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Call for Abstracts for CAP LTER 13th Annual All Scientists Meeting (Poster Symposium)

November 22, 2010

 The Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Project (CAP LTER) is hosting its Thirteenth Annual All Scientists Meeting (Poster Symposium) to discuss current research and promote future research on urban socio-ecological systems. It will be held in the Memorial Union at the Arizona State University Tempe campus on Wednesday, January 12 and Thursday, January 13, 2011. Thursday, January 13th will be the date of the poster presentations.

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 3, 2010 to Cindy Zisner. The abstract should be single-spaced, 12-point font size, no more than 250 words in length, and in Word or WordPerfect 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, < 5 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. For more information contact Marcia Nation.

CAP LTER Graduate Student Ph.D. Defenses

November 3, 2010

Elisabeth Knight Larson: Water and Nitrogen in Designed Ecosystems: Biogeochemical and Economic Consequences, November 10th, 8:30 am, Room L1-04, Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus.  Abstract

Christofer Bang Jr.:  Effects of Urbanization on Arthropod Diversity, Community Structure and Trophic Dynamics,  November 15th, 8:30 am, Room 481, Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus.  Abstract

 H. Bobby Fokidis: From the Brain to the Barrio: Energy and Stress Interact to Facilitate the Urbanization of Sonoran Desert Birds, November 18th, 8:45 am, Room 481, Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus.  Abstract

Kristin Joan Gade: Plant Migration along Freeways In and Around an Arid Urban Area: Phoenix, Arizona, November 22nd, 3:30 pm, Room 481, Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus. Abstract

Riverine Systems' Changes Affect Food Chain

October 28, 2010

Riverine systems are altered by flooding and drought. CAP scientist John Sabo and colleagues have examined the impacts of these alterations on food-chain lengths. Their findings, published recently in Science Express, indicate that large-bodied fishes are particularly vulnerable during droughts, which in effect shorten the food chain. Sabo and colleagues also comment on the effects of land-use and climate change on riverine systems. More …

CAP LTER Featured in National Research Council Publication

October 1, 2010

CAP LTER has been featured as an urban sustainability research program in a recent National Research Council publication, Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Research and Development. The book is the result of a workshop on the status of urban sustainability research and development programs in the United States that sought to understand how current research and planning is contributing to the development of sustainable urban systems which provide healthy, safe, and affordable environments for Americans living in cities. Click this link to download an online copy of the book.

CAP LTER Semester Welcome

September 13, 2010

When: 3:30-5:00 PM Friday, September 17, 2010

Where: Global Institute of Sustainability, Room 481, 800 S. Cady Mall, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus

Who: All currently involved faculty and students and those who are interested in becoming involved in the project.

What: An introduction to the Central Arizona – Phoenix Long-term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) project in the Global Institute of Sustainability.

Please join us to kick off a new year of CAP LTER activities. We will have a brief program introducing the project and indicating how you can get involved. Plus, we will have an opportunity for you to meet and talk with fellow researchers. We look forward to seeing ongoing CAP collaborators at this event as well as new faculty and graduate students. Please contact Marcia Nation ( for more information.

CAP Scientist Speaks In Italy

September 13, 2010

CAP LTER scientist, Paige Warren traveled to Ferrara, Italy in July for the Fifth European Conference on Behavioral Biology. She was invited to serve as the opening speaker in a symposium on "Consequences of an Urbanizing World: from Physiology to Behaviour," organized by Henrik Brumm (Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany) and Diego Gil (Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, Madrid). 

Warren spoke about the transition in urban community ecology from describing pattern to an emerging understanding of the underlying processes – from extinction-colonization dynamics to the importance of species interactions like competition (an idea highlighted in a recent BioScience paper led by CAP scientist Eyal Shochat). She argued that behavioral biologists have an important role to play in distinguishing among these candidate mechanisms. She also called for greater collaboration with social scientists, recognizing that interdisciplinary approaches will yield greater insights into all these questions than solely disciplinary approaches.

Tempe Town Lake Research Opportunities

August 3, 2010

Since Tempe Town Lake was created in 1999, CAP LTER scientists have been using this artificial body of water as a field and teaching site. The failure of one of the inflatable dams on July 20, 2010 and the subsequent draining of the lake presents additional research opportunities to the CAP LTER community and a chance to explore ways of managing such human-made ecosystems. Read more …

LTER Network Receives Distinguished Scientist Award

May 24, 2010

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) has announced that the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network will receive the 2010 AIBS Distinguished Scientist Award. CAP LTER, as one of the 26 sites in the LTER Network, shares in this honor. Read more...

Quarterly Message from CAP Co-Director Nancy Grimm

May 18, 2010

I am very pleased to inform all of my CAP LTER colleagues that our renewal proposal to the NSF has been recommended for funding! This is a tremendous accomplishment that is owed in large measure to all of your intellectual efforts. Recall that we began the process of conceiving the next stage of LTER research at our 2009 Annual Symposium, with working groups brainstorming ideas. Every one of you should feel some ownership in this successful renewal. Read more....

Kendra Busse's Thesis Defense

May 12, 2010

Kendra Busse will be defending her thesis Effect of Residential Landscape Design on Undercanopy Microclimate on Monday, May 17, 2010 at 10:00 AM in Room 330, Wanner Building, Arizona State University at the Polytechnic Campus. To read her abstract go to /docs/caplter/KendraBusse_051710.pdf

Survey 200 Underway

May 12, 2010

In February 2010, CAP LTER began collecting data once again at 204 sites in metropolitan Phoenix and the surrounding desert. This effort, Survey 200, takes place every five years at the same 204 sites and is a core, long-term monitoring initiative. Long-term monitoring allows scientists to better understand long-term trends or phenomena that are slow cycling in nature.

Field technicians carry out a suite of research activities at each of the 204 sites, measuring tree and shrub height and girth, obtaining arthropod samples with sweep nets, and gathering voucher specimens of annuals. They take several soil cores at different depths, which will be analyzed in CAP scientists' laboratories for organic matter, heavy metals, soil bacteria, and black carbon, as well as other attributes.

Survey 200 provides a cross-section of the various environments in the CAP study area from upland desert environments accessible only by hiking and helicopter to residential yards festooned with petunias and roses to salvage yards with damaged vehicles and scrap metal. This year's survey is the third conducted since 2000 and is scheduled to be completed in June 2010.

CAP Scientists Featured at NSF LTER Mini-Symposium

March 30, 2010

The National Science Foundation (NSF) held its annual Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Mini-Symposium on March 4, 2010 in Washington, D.C. The mini-symposium, "Ecosystem Services in a Changing World," featured presentations by CAP LTER scientists Kelli Larson and Christopher Boone. Larson's presentation, "Ecosystem services in residential landscapes: Perceptions, trade-offs, and cross-site research questions," drew on residential landscaping work conducted in the Phoenix metropolitan area as well as in the Boston, Baltimore, and Miami areas. Boone’s presentation, "Changing preferences for ecosystem services over time," showcased research from the Phoenix, Baltimore, and Los Angeles metropolitan areas.

CAP LTER Student Poster Symposium Winners

March 10, 2010

Each year during the CAP LTER Annual Poster Symposium, a panel of researchers and education experts judge student posters on their research content, originality, and visual clarity. This year, Scott Davies wins the competition with his excellent poster (co-authored with Karen Sweasea and Pierre Deviche), The Influence of Acute Stress on Glucose and Protein Utilization of a Desert Songbird.

Judges selected two posters as runners-up in the competition: Won Kyung Kim for his poster (co-authored with Elizabeth Wentz), Understanding Urban Open Spaces using a Green Index, and Carissa Taylor for her poster, Local Food in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area: Barriers and Enablers as Perceived by Food System Stakeholders (co-authored with Rimjhim Aggarwal, Hallie Eakin, and Katherine Spielmann).

Nancy Grimm Awarded ASU Faculty Achievement Award for Research

February 22, 2010

Dr. Nancy B. GrimmCAP LTER co-director and lead primary investigator Nancy B. Grimm has been awarded the ASU Faculty Achievement Award for Research. This award, which recognizes Dr. Grimm’s contributions to the field of urban ecology, will be bestowed on February 24, 2010 at the annual Founders’ Day Awards Dinner.

> Read more

Ecology Explorers Curriculum Engages Low-Income Children

February 3, 2010

Low-income children in the Phoenix area have few options for environmental education during the summer months when hot temperatures force everyone inside and the price of science camps is out of their reach.

Katie Mills, a long-time intern with the CAP LTER Ecology Explorers schoolyard program, found a way to bring environmental education to kids in a housing complex for low-income families. Katie, now Programs Coordinator for Helping Hands Housing Services, details this initiative in the latest issue of The Network News, the bi-annual LTER Network newsletter.

CAP LTER 12th Annual Poster Symposium a Success

January 15, 2010

CAP LTER held its 12th Annual Poster Symposium on January 14, 2010 at ASU in Tempe. The theme of this year’s symposium was "Urban Ecology and Sustainability."

Dr. Stephanie Pincetl, Director, The Urban Center for People and Environment, UCLA, gave the keynote address, "Urban Nature’s Services Infrastructure: Challenges in Implementation and Ideas of Nature." Over 30 students and faculty presented posters during the symposium on topics ranging from urban black widow spider behavior to environmental justice and public health.

The program and posters for this year’s symposium can be viewed here: 12th Annual Poster Symposium.

CAP LTER Involved in $1.25 M Grant to Develop STEM Teacher Development Institute

December 30, 2009

CAP LTER is one of several ASU NSF-sponsored STEM education initiatives that have combined their energy and expertise to develop The Modeling Institute, a groundbreaking project that was recently funded through a five-year, $1.25 million NSF Institutional Integration (I3) grant.

The Modeling Institute aims to produce a community of highly-qualified middle school math and science teachers through "modeling instruction," a highly successful teaching method used in many high school physics classrooms and increasing in popularity in chemistry and mathematics classrooms as well.

Monica Elser (bio), CAP LTER’s Education Manager, will collaborate with colleagues from across the university on this initiative.