Highlights

New to the Institute

The Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES) will assume management of the White Mountains Research Station (WMRS). WMRS is a full service field station with room, board, lab, and work space available, located near the town of Bishop. The combination of facilities, geologic exposure, steep topography, high elevation, and winter access make the station uniquely valuable for scientific study and education.

The Water Resources Student Group is a multi-disciplinary cohort of graduate students from across the University who are focused on water as a topic for research and interested in interdisciplinary approaches to water. The WRSG was newly created in early 2012 by the Institute and amongst other activities holds seminars with invited external leaders on current topics in water resources.

The Corporate Partners Program has many new members including: Apogee, Design Printing, Earth Protect, HBO, Mother Nature Network, Manatt, Nularis, Shaw, and Universal Pictures.

Research

A sophisticated new regional climate study was produced by UCLA with funding and support from the City of L.A., in partnership with the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability. “Mid-Century Warming in the Los Angeles Region” is the first study to provide specific climate-change predictions for the greater Los Angeles area, with unique predictions down to the neighborhood level. For more information visit c-change.la.

International Innovation Magazine profiled California Center for Sustainable Communities Director Stephanie Pincetl’s work on urban forests. A team led by Dr. Pincetl conducted an innovative project to analyze the biogeography of urban forests, which is the first examination of its kind to examine the conditions and ecology of vegetation in cities.

A team of scientists led by IoES Director Glen MacDonald mapped the woolly mammoth’s pattern of extinction. In a paper published June 12th in the journal Nature Communications, UCLA researchers and colleagues reveal that not long after the last ice age, the last woolly mammoths succumbed to a lethal combination of climate warming, encroaching humans, and habitat change — the same threats facing many species today.

IoES Associate Adjunct Professor Travis Longcore is one of the authors of a new study: “An Estimate of Avian Mortality at Communication Towers in the United States and Canada,” published in PLoS One. Professor Longcore also co-authored a new report, “The Lost Wetlands of Los Angeles,” on Ballona Creek.

Biologists, including IoES and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Professor and UCLA La Kretz Center Faculty Director Brad Shaffer, discovered a new frog species in New York.

A Center for Tropical Research study, “Mapping Avian Influenza Risk in U.S. Wild Songbirds,” was featured in The National Science Foundation’s Award Highlights.

Events

The Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, along with UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation, and Water Technology Research Center, hosted “The Future of Water in Southern California,” on January 27th in downtown Los Angeles.

Researchers from the Institute’s Center for Tropical Research held a workshop on the bird flu virus for Egyptian researchers, veterinarians, and ecologists in March.

Awards

The California Energy Commission awarded almost $2 million to the Institute to develop a new urban sustainability research center. IoES Adjunct Professor Stephanie Pincetl was the lead on this initiative.

IoES Director Glen MacDonald, Professor Rich Ambrose, and Professor Alex Hall have received funding from the U.S. Department of the Interior for two Southwest Climate Science Center studies: “Effects of sea-level rise and extreme events on California coastal habitats” and “Comparative Analysis of Downscaled Climate Simulations: Providing Guidance to End Users.”

Press

Mother Nature Network, the world’s most visited for-profit environmental website, did a special five-part series on the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. The series highlighted the Institute’s undergraduate academic program and professors.

The Institute’s first benefit gala on March 15th, “An Evening of Environmental Excellence,” was reported on by close to 300 national media outlets. Coverage of the event appeared in print and on television across the country. The event raised almost $500,000 for the IoES.

Speaking Engagements

IoES Director Glen MacDonald had various speaking engagements throughout the first half of the year. He delivered talks at the following events: the Pacific Palisades Community Council Meeting, the Distinguished Lecture Series at the Centre for Global Change Science at the University of Toronto, Canada, and the Environmental Engineering Series at the University of California, Irvine.

IoES and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Professor and UCLA La Kretz Center Faculty Director Brad Shaffer delivered the keynote address at the Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation’s 45th Annual Banquet held in Malibu Lake on April 27th.

IoES climate change scientists Paul Bunje and Alex Hall participated in a Governor’s Office of Planning & Research hosted Impacts and Adaptation Local Government Conference, “Confronting Climate Change: A Focus on Local Government Impacts, Actions and Resources,” on April 9th.

Staffing

Dr. Mark Gold left his 23-year post as Director of Heal the Bay for a new appointment with the IoES as Associate Director for External Relations.

New IoES Affiliates include: Beate Ritz (Department of Epidemiology), Michael Ross (Department of Political Science), and Steve Margulis (Department of Civil, and Environmental Engineering).

After close to a decade of service as the Center for Tropical Research (CTR) Administrator, Jean Savage officially retired in May. Kelvin Fan has joined the Institute as the new CTR Administrator.