Faculty Research

Indigenous Confluence: The Role of Indigenous Peoples in River Stewardship & Sustainable Futures

Coleen Fox (along with Professors Nick Reo and Dale Turner) participated in a research project called 'Indigenous Confluence: The Role of Indigenous Peoples inRiver Stewardship & Sustainable Futures'. The research project brings together representatives from Walpole Island First Nation, Waikato-Tanui (a Maori tribe from New Zealand), and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians to investigate the role of traditional ecological knowledge in river restoration.  The projects being carried out by the indigenous communities range from dam removals and pollution abatement to fisheries restoration.  The three communities met in Northern Michigan and Ontario in early September, and they will all travel to New Zealand later this year.

The migration response to the Legal Arizona Workers Act

Richard Wright has a new paper in the journal Political Geography.  Working with Mark Ellis, Matt Townley and Kristi Copeland (U Washington), he is interested in the effects of state level legislation on internal migration in the US.  The effects of Jim Crow laws on the exodus of blacks form the US South are well known and well documented.  Wright and colleagues ask: are the immigrant hostile environments in certain US states producing outflows of targeted populations. They focus on The 2008 Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA). LAWA requires all public and private employers to authenticate the legal status of their workers using the federal employment verification system known as E-Verify. With LAWA, Arizona became the first state to have a universal mandate for employment verification. While LAWA targets unauthorized workers, most of whom are Latino immigrants, other groups could experience LAWA's effects, such as those who share households with undocumented workers.

Faculty Spotlight: Jaclyn Hatala Matthes

Jaclyn Hatala Matthes is a new assistant professor in the Department of Geography and an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Biology.

Professor Matthes works at the intersection of ecosystem ecology and atmospheric science to investigate physical and biological feedbacks between global climate change, land-use change, and ecosystem processes. She is particularly interested in understanding how ecosystems control greenhouse gas fluxes between the biosphere and atmosphere, and the role that ecosystem management plays in the global carbon cycle. Her research also explores the impacts of disturbance processes, such as insect and pathogen outbreaks, floods, land-use changes, and fires, on the carbon cycle of ecosystems.

In Winter 2015, Professor Matthes will teach a new course, GEOG 8: Life in the Anthropocene, which will investigate the physical and ecological consequences of our current era of unprecedented human impacts on the Earth and its ecosystems. Because her research is interdisciplinary, Professor Matthes looks forward to collaborating with a broad range of students with diverse interests.

Footprint technopolitics

Footprint technopolitics, a new article by Susanne Freidberg, appears in the August 2014 issue of Geoforum.  The journal Historical Research has also published Freidberg's Moral economies and the cold chain, an article based on a plenary lecture delivered last year in London at the 82nd Anglo-American Conference of Historians on the theme of "Food in history."

Jaclyn Hatala Matthes

Jaclyn Hatala Matthes published a new paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences. This research, conducted in collaboration with the Biometeorology Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, investigated the spatial drivers of methane emissions from a restored wetland in California. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that is emitted from flooded soils, and this research helped to better understand how temperature, wind, and the spatial configuration of plants on the landscape all contribute to the production and emission of methane from wetlands. This paper also developed novel methods for analyzing the spatial patterns of methane flux from ecosystems by fusing remote sensing data from the WorldView-2 satellite with eddy flux tower and micrometeorological measurements.

Faculty Spotlight: Paul Jackson, Postdoctoral Fellow

Paul Jackson is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Geography.  He investigates how scientists and experts grapple with the interaction between humans and the urban environment, focusing on those experts who presume that this interaction produces populations that are deficient, disadvantaged, and/or diseased.

He interrogates these relationships in a variety of time periods: 

  • how cholera and marshland was thought to make cities inherently unhealthy (1870s-1890s);
  • how religious pilgrims were blamed global pandemics (1890s-1920s);
  • how inner-city environments were feared to lower children's IQ (1950s-1960s); and
  • how environmental toxins are suspected to be the cause of the autism epidemic (1990s-present). 

Paul's work has been published in Antipode and Cultural Geographies. He has taught courses on Toxic Geographies and Urbanization & the Environment. He also shares his office with an old codger named Alphie who barks at students and shamelessly begs for treats.

Studying Places Where Climate Change and Society Overlap

When a farmer and a climate scientist talk about the weather, they’re not just passing time—it’s serious business.

Climate change, including shifts in average temperature and precipitation as well as the probability of extreme events such as drought, floods, and heat waves, are not abstract political questions to the farmer; they are matters of economic life and death.

This is a reality climate scientist Jonathan Winter knows well. He did his post-doctoral work in hydroclimatology at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University with agronomist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a pioneer in the study of climate change and agriculture. The Department of Geography hired Winter this month as an assistant professor.

“We’re thrilled that Jonathan Winter will be joining the geography department,” says department chair Susanne Freidberg. “Besides working at the cutting edge of one of the key areas of climate change modeling, he’ll be teaching courses related to agriculture, which are in high demand at Dartmouth.”

Dartmouth Researchers Studying Vermont Stream Recovery (The Boston Globe)

With support from a National Science Foundation grant, two Dartmouth researchers are studying the long-term effects of Tropical Storm Irene in Vermont, The Boston Globe reports. They are focusing on stream channel erosion both during the storm and during post-Irene reconstruction efforts.

Frank Magilligan, a professor in the Department of Geography, and Carl Renshaw, a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences and an adjunct professor at the Thayer School of Engineering, hope the work will help communities predict and prepare for future natural disasters like Irene, which struck the region in August 2011. “Using a combination of their own observations, aerial photography, and data from remote sensors, the researchers are developing faster and more accurate assessment techniques that can be used to pinpoint potential trouble spots along streams,” the newspaper writes.

Published 1/14/13 in The Boston Globe via the Associated Press.

Scientists Study Irene’s Impact to Predict Flood Hazards

The devastation recently wrought by Superstorm Sandy reawakens memories of Tropical Storm Irene, still fresh in the minds of many Vermonters. Irene’s legacy is evident in ruined rivers, shattered homes, and historic covered bridges washed away. Perhaps more unsettling is the prospect of more to come, say a pair of Dartmouth professors who are studying the damage Irene left behind.

“There is no smoking gun here that directly associates Irene with global warming, but all the climate models suggest that storms like Irene and Sandy are going to increase in intensity, magnitude, and frequency,” says Frank Magilligan, a professor in the Department of Geography at Dartmouth.

Magilligan is collaborating with Carl Renshaw, a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences and an adjunct professor in the Thayer School of Engineering, to understand the effects of Irene on stream channel erosion and its repercussions on the land and the people. Given the probability of destruction from major storms in the future, information derived from Irene can serve as a basis for both predicting storm-related hazards and preparing for them.

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