Global Change: Top Stories

Coral
Study urges global-change researchers to embrace variability

A new review article presents evidence that argues for a more nuanced approach to the design of global-change experiments—one that acknowledges and purposefully incorporates the variability inherent in nature.

King Tide
VIMS contributes to ‘King Tide’ mapping project

"Dress rehearsal" will help quantify local flooding risk and validate storm-surge models, while laying groundwork for long-term network of volunteer data collectors.

High-tech mooring will measure beneath Antarctic ice

VIMS professor Elizabeth Shadwick has deployed a high-tech mooring beneath the seasonally ice-covered waters around Antarctica to better understand ocean acidification in polar regions.

House coastal flooding committee meets at VIMS

Legislators join with citizens, policymakers, and researchers as part of their on-going efforts to develop a comprehensive and coordinated plan for addressing coastal flooding and sea-level rise in the Commonwealth.

River expert warns of looming global water crisis

VIMS professor John Milliman cautions that the drought now gripping the American West is likely to continue, while California invites professors Elizabeth Canuel and Rob Latour to advise the state on how it should respond to the threat.

Study projects big thaw for Antarctic sea ice

A modeling study led by Professor Walker Smith shows that warming temperatures will reverse current trend, making Ross Sea largely ice free in summer by 2100.

Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic tackles legal issues of rising waters

The clinic, a partnership between W&M Law and VIMS' Center for Coastal Resources Management, allows students to integrate the latest science with legal and policy analysis to solve resource-management issues in the coastal zone.

Humans threaten wetlands’ ability to keep pace with sea-level rise

Left to themselves, coastal wetlands can withstand rapid rates of sea-level rise. But humans could be sabotaging some of the wetlands’ best defenses, according to a Nature review paper by VIMS researcher Matt Kirwan and Pat Megonigal of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Chesapeake Bay marsh expert joins VIMS faculty

New VIMS faculty member Matt Kirwan gained his interest in coastal wetlands the hard way—through years of muskrat trapping in the marshes of the Eastern Shore.

New faculty member studies changing shorelines

Research by Dr. Chris Hein reveals how shorelines shift in response to natural and human-driven changes in sea level, sediment supply, and coastal storms.

VIMS flooding report makes a splash

Participants in a conference organized by the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic cite document as blueprint for state response to coastal flooding issues.

VIMS faculty to serve as experts for simulated legal hearing

Professors Walker Smith and Deborah Steinberg will testify in a March 22 simulation that is designed to determine how legislative hearings can best use modern technology to enhance success, efficiency, and transparency.

VIMS team helps launch Antarctic Quest

Documentary film will highlight Antarctic research by professor Deb Steinberg and colleagues at VIMS, Rutgers, and other PAL-LTER partners.

VIMS professor studies “middle ground” of sea-level change

Ongoing research by professor John Brubaker throws light on the intra-seasonal changes that occupy the middle ground between rapid, storm-related surges in sea level and the long-term increase in sea level due to global climate change.

VIMS research team returns to the Amazon plume

VIMS researchers join an international team to study how the Amazon River's huge freshwater plume affects the biology and chemistry of the Atlantic Ocean.

Smith team glides into polar research

Tests of a free-swimming underwater glider in the icy waters of Antarctica mark the most southerly glider deployment ever and the first successful glider dive beneath the Ross Ice Shelf.

Gas hydrates subject of "hot" VIMS paper

A VIMS study of gas hydrates—substances that have hindered attempts to stop the Gulf oil leak—is among the top 25 most-downloaded journal articles in Marine Chemistry.

VIMS awarded sustainability grants

Two energy-saving projects at VIMS were among a dozen funded by W&M's Committee on Sustainability during its fall 2009 round of awards.

Study reveals threat to tidal wetlands

Study shows that continuation of current shoreline-protection strategies will cause more than half of East Coast tidal wetlands to drown beneath rising seas during the coming century.

MA project may jumpstart market for offshore wind energy

VIMS alum Charles Natale says pending approval of the "Cape Wind" project in Massachusetts is likely to jumpstart development of other wind farms in the nation's coastal waters, including those off Virginia.

Dead zones continue to spread

A Science article co-authored by VIMS Professor Robert Diaz shows that the number of "dead zones"—areas of seafloor with too little oxygen for most marine life—has increased by a third between 1995 and 2007.

VIMS team pursues street-level storm-tide predictions

VIMS researchers continue to pursue their long-term goal of providing street-level predictions of storm-tide flooding along the Chesapeake Bay shoreline. Emergency managers will be able to use this information to alert individual neighborhoods during hurricanes and nor'easters.

DDT persists in Antarctic ice

Research by VIMS graduate student Heidi Geisz and colleagues shows that DDT and its breakdown products persist within the tissues of Adelie penguins, three decades after use of the powerful pesticide was banned in most countries. The findings raise concern about the potential cumulative effects of contaminants on penguins and other Antarctic predators.

Ocean storms create oases in watery desert

A team including researchers from VIMS reports that episodic, swirling current systems known as eddies act to pump nutrients up from the deep ocean to fuel blooms of algae in otherwise barren mid-ocean regions.

Rising sea level increases hurricane risk

A new analysis of sea-level records by VIMS emeritus professor Dr. John Boon suggests that future storms will pose ever greater flood risks.

VIMS researchers win 5-year, $1.7 million NSF award

A multi-institution team headed by VIMS researchers has received a 5-year, $1.7 million NSF grant to study the role that plankton play in the consumption and production of dissolved organic matter in the ocean.