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Research Week Offers Opportunities to Learn More about Intriguing Subjects

March 4, 2014

California’s drought is a major topic, including on the UC Merced campus.  

It will be among the subjects explored during this year’s Research Week, from March 10 through 14. The annual event includes a brunch kickoff, a poster competition, live research demonstrations, a smoking symposium presented by the Health Sciences Research Institute, a psychology symposium, a geospatial summit, lectures and a symposium on the drought presented by the Sierra Nevada Research Institute.

“We hope everyone – staff, students and faculty – will come out and see the exciting work our researchers are doing, learn more about why research is so important to the campus and how everyone here contributes to research, even if they don’t work in labs,” Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Sam Traina said.

While the week’s events offer something from nearly every area of study, the SNRI symposium is particularly timely as Gov. Jerry Brown declared an official drought last month after the driest winter on record for the state.

Five SNRI faculty members and affiliated scientists will share climate and drought-related information:

·         Professor Jessica Blois presents “Drought in the Paleo Record: Signatures and Responses,” focusing on the Sierra Nevada fossil record and what it can tell us about the future of our climate;

·         Scientist Norm Miller speaks on “Climatology of California Droughts,” which delves into the long drought history in the western United States and how drought has shaped the landscape and human interaction;

·         Professor Tony Westerling offers “Drought and Wildfire Extremes in California,” a discussion of the increasing likelihood of extreme wildfire events as temperatures rise;

·         Professor Roger Bales addresses the question “Can Forest Management Meant to Reduce Fire Risk in the High Sierra Result in More Streamflow at the Mountain Front?” Bales explores programs to reduce forest density and how they affect water availability;

·         Professor Asmeret Asefaw Berhe presents “Drought Leads to Rapid Carbon Loss from High Elevation Meadows,” a discussion of the extreme inter-annual variation in precipitation that is a threat to the resiliency of the sensitive high elevation meadow ecosystems

Research Week is the annual expo of UC Merced research projects by students and faculty members. Most events are open to the campus community and the Merced community at large, though some events are specifically geared toward smaller audiences, such as the “Responsible Conduct of Research” workshop for graduate students, and the Geospatial Summit, which is open to registered attendees only.

The week begins with a brunch event for the campus community featuring Traina in the Bobcat Lair. The kickoff is followed by the Research Week Fair on Scholars Lane, open to everyone including the general public. Various research teams will present their projects there. The SNRI symposium and the Resource Center for Community Engaged Scholarship (ReCCES) Community Research Reception take up the afternoon.

While most events are on campus, the ReCCES reception is downtown in the Sam Pipes Room at City Hall.

On March 11, check out the Graduate and Undergraduate Student Poster Competition in the morning and early afternoon, and attend a lecture on patenting and how to be sure you protect your ideas.

All week, people will have the chance to vote on students’ 90-second research videos during the first Research Week video challenge. There’s a CITRIS lecture, the second annual Psychological Sciences Research Symposium, the Health Sciences Research Institute Symposium entitled “Tobacco Use: New Products, New Policies,” the annual Sigma Xi symposium and much more.

HSRI’s smoking symposium focuses on the health effects of smoking and smoking cessation effort, and offers “quit kits” for participants, as well as a series of talks by leading researchers like Professors Anna Song, Mariaelena Gonzalez, Wei-Chun Chin and Linda Cameron.

Check out the Research Week calendar and the campus events calendar for a complete schedule of events.