by Alexandra Todorovic-Jones, 2015 TRI Fellow
I arrived to India in early May and was welcomed in Dehradun, Uttarakhand by the employees from a local NGO, the Centre for Ecological Development and Research (CEDAR). CEDAR is an Indian non-governmental organization, founded and directed by a Yale F&ES alumnus, Rajesh Thadani, Ph.D. The organization focuses on conservation-based research in Uttarakhand has experience with the tree species I am now researching, banj oak (Quercus leucotrichophora), shown in the picture below. Right now, I’m investigating how susceptible banj oak is to climate change by looking at leaf and tree core ring properties.
During my first week in India, I presented my proposed research at CEDAR, gained valuable feedback, prepared my equipment, and started figuring out logistics for the field…
By Robert Mwaniki, 2015 TRI Fellow
Kasigau is a series of villages located on an elephant corridor that connects the Tsavo National parks of Kenya with the Mkomanzi Reserve in Tanzania. Land use in this corridor is mainly made up of community ranches that are used by livestock herders, both local residents and migrant Somali herders. Livestock grazing supplements rain-fed agricultural production. Over the last few years, however, this area has experienced insufficient or delayed rainfall periods which have stressed crop and livestock production.
To preserve this celebrated wildlife corridor, various organizations, governmental and non-governmental, local and international, have developed projects offering alternative forms of livelihood that are less reliant on natural resources. Such projects included guesthouses for tourism, bee-keeping projects, outdoor facilities, and activities for both corporate…
By Eric Fine, 2015 TRI Fellow in Argentina
What inspires people who have environmental beliefs to take action? For me, it was coming to work in the Patagonian Andes starting in 2005. While guiding mountaineering expeditions in the United States, I had gone to different glaciers each year. In South America, I came back to the same glaciers year after year. Within my first three summers on the glaciers in Argentina, I started to notice them receding. Local guides told me that the changes in conditions rendered several classic routes no longer safe enough to climb with clients.
After fifteen years in outdoor education, watching Patagonia’s glaciers recede inspired me to explore solutions to climate change. Despite there being many possible solutions, I found a lack of implementation…
By Lan Jin, 2015 TRI Fellow in China
Air pollution levels are alarmingly high in China, which arouses great concerns of human health. Limited information is known about the impacts of air pollution on infant health, especially in developing countries . However, it is in these countries that the people have the heaviest burden of adverse birth outcomes [2-4]. Incomplete monitoring systems hamper the understanding of air pollution and prevention of disease in these areas. To address this challenge, I am conducting a series of rigorous monitoring campaigns to characterize the within-city variability of traffic pollution using Land Use Regression models (LUR) in Lanzhou, China. An important innovation of our study is that we will add a third dimension — building height — to the traditional LUR analysis. Traditional…
By Camille Delavaux, 2015 TRI Fellow in Ecuador
My original plan was to go to Yasuní National Park, Ecuador and compare mycorrhizal fungal abundance with plant diversity. Mycorrhizal fungi, if you haven’t heard of them, are symbiotic fungi that form relationships with plants. The plant gives the fungi carbon (since fungi can’t photosynthesize), and the fungi scavenges for nutrients and water to trade for the carbon (mostly phosphorous). It fascinates me that these fungi may form shared, underground networks between plants in a forest. The idea that this network maintains diversity by trading resources is shared by other researchers, but it hasn’t been well-studied in wet, muddy, difficult-to-access tropical forests. Ninety percent of tropical plants form the kind of mycorrhizal fungi I study: arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. The general idea…
I packed up my car in July 2015, and drove from Los Angeles to New Haven, just in time for MODs. Here’s a list of things I (a native Californian and self-proclaimed winter-weakling) am very happy I brought with me, or wished I had, along with a few inputs from some friends here at school.
Things for school:
- Functional computer, complete with a functional charger
- Backup device for said functional computer
- Notebooks, pens/pencils (for when your functional computer inevitably crashes)
- Backpack/book bag
- Winter coat
- Winter boots
- Winter hat
- Winter scarf
- Winter gloves
- Winter socks
- Winter pants
- Winter sweaters
- If it’s warm and cozy, you’re going to want it.
by Jacob Bukoski, 2015 TRI Fellow in Thailand and Vietnam
Calf-deep in mud and supporting a two-meter long steel soil auger across my shoulders, I pause to watch Bang Ream – a member of my field team – stoop down and rake the mud with an old, L-shaped metal pipe. After three or four swipes, he reaches down and picks up a muddy ball approximately the size of my fist. He turns and vigorously shakes the mudball around in the salty water quickly seeping into one of my ankle deep footprints in the mud. Looking up at me with a big grin on his face, he holds up his prize and says “hoy” with a tonal up-swing, which means clam in Thai.
Whether it’s the shellfish, mushrooms, fish…
By Elizabeth Tokarz, 2015 TRI Fellow in Ecuador
How I came to be Heli Eli. (Note. In Spanish, the “H” is silent, making the pronunciation of the nickname ellie-ellie.)
It all started when I was looking for an herbaceous species to survey this summer. Yasuní National Park in Orellana, Ecuador is one of the sites of a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute plot, monitored with a tree census every five or so years. However, as comprehensive as this census is, hundreds of plant species are overlooked, notably herbaceous species. Though I was originally vying for the nickname “Herbaceous Eli,” I opted to zero in on the Heliconia genus to make the census more realistic, considering I planned to head the project myself. The Heliconia species not only display beautiful…
By Nina Horstman, 2015 TRI Fellow in Indonesia
It is July in East Kalimantan and the merica (Piper nigrum) harvest has begun. White peppercorns are heaped onto mats to dry in the sunshine, their spicy, dusty scent filling the air. July also brings Ramadan to Indonesia, the holy month of fasting in the world’s most populous Islamic nation. The pace of daily life has turned sluggish, as villagers wait in the dim shade of their homes until the muezzin’s plangent cry signals that they can break their fast. This slack in farming activity has, in fact, proved advantageous for my research; it means that more people are in their homes during the day, willing to welcome me to chat or be interviewed.