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February

Dr. Jim Fourqurean was recently featured on NPR News, describing the current state of Florida Bay; how it has changed over the last 30 years, and what events may again threaten the ecosystem. See here to read or listen to the full story.

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Southeast Environmental Research Center (SERC) Director, Todd Crowl, is a co-founder of FIU’s Sea Level Solutions Center as well as founder and inaugural director of the Institute of Water & Environment. He was part of the annual TEDxFIU where he spoke about sea level rise and climate change.

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March

The Ministry of Water and Sanitation of Burkina Faso recently organized the official launch of the Presidential Program for water and sanitation. Chaired by the President of Burkina Faso, the theme of this ceremony was to "make the right to water and sanitation a reality via strong government commitment." USAID WA-WASH was represented at the ceremony by Regional Director Dr. Lakhdar Boukerrou.

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The GIS Center has created a memorial webpage to celebrate the life of Peter 'Pete' Harlem. The page also contains links for those who wish to make a donation to The Peter Harlem SERC-GIS Annual Climate Change Lecture Series and The Peter Harlem Vietnam Photograph Collection.

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May

The Florida Everglades is a swampy wilderness the size of Delaware. In some places along the road in southern Florida, it looks like tall saw grass to the horizon, a prairie punctuated with a few twisted cypress trees. The sky is the palest blue. But because of climate change and sea level rise, the ocean is starting to seep into the swampland. If the invasion grows worse, it could drastically change the Everglades, and a way of life for millions of residents in South Florida. Read more on NPR.

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April rainfall was less than half of average across South Florida. South Florida Water Management District meteorologists reported that only 1.19 inches of rain fell during the month, representing 45 percent of average, or 1.43 inches below average. Eastern Broward County and Water Conservation Areas 1 and 2 were the driest basins in the area, with 12 percent and 10 percent of average rainfall, respectively.

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June

The perpetually ice-covered lakes in Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys preserve the dissolved remnants of black carbon from thousand-year-old wildfires as well as modern day fossil fuel use, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder. The distinctive molecular signatures can provide researchers with a glimpse into the planet’s long history of combustion. Read more here.

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With a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Florida International University will establish the Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment (CAChE), as part of the NSF's Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program. Led by Todd Crowl, the Center will address the sources, transport, transformation and ecosystem responses to contaminants, pollutants and other natural stressors, under changing land-use and environmental conditions.

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July

Congratulations to Dr. Rudolf Jaffe for his honor as recipient of the Faculty Award for Excellence in Research & Creative Activities! This award recognizes exceptional performance at FIU, and will involve a formal conferral during the Faculty Convocation Award Ceremony and Banquet on Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 5:30pm.

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The coastal mangrove reaches of the Everglades are subject to major disturbances, including extreme cold events. Such a 100-year extreme cold spell affected the area in January 2010. As part of the Special Feature; Extreme Cold Spells in the June 2016 issue of Ecosphere, Dr. Jennifer Rehage found that cold spells can knock back nonnative fish populations in these ecotonal habitats. Resilience to the events varies in space, likely a result of proximity to refuge habitats.

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September

In an effort to understand the diets of plant-loving fish, FIU Ph.D. student Jessica Sanchez and marine sciences professor Joel Trexler delved into the world of herbivory in freshwater ecosystems. They wanted to develop a research framework for other scientists to follow in studies on the evolution of these diets. Their efforts resulted in a scientific paper that was published in a recent issue of Ecosphere. It was the 800th scientific paper published by research faculty in SERC.

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This Fall, FIU will have a new student organization that focuses on the science, politics and dissemination of climate change research related to greenhouse gas emissions and ocean acidification. The Student Workshops on Acidification and Greenhouse Gases (SWAGG) is catered to both undergraduate and graduate students, and creates a platform for cross-disciplinary discussions and understanding of climate change. See here for more info.

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See here for the latest news on the USAID's West Africa Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene program (WA-WASH), featuring an overview of the project in USAID's Real Impact series, as well as updates in the latest issue of Global Waters, telling the story of water-related efforts around the globe.

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November

When it comes to storing carbon, scientists have put a price tag on the value of mangroves in South Florida's Everglades -- and it's in the billions. Mangrove forests absorb carbon dioxide, and much of that carbon remains trapped in the trees' biomass. Based on a scientific cost estimate, the stored carbon is worth between $2-3.4 billion USD. The sizeable price tag reflects the cost of restoring freshwater flow to areas that need it most, preserving the Everglades' mangroves. Read more here.

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Two cold spells, two years apart, in two subtropical regions of the world have given scientists clues to what happens when an extreme climate event strikes. By tracking conditions before, during and after a 2008 cold spell in China and a 2010 cold spell in Florida, FIU researchers found chilling effects on plants and animals, but not all were equal. Tropical species suffered more than their temperate counterparts, which were able to resist and recover from the record low temperatures.

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December

TEDxFIU: Lakes write music, and science is listening

A classically trained musician, Evelyn Gaiser recently translated high-frequency lake data to musical compositions in order to better understand and describe changes. Dr. Gaiser is an aquatic ecologist who studies long-term dynamics of ecosystems in response to environmental change. She is the executive director of FIU’s School of Environment, Arts, and Society and lead principal investigator of the Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research program.

Radio France Internationale recently broadcasted a program in which Dr. Lakhdar Boukerrou gave an overview on all FIU/USAID WA-WASH work in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Niger. For more information on the program and its activities, objectives, and progress during each phase of work, you can visit their website here.

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In response to months-long protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline project in North Dakota, FIU hosted a discussion between faculty experts in water security and native rights and local members of the Seminole nation. The event, co-sponsored by the Program in the Study of Spirituality, was filled with students who wanted to understand the controversial project and find out how they could get involved in Standing Rock or other water security issues closer to home.

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