Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 10/21/14


October 21, 2014

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  • Kevin Sparks is the lead author on a peer-reviewed book chapter on Crowdsourcing Landscape Perceptions to Validate Land Cover Classifications that will appear in a book on Land Use and Land Cover Semantics.
  • EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin announced the award of 6 Wetland Program Development Grants including $669,000 for Rob Brooks, Denice Wardrop, Sarah Chamberlain, and Hannah Ingram of Riparia to continue the Mid-Atlantic Wetland Work Group for four more years.
  • Emma Gaalaas Mullaney was recently nominated and selected to serve as a Scientific Consultant to the United Nations Environmental Programme, and will travel to Berlin, Germany  to participate in the Global Intergovernmental and Multi-stakeholder Consultation on the sixth Global Environment Outlook report (GEO-6).


October 24 Coffee Hour: Armen R. Kemanian “The Soil Carbon Balance, Nitrous Oxide Emissions, and Biofuels”
Biofuels can reduce the carbon footprint per unit of energy used, a feature that is particularly attractive for liquid transportation. Nonetheless, the broad sustainability of biofuels in that regard depends on two factors. First, that the reduction in greenhouse gas emission can be quantified and be less than that of the fossil fuel being replaced. This analysis needs to consider the entire supply and co-product chain for both the biofuels and fossil fuel. Second, that other ecosystem services are not negatively affected, for instance, due to land use change, if food or bioenergy production expands into forests or natural grasslands.

  • 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m.
  • The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Coffee Hour To Go

Next Week:
Mark Blumler “Agricultural History in Geographical and Evolutionary Perspective”


The Cartographer Who’s Transforming Map Design
Cindy Brewer seemed to attract a small crowd everywhere she went at a recent cartography conference in Pittsburgh. If she sat, students and colleagues milled around, waiting for a chance to talk to her. If she walked, a gaggle of people followed. Brewer, who chairs the geography program at Penn State, is a popular figure in part because she has devoted much of her career to helping other people make better maps. By bringing research on visual perception to bear on design, Brewer says, cartographers can make maps that are more effective and more intuitive to understand. Many of the same lessons apply equally well to other types of data visualization.


Fulbright Features: Teacher makes impact in and outside New Delhi classrooms
By Rachel Passmore
Penn State students and alumni are traveling around the world to conduct research, teach English, attend masters degree programs and more as part of the Fulbright Program, a highly sought-after nine-month international educational exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State. This is the sixth story in a series of essays written by Penn State student Fulbright winners who have returned from or have just embarked on their trips.


Climate change not responsible for altering forest tree composition
Change in disturbance regimes — rather than a change in climate — is largely responsible for altering the composition of Eastern forests, according to a researcher in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Forests in the Eastern United States remain in a state of “disequilibrium” stemming from the clear-cutting and large-scale burning that occurred in the late 1800s and early 1900s, contends Marc Abrams, professor of forest ecology and physiology.