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CEREO Newsletter- 2015 May

Message from the Director

With the close of the academic year, it’s time to look toward some exciting opportunities that will emerge over the summer. This summer we will begin seeking nominations for WSU faculty to be involved in a October 2015 science communication training workshop, delivered by internationally renowned communication trainer Nancy Baron, the Outreach Director for COMPASS. Among her many accomplishments, Nancy is an award-winning science writer and the lead communications trainer for the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program. Please look out for that announcement, or get in touch with me if you know already that you’d like to participate. In addition, the Food-Energy-Water (FEW) nexus is a topic that we can anticipate fueling many new creative interdisciplinary initiatives in the coming year, with the 13 May FEW workshop stimulating a vibrant continuing discussion and soon to be followed by an internal WSU request for proposals – we expect to release this RFP in the early summer. The workshop summary is now available and all are invited to become involved in this discussion and respond to the RFP whether or not you participated in the workshop.

Summer is a time when many of us enjoy immersion in the environmental work that is our passion, and the CEREO community will be busy. The 4 projects currently supported by 2014 CEREO seed grants are all underway – they range from understanding the neurobehavioral effects of stormwater toxins on fish to assessing public attitudes about pollutants. Over the summer, CEREO Newsroom projects will heat up as Murrow College undergrads get out in the field to cover the environmental research of WSU grad students, with videos emerging in the Fall. As you write proposals this summer, you might consider whether teaming up with the CEREO Newsroom could improve the broader impacts of your work – this team is energized to get involved with more environmental research projects!

We will continue to post upcoming news and opportunities on our website, and send occasional announcements through the affiliates listservCheck back often to stay up to date!

Hope you all have a fun and productive summer!

– Stephanie

Research News

Food-Energy-Water Nexus Workshop Highlights


FEW_nexus_20150513In response to recent internal and external calls for FEW research, CEREO in conjunction with the State of Washington Water Research Center (SWWRC) and the Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources (CSANR) organized a campus-wide FEW workshop on 13 May 2015 to identify and energize high-priority FEW research initiatives at WSU.

The workshop was a great success with over 50 participants, representing a broad diversity of disciplines, who engaged in an energetic discussion about the areas in which environmental researchers can have the greatest impact on FEW issues.

After introductions to the FEW nexus challenges by CEREO director Stephanie Hampton, Vice President for Research Chris Keane, and Dean of CAHNRS Ron Mittelhammer, participants were given the chance to introduce their own ideas on where fruitful FEW research endeavors may exist.

Recognizing that a much greater variety of FEW topics will emerge across the WSU system in coming months and years, participants nevertheless found four major areas in which the room had critical mass to engage: 1) FEW storage and management, 2) FEW policies across an urban-rural gradient 3) FEW efficiency optimization through food and fuel crop selection, and 4) scales of decision-making in FEW resource management.

Following an “un-conference” approach, meeting attendees were encouraged to visit each group throughout the afternoon to help brainstorm how to turn these ideas into viable research proposals. At the end of the workshop, each group presented a summary of their discussions and proposed next steps. A summary of the workshop and a list of the participants is now available.

Each of these groups, all workshop attendees and any other interested WSU researchers are strongly encouraged to apply for the upcoming WSU internal seed and planning grants. 

Other News

Software and Data Carpentry Workshops

Two workshops were recently held to provide basic programming training for graduate students, post-docs and faculty who want to learn to build, use, validate and share data using versatile open-source software such as R.

Each of these two-day workshops gave attendees hands-on training in the basic concepts, skills and tools for working more effectively with data.  The Data Carpentry workshop led by Kara Woo and Naupaka Zimmerman covered data organization in spreadsheets, data cleaning, SQL, and R for data analysis and visualization. The Software Carpentry workshop led by Kara Woo and Karl Broman was designed to provide basic training for scientists who want to learn to build, use, validate and share data using versatile open-source software such as R and GitHub.  In both workshops, participants learned how to more effectively manage and analyze data so that they could apply the tools and approaches they learned directly to their ongoing research.

Upcoming Opportunities


NEON Membership Breakfast at ESA Annual Meeting

This is a chance to meet with NEON science leadership for a members-only breakfast during the 2015 Ecological Society of America annual meeting in Baltimore, MD.  Registration and payment is made through the ESA annual meeting registration website by adding the event “TK-3 NEON, Inc. Membership Breakfast” to your meeting registration.

6th Annual Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference, Nov 4-5, 2015 in Coeur d’Alene, ID

The PNW Climate Science Conference annually brings together more than 250 researchers and practitioners from around the region to discuss scientific results, challenges, and solutions related to the impacts of climate on people, natural resources, and infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest.

For more information on the conference and the call for abstracts, visit:



Copernicus MastersClosing date June 13, 2015

The 2015 Earth Monitoring Competition is awarding prizes to innovative solutions for business and society based on Earth observation data.  In this year’s edition, prizes worth EUR 300,000 will be awarded in topic-specific challenges sponsored by a number of world-class partners, including: the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), T-Systems International GmbH, Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd., Greece’s National Cadastre and Mapping Agency (NCMA), CloudEO AG, and European Space Imaging GmbH. In addition, the new University Challenge specifically addresses students and research assistants around the world

Water Resources Competitive Grants Program Applications due July 17, 2015

The purpose of this grant is to stimulate investigation and analysis that develops and effectively communicates reasoned and practical alternatives to select challenges facing the Nation’s water resources as well as alternatives to deal with these challenges.  Grant proposals may request up to $200,000 in federal funds, but proposals for lesser amounts are encouraged.


2015 EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study– Applications due May 26, 2015

Graduate Fellowships are open to master’s and doctoral level students in environmental fields of study. Subject to availability of funding and other applicable considerations, the Agency plans to award approximately 55 new fellowships in the Fall of 2015. Master’s level students may receive a maximum of two years of support ($88,000). Doctoral students may be supported for a maximum of three years ($132,000), usable over a period of five years.

2015 Science & SciLifeLab Prize– Applications due August 1, 2015

The Prize is awarded annually to one young scientist for outstanding life science research for which he/she was awarded a doctoral degree in the previous two years. The topic of the entrant’s thesis research must be in one of the following categories: Cell and Molecular Biology, Genomics and Proteomics, Ecology and Environment, Translational Medicine.

National Geographic Young Explorer Grants Applications accepted year-round

Young Explorer Grants (YEG) offer up to $5,000 to individuals ages 18 to 25 to pursue research, conservation, and exploration-related projects consistent with National Geographic’s existing grant programs.



Hydroclimatology (CE 550)

This is a 3-credit course offered by Dr. Jennifer Adam next semester.  Classes will be held in Sloan 38 on Tues and Thurs from 12:00-1:15pm

Analytical Hydrology (CE 552)

This is a 3-credit course offered by Dr. Jan Boll next semester.  Classes will be held on Tues and Thurs from 9:10-10:25am.  The textbook is “Hydrology, An Introduction” by Wilfried Brutsaert.

Environmental Soil Physics (SOIL 503)

This is a 3-credit course offered by Dr. Markus Flury next fall semester.  Classes will be held in Johnson Hall 204 (via WHETS) on the WSU Pullman campus.

Stable Isotope Theory and Methods (BIOL 540)

This is a 3-credit course offered by Dr. Dave Evans next Fall semester.  This course includes two lecture periods (T,R 10:30) and a lab section (T 1:35-4:00).

Course Description: Students will learn to design, interpret, and critically evaluate the use of stable isotopic tools in biological studies. Specifically, we will focus on efficiently learning terminology and notation, sources of variation, mathematical models of isotope composition, and key applications of stable isotope techniques. The laboratory section of the course will provide hands-on experience with stable isotope mass spectrometers to train you to run your own samples.  For information contact Dr. R. Dave Evans (5-7466;

Fisheries Science and Management (ENVR_SCI 417)

This is a 3-credit course offered by Dr. Steve Katz next Fall semester, including three lecture periods (M, W, F 10:10 – 11:00).

Course Description: The course provides a background on the development of fisheries science and examines the theories and techniques of biology, ecology, oceanography, statistics, economics and sociology related to the management of fisheries. Components include basic population dynamics, recruitment, migration, growth, fishery dependent/independent surveys, alternative abundance measurement techniques, habitat considerations and introductory fisheries modeling, stock assessment and management schemes.  Much innovation in fishery science emerges from the properties and limitations of fisheries data; students will study both the information and the role that statistical analysis play in fisheries management.  The course will also look at the exploitation/conservation intersection where ecosystem-based management has been developed and applied to address overfishing and endangered species issues.  The local relevance of Salmon in the Columbia will be leveraged where possible to provide the focus of examples and case studies.  Given the quantitative nature of the subject matter, students need to be prepared to use quantitative mathematical and statistical methods in this class.

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