CAP graduate student, who is passionate about coding and determined to bring more girls into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). A graduate of Mesa Public Schools herself, Jessica is part of the ASU/NASA Space Grant program.

In the workshop that Jessica led, girls accessed large, publicly-available datasets and used coding to analyze the data and to create graphs, which they presented to their peers. Among the datasets that the girls used were ones created by LTER Network sites.

CAP Co-Sponsors Light Pollution Conference

October 7, 2015

IDALight pollution is a critical ecological issue in the city, which has gotten little attention. CAP is co-sponsoring the International Dark Sky Association’s (IDA) annual meeting in Scottsdale, November 14-15, which is focusing on "Impacts of Artificial Night Lighting on Fish and Wildlife Resources and the Mitigating Role of Emerging Lighting Technologies.” IDA advocates for the reduction of light pollution and promotes the use of lighting products that have lesser impacts on biota and the environment.


Trees and lawns curb excessive urban heat

October 7, 2015

A recent ASU News article on the role of trees and lawns in urban heat island featured CAP scientists Ben Ruddell, Ariane Middel, and Nancy Selover. Shade provided by trees has been long acknowledged as providing some relief from high daytime temperatures in the Valley of the Sun. The team of ASU scientists has worked to quantify the effects of different types of shade on urban microclimates and how much shade is needed to reduce daytime temperatures. This is very useful information for homeowners, designers, architects and others wanting to know just how much shade they need.

SESYNC-LTER Postdoctoral Fellowships

October 7, 2015

Attention all Post-docs! Looking for a LTER fellowship? Apply for a two year postdoctoral fellowship today with The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) in collaboration with the National Science Foundation's Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program beginning August 1st, 2016.

-Prescreening application deadline is October 26, 2015, 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

-Collaborating Mentor application deadline: October 26, 2015, 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

-Collaborating Mentor selection and commitment deadline: November 16, 2015, 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).

-Fellowship application deadline: December 7, 2015, 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Click here to find more information on SESYNC-LTER and the fellowship criteria.