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CAP Ignite Presentations

April 26, 2012

CAP Ignites

CAP Ignites!

Who: You and your fellow CAP colleagues are invited to attend AND participate in CAP Ignite presentations and an end-of-semester celebration.

What: CAP Ignite presentations are short, 2-3 minute presentations in which you introduce your research. PowerPoint slides are optional.

Why: Our purpose is to get as many people as possible sharing their research as a means of stimulating discussion and research integration.

When: Friday, May 4th from 3-5 pm

Where: Wrigley Hall 481

Food: Of course, there will be food. And stimulating conversation.

RSVP to Marcia Nation if you intend to do a CAP Ignite presentation.

CAP Instrumental in Forwarding Urban Heat Island Research

April 26, 2012

Transform science An interdisciplinary group of CAP researchers has been instrumental in studying the Phoenix urban heat island (UHI), creating a substantial and influential body of research, which is detailed in a recent article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

The article’s authors, CAP researchers Winston Chow and Anthony Brazel with their colleague Dean Brennan from the City of Phoenix Planning Department, note that peer-reviewed research on the Phoenix UHI (55 articles by mid-2011) significantly exceeds that on other major American metropolitan areas, such as New York, Houston, and Los Angeles. They identify three factors that have influenced the flourishing of UHI research in Phoenix: partnerships between the academy and private sector agencies, a well-developed and extensive urban meteorological station network, and strong local media coverage on the UHI. Regarding the former, the authors point to the importance of interdisciplinary research within CAP LTER in forwarding UHI research and integrating scientific and social science inquiry in urban meteorology and climatology.

What the humble authors do not mention is the significant leadership and mentoring role Anthony Brazel, a Professor Emeritus in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and a CAP senior scientist, has played in forwarding Phoenix UHI research. He and his students have authored many of the Phoenix UHI papers.

Long-Term Research Reveals Causes and Consequences of Environmental Change

April 6, 2012

As the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network enters its fourth decade, ecological scientists are taking stock of the contributions and future directions of the nation’s largest and longest running ecological research network. In a series of six papers in the April issue of the journal BioScience, teams of scientists drawn from across LTER take a critical look at the program’s 30 years of service to science and society in an era of unprecedented environmental change.

CAP scientists Nancy Grimm, Kelli Larson, and Arnim Wiek are co-authors for two of the papers. Grimm and Larson contributed to "Ecosystem Processes and Human Influences Regulate Streamflow Response to Climate Change at Long-Term Ecological Research Sites," and Wiek was the second author on "Scenario Studies as a Synthetic and Integrative Research Activity for Long-Term Ecological Research."

BioScience’s retrospective look at LTER and its network of scientists, observations, and cutting-edge experiments comes at a time when public agencies and other entities charged with stewarding the nation’s environmental health are increasingly challenged to provide a sound scientific basis for their decision making. The BioScience special section demonstrates how LTER provides resource managers and policy makers the relevant information they need to address the nation's environmental challenges and secure a more sustainable future.

For more information, please read the press release from the LTER Network Office . A full listing of the articles in this special section is below. Please contact the authors for copies of the papers. For copyright reasons, we cannot distribute these on our website.


David R. Foster

Long-Term Ecological Research in a Human-Dominated World

G. Philip Robertson, Scott L. Collins, David R. Foster, Nicholas Brokaw, Hugh W. Ducklow, Ted L. Gragson, Corinna Gries, Stephen K. Hamilton, A. David McGuire, John C. Moore, Emily H. Stanley, Robert B. Waide, and Mark W. Williams

Scenario Studies as a Synthetic and Integrative Research Activity for Long-Term Ecological Research

Jonathan R. Thompson, Arnim Wiek, Frederick J. Swanson, Stephen R. Carpenter, Nancy Fresco, Teresa Hollingsworth, Thomas A. Spies, and David R. Foster

Past, Present, and Future Roles of Long-Term Experiments in the LTER Network

Alan K. Knapp, Melinda D. Smith, Sarah E. Hobbie, Scott L. Collins, Timothy J. Fahey, Gretchen J. A. Hansen, Douglas A. Landis, Kimberly J. La Pierre, Jerry M. Melillo, Timothy R. Seastedt, Gaius R. Shaver, and Jackson R. Webster

Ecosystem Processes and Human Influences Regulate Streamflow Response to Climate Change at Long-Term Ecological Research Sites

Julia A. Jones, Irena F. Creed, Kendra L. Hatcher, Robert J. Warren, Mary Beth Adams, Melinda H. Benson, Emery Boose, Warren A. Brown, John L. Campbell, Alan Covich, David W. Clow, Clifford N. Dahm, Kelly Elder, Chelcy R. Ford, Nancy B. Grimm, Donald L. Henshaw, Kelli L. Larson, Evan S. Miles, Kathleen M. Miles, Stephen D. Sebestyen, Adam T. Spargo, Asa B. Stone, James M. Vose, and Mark W. Williams

The Disappearing Cryosphere: Impacts and Ecosystem Responses to Rapid Cryosphere Loss

Andrew G. Fountain, John L. Campbell, Edward A. G. Schuur, Sharon E. Stammerjohn, Mark W. Williams, and Hugh W. Ducklow

CAP Collaborates with Dance Initiative

March 28, 2012

CAP LTER’s Ecology Explorers program has begun a collaboration with Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts on an exciting new youth project that blurs the boundary between ecological science and humanities. The multi-disciplinary performance initiative, "At Home in the Desert: Youth Engagement and Place," is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and Arizona State University’s Institute for Humanities Research. More

Help Us Identify Nesting Site Locations for Birds of Prey

March 22, 2012

The Central Arizona Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research Project (CAP LTER) is conducting a nest site study of the various birds of prey (raptors) that choose to nest in and around the Phoenix metropolitan area during spring 2012. In order to locate as many of these nest sites as possible, we need the assistance of colleagues and community members.

We are interested in understanding which species are choosing to nest in this area, their spatial distribution, the structures they choose for nest sites, and the physical characteristics of these nest structures. This survey is purely observational and will not result in any disturbance to the nesting birds.

If, now that the breeding season is underway you notice nesting raptors in your area, please e-mail (or phone 480-727-7860) the following information to

  • Description of the nest location (directions, cross streets, GPS coordinates)

  • Nest structure (cactus, tree, cliffs, building, etc)

  • Bird species (if known)

  • Any additional information that may help us locate the nest site in order to survey the location

Please pass on this request to any other friends or colleagues who might be interested in assisting this initiative.

CAP ASM Poster Winners Announced

February 8, 2012

Winners of the 14th Annual Student Poster Competition that took place during the CAP All Scientists Meeting have been announced. This year, first place awards go to two posters: Elizabeth Cook, Sharon Hall, Ryan Sponseller, David Huber, Stevan Earl, and Nancy Grimm, "Atmospheric nitrogen deposition in Phoenix AZ is lower than expected: Findings from a methods comparison," and Michelle Schmoker, Elizabeth Cook, Stephanie Amaru, Jennifer Learned, Scott Collins, and Sharon Hall, "Bottom-up vs. top-down regulation of desert annual plants in an urban arid ecosystem." Both winners will receive $100 to spend on research supplies and materials. Erica Warkus, Dana Nakase, Sharon Hall, Osvaldo Sala, and Jennifer Learned's poster, "Spatial associations between surface rocks and succulents in the Agua Fria National Monument," will receive a runner-up award of a limited edition CAP coffee mug. Elizabeth Cook is a Ph.D. student in the School of Life Sciences. Michelle Schmoker and Erica Warkus were involved in CAP's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. Both are majoring in the biological sciences.

Brenda Shears Honored at CAP ASM

February 8, 2012

Brenda Shears

Brenda Shears was honored at the CAP All Scientists Meeting on January 13, 2012 at ASU's SkySong for her "many and varied contributions to the success of the CAP LTER program." Brenda served for many years as the project manager for CAP LTER and was instrumental in securing the first National Science Foundation grant for CAP in 1997. Many of CAP's accomplishments over the years would not have been possible without Brenda's leadership and dedication. We thank her for all that she has done and continues to do for CAP.

Initiative to study and restore mountain preserves wins competition

January 4, 2012

The Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) program in the Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU and the Ecosystem Conservation and Resilience Initiative (ECRI) in the School of Life Sciences are part of a new initiative to address the future of metropolitan Phoenix's mountain park preserves. They have joined with the Desert Botanical Garden (the lead institution), Audubon Arizona, the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department, and the Phoenix Mountains Preservation Council to form the Conservation Alliance, a collaboration to foster community engagement to study, restore, and promote the mountain park preserves of metropolitan Phoenix.

This initiative received a boost of support recently when it was chosen as an awardee in the Five Communities Project competition sponsored by the Center for the Future of Arizona.


14th Annual All Scientists Meeting and Poster Symposium

December 22, 2011

This year marks the fourteenth anniversary of the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) Project at Arizona State University. To celebrate our accomplishments and move forward toward new research initiatives, we are hosting our Fourteenth Annual All Scientists Meeting and Poster Symposium, "Synthesizing Urban Systems Research," on January 13, 2012 in the Convergence Room at Arizona State University’s SkySong facility.

We are privileged this year to have two esteemed keynote speakers. Dr. Karen Seto, Associate Professor at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, will present "Rethinking urbanization and sustainability: Lessons from China and India" during the morning session. In the afternoon, Dr. Wallace Broecker, Newberry Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, will present "The global CO2 problem and some possible solutions:  What it all means for cities."

The agenda for January 13th includes update presentations on CAP’s current research in the areas of water, climate, biodiversity, and biogeochemistry.  There also will be two interactive poster sessions featuring 40 posters from a variety of CAP LTER initiatives as well as exhibits from high school and middle school students participating in the Ecology Explorers program.

ASU SkySong is located on the southeast corner of Scottsdale and McDowell Roads, north of the ASU Tempe campus. For directions to SkySong, please visit . The Convergence Room is in the north building at SkySong in the northeast corner, although the entrance to the room is from the front of the building, not the lobby. There is free parking north of the building, and SkySong is also accessible by Valley Metro (bus 72) from the Tempe Transit Center.

We will be serving lunch during the event. To RSVP for lunch, please go to:

Urban Heat Riskscape Research Featured in Wired Magazine

December 2, 2011

Research by CAP scientists Darrel Jenerette, Sharon Harlan, Will Stefanov, and Chris Martin was featured in a recent online piece in Wired Magazine. The story focused on findings reported in an Ecological Applications article, "Ecosystem services and urban heat riskscape moderation: Water, green spaces, and social inequality in Phoenix, USA."

Jenerette et al. examine the role of vegetation in urban cooling, particularly in low-income neighborhoods experiencing extreme heat. While an increase in vegetation would ameliorate heat conditions and provide multiple ecosystem services, the authors argue that "vegetation has economic, water, and social equity implications that vary dramatically across neighborhoods and need to be managed through informed environmental policies."

Call for Abstracts for CAP LTER 14th Annual All Scientists Meeting

November 18, 2011

The Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Project (CAP LTER) is hosting its Fourteenth Annual All Scientists Meeting (Poster Symposium) to discuss current research and promote future research on urban socio-ecological systems. It will be held at ASU’s Skysong facility in south Scottsdale on Friday, January 13, 2012. Skysong has very nice conference space and free parking. It can also be accessed by the 72 bus from the Tempe Transit Center.

We are particularly interested in posters that present interdisciplinary approaches to understanding urban systems and posters that represent university-community partnerships. We encourage our community partners, faculty, staff and students to participate by presenting posters and attending the symposium.

Please submit your abstract electronically by December 5, 2011 to Cindy Zisner. The abstract should be single-spaced, 12-point font size, no more than 250 words in length, and in Word format (no pdfs please). Final posters will need to be provided electronically for the CAP LTER web site. Posters need not be submitted by the abstract deadline but should be submitted as close to the Symposium as possible. Posters often are sized 3 x 5 ft (h x w), but the primary space consideration will be that the final product fits on a 4 x 8 ft (h x w) tack board.

This year, poster presenters will be expected to make short, 2 minute presentations to the symposium audience before their poster session commences. More details on this will be circulated in advance of the symposium.

We award prizes to the best student posters in the symposium. Indicate on your abstract if the lead author is a student. Please provide all of your authors' names and addresses so that these can be included in the program.

Sample Submission:

Lead author: Student

M. Howard1, L. Fine2, and C. Howard1. Effects of urban air quality on aggression in research scientists.

1School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, PO Box 874501, Tempe AZ 85287-4501: and 2ASU West Department of Physical Education, …..[address].

We assessed levels of aggression in research scientists exposed to different amounts of airborne particulates….

Past judges have noted that successful posters tend to be well-structured. Some key areas to consider including in your poster are:

  • Problem statement and discussion of research context
  • Presentation and discussion of research findings
  • Conclusion and discussion of research significance and contribution

Please also note that layout matters: pay attention to font size, color, and the balance between graphical elements of your poster and text. Ample white space allows the reader to read your poster more easily, and a logical flow of text and graphics communicates your research most effectively.

Submit one electronic copy of the abstract by December 5, 2011 to Questions can be addressed to Marcia Nation ( .

400 Publications and Counting!

October 31, 2011

This year, CAP was proud to add its 400th publication to its long list of publications. To date, we have 408 publications in total, comprised of 320 articles, 78 book chapters, and 10 books that present CAP science. This is evidence of the tremendous productivity of CAP scientists.

Our students have been very busy as well and are co-authors on many publications. Since 2004, we have had 109 publications (including those published, in press, and in review) with students as co-authors; for 70 of these publications, a student is the first author.

To view a list of recent CAP publications and those in press and in review, visit /publications/ .

CAP LTER Student Welcome!

August 29, 2011

When: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 4:30 p.m.

Where: Wrigley Hall, Room 481

Come join us to kick off a new year of CAP LTER activities! We will have a brief program introducing the CAP LTER project and go over how you can get involved, followed by an informal paper discussion and ample opportunities for you to talk about urban research with other students and faculty. We look forward to seeing new graduate students at this event as well as ongoing CAP collaborators. Feel free to contact your CAP graduate student representatives for more information: Julie Ripplinger or Eric Chapman.

Followed by CAPpy Hour at Dave's Electric Brewpub at 5:30 p.m.!

New Undergrad/Grad Course Focuses on Long-Term Research

August 2, 2011

Dr. Dan Childers will hold a new, one credit hour, upper division undergraduate and graduate course this fall that focuses on long-term research in urban systems with a special emphasis on the Phoenix metropolitan area. Course details are listed below. Please note that enrollment is limited and undergraduate students need instructor permission to enroll.

SoS 494/591 Long-Term Research in Urban Systems

Instructor:  Daniel L. Childers, School of Sustainability

Cross-listings:  SoLS 494/591, SHESC 494/591, SESE 494/591, Geography 494/591, FSE-SEBE 494/591

Credit Hours:  1 (one)

Target:  Upper division undergraduates and graduate students

Time:  Tuesdays, 4:30 – 5:30

Offerings (anticipated):  Fall 2011, Spring 2012

Enrollment Cap:  25 graduate students (no permission needed) plus 10 undergraduate students (instructor permission required)

Required Text:  None

Course Description:  This seminar course will emphasize the communication of ideas, theories, concepts, and products of research conducted on urban systems, with an emphasis on research in the Phoenix metropolitan area.  This interdisciplinary seminar will include students from a diversity of disciplines and fields, including urban ecology, biogeochemistry, hydrology, geomorphology, economics, geography, social dynamics, urban planning, and engineering.  Weekly classes will include: 1) open forums for students to discuss their research ideas, present recent data and findings, and discuss collaborative projects; 2) readings of relevant literature on urban systems, and; 3) research presentations by ASU faculty and research associates who are working on urban systems.  While this seminar course targets students conducting research with the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Program (CAP LTER), enrollment will not be limited to these students.

Phoenix Area Social Survey Underway

July 28, 2011

CAP LTER scientists are currently conducting the Phoenix Area Social Survey (PASS) in 45 metropolitan Phoenix neighborhoods. The survey, conducted every five years, focuses on the quality of life in Phoenix area neighborhoods and four areas of environmental quality in the Valley: water, land, air, and climate. Past surveys have yielded important results about attitudes and environmental behaviors in metropolitan Phoenix.

CAP LTER Announces Spring 2011 CAP Graduate Grant Awards

April 25, 2011

Eleven ASU graduate students are winners of the spring 2011 CAP Graduate Grants. CAP makes these $4000.00 awards on a competitive basis to graduate students who submit outstanding proposals for CAP-related research. A panel of previous grant winners reviews each application and makes funding recommendations to CAP’s Director, Dan Childers, who makes the final funding decisions in consultation with the CAP Executive Committee.

Notable among this year’s winners are three joint research studies, indicating the interest among students in collaborative research. Funding from all of these spring 2011 awards will allow grantee graduate students to conduct important research over the summer months and into the next academic year.

There are two competitions per year for CAP Graduate Grants. The next competition will commence in October 2011, and competition announcements will be circulated to the CAP community via e-mail.

The spring 2011 award winners and the titles of their research are:

Jeff Ackley, "Does the urban heat island impact desert lizards?"

Yevgeniy Marusenko and Karl Wyant, "Dynamics of urban biogeochemical cycling coupled with the interactions between soil microbial communities, the belowground food web, and land-use type in an arid ecosystem"

Shai Kaplan and Chao Fan, "Actual evapotranspiration estimation for different land use and land cover in a desert city: Sensitivity to drought"

Patricia Trubl, "The ecology of the Western black widow spider, Latrodectus hesperus, along a desert-urban continuum: From desert loner to urban pest"

Christopher Gallati and John Connors, "Characterizing spatial structure in Phoenix and its implications for

ecosystem services"

Genevieve Metson, "Drivers of change in the urban-agricultural interface and their impact on phosphorus dynamics: A long-term study of Maricopa County, Arizona"

Scott Robinson, "Fingerprinting urban sediment sources in Indian Bend Wash with implications for nutrient cycling in an artificial lake chain"

Alex Hamilton, "Soil organic and black carbon concentration, photo-oxidation, and chemical functionality of central Arizona surface and sub-surface soil"

Request for Proposals

February 25, 2011

2011-2012 Grad Grants for Research in Urban Ecology, Spring Competition

In 2011 CAP LTER is continuing its program in support of graduate student research. Grad Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis to graduate students conducting research within the CAP LTER study area on some aspect of urban ecology. These projects do not necessarily have to be part of current CAP LTER research activities, but priority will be given to work that compliments and potentially enhances ongoing LTER research or that uses LTER data resources or sites. For more details, see the full Request for Proposals.

Redman, Grimm, and Williams honored at CAP All Scientists Meeting

February 14, 2011

Former co-directors Nancy Grimm and Charles Redman cut a cake celebrating a new grant from NSF.

Former co-directors Nancy Grimm and Charles Redman cut a cake celebrating a new grant from NSF.

Charles Redman, Nancy Grimm, and Linda Williams were honored for their contributions to CAP LTER at the 13th Annual CAP LTER All Scientists Meeting and Poster Symposium on January 12, 2011.

Redman and Grimm served as CAP LTER co-directors from 1997-2010. Current CAP Director Dan Childers presented them with plaques honoring their years of leadership and scholarly contributions to urban socioecological research. Williams was the grant manager for CAP LTER from 1997-2010. Former co-directors Redman and Grimm saluted her contributions to CAP and presented her with a gift reflecting gratitude for her steady management of the research program’s finances.

2011 CAP LTER Poster Symposium Winners

January 20, 2011

The CAP LTER Poster Symposium on January 13th featured 23 posters with graduate and undergraduate student authors, which a panel judged during the Symposium. Congratulations to Melanie Banville and co-author Heather Bateman for their winning poster, Herpetofauna and microhabitat characteristics of urban and wildland reaches along the Salt River, Arizona. Runners-up were Brian Sovik, A spatial-temporal representation of land subsidence in the northwest Phoenix valley, Arizona and J. Mac Gifford and Paul Westerhoff, Making biofuel renewable: Recovering phosphorus from residual biomass

Copies of all symposium posters can be found on the CAP LTER website.

Climate Change Impact on Arizona Cities

January 6, 2011

The local ABC News affiliate interviewed CAP LTER scientists Tony Brazel and Darren Ruddell for a story on the impact of climate change on Arizona’s cities, deserts, and forests. Their comments focused on the exacerbation of the urban heat island and the impacts of this on human health and well-being.