Sunday, August 02, 2015

UTSA and USDA Forest Service sign memo of understanding to partner in research

Forest Service project

UTSA researchers on a project at Valles Caldera National Preserve Science and Education Center in New Mexico

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(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:

  • Researching the effect climate change has on hydrology and seed dispersal of native and non-native plants along the Little Tennessee River in North Carolina
  • Tracking the changes in amphibians and small mammals in response to forest management practices
  • Studying the effects of acid rain and lime treatments on leaves and leaf litter
  • Monitoring changes in soil conditions after fires in high spruce-fir forests

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.

>> Learn more about UTSA environmental research projects.

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About USFS

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.

About UTSA

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.

 

 

Did You Know?

UTSA researcher is a star behind the cloud

A revolution in cloud computing is underway, and Ravi Sandhu believes it will be much bigger than the PC and Internet revolutions that have already changed the way we live. Sandhu, director of the UTSA Institute for Cyber Security, says UTSA is taking a leadership role in tackling three fundamental cloud technology problems: how to build and operate the cloud, how to use it profitably for diverse applications and how to keep it secure.

Sandhu, the Lutcher Brown Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security in the College of Sciences, and Ram Krishnan, assistant professor of electrical engineering in the UTSA College of Engineering, are funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to improve cloud security.

Did you know? Sandhu, a world-renowned cybersecurity expert, holds 30 patents, has authored more than 250 papers and been cited more than 30,000 times.

Read More »
Events
Aug. 1, 9 p.m.

"Inside Peace" documentary screening

This documentary, presented by the San Antonio Film Festival, documents the experience of re-entry after incarceration. The film features Michael Gilbert, associate professor in the department of criminal justice and director of the Office of Community and Restorative Justice program at UTSA.
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle

Aug. 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Free Teacher Tuesday: Los Tejanos Workshop

Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 6, 5 - 7 p,m,; 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

6th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
Downtown Campus

Aug. 9, 12 - 5 p.m.

Vaquerocation 2015

This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 17, 11:30 p.m.

Midnight Light

Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus

Aug. 18, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Plaza

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus

Aug. 18, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Lawn

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus

Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

UTSA Alumni Gala

The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.


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