Researcher

Of Mosquitoes & Men

October 22, 2013

They may be small, but their bites can be mighty.

Mosquitoes are the insects we love to hate—most species consume blood from living vertebrates, including humans, and in the process may transmit harmful, sometimes fatal diseases such as West Nile virus, malaria, and dengue and yellow fever. (Not to mention those itchy red bites that ruin your summer nights.) Surely, someone has argued that the noblest of professions is the scientist who studies the management of mosquito populations.

Which brings us to Dr. Paul Leisnham, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland. Dr. Leisnham’s research seeks to understand where mosquitoes breed and how they spread diseases—an understanding that wouldn’t be possible, he says, without simultaneously studying the behavior of humans.

Want to know more about the socio-ecological connection between mosquitoes and people? Read more about Dr. Leisnham’s research here.

Further Reading

A member of the SESYNC extended family, Dr. Leisnham mentored one of our 2013 summer interns, Sophie Jin. Read her blog about her internship here.

About SESYNC

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) is a national research center funded through a National Science Foundation grant to the University of Maryland.

Located in Annapolis, MD, SESYNC is dedicated to solving society’s most challenging and complex environmental problems. Socio-environmental synthesis is a research approach that accelerates the production of knowledge about the complex interactions between human and natural systems. It may result in new data products—particularly ones that address questions in new spatial or temporal contexts or scales—but may also involve evaluating textual or oral arguments, interpreting evidence, developing new applications or models, or identifying novel areas of study.

Above photo: Calgary Reviews, Creative Commons/Flickr

Translational Ecology: A Pedagogical Framework to Integrate Natural & Social Sciences

Society expects that discoveries by environmental scientists will lead to improvements that can sustain natural systems and mitigate the negative impacts of human activities. For this to happen, scientific discoveries must translate to changes in human behavior, policies, and institutions. Yet, ecologists often are unable to convey knowledge effectively to the public or to policymakers.

Understanding, Teaching, & Employing Model-Based Reasoning in Socio-Environmental Synthesis (EMBeRS)

The EMBeRS project will tackle the challenge of understanding, teaching, and employing learning processes that enable diverse disciplinary perspectives to be integrated into more comprehensive conceptual frameworks. Our hypothesis is that the process of constructing integrated conceptual frameworks generates the “embers” of the mind that enable more effective conduct of interdisciplinary and actionable socio-environmental science.

What We're Reading

October 18, 2013

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.”
                                                   ― Mary Catherine Bateson, anthropologist

Here's what we've been sticking our noses in lately (click the titles for links to the resources):

  
The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability

Authors: Camilo Mora, Abby G. Frazier, Ryan J. Longman, et al.
Source: Nature
Who’s reading it: Margaret Palmer, Executive Director

  
Interviewing for an interdisciplinary job: principled goals, pragmatic outcomes, and finding the right fit in academia

Authors: Susan G. Clark and Toddi A. Steelman
Source: Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences
Who’s reading it: Margaret Palmer, Executive Director

  
The origins and conceptualizations of 'triple-loop' learning: A critical review

Authors: Paul Tosey, Max Visser, and Mark NK Saunders
Source: Management Learning
Who’s reading it: Jonathan Kramer, Director for Interdisciplinary Science

  
Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?

Author: Eileen Pollack
Source: The New York Times Magazine
Who’s reading it: Amanda Grimes, Director of Administration and External Affairs

  
Marx's Theory of Metabolic Rift: Classical Foundations for Environmental Sociology

Author: John Bellamy Foster
Source: American Journal of Sociology
Who’s reading it: Harish Padmanabha, Postdoctoral Fellow

  
Benefits, costs, and livelihood implications of a regional payment for ecosystem service program

Authors: Hua Zheng, Brian E. Robinson, Yi-Cheng Liang, et al.
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Who's reading it: William Burnside, Postdoctoral Fellow

  
Moose Die-Off Alarms Scientists

Author: Jim Robbins
Source: The New York Times
Who's reading it: Drew Gerkey, Postdoctoral Fellow

  
The Elusive Pursuit of Interdisciplinarity at the Human–Environment Interface

Authors: Eric D. Roy, Anita T. Morzillo, Francisco Seijo, et al.
Source: BioScience
Who’s reading it: Cynthia Wei, Assistant Director of Education and Outreach

  
The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood

Author: James Gleick
Publisher: Vintage
Who’s reading it: Mike Smorul, Assistant Director of Computer Services

  
Windows 8.1 Review: Little Changes Make a Big Difference

Author: Eric Limer
Source: Gizmodo
Who’s reading it: Travis Burrell, Systems Administrator

  
The Fossil Fuels War

Author: John Bellamy Foster
Source: Monthly Review
Who's reading it: Jessica Marx, Research Program Manager

  
How Much Compensation is Enough? A Framework for Incorporating Uncertainty and Time Discounting When Calculating Offset Ratios for Impacted Habitat

Authors: Atte Moilanen, Astrid J. A. van Teeffelen, Yakov Ben-Haim, and Simon Ferrier
Source: Restoration Ecology
Who’s reading it: Kelly Hondula, Research Assistant

  
Comparing the Extent and Permanence of Headwater Streams From Two Field Surveys to Values From Hydrographic Databases and Maps

Authors: Ken M. Fritz, Elisabeth Hagenbuch, Ellen D’Amico, et al.
Source: JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Who’s reading it: Steve Epting, Graduate Research Assistant

  
The Geology of Media

Author: Jussi Parikka
Source: The Atlantic
Who’s reading it: Melissa Andreychek, Communications Coordinator

  
Photo: Alex E. Proimos, Flickr/Creative Commons

What We're Reading archive:
9-24-2013

Software Carpentry Boot Camp

Registration for this workshop is closed; all available spots are filled.

Email Mary Shelley, SESYNC's Assistant Director for Computational Synthesis, at mshelley@sesync.org for information on similar events or with questions.

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