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20-21 Coastal@VT Seed Grants

Coastal@VT News

Announcing the recipients of the 20-21 Coastal@VT Seed Grants!

The Center for Coastal Studies (Coastal@VT) is pleased to announce the projects funded by the Center’s 20-21 Seed Grants. The projects both span a diverse range of coastal issues including land use, energy installations, communication of science, microplastics and urban growth and promote interdisciplinary team-building to address these coastal issues.

The first project is, “Communicating Climate Change Science Through the Arts: Collaboration Incubator for School of Performing Arts, School of Visual Arts, and Center for Coastal Studies Faculty and Subsequent Project Development.” The National Science Foundation is calling for greater transparency, better communication, and greater engagement to combat today’s “crisis of credibility” (Lupia, 2020). This team proposes to address all three with this project, a full-day Collaboration Incubator for Coastal@VT faculty members and Performing Arts and Visual Arts faculty followed by the further development of several of the artist-scientist collaborations that emerge from the incubator. The project team includes Patricia Raun and Carolyn Kroehler from the Center for Communicating Science and will engage 20 additional faculty, 10 from the Center for Coastal Studies and 10 from the School of Performing Arts and the School of Visual Arts

The second project is, “Characterizing the economic and environmental benefits of multiple-land uses to protect coastal zones: a case study of the economics of agrovoltaics and wildlife/environmental planning for a commercial-scale solar PV installation in the Virginia coastal zone.”  It will require approximately 65,000 acres to accomplish the goal set by the Virginia legislature to increase utility scale solar PV from 50 MW to 5000 MW. This interdisciplinary project team is developing methods to improve siting processes to provide a wider set of shared benefits so that this massive expansion is possible. The project team includes Coastal@VT faculty affiliates Ron Meyers from Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Todd Schenk from the School of Public and International Affairs, Jonathan van Senten from the VSAREC and Mark Ford from the USGS Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. They will work with John Fike from Environmental Sciences, John Ignosh from Biological Systems Engineering and Virginia Cooperative Extension, Scott Klopfer from the Conservation Management Institute and Robert M. Lane, from the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center (VSAREC).

The third project is, “Prevalence of microplastics in the oyster and water samples from Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.” Microplastics are a global environmental issue with negative impacts on marine organisms, ecosystems, and seafood industries. Filter-feeding bivalves, such as oysters, are exposed to microplastics to a greater extent than other fauna, resulting in bioaccumulation of microplastics in oysters, reduced yield in aquaculture and fisheries, and possibly the ingestion of microplastics by humans. However, available data on microplastics concentration in oysters is scarce, even though they can potentially affect the millions of dollars of economic yields of oyster farming. Despite the increasing number of the studies in the field of microplastics, the scientific gaps are: (a) lack of available information on abundance, type and characterization of microplastics in estuaries; (b) lack of environmentally-realistic exposure study based on abundance and types of microplastics in the environment. The project team includes Coastal@VT faculty affiliates Reza Ovissipour from the Virginia Seafood AREC, and Holly Kindsvater and Leandro Castello from Fish and Wildlife Conservation.

And the fourth project is, “A new urban growth model (MuST) for selected coastal cities of the eastern US.” Globally, coastal ecosystems are under increasing pressure from population and urban growth, sea level rise, and climate change. Reliable models of these changes can help land/water managers and decision-makers plan for and mitigate undesirable outcomes to better meet societal needs. Focusing on urban growth, the main objective of this research is to develop a novel multifaceted spatial-temporal (MuST) framework for efficient modelling, accurate prediction, and comprehensive analysis of coastal urban growth with meaningful interpretation and inference. For selected coastal cities, the team will predict urban expansion over the next 30 years (2020-2050). The project team includes Coastal@VT faculty affiliates Yang Shao from Geography and  Xinwei Deng and Shyam Ranganathan from Statistics.

We are excited to see what interesting results these projects will bring!

     

     

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