Navigation Links
UCSB urban ecosystem research featured in leading ecology journal
Date:4/29/2011

A team of scientists has produced an innovative new study of the environmental impact of major urban ecosystems, published in the April issue of the journal Ecological Applications.

The team includes Joseph P. McFadden and Jennifer Y. King, both of UC Santa Barbara's Department of Geography. They analyzed environmental data gleaned from the "Twin Cities Household Ecosystem Project," a study of 3,100 households in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., and surrounding areas. The article is the first major paper to come out of the project.

The data analysis yielded a huge bank of interconnected information, with many applications. The results will be useful to a vast number of individuals and groups, including economists, engineers, hydrologists, transportation specialists, urban designers, political scientists, lawyers, environmental agencies and groups, NASA, and others. The results will help in the crafting of messages and designing of systems that will assist in preserving the environment, and possibly curbing climate change, the researchers said.

McFadden and King were recruited by UCSB's Department of Geography from the University of Minnesota, where they began work on the Twin Cities project. The highly interdisciplinary nature of UCSB's Department of Geography allows them to manage their part of the project with ease. "This may be the best place in the world for our part of this research," said McFadden, the principal investigator at UCSB.

The researchers explained that the project is unique in both its scale and comprehensive approach to studying urban ecosystems. It covers the whole span of a major metropolitan region, from the city center to the "exurban" fringe, 34 miles out, across two counties.

"We measured an enormous range of different activities that make up each household's impacts on the environment," said McFadden. "All of those measurements were made on the same set of households at the same point in time. That allows us to see the connections between different household activities and impacts."

The team researched such details as airplane and motor vehicle travel, paper and plastic use, recycling and waste disposal, household utility records, and on-site measurements of vegetation and landscape. "The resulting database is a treasure trove of information that can be mined to discover how the interplay of different factors physical-biological, demographic, or social-psychological determines the way that household ecosystems function," said McFadden.

King's specialty is biogeochemistry and her research focuses on understanding what controls the cycling of elements through the earth system. The overall goal of her work is to advance understanding of regional and global biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem processes.

King explained that the Twin Cities study is producing critically needed knowledge about how much material such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus flows through households, and how people make choices about consumption, recycling, and waste. This provides the information base needed to develop better ways of reducing the environmental impacts of everyday household living. "With the findings of this study, we'll be able to identify the actions that individuals and households can take to improve environmental quality and reduce their contributions to soil, water, and air pollution," said King.

McFadden's research is aimed at understanding how vegetation affects the climate, air quality, and water cycling of cities and suburbs, and how this knowledge can be used to improve urban design and regional planning. On this project, McFadden uses satellite data, geographic information systems (GIS), and models to extrapolate from the 3,100 households in the metropolitan region.

Although the specific measurements taken in Minneapolis-St. Paul can't be directly applied to all cities, the insights that researchers are gaining into how different factors influence people's choices and ultimately their households' effects on the environment, may apply broadly to other cities. King points out that the choices individuals make every day, such as the things people buy and the ways in which they travel, are important. The Twin Cities project represents a big leap forward in specifically measuring the impacts of these choices.


'/>"/>

Contact: Gail Gallessich
gail.g@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
2. UC Riverside scientist to explore how vegetation affects urban heat islands
3. Networks of small habitat patches can preserve urban biodiversity
4. Urban trees enhance water infiltration
5. The physics of star-forming clouds and the urban environment
6. A win-win: U-pick pumpkin farms recycle urban leaves
7. New pollution radar developed to provide unprecedented picture of urban smog
8. Urban myth disproved: Fingerprints do not improve grip friction
9. Urban water ecology at the ESA annual meeting
10. Chloride found at levels that can harm aquatic life in urban streams of the Northern US
11. Nitrogen mysteries in urban grasslands
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2017)... -- Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), an innovative and ... solutions, announced today they will participate as a sponsor ... May 17, 2017, in Washington D.C.,s ... Identity impacts the lives of billions of ... digital world, defining identity is critical to nearly every ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017 ... just announced a new breakthrough in biometric authentication ... exploits quantum mechanical properties to perform biometric authentication. These ... smart semiconductor material created by Ram Group and ... finance, entertainment, transportation, supply chains and security. Ram ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... New York , April 19, 2017 ... competitive, as its vendor landscape is marked by the ... the market is however held by five major players ... Safran. Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% of ... of the leading companies in the global military biometrics ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... Science Center’s FirstHand program has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of ... award for Excellence in Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... USDM Life Sciences ... the life sciences and healthcare industries, announces a presentation by Subbu Viswanathan and ... presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” will present a revolutionary approach ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its ... Dr. Christopher Stubbs, a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has ... was a member of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... Hi-C metagenome deconvolution product, featuring the first commercially available Hi-C kit. Researchers ... perform Hi-C metagenome deconvolution using their own facilities, supplementing the company’s full-service ...
Breaking Biology Technology: