Professor Peter Groffman of ASRC, Brooklyn College, and EES has first-authored a paper in Biogeochemistry entitled “ Nitrogen oligotrophication in northern hardwood forests”.
While much research over the past 30 years has focused on the deleterious effects of excess N on forests and associated aquatic ecosystems, recent declines in atmospheric N deposition and unexplained declines in N export from these ecosystems have raised new concerns about N oligotrophication, limitations of forest productivity, and the capacity for forests to respond dynamically to disturbance and environmental change. Here we show multiple data streams from long-term ecological research at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire, USA suggesting that N oligotrophication in forest soils is driven by increased carbon flow from the atmosphere through soils that stimulates microbial immobilization of N and decreases available N for plants. Decreased available N in soils can result in increased N resorption by trees, which reduces litterfall N input to soils, further limiting available N supply and leading to further declines in soil N availability. Moreover, N oligotrophication has been likely exacerbated by changes in climate that increase the length of the growing season and decrease production of available N by mineralization during both winter and spring. These results suggest a need to re-evaluate the nature and extent of N cycling in temperate forests and assess how changing conditions will influence forest ecosystem response to multiple, dynamic stresses of global environmental change.
PhD student Sara Perl Egendorf and research Advisor Professor Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng from the Brooklyn College Urban Soils Lab, the New York City Urban Soils Institute and the CUNY Graduate Center PhD Program in Earth and Environmental Sciences were lead authors of an article just published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning, along with Dr. Peter Groffman from Brooklyn College and the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center, PhD candidate Anna Paltseva, post-doctoral researcher Maha Deeb, undergraduate student Victor Flores, Dr. Daniel Walsh from the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation, and Dr. Howard Mielke from Tulane University . Egendorf and Cheng were also co-authors of a related article just published in the Journal of Environmental Management. The pair of articles presents a practical solution that can help remove the health risk from exposure to contaminants (such as lead) in garden soils. This is a collaboration between Brooklyn College, the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation, GreenThumb (part of the Department of Parks and Recreation), and community organizations such as the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, East New York Farms!, Sterling Community Garden, East 43rd St. Block Association Garden,as well as many individual gardeners. Egendorf’s MS Thesis research at Brooklyn College studied nine raised bed vegetable plots filled with soil mixes composed of variable proportions of pristine Clean Soil Bank sediments and compost material. The team found that the mixed soil can produce sufficient yield of chemically safe vegetables. This engineered clean soil also serves as a barrier to contaminants commonly present in urban garden soils. The use of Clean Soil Bank sediments and compost is a beneficial use of waste material that has historically been transported to landfills. The City has large volumes of clean sediments and compost available. The mixed engineered soil can be a long term and affordable solution to urban soil pollution, one that promotes the many benefits of urban green spaces and gardening. The collaborative method of soil construction and distribution being created here is the first of its kind, and this model is applicable to many other cities around the world.
EES, ASRC, and Brooklyn College Professor Peter Groffman co-authored an article in the journal Ecosystems entitled Crab Burrowing Limits Surface Litter Accumulation in a Temperate Salt Marsh: Implications for Ecosystem Functioning and Connectivity.
Abstract: Burial of aboveground plant litter by animals reduces the amount available for surface transport and places it into a different environment, affecting decomposition rates and fluxes of organic matter to adjacent ecosystems. Here we show that in a Southwestern Atlantic salt marsh the burrowing crab Neohelice granulata buries aboveground plant litter at rates (0.5–8 g m−2 day−1) comparable to those of litter production (3 g m−2 day−1). Buried litter has a low probability (0.6%) of returning to the marsh surface. The formation of burrow excavation mounds on the marsh surface is responsible for most litter burial, whereas litter trapped in burrows was an order of magnitude lower than rates of burial under excavation mounds. Crab exclusion markedly increased surface litter accumulation (3.5-fold in just 21 days). Tides with the potential to transport significant amounts of surface litter are infrequent; hence, most litter is buried before it can be transported elsewhere or decomposes on the surface. Crab litter burial can account for the observed low levels of surface litter accumulation in this ecosystem and likely drives organic matter transformation and export. The impacts of ecosystem engineering by this crab species are therefore substantial and comparable in magnitude to the large effects found for tropical crabs and other litter-burying organisms, such as anecic earthworms.
Gutiérrez, J. L., Jones, C. G., Ribeiro, P. D., Findlay, S. E., & Groffman, P. M. (2017). Crab Burrowing Limits Surface Litter Accumulation in a Temperate Salt Marsh: Implications for Ecosystem Functioning and Connectivity. Ecosystems, 1-13.
Professor Cindi Katz published an article in a special symposium issue of Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography called On Being Outside “the Project”: A Symposium in honor of Susan Christopherson. The article is entitled On Rocking “the Project”: The Beat Goes On. Check it out.
The radical geography community lost one of its leading lights last year when Susan Christopherson, Professor of City and Regional Planning and Department Chair at Cornell, passed away. In 1989, Susan wrote a short, germinal essay in the pages of this journal that challenged the persistence of marginalizing and minimizing social difference in radical geography. “On Being Outside ‘the Project’” would go on to make an indelible impact on feminists in geography, several of whom would follow Susan to re-shape corners of the field and to create spaces for women, working class people, people of color, and those located at multiple axes of these always insufficient categories, in order to produce knowledge differently in the discipline.
In memory of Susan and her numerous contributions to critical geography and planning, Antipode asked her colleagues and former students to reflect on her legacy. We are pleased to offer this Symposium in Susan’s honor, along with her original essay and Cindi Katz’s 2006 chapter from our Book Series’ David Harvey critical reader, which engaged it at length. The Editors would like to thank the contributors to the Symposium – Cindi Katz (CUNY Graduate Center), Katharine Rankin (University of Toronto), Jennifer Clark (Georgia Institute of Technology), Rachel Weber (University of Illinois at Chicago), and Amy Glasmeier (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Their essays are available to download or read online below.
ESS Professor Charles Vörösmarty coauthored a paper entitled “A model of water and sediment balance as determinants of relative sea level rise in contemporary and future deltas” in the Journal of Geomorphology.
Highlights from the article include;
- A delta sediment balance model is developed for a global selection of deltas.
- Sediment flux and relative sea-level rise vary under modern and future scenarios.
- Watershed and coastal sediment processes outweigh sea-level rise in some deltas.
- Full use of hydro-resources in upstream basins strongly impacts downstream deltas.
Dr. Vörösmarty’s research focuses on the development of computer models and geospatial data sets used in synthesis studies of the interactions among the water cycle, climate, biogeochemistry and anthropogenic activities. His studies are built around local, regional and continental to global-scale modeling of water balance, discharge, constituent fluxes in river systems and the analysis of the impacts of large-scale water engineering on the terrestrial water cycle. His work on human-water interactions includes earth system modeling of the Northeastern United States, development and analysis of databases depicting reservoir construction worldwide and how they generate downstream coastal zone risks, and global threats to human water security and aquatic biodiversity.
Dr. Vörösmarty routinely provides scientific guidance to a variety of U.S. and international water consortia. He is a founding member and current co-Chair of the Global Water System Project that represents the input of several hundred international scientists under the International Council for Science’s Global Environmental Change Programs. He is spearheading efforts to develop global-scale indicators of water stress and is working with chief United Nations delegates who are negotiating the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Goals. He has served on a broad array of national panels, including the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (appointed by Presidents Bush and Obama), the NASA Earth Science Subcommittee, the National Research Council Committee on Hydrologic Science as Chair, a member of the NRC Review Committee on the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the National Science Foundation’s Arctic System Science Program Committee, and the Arctic HYDRA International Polar Year Planning Team. He was a consultant to the 24-agency United Nations World Water Assessment Programme and represented the International Council of Scientific Unions at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development meetings.
ESS Professor Setha Low published an article in Anthropological Theory entitled “Security at home: How private securitization practices increase state and capitalist control“. The article is featured in a special issue of the Journal on “Producing Sates of Security” which offers a theoretical framework and critical grounding for the anthropology of security.
The impact of the security state is not only seen in the political and spatial restrictions on public space and the public sphere or inscribed in militarized national borders and cities, but also in the increasing penetration of the domestic and private realm of home. These securitization practices and how they work can be exposed through an ethnographic analysis of formal institutional structures as well as the affective, discursive and bodily practices that make up and regulate everyday life. Examining securitization as a scalar set of spatial practices and social processes that interlock through a desire for ‘security’ reveals how securitization is able to keep a political stranglehold not only on poor, homeless and marginalized people who are traditionally perceived to be at risk and the target of these controls, but also on middle-class social preferences, political actions, shared feelings, and daily movements. This paper explores five of these sociospatial securitization practices including spatial enclosure, surveillance, private governance, rules and regulations, and financialization of everyday life that constrict and then redirect middle-class home life in private housing regimes in New York City.
Prof Low also co-authored an article in the same issues entitled “A sociospatial framework for the anthropology of security“.
EES Student Yi Tang and Professor Gillian Stewart published a paper in Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers entitled The influence of particle concentration and composition on the fractionation of 210Po and 210Pb along the North Atlantic GEOTRACES transect GA03.
Congratulations Yi! Article highlights include:
- Provide links between particle features and 210Po and 210Pb activities in N. Atl.
- Particle characteristics, relationships with isotopes varied geographically.
- Particle characteristics, relationships with isotopes varied with particle size.
- Particle composition, especially litho and opal, could predict sorption of 210Pb.
- Sorption of 210Po is more complicated, but consistently related to POC content.
ESS Professor Marianna Pavlovskaya (@mpavlov) co-edited a new book entitled “Rethinking Neoliberalism: Resisting the Disciplinary Regime”.
Neoliberalism remains a flashpoint for political contestation around the world. For decades now, neoliberalism has been in the process of becoming a globally ascendant default logic that prioritizes using economic rationality for all major decisions, in all sectors of society, at the collective level of state policymaking as well as the personal level of individual choice-making. Donald Trump’s recent presidential victory has been interpreted both as a repudiation and as a validation of neoliberalism’s hegemony.
Rethinking Neoliberalism brings together theorists, social scientists, and public policy scholars to address neoliberalism as a governing ethic for our times. The chapters interrogate various dimensions of debates about neoliberalism while offering engaging empirical examples of neoliberalism’s effects on social and urban policy in the USA, Europe, Russia, and elsewhere. Themes discussed include:
- Relationship between neoliberalism, the state, and civil society
- Neoliberalism and social policy to discipline citizens
- Urban policy and how neoliberalism reshapes urban governance
- What it will take politically to get beyond neoliberalism.
Prof Pavlovskaya has a MA in geography from Moscow State University and a PhD in geography from Clark University. Her major fields include urban geography, feminist geography, and critical GIS (Geographic Information Science). Her current research examines neoliberalism and the production of economic difference in post-Soviet Russia, the role of the census, statistics, and geo-spatial data in constitution of the social body, the relationship between gender, class, and work-related migration, and the emergence of the solidarity economy in the United States. Her work appeared in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Geoforum, Europe-Asia Studies, Environment and Planning A, Cartographica, Urban Geography, and many edited volumes. She worked on international research projects with colleagues from Norway, Uganda, and Russia.
Check out Prof. Katz’s essay entitled “A Bronx Chronicle” published in Spaces of Danger: Culture and Power in the Everyday! Spaces of Danger contains 12 original essays by geographers and anthropologists offering a deep critical understanding of Allan Pred’s pathbreaking and eclectic cultural Marxist approach, with a focus on his concept of “situated ignorance”: the production and reproduction of power and inequality by regimes of truth through strategically deployed misinformation, diversions, and silences. Check it out!
Stephanie DeVries dissertation is available on CUNY academic works! Congratulations Dr. DeVries!
Following a comprehensive review of the occurrence and impacts of antibiotics and related pharmaceutical compounds on the terrestrial N-cycle, three experiments were performed to explore the topic of biogeochemistry as a source or a sink for N-pollution. The first of these experiments addresses the question of whether environmentally relevant concentrations of antibiotics (µg·kg-1) have a significant effect on denitrification or N2O production, a question that has not been well addressed in previous studies. Having determined that there is a significant shift, the second study aims to comprehensively follow changes to soil N pools and N2O flux alongside biogeochemical reaction rates under different soil moisture conditions. The final chapter of this research, Chapter 5, looks to biogeochemistry as a solution for some of the water quality issues associated with excess N by quantifying the rate at which sand columns inoculated with lake sediment biodegrade undesirable taste/odor compounds and toxins produced by cyanobacterial algae that proliferate in nitrogen-rich waters.
The results of this work show that the balance between soil as a source or a sink of N pollutants can be significantly disturbed by sources beyond the obvious, i.e. antibiotics. It further shows that biogeochemical activity can serve as an effective treatment for secondary N-pollution. Additional research is encouraged to test the effects of additional antibiotics and by extending the incubation period to longer time periods. In particular, there also exists a need to examine the short and long-term effects of antibiotics on soil microbial community structure. While the present work shows that endemic bacteria can degrade nuisance compounds in N-polluted waters, the efficacy of this activity may also be affected by long-term antibiotic exposure in sediment. Genetic tools including GeoChip, will help to better constrain changes that are relevant to all aspects of these findings.