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UC Davis experts to speak at AAAS conference

By Kat Kerlin on February 11, 2015 in

UC Davis scientists from the fields of geology, environmental science and policy, sustainable agriculture, and education will present their findings during the Feb. 12-16 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose. Information presented in each talk is embargoed until the time of presentation at the meeting. More information about the meeting is available at:

Ocean acidification

Tessa Hill, associate professor of geology with the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, will present a talk on “Why the West Coast Is Unique” in terms of ocean acidification and hypoxia, a condition where the ocean is deprived of oxygen. Her talk at AAAS on Sunday, Feb. 15, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., will describe the West Coast’s distinct oceanography and environment, and also how scientists here are working together to inform policymakers and the public about hypoxia and acidification, “the other carbon dioxide problem.”

Hill studies the geochemistry of microfossils and corals to help explain the rate, magnitude and driving forces behind climate change, and how marine species respond and adapt to it. Contact: or (707) 484-1951 (cell).

Mangroves and reefs as natural defenses

James Sanchirico, professor of environmental science and policy at UC Davis, will present as part of a panel on nature-based coastal defenses against natural hazards, such as storms, flooding and sea-level rise. His talk on Saturday, Feb. 14, at 1 p.m., centers on how reef and mangrove services can be part of coastal defense decisions. He will describe payments for ecosystem services initiatives and how they can be better integrated into Systems of National Accounts, which currently only considers built, not natural, capital. 

Sanchirico’s research focuses on economic analysis of marine policies, particularly regarding marine protected areas, as well as biodiversity conservation and invasive species management. Contact: or (650) 814-0065 (cell).

Biodiversity-based agriculture

Louise Jackson, a professor of land, air and water resources at UC Davis, will discuss how food security could be increased in agricultural landscapes by greater reliance on biodiversity and ecological intensification. This involves using social and ecological approaches to assess practices and interventions that provide multiple types of ecosystem services or benefits. Her talk at AAAS will be presented during a symposium titled “Sustainable Intensification in Agriculture: New Scientific Approaches,” to be held Friday, Feb. 13, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Jackson’s research focuses on soil and root ecology in agricultural and grassland ecosystems and across agricultural landscapes. Her laboratory is increasingly involved in social-ecological projects related to agricultural adaptation to climate change and on agrobiodiversity and ecosystem services. Contact:

Citizen science

Heidi Ballard, associate professor in the UC Davis School of Education, will speak as a panelist at “Engaging the Public Through Participation in Scientific Research,”  to be held Thursday, Feb. 12, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. “One way to engage the public in science,” she writes, “is to involve people directly in scientific research and environmental monitoring.” Public participation in scientific research can take many forms, from projects that allow large numbers of people across huge spatial and temporal scales to collect (citizen science) and categorize (crowdsourcing) data, to collaborative community-based participatory research projects in which scientists and community partners work hand in hand to ask and answer locally relevant questions. Information about the pre-conference on citizen science is at Contact:

Media contact(s)

Kat Kerlin, Research news (emphasis on environmental sciences), 530-752-7704, 530-750-9195,

Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, 530-219-9640,

Karen Nikos-Rose, 530-219-5472,

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