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2014 Spring 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.

James King (February 21, 2014)

Title: Dust observations for (DO4) Models: a new method for improving climate models

Numerical models need to include mineral aerosols in order to avoid large radiative and associated dynamical errors as these are the only tools we have to predict future weather and climate. The simulation of the dust cycle depends on a wide range of earth system components but begins with the realistic representation of source areas. At a global scale, attention to source areas has improved modelling, with most of the improvements through the simple, large-scale, and highly parameterized source area representation. Notable is the absence of any real source area observations at model resolution in any previous studies. This presentation will outline methodology from the Dust Observation for (DO4) Models project, which through the novel approach of using a regional model as a test-bed for global high resolution models aims to undo the enduring problem of lack of suitable dust source area data. It will discuss the results from the measurements made on a 12 km by 12 km source area within the Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana to be ultimately characterized as one grid cell within the UK MetOffice HadGEM3 model. The presentation aims to address the gap in agreement between detailed source area measurements and the initial 1-D transport models, by demonstrating that model improvements will come through the addition of a simple soil model that describes surface soil crusts, potential moisture availability and roughness development.

Bio sketch:
James King is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Indiana University. He received his Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Guelph, Canada in 2006. His research focuses on the processes that govern sediment transport and deposition of soils, the influence of geomorphic processes on nutrient cycling, and the use of physically based models to predict landscape evolution and soil genesis in arid environments. Currently he is leading novel research that scales the processes responsible for entraining and transporting mineral aerosols to improve regional and global climate models. His research has been published such journals as Journal of Geophysical Research, Boundary-Layer Meteorology, Geomorphology, Soil Science Society of America Journal and Aeolian Research.

Stephen Benard (March 7, 2014)

Title: Who Cries Wolf, and When? Manipulation of Perceived Threats to Preserve Rank in Cooperative Groups

Groups are more likely to cooperate when they face external threats, such as hostile outgroups or natural disasters. In this talk, I present collaborative research on an understudied “dark side” of this phenomenon: whether high-ranking group members manipulate this “threat-dependent” cooperation by exaggerating threats to the group, in order to promote cooperation and suppress competition for their position. In a series of public goods experiments, we show that group members pay to increase others’ perceptions of group threats, and spend more on manipulating apparent threats when holding high-ranking positions (study 1). This manipulation cost-effectively elicits cooperation and sustains high rank, and is fostered by competition over high-ranking positions, not only position per se (study 2). These effects generalize across different definitions of high rank (study 3). To further explore these effects, we contrast groups in which individuals compete for high-ranking positions through democratic elections with groups in which individuals compete in resource-based dominance competitions (study 4). Individuals in democratic (versus non-democratic) groups contribute more to the public good, but are also more willing to deceive other group members about threats to the group. The findings suggest that democratic competition increases public goods production and overall group efficiency, but does not eliminate – and may exacerbate – individuals’ tendency to manipulate perceived threats to the group.

Stephen Benard is an assistant professor of sociology at Indiana University. His research focuses on understanding how micro- and macro-level processes jointly shape patterns of conflict, cooperation, and inequality. His recent work appears in Administrative Science Quarterly, Gender & Society, PLOS ONE, Social Psychology Quarterly, and Social Science Research.

Paul Knapp (March 14, 2014)

Title: West Coast 'Hurricanes': A 300-Year History of Severe Pacific Northwest Windstorms

Hurricane-force winds are frequently allied with mid-latitude cyclones yet little is known about their historical timing and geographic extent over multiple centuries. This research addresses these issues by extending the historical record of major mid-latitude windstorms along North America’s Pacific Northwest (PNW) coast using tree-ring data collected from old-growth (>350 yrs.), wind-snapped trees sampled at seven coastal sites in Oregon, USA. Our objectives were to: 1) characterize historical windstorm regimes; 2) determine the relationship between high-wind events (HWEs) and phases of the PDO, ENSO and NPI; and 3) test the hypothesis that PNW HWEs have migrated northward. We based our study on the identification of treegrowth anomalies resulting from windstorm-induced canopy changes corresponding to documented (1880–2003) and projected HWEs (1701–1880). Our methods identified all major windstorm events recorded since the late 1800s and confirmed that variations in coastal treegrowth are weakly related to temperature, precipitation, and drought, but are significantly related to peak wind speeds. These results suggest wind-induced changes in canopy conditions control tree growth at all sites. Comparisons between the tree-ring record and the PDO, NPI, and ENSO revealed a significant positive correlation between HWEs and neutral to warm PDO conditions and a slightly weaker correlation with the NPI. ENSO events were not significantly related to the occurrence of HWEs. Latitudinal groupings of our sites revealed a gradual and nonsignificant northerly shift of HWEs until the late 19th century followed by a significant northward shift during the past 120 years. These results mark the application of dendroanemology as a method for characterizing windstorm regimes for multiple centuries.

Nicholas C. Kawa (April 18, 2014)

Title: Amazonia in the Anthropocene: Soils, Forests, Plants, People

Early anthropological research in Amazonia depicted the region as a hostile environment to which humans reluctantly adapted. More recent studies have emphasized the ways in which humans have transformed the Amazonian environment, suggesting that it is largely an “anthropogenic” landscape. Based on 17 months of ethnographic and ethnobotanical research, this presentation explores how both Pre-Columbian Amerindians and contemporary rural Amazonians have altered Amazonian landscapes, tracing the long-enduring influence of human populations on the region’s soils, forests, and plants. At the same time, it discusses how human activity is shaped in response to resistances from the Amazonian environment, acknowledging the ways in which Amazonian peoples attribute agency to the environment through folktales and beliefs that socialize plants and animals. In doing so, this presentation aims to address the contradictions and paradoxes of the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch in which humans are considered primary drivers of global environmental change and yet members of the greater biotic whole.

Bio sketch:
Nicholas C. Kawa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Ball State University. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Anthropology at the University of Florida in 2011. His research focuses on issues of biodiversity management, agricultural sustainability, and long-term human-environmental interaction in Brazilian Amazonia. Currently, he is developing new research on how farmers in the American Midwest contend with climate variability through soil conservation strategies and agrobiodiversity management. His research has been published in such journals as Current Anthropology, Human Ecology, Economic Botany, and Human Organization.

Marvin Sterling (April 25, 2014)

Title:  "Performing the Postcolony:  National Meanings of 'Jamaica' After 50 Years of Independence".

On August 6, 2012, the Caribbean island of Jamaica celebrated its 50th year of independence.  Island-wide festivities that year culminated in a series of events held between August 1-6 at Independence Park, in the capital city of Kingston.  Based primarily on ethnographic data gathered that week at the Park, but also based on televisual, textual, and other media material, I explore in this presentation the performance of national identity at this important moment in Jamaican history.  I do so primarily through reflection on "Jamaica 50" as a state production in which is reaffirmed a national discourse of Jamaica as "Out of Many, One People".  I also explore, however, the lines of tension that threaten to disrupt this narrative. These include the racial, ethnic and class-based tensions that in fact remain evident within the Jamaican nation.  They also include tensions that emerge from Jamaican sensitivities about how the island nation, which heavily depends economically on tourism, is viewed overseas. As such, I argue that the meanings of "Jamaica" that emerge from these events significantly turn on Jamaica's status, like that of many other Third World countries, as a postcolonial society trying to find its way in a new world order, one now increasingly structured through the institutions, prerogatives and practices of neoliberal globalization.

Marvin D. Sterling is Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington.  He is author of Babylon East, Performing Dancehall, Roots Reggae and Rastafari in Japan (Duke University Press, 2010).

Michael Hendryx (to be rescheduled)

Title: Mountain Removal Coal Mining and Public Health in Appalachia

The presentation will summarize research evidence on the public health consequences of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia.  This form of mining is damaging to the region’s environment and economy, creating public health problems for the region’s people, including disparities in cancer, birth defects, and heart and lung disease.  The presentation will argue for the need to end mountaintop removal mining because of the evidence of its damaging impacts.

Michael Hendryx, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Applied Health Science, School of Public Health, Indiana University.  He earned his PhD in Psychology in 1986 from Northwestern University, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Methodology at the University of Chicago.  Prior to his arrival at IU, he was professor in the School of Public Health at West Virginia University.   His research interests focus on public health disparities, especially as they relate to Appalachian coal mining communities.