Weaver Lecture Series to feature international scientists Orlando Rojas and David Fowler

 

Established in 1996 through an endowment provided by Earl H. and Sandra H. Weaver, the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences’ Weaver Lecture Series will feature two internationally renowned scientists this spring, March 30 and April 11.

The first lecture of the two-part series offered this year, will be given by Orlando Rojas, Professor of Biobased Colloids and Materials at Aalto University, Finland.

Professor Rojas’ lecture, titled “Nanocelluloses and Multi-phase Systems,” will discuss the Finnish vision of the future bio-economy and the importance of forests as a resource for lignocellulose, the biomass of woody plants, as the ideal precursor for material design.

Professor Orlando J. Rojas

Previous to Rojas current faculty position at Aalto University, Finland, he was Professor in the departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Forest Biomaterials of North Carolina State University.

Earlier in his career he was a senior scientist appointed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in the Royal Institute of Technology, a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Surface Chemistry, Sweden and research assistant at Auburn University.

Rojas’ work is centered on the utilization of lignocellulosic materials in novel, high performance applications and the interfacial and the adsorption behaviors of surfactants and biopolymers at solid/liquid interfaces.

Among his many honors and awards, Rojas was appointed as Finland Distinguish Professor (2009-2014) and was elected with the distinction of Fellow of the American Chemical Society (2013) for his scientific and professional contributions.

Most recently, Rojas was the recipient of the 2015 Nanotechnology Division Technical Award and IMERYS Prize for outstanding contributions that have advanced the industry’s technology. He received the Fibrenamics Award (University of Minho, Portugal, 2016) in recognition for his scientific work and impact in the field of advanced materials from lignocellulose.

The second lecture of the two-part series offered this year will feature David Fowler, Professor at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Fowler’s talk, “Impacts of Human Activities on the Global Nitrogen Cycle Through the 21st Century,” will discuss the efficacy of the Earth’s ecosystems, atmosphere and oceans to globally cycle increased fixed nitrogen from human activity.

Professor David Fowler

Professor Fowler is an environmental physicist with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology based in Edinburgh. He trained in Environmental Physics at the University of Nottingham, obtaining a PhD in 1976 from research on the dry deposition of sulfur dioxide by micrometeorological methods.

His research focuses on the surface – atmosphere exchange processes of trace gases and particulate matter and has been applied to ozone, acid deposition, the global biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen, emissions of greenhouse gases, atmospheric aerosols and effects of pollutants on vegetation.

Fowler’s work has been widely applied in the development of effects-based pollution control strategies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe.

He was awarded an Honorary Professorship at the University of Nottingham in 1991, became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1999, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2002. In 2005, he was awarded a CBE or Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his research of atmospheric pollution.

The objective of the Weaver Lecture Series is to bring experts in various research areas relevant to forestry and wildlife sciences to the Auburn University campus to enhance the School’s academic programs through public lectures and interaction with faculty and students.

Lectures are open to the public and will take place at the Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Building at Auburn University. A reception will be held prior to each lecture. For details about the Weaver Lecture Series and to review research abstracts, visit the website: http://wp.auburn.edu/sfws/weaver/.

 

 

SFWS faculty, students and alumni receive honors at the 2017 Southeast Society of American Foresters annual meeting

Richard Ahlquist ‘07 is shown presenting the Young Forester of the Year award to Daniel Crawford, fellow SFWS alumnus.

The Southeastern Society of American Foresters recently held its annual meeting and awards banquet at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, Florida. The event is held annually as an opportunity for professional foresters from Alabama, Florida and Georgia to gather for networking and information sharing with their peers.

This year’s topic, “Sustaining Southeastern Forestry – Healthy Forests, Markets and Policy,” was the theme industry and academic speakers were invited to address regarding the significant economic, environmental, and policy issues affecting the long term viability of forests and forestry in the Southeast.

During the awards banquet, several School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences faculty and students were honored. Professors Mathew Smidt and Daowei Zhang were recognized as SESAF Fellows for their outstanding contributions and service to the society and profession. SFWS Research Associate and Instructor, Dr. John Kush, was inducted to the Alabama Foresters Hall of Fame for his significant research and teaching accomplishments, as well as his lifetime work advancing the silvics of longleaf pine.

The meeting also featured an oral and poster session for graduate students to share and present their work among peers. During the session, three SFWS students received awards, including, Master’s student Andrea Cole Wahl (Maj. Professor, Lori Eckhardt), who won as Best Oral Presenter for her presentation, “The effect of Sirex spp. woodwasps on forest health in Alabama.”

Forestry doctoral student, Gifty Acquah (Maj. Professor, Brian Via), was awarded 1st Place Poster Presentation for her presentation, “Rapid assessment of forest biomass for biofuel applications: A comparative study of three analytical tools.” Master’s student, Rafael Santiago (Maj. Professor, Tom Gallagher), was awarded 2nd Place Poster Presentation, for his research presentation titled, “Coppicing evaluation of short rotation woody crops in the Southeast U.S. to determine appropriate harvesting methods.”

SFWS Alumnus, Daniel Crawford ‘07, was awarded as the Alabama Outstanding Young Forester of the Year. Fellow alum, Ben Whitaker ’07, nominated Crawford for the award. Crawford has been an active member of the SAF since 2005 and currently works as International Portfolio Manager for Resource Management Services (RMS) located in Birmingham. Both Crawford and Whitaker are charter members of the SFWS Compass Circle Young Alumni Society, a new giving program established in 2016 as a means to reconnect alumni with the School and its current students.

 

 

1st National Wild Pig Task Force meets in Florida

Management of invasive wild pigs has been a hot topic in recent years and has arguably become one of the greatest wildlife management challenges facing natural resource professionals.  The damage these animals cause to forestry, agriculture, and natural resources throughout North America has been tremendous and is often measured in billions of dollars of damage each year.  Although many universities, states, and federal agencies have taken steps to resolve damage caused by wild pigs, there hasn’t been any national-level leadership to formalize this effort until now.

Spearheaded by Mark Smith, Mosley Environmental Associate Professor/Extension Specialist, the National Wild Pig Task Force (NWPTF) was established in 2016 to be a technical, scientific, and leadership alliance of federal, tribal, provincial, state and private conservation partners working to control, reduce damage caused by, or in some instances eradicate, free-ranging populations of wild pigs in North America.

The goals of the NWPTF are to provide national leadership and a collective voice for science-based control, damage reduction, and/or eradication of wild pigs, while providing a forum for the exchange of information among the natural resource management field and relevant stakeholder groups. The task force will also serve to identify knowledge gaps in the biology, ecology, and management of wild pigs, address specific resource concerns, policy and management issues, research priorities and outreach needs, and promote and facilitate the applied management of wild pigs to reduce damage.

Smith organized the group’s first biennial meeting in Orange Beach, Alabama in early March where nearly 70 natural resource professionals from across the United States attended.  This meeting provided a venue for participants to learn about the latest effort to control wild pigs from across the country and the latest research developments.  The NWPTF will meet during odd numbered years whereas the group’s flagship research and management meeting, the International Wild Pig Conference, will meet during even numbered years. The next conference will be in Oklahoma City, OK in 2018.

 

 

Wildlife Sciences student, Seth Rankins, nominated for National Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences wildlife ecology and management undergraduate student, Seth Rankins, of Cusseta, Alabama, was recently nominated by the Auburn University Honors College as one of four Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship nominees.

The prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program was established to provide scholarships to outstanding students who intend to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.

In awarding scholarships, the foundation of trustees considers the nominee’s field of study and career objectives along with the extent to which that individual has the commitment and potential to make a significant contribution to the field of science or engineering.

SFWS Professor Stephen Ditchkoff nominated Rankins in recognition of his outstanding commitment to his research with the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Deer Lab.

“There are a large number of undergraduates that assist with our research in the Wildlife Program, but very few students are interested in conducting their own research,” said Ditchkoff. “Seth made it very clear at our initial meeting that he very much wanted to conduct his own research, in addition to publishing and presenting his findings.”

With the guidance of the Deer Lab research team, Rankin’s research project was designed to analyze the feeding patterns of white-tailed deer at baited sites, and examine whether sex or age may influence the time that individual deer spend at these sites. Because baited sites are the foundation for camera surveys that are used for estimating population parameters of white-tailed deer, these data have the potential to highlight biases and study design flaws that could undermine the validity of camera surveys.

Rankins has presented the findings in a professional setting at the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the manuscript that was developed using the same data, where Seth is listed as second author, was recently accepted for publication by the Journal of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

“Without question, it is a rare individual that is informed of acceptance of his first publication in a peer-reviewed outlet during the fall of his junior year,” stated Ditchkoff. “Given his intellectual ability, work ethic, and problem-solving skills, Seth has no ceiling regarding what he could accomplish in the future.”

More recently, Rankins has begun working with both Ditchkoff and SFWS Assistant Professor Sarah Zohdy to study tick borne diseases in white-tailed deer. This research includes extracting genomic DNA from over 200 white-tailed deer from a marked population of deer at the Auburn University Deer Lab in an effort to quickly diagnose anaplasmosis and erlichiosis and prevent its spread.

“I believe that this nomination is a reflection of the research professionals that I have had the opportunity to work with here at Auburn,” said Rankins. “Being awarded this scholarship will help me to achieve my goal of going to graduate school in wildlife biology.”

If awarded, Rankins will receive up to a maximum of $7,500 annually for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and housing.

 

 

Zohdy pioneers new research to address vector disease in third world countries

Graduate student Shelby Zikeli is examining a bloodslide looking for parasites while undergraduates Kirsten Rice and Llandess Owens set up a mosquito behavior experiment.

Assistant Professor Sarah Zohdy joined the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015 as a disease ecologist. Her research is broadly focused on understanding what drives the movement of infectious agents between humans, animals, and the environment.  At Auburn, she has launched several projects to better understand mosquito behavior and the ecological drivers of transmission dynamics.

Most recently, Zohdy has formed an interdisciplinary research collaboration with Stanford University Bio-Engineering Professor Manu Prakash to streamline the processes of mosquito and disease surveillance. With the assistance of several international agencies, they will hope to discover what drives mosquitoes to sustain transmission cycles, how those infected individuals attract mosquitoes more readily than uninfected hosts, and whether infected mosquitoes exhibit unique behaviors that can be easily detected.

With this information the team’s ultimate goal is building capacity internationally to gain a more precise understanding of the ecological drivers of mosquito-borne disease in order to develop new cost-effective disease control strategies that have the potential to improve human health and well-being.

 

 

Regions Bank establishes Auburn University endowed professorships in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences

Two professors in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University are the first to receive new endowed professorships established by Regions Financial Corporation. Associate Professor Brian Via is the Regions Professor in Forest Products, and Professor Tom Gallagher is the Regions Professor in Forest Operations, Utilization, Management and Economics. Pictured from left to right are School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Dean Janaki Alavalapati, Professor Tom Gallagher and Associate Professor Brian Via.

Two professors in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University are the first to receive new endowed professorships established by Regions Financial Corporation.

Associate Professor Brian Via is the Regions Professor in Forest Products, and Professor Tom Gallagher is the Regions Professor in Forest Operations, Utilization, Management and Economics.

The recently designated professorships will be awarded every five years to associate or full professors who demonstrate a strong commitment to students and the provision of high quality instruction, research and service.

Both accomplished researchers, Via’s research focuses on forest product development from either bioenergy and/or biobased processes while Gallagher specializes in industrial forestry, timber harvesting and transportation of forest biomass.

As a major owner and manager of forest land in Alabama, Regions has a vested interest in maintaining a robust forest products industry, which contributes more than $15 billion annually to the state’s economy. With the creation of the professorships, Regions has partnered with the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences to ensure that the forest industry continues to be developed through strong research and education programs at Auburn University.

“Staying on the leading edge is important to the thousands of private forest landowners in Alabama,” said Don Heath, Regions senior vice president of natural resources and real estate. “Having an exemplary academic program at Auburn University can help us achieve and maintain that leading edge in forest products development.”

The Regions professorships are designed to strengthen and enhance the university’s programs through the quality of the faculty members’ work and their ability to serve as positive role models for their colleagues and students. They must have a record of distinguished academic or professional work in their field of study in comparison to their colleagues at peer institutions.

“Our faculty are cutting-edge in terms of forestry enterprise and product innovation,” said School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Dean Janaki Alavalapati. “In addition to this important research, our efforts to develop leaders to serve these industries will assure the sustainability and growth of Alabama’s economy, both in timber sales and employment.”

 

 

Regions Bank establishes Auburn University endowed professorships in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences

Two professors in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University are the first to receive new endowed professorships established by Regions Financial Corporation. Associate Professor Brian Via is the Regions Professor in Forest Products, and Professor Tom Gallagher is the Regions Professor in Forest Operations, Utilization, Management and Economics. Pictured from left to right are School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Dean Janaki Alavalapati, Professor Tom Gallagher and Associate Professor Brian Via.

Two professors in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University are the first to receive new endowed professorships established by Regions Financial Corporation.

Associate Professor Brian Via is the Regions Professor in Forest Products, and Professor Tom Gallagher is the Regions Professor in Forest Operations, Utilization, Management and Economics.

The recently designated professorships will be awarded every five years to associate or full professors who demonstrate a strong commitment to students and the provision of high quality instruction, research and service.

Both accomplished researchers, Via’s research focuses on forest product development from either bioenergy and/or biobased processes while Gallagher specializes in industrial forestry, timber harvesting and transportation of forest biomass.

As a major owner and manager of forest land in Alabama, Regions has a vested interest in maintaining a robust forest products industry, which contributes more than $15 billion annually to the state’s economy. With the creation of the professorships, Regions has partnered with the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences to ensure that the forest industry continues to be developed through strong research and education programs at Auburn University.

“Staying on the leading edge is important to the thousands of private forest landowners in Alabama,” said Don Heath, Regions senior vice president of natural resources and real estate. “Having an exemplary academic program at Auburn University can help us achieve and maintain that leading edge in forest products development.”

The Regions professorships are designed to strengthen and enhance the university’s programs through the quality of the faculty members’ work and their ability to serve as positive role models for their colleagues and students. They must have a record of distinguished academic or professional work in their field of study in comparison to their colleagues at peer institutions.

“Our faculty are cutting-edge in terms of forestry enterprise and product innovation,” said School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Dean Janaki Alavalapati. “In addition to this important research, our efforts to develop leaders to serve these industries will assure the sustainability and growth of Alabama’s economy, both in timber sales and employment.”

School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences hosting 2017 spring seminar series

Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences is hosting a spring seminar series throughout the semester. Topics range from the use of unmanned aircraft in agriculture to genetics of wildlife populations in Idaho. Seminars are held from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences building. Complimentary coffee and cookies will be served. The seminar series dates, speakers and topics are listed below.

  • Feb. 8 – David Jackhowski from Clemson University’s wildlife ecology in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Convservation will speak on “Animal reintroduction in the Anthropocene: Opportunities, Challenges and Future Decisions” in 1101 School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences building.
  • Feb. 15 – Christian Brodbeck from Auburn University’s biosystems engineering will speak on “Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Applications in Agriculture and Forestry” in 1221 School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences building.
  • Feb. 22 – Laurene Tetard from the University of Central Florida’s NanoScience Technology Center will speak on “Exploring polymers and interactions in lignocellulosic-based Cellulose Nanocrystals” in 1101 School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences building.
  • March 8 – Luciana Lucia from North Carolina State University Department of Biomaterials will speak on “Long-range Topochemical Polymerization Order Observed on Cellulose Nanocrystals” in 1101 School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences building.
  • March 22 – Eric Kuehler from Forest Service, Southern Research Station in Athens, Georgia will speak on “How Trees and Urban Forest Systems Affect Stormwater Runoff” in 1101 School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences building.
  • March 29 – David Steen from Auburn University’s Department of Biological Sciences will speak on “Communicating Wildlife Science Online: My Greatest Hits” in 1101 School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences building.
  • April 5 – Dave Koons from Utah State University’s Department of Wildland Resources and the Ecology Center will speak on “Bayesian Benefits for Wildlife Management” in 1101 School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences building.
  • April 12 – Marty Luckert, from the University of Alberta’s forest and natural resource, economics and policy in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology will speak on “Brilliance without choices and choices without brilliance; Development and adaptation” in 1101 School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences building.
  • April 14 – Lisette Waits from University of Idaho’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences will speak on “Genetic monitoring of wildlife populations: case studies from endangered carnivores, ungulates and lagomorphs” in 1101 School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences building.

For more information, contact Brian Via at bkv0003@auburn.edu.

CFEs or continuing forestry education credits are available upon request.

Graduate Student Research Open House scheduled on March 22

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences will host a graduate student research open house on Wednesday, March 22 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. The open house serves as a venue to showcase the diversity of the School’s research program while providing opportunities for graduate students to present their research and network with stakeholders and other members of the academic community.

Interested community members and alumni, as well as Auburn University administration, faculty, staff and students are invited to attend the poster presentation and reception from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Conference Hall, Room 1101. For more information, please contact the School’s Associate Dean of Research, Dr. Graeme Lockaby, at lockabg@auburn.edu.

 

 

 

Auburn Professor Hanqin Tian named fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

Hanqin Tian, Solon and Martha Dixon Endowed Professor.

Auburn University Professor Hanqin Tian has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS. The designation recognizes members for their distinguished contributions to innovation, education and scientific leadership.

Tian serves as the Solon and Martha Dixon Professor and University Alumni Professor in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and director of Auburn University’s International Center for Climate and Global Change Research. The AAAS fellowship recognizes Tian for his distinguished contributions to the field of global biogeochemical cycles, “particularly for pioneering work in quantifying human impact on biosphere-atmosphere exchanges of major greenhouse gases.”

Tian’s research focuses on understanding how global environmental changes affect the structure and function of Earth’s ecosystem including global biogeochemical and hydrological cycles to provide a scientific basis for solutions to major environmental challenges facing humanity and society.

Tian and his team created a complex computer model of the land biosphere, for the first time, which is capable of simulating and predicting the concurrent dynamics of three major greenhouse gases–carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide–across the earth’s land surface.

In a recent issue of the journal Nature, Tian published an analysis of the net balance of three major greenhouse gases that revealed human-induced emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from ecosystems surpass the ability of land to absorb carbon dioxide emissions, making the terrestrial biosphere a contributor to climate change. This landmark discovery has changed our understanding of how human activity contributes to global warming and is recognized by world science leaders in climate change research.

In addition to his published work in prestigious journals such as Nature and Science, Tian’s research is regularly featured on television and radio and within various media and press publications throughout the world. His research findings were also included in the Assessment Reports of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, and the National Climate Assessment.

Recognized within the AAAS’ section of Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences, Tian is among 11 fellows selected for the honor in 2016. New fellows will be presented with an official certificate and gold and blue rosette pin, signifying science and engineering, on Feb. 18 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.

Tian serves on multiple grant review panels, scientific and advisory committees at both national and international levels, and the editorial board of several prestigious scientific journals. He has also served in leadership capacities within the Ecological Society of America; Board on Oceans, Atmosphere, and Climate; Association of Public and Land-grant Universities; and the NASA Carbon Monitoring System. Most recently he was appointed leader of Auburn University’s newly formed Cluster of Climate, Human and Earth System Sciences, consisting of over 40 faculty members from five colleges and schools.

In addition to being recognized as an Auburn Alumni Professor and Solon and Martha Dixon Endowed Professor, Tian has received many prestigious research awards from Auburn University as well as the Global Change Science Prize from the Ye Duzheng Foundation. He was also recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for his contributions to the U.S. National Climate Assessment and was awarded the 2016 Faculty Achievement Award from Southeastern Conference Universities.

“This award is a feather in Dr. Tian’s cap,” said Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. “Because of his outstanding expertise and vast experience in climate modeling, the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences is well poised to lead climate research at a national and global level.”

The Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences is a flagship for forestry and wildlife and natural resources programs in Alabama and beyond. With world-class faculty and state-of-the-art facilities, the school offers a range of academic and research programs within the areas of forestry, wildlife, natural resource management, geospatial and environmental informatics, and sustainable biomaterials and packaging. For more information about the school, go to http://www.auburn.edu/sfws.

 

 

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