(May 9, 2014) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio and the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) have signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct research in environmental science and conservation.
"Our partnership with the U.S. Forest Service allows us to advance in our mission of seeking knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. This agreement will give our students the tremendous opportunity to gain real-world experience as they work with the station's research scientists," said George Perry, dean of the UTSA College of Sciences. "Not only does this relationship propel UTSA toward its goal of becoming a Tier One research institution, it positions future scientists for academic and professional success."
For the past two years, environmental science students in the UTSA College of Sciences have been working on several projects with SRS scientists.
Sample projects include:
Anna Boeck, a UTSA doctoral student in environmental science and engineering working under the supervision of Associate Professor Janis Bush, has been doing groundbreaking research around the Little Tennessee River in North Carolina, along a portion of the river that has never been studied. Her research will help demystify how potential climate change could influence invasive and native species plants that grow along the Little Tennessee River.
"There is an overall understanding with climate change that there will be either an influx, an increase or decrease in precipitation patterns which would cause the river to rise or to fall," said Boeck. "I want to know how is that going to influence the distribution of native and invasive species of plants. I am looking at the seed bank, trying to understand not only what trees and plants are growing above ground, but what is in the seed bank. That is the source of regeneration of the community."
To conduct her research, Boeck and three UTSA undergraduate environmental science majors collected 31 long soil cores that were a meter in depth and 3.5 inches wide. The group also collected 310 short cores, which were only 20 centimeters in depth. Boeck keeps the soil core trays in a greenhouse and has identified hundreds of newly germinated plants.
"The local residents are extremely excited about my research, since I am trying to maintain the current community vegetatively," said Boeck. "There are two endangered species of fish, and there are a couple of inner species of mussels in that river system. They are very concerned about the quality of the water, and as the plant community changes, it can definitely influence the quality of the water. So, there is huge interest in that respect."
Boeck hopes to generate more community awareness and design a model that can be used on all meandering rivers in the eastern region of the United States.
Headquartered in Asheville, N.C., the Southern Research Station is comprised of more than 120 scientists and several hundred support staff who conduct natural resource research in 20 locations across 13 southern states from Virginia to Texas. The station's mission is to create the science and technology needed to sustain and enhance southern forest ecosystems and the benefits they provide.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is an emerging Tier One research institution specializing in health, energy, security, sustainability, and human and social development. With nearly 29,000 students, it is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. UTSA advances knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service.
The university embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property -- for Texas, the nation and the world.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.