On Saturday 18 October 2014, over 70 people attended the 11th Annual RISE (Research Insights in Semi-Arid Environments) Symposium in the Marley Building on the University of Arizona (UA) campus (http://www.tucson.ars.ag.gov/rise/index.htm). Ten invited speakers covered topics ranging from the National Ecological Observatory Network, new and planned research with bees and mesquite removal, net ecosystem productivity in savanna and grasslands, modeling soil erosion after wildfires, coupled human and natural riparian systems across the Arizona-Sonora border, deconstructing drought signals with daily weather patterns, inter-species comparison of drought response by plants, vegetation responses to prolonged precipitation deficit and surplus, and responses of insects, small mammals, birds, and tortoises to increasing abundances of non-native grasses and fire. The highlight was the two-hour poster session where 17 presenters led a cacophony of discussion in the Marley Building foyer. The objectives of the symposium are to share recent results of scientific research in semiarid environments, with an emphasis on that conducted at the USDA-ARS Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (WGEW) and the University of Arizona Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER), and to encourage future research and outreach activities. Attendees came from far and wide, including SNRE alum Raul Romo and three others from the University of Sonora as well as folks from Colorado, New Mexico, and Flagstaff AZ.
Through a generous contribution from long-time supporter Mr. Malcolm McGregor, there were monetary awards for the Best and Honorable Mention posters reporting research performed by undergraduate and graduate students working at WGEW or SRER, or using data collected at those facilities. Among the graduate student contestants, Best Poster and $500 was awarded to Daphne Szutu from UA School of Natural Resources and the Environment with the title “Using a two-layer soil moisture conceptual framework to understand transpiration dynamics in a semiarid shrubland”; and Honorable Mention and $200 was awarded Gayle Frost from from UA School of Natural Resources and the Environment with the title “Feedbacks between plant biomass and soil microbial activity in a field-based experimental warming treatment”. For undergraduate students, Best Poster and $300 was awarded to Natasha Krell from University of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME with the title “Dynamic pulse-driven flowering phenology in a semiarid shrubland”; and Honorable Mention and $100 was awarded Rachel Wehr from from UA School of Natural Resources and the Environment with the title “Interannual variability of soil moisture dynamics in a semiarid shrubland with bimodal precipitation patterns”. All of these winning posters came from students working with Shirley Papuga, Associate Professor in the UA School of Natural Resources and the Environment.
Members of the Tierra Seca Club, which is the student chapter of the Society for Range Management provide coffee, juice, fruit and baked goodies for attendees before the talks began at 9 am. The Club will use donations for these goodies to help cover travel expenses to the national meeting of the Society for Range Management this February 2015 in Sacramento, CA.
Mike Crimmins presents his talk on “Rain Days to Dry Spells” during the afternoon session of the 11th Annual RISE Symposium on 18 October 2014.
Poster contest winners (from left) Natasha Krell, Malcolm McGregor (contest benefactor), Daphne Szutu, and Gayle Frost after the 11th Annual RISE Symposium on 18 October 2014. Rachel Wehr is missing from this photo.
Tierra Seca Club members (from left) Leland Sutter, Morgan Gourley, Rachel Turner, Emily Pecilunas, and Anna Collins provided coffee, juice, fruit and baked goodies to attendees of the 11th Annual RISE Symposium on 18 October 2014.