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University of Arizona awarded $2.95 million to study monsoon ecology
Date:6/3/2011

elevations," Monson added. "There is a cascade of ecological effects that are linked to the variability in the monsoon system. We want to work all that out."

In addition to training students and post-doctoral researchers, the grant will fund public outreach programs, including a public display at the UA's Biosphere 2, describing the relevance of summer monsoon climate to past Native American peoples and contemporary societies. In addition, K-12 teachers and college professors from the Navajo Nation will be recruited to participate in workshops on paleoclimate reconstruction, mostly tree-ring research.

Xubin Zeng, a co-principal investigator and professor in the UA's department of atmospheric sciences and director of the UA's Climate Dynamics and Hydrometeorology Center, added: "A unique aspect of this grant is the equal focus on atmospheric science and ecology on the ground. This is the first time we integrate invasive plant species with weather and climate modeling. Nobody has done this before."

Zeng said the team has to develop new climate models accounting for interactions between vegetation and the atmosphere: Plants feed back to the monsoon through evapotransporation, a process by which plants move water from the soil through roots, trunk and leaves back into the atmosphere, and by changing the way solar energy reflects from the ground.

Monson, who holds the Louise Foucar Marshall Professorship, was recruited to the UA under the Provost's Environmental Hiring Initiative coordinated by the Institute of the Environment, a program to recruit high-potential and leading scholars in environmental science and policy.

"Dr. Monson was just the sort of outstanding scholar we hoped to attract when we partnered with the Provost's Environmental Hiring initiative," said Diana Liverman, co-director of the Institute of the Environment.

Travis Huxman, director of the UA's Biosphere 2, added: "There was interest across campus
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Contact: Daniel Stolte
stolte@email.arizona.edu
520-626-4402
University of Arizona
Source:Eurekalert  

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University of Arizona awarded $2.95 million to study monsoon ecology
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