Borderlands Brewing Co. Science Café

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Series Title: A Song of Ice (and Floods) and Fire: Consequences of a Changing Climate on Our Ecosystems and Societies

This series unites the “classical elements” of nature to uncover their diverse – and sometimes unexpected – impacts on ecosystems and human society, from the tropics to the poles to our home in the Sonoran desert.

Borderlands Brewing Company


PhD Candidate graduate student speakers are selected from the Carson Scholars Program, sponsored by the UA Institute of the Environment.


Fall 2018 Science Café Presenters:

Thursday, September 13, 2018 at 6:00PM

Rise of the Shrubs: Fire Regimes in the Sonoran Desert

Rodolfo PeonPresenter: Austin Rutherford, Ph.D. Student, School of Natural Resources and the Environment. Biosphere 2 Fellow.

Grasslands across the US and globally have endured unprecedented rises in tree and shrub cover over the past century. Causes have been attributed to alterations in climatic, livestock grazing, and fire regimes. This talk will highlight these regimes within Sonoran Desert grasslands and the subsequent mesquite tree proliferation including the primary land management techniques currently used for conserving grasslands. I will discuss my recent research on the mechanisms underlying mesquite establishment in grasslands, while offering an alternate proactive, cost-effective, and sustainable land management solution.



Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 6:00PM

A Foggy Forecast: Using Cloud Cover to Predict Arctic Sea Ice Decline

Amy HudsonPresenter: Yiyi Huang, PhD student, Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, Freshwater Fellow.

Arctic is a region of importance and vulnerability to global climate change. Recent satellite observations have shown that Arctic sea ice minimum has been decreasing by roughly 75,000 km2 per year since 1979. These dramatic changes in the Arctic sea ice affect a growing community of diverse stakeholders including scientists, politicians, and business leaders. Accompanying this growing interest is an urgent demand to increase the pace and scope of the advancements in physical understanding and predictive capabilities. By using multiple satellite observations and model simulations, we can provide a physical explanation for why the Arctic sea ice keeps shrinking in the past decades. Cloud cover and radiation are believed to be the two most important physical processes influencing sea ice melting in the Arctic. My research shows that increasing clouds creates a greenhouse effect in the early spring would enhance sea ice melting underneath in the following summer. Since we are able to link September sea ice with springtime cloud and radiation processes, this gives us an important predictor that could potentially lead to skillful seasonal forecasts of Arctic sea ice extent at a lead-time of 2-4 months.

Yiyi Huang Science Café Talk


Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 6:00PM

Mosquitos in the Sewer: Dengue in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

Alex ErwinPresenter: Valerie Madera-Garcia, PhD student, Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Agnese Nelms Haury Fellow.

Dengue virus fever is a disease transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and is endemic in Puerto Rico. Aedes aegypti are known to breed in fresh and clean water. However, Puerto Rico has reported an unusual production of more than 18,000 Aedes aegypti mosquitoes from septic tanks in the southeastern part of the island. On September 20, 2017, Puerto Rico was devastated by most catastrophic hurricane ever seen in the Caribbean, Maria. This talk will describe the situation of Puerto Rico regarding Dengue cases and Aedes aegypti mosquito production in septic tanks before and after Hurricane Maria. I will discuss my research objectives and the importance of developing tools, such as prediction models and spatial analysis, to mitigate the burden of Dengue transmission in Puerto Rico for the next hurricane season.

Valerie Madera-Garcia's Science Café Talk


Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 6:00PM

"Maji ni Haki - Water is Our Right": Pipes, Politics and Informal Water Supply in Kibera


Genevieve ComeauPresenter: Nupur JoshiPh.D. Student, School of Geography and Development, Agnese Nelms Haury Fellow.

In Kibera, Nairobi’s largest informal settlement, longstanding water issues and the state’s failure to provide affordable and accessible water to the residents has given rise to what Kiberians call, ‘Water Cartels’. On the one hand, these cartels play a crucial role in making water accessible to the people of Kibera while on the other hand, they have monopolized water supply making it expensive. This talk will explore the complex knots of water supply in Kibera, elaborating on the role of the state, youth groups, NGOs and international aid.

Coming Soon: Nupur Joshi's Science Café Talk

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