Meet the Research Fellows Helping IU Prepare for Environmental Change


JAHN: WE KNOW THAT CHANGE IS COMING. THERE’S A LOT OF INDICATORS FROM ACROSS THE NATION. IT’S NOT JUST GOING TO BE WILDFIRES IN CALIFORNIA AND HURRICANES ON THE EAST COAST. THE MIDWEST IS CHANGING QUICKLY. AS THAT CLIMATE CHANGES AND AS
URBANIZATION CHANGES IN THE MIDWEST, UNDERSTANDING THE CHANGES THAT WE’RE EXPERIENCING RIGHT NOW IS GOING TO BE INVALUABLE FOR FUTURE PLANNING. WEBSTER: THE MORE THAT WE TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT IT, THE MORE THAT WE PUBLISH NEWS STORIES ABOUT IT, THE MORE THAT WE HAVE OUR
SCIENTISTS ENGAGING WITH SCHOOL CHILDREN, THE MORE THAT PEOPLE ARE GOING TO START TO UNDERSTAND HOW OUR LIVES ARE CHANGING AS A RESULT. MUTHUKRISHNAN: THE GRAND
CHALLENGE EFFORT IS REALLY A STATEMENT OF WE WANT TO BE HAVING AN EFFECT ON THE WORLD. SMILEY: THE WORK WE’RE DOING WITH
THE ENVIRONMENTAL RESILIENCE INSTITUTE IS REALLY IMPORTANT FOR UNDERSTANDING CHANGE TODAY AND MAKING FORECASTS FOR THE FUTURE, SO WE CAN HAVE MORE SUSTAINABLE
ECOSYSTEMS, MORE SUSTAINABLE FARMS. MUTHUKRISHNAN: WITH ABIGAIL SULLIVAN AND MATTHEW HOUSER, WE’RE WORKING A COUPLE PROJECTS TOGETHER TO THINK ABOUT THE SPREAD OF INVASIVE SPECIES. PROTECTING OUR WATER
QUALITY IS, YOU KNOW, PRIMARY TO HUMAN HEALTH. A LOT OF THESE NATIVE AQUATIC PLANTS IN THESE ECOSYSTEMS, THEY ACTUALLY DO PART OF THE WORK OF WATER TREATMENT FOR US. THE MORE WORK THAT THE NATURAL ECOSYSTEM DOES ON ITS OWN, THE LESS WORK THAT WE HAVE TO DO TO ADD TO THAT. FUDICKAR: THE ANIMALS THAT WE’RE
STUDYING ARE IN PEOPLE’S BACKYARDS. THE DATA THAT WE’RE GENERATING CAN HELP INFORM PEOPLE THAT THOSE ANIMALS THAT THEY’VE
OBSERVED EVER SINCE THEY WERE KIDS IN INDIANA, THAT WE ARE IMPACTING THEIR POPULATIONS AND THERE ARE POTENTIALLY WAYS TO LESSEN OUR IMPACT ON THEM. WE ARE PUTTING LITTLE ACCELEROMETERS ON SONG SPARROWS. ACCELEROMETERS, WE DEVELOPED WITH A
COMPUTER SCIENCE FACULTY MEMBER HERE AT IU. AND WE THINK THAT THAT’S GOING TO PROVIDE INSIGHT INTO IDENTIFYING WAYS TO MITIGATE THE IMPACTS OF FUTURE URBANIZATION ON OTHER ANIMAL POPULATIONS. JAHN: SO WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO FIGURE
OUT IS WHERE DO INDIVIDUAL ROBINS GO TO SPEND THE WINTER AND HOW’S
THAT CHANGING WITH CLIMATE CHANGE AND HABITAT CHANGE AND URBANIZATION? WITH THAT INFORMATION, WE’LL BE
ARMED WITH DATA ON THEIR POTENTIAL TO TRANSPORT DISEASES, SUCH AS LYME. ALL RIGHT, COME BACK NEXT YEAR. SMILEY: I’VE NEVER BEEN A PART OF SOMETHING THAT’S TAKING THIS REALLY HOLISTIC VIEW OF
ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE AND ITS IMPACT ON SOCIETY. FUDICKAR: WE ONLY HAVE ONE PLANET, AND WE ONLY HAVE ONE INDIANA. IF WE VALUE NATURE, THEN WE CAN WORK TOWARDS IDENTIFYING WAYS TO LESSEN OUR IMPACT IN THE FUTURE.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *