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2012 Fall Colloquium Series

All colloquia are held in Student Building 150 unless otherwise indicated. The colloquia start promptly at 4:00 pm. For the most up-to-date schedule and for contact information to meet with speakers, please email Susan White or phone: 812-855-6303.


Cody Kirkpatrick (September 7, 2012)

Title: Thunderstorms Past, Present, and Future: Current Knowledge and Potential Effects of Climate Change

Abstract: Thunderstorms play an integral role in the global energy, radiation, and water budgets.  Yet more than 60 years after the Thunderstorm Project, numerous unanswered questions about thunderstorm morphology and evolution remain.  In this talk I will review what we know about the environmental conditions that influence thunderstorm behavior, and how our knowledge has evolved since the first coordinated field campaigns and the later, landmark numerical modeling studies of the 1980’s.  Numerical, theoretical, and observational studies all support the hypothesis that thunderstorm behavior is modulated not just by the deep layer wind shear and buoyancy, but also by other, more subtle features of the vertical profiles of temperature, humidity, and wind.  The second part of the presentation will apply our understanding of storm environments to a discussion of the variability in thunderstorm frequency and behavior that may occur under a changing climate, using observational and reanalysis data and idealized numerical model output.

Biography: Dr. Cody Kirkpatrick is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Geography at Indiana University in Bloomington.  Dr. Kirkpatrick received a B.S. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 2002, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Atmospheric Science from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2005 and 2010.  His research interests span a range of high impact weather phenomena, from thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes to, more recently, fire weather.  Dr. Kirkpatrick's primary research focuses on thunderstorm behavior, namely how thunderstorms interact with and are influenced by their environment.  His graduate work won presentation awards at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting and resulted in four publications in Monthly Weather Review.  He is currently busy in the classroom, teaching introductory courses in Weather and Climate and in Severe and Hazardous Weather, and the department's two-semester sequence in Weather Forecasting and Synoptic Meteorology.


Miguel Kanai (September 21, 2012)

Title: Urbanization in the Brazilian Amazon: the rise of global Manaus and its consequences for the region

Abstract: A space of critical significance in terms of planetary sustainability, the Brazilian Amazon is also a region undergoing extensive urbanization and development. Urbanization patterns and dynamics vary significantly across the region’s vast territorial extent. Whereas the emergence of a network of resource-frontier cities has been documented along the so-called Arc of Fire of deforestation, discussions on urban growth in the rainforest core of the Western Amazon are less frequent. This presentation focuses on the city-regional growth of Manaus and its implications for this vast territory. The discussion first introduces the governmental efforts to restructure the city’s manufacturing economic base into a global city with a specialization in high value-added environmental services. An argument is made on how metropolitan construction has been a preferred vehicle for this state-sponsored project of neoliberal inspiration. The strengthening of Manaus as the region’s preeminent urban node has widespread implications for regional development dynamic, not only in its home state of Amazonas but also in neighboring Roraima. The presentation shows how mid-sized cities and settlements in the extreme north of Brazil are increasingly folded into a Manaus-centric network with a transnational orientation. People and places in ostensibly remote locations are increasingly exposed to city-centric flows and circulations but largely by-passed by their benefits.            

Biography: J. Miguel Kanai is an urban geographer interested in questions of globalization and urban change; transnationalism and conflicts over city space; culture-led redevelopment; and the politics of city-regional construction. He holds an MS in Urban Policy Analysis from the New School for Social Research and a PhD in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles. His previous academic appointments include participation in the Urban Age project as a research officer with the London School of Economics. Currently a faculty member at the University of Miami’s Department of Geography, he is also affiliated to the Urban Studies program and the Center of Latin American Studies, due to his regional specialization in South America. His work has been published in five languages including interdisciplinary edited books and catalogues on worldwide urbanization and refereed journals such as Environment and Planning A, Political Geography and International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Current research interests focus on urbanization in the Brazilian Amazon and the neoliberal appropriation of urban cultures for tourism promotion in Buenos Aires, Argentina.      


Julie Guthman (September 24, 2012)

Title: Plastic Bodies: Geographical Implications of the New Environmental Epigenetics

Abstract: In this talk, Guthman will discuss the emerging field of environmental epigenetics and what it suggests about the long term plasticity and permeability of animal and human bodies. Drawing on her obesity research, it will give particular focus to some of the mechanisms by which environmental toxins influence bodily function and phenotype. The talk will also touch on the implications of these discoveries for geographic knowledge in the nature-society and spatial traditions of human health, both of which have tended to black-box the material, bio-chemical body and treated the environment as an inert setting.

Biography: Julie Guthman is a Professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz where she teaches courses primarily in global political economy, the politics of food and agriculture, and the body. Since receiving her PhD in 2000 in Geography from the University of California at Berkeley, she has published extensively on contemporary efforts to transform the way food is produced, distributed, and consumed, with a particular focus on voluntary food labels, community food security, farm-to-school programs, and the race and class politics of “alternative food.” Her first book, Agrarian Dreams: the Paradox of Organic Farming in California, (University of California, 2004), won the Frederick H. Buttel Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement from the Rural Sociological Society and the Donald Q. Innis Award from the Rural Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers. Her new book, Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism (University of California, 2011) challenges many of the taken-for-granted assumptions about the so-called obesity epidemic, including that it can be addressed by exposing people to the "right" food. It was recently awarded the James M. Blaut Innovative Publication Award from the Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers and the 2012 Book Award from the Association for the Study of Food and Society.


Susan Walcott (October 26, 2012)

Title: Development Transitions: From Biotech to Bhutan by Way of Beijing

Abstract: Change processes vary by speed and approach in different places around the world, with local culture and actors playing a critical role in directing and influencing outcomes. Structuration theory includes the role of institutional frameworks along with agency and networks in the evolving process. The research presented considers examples from different regions of China, India, and Bhutan to trace their development process, contrasting them with each other and models taken from Western experiences as well as contemporary Westernization experiences in Asia. Retaining selected parts of each region’s past to assist with the transition to a stable modern future forms a significant piece in a complex negotiation.

Biography: Dr. Walcott is a Professor of Geography and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Geography at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. An urban-economic geographer with a concentration in regional economic development and Asia, Dr. Walcott has published two books, 36 journal articles, 14 book reviews, nine book chapters and four contract reports on a variety of topics concerning the role of clusters in promoting economic development, from the intra-metropolitan to the global scale. She has examined diverse examples including the role of high-tech concentrations such as biopharmaceuticals in U.S. and Chinese cities, the global furniture industry, tea in agricultural transition, and Bhutan’s modernization.


Edward Brzostek (November 16, 2012)

Title: Long term decline in soil moisture shifts carbon allocation at the Morgan-Monroe State Forest south-central Indiana

Abstract: From 1998-2008, there was an increase in forest carbon (C) uptake observed using eddy-covariance at the Morgan-Monroe State Forest (MMSF) in Indiana, USA.  Warmer fall temperatures are the primary driver increasing C uptake by extending the period when leaves remain green and active later into the fall.   In this talk, I will present efforts to examine whether the end of wood production season responded in a similar manner to the green season and to model the allocation of C across the growing season from 2000 to 2011.  The date at which trees stopped allocating C to wood production declined linearly with a significant decline in soil moisture over time at MMSF. This resulted in a widening gap between when the trees stop growing and when the canopy ceases to be active indicating that a large amount of C was allocated elsewhere.  I will then highlight a C allocation model that shows that the forest is accruing C in excess of what is needed for biomass production, dormant season respiration, and to replenish labile C reserves.  Finally, I will present results from an optimal resource allocation model that suggests that the allocation of C to facilitate nitrogen uptake accounts for a large portion of this missing C.  These results suggest that an interaction between warmer fall temperatures and drought may increase the amount of labile C reserves and/or shift allocation of labile C to roots and rhizosphere microbes in productive temperate forests.    

Biography: Dr. Edward Brzostek is a post-doctoral research fellow in Geography at Indiana University in Bloomington.  Dr. Brzostek received a B.A. in Earth Science in 2003 and a Ph.D. in Biology in 2011 from Boston University.  His research focuses on how plant-microbial interactions influence biogeochemical cycles.  In particular, Dr. Brzostek is interested in how differences in mycorrhizal association between dominant temperate forest tree species affect soil organic matter decomposition, nitrogen cycling and carbon storage at MMSF.  His graduate work won a presentation award at the Ecological Society of America meeting and resulted in four publications in peer reviewed journals including Ecology and Global Change Biology.  Currently, he is busy wrapping up the field season efforts at the MMSF and analyzing the impacts of the severe 2012 drought on C uptake.