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April 26, 2017

Dogfish, farmland and toast – what’s culture got to do with them?

Alec Armstrong, David Miles Nature is part or product of culture, as our class discussed last week. When we say “nature” we invoke some mixture of values, knowledge, experiences, and stories to order our relationships with things in our universe. But how can culture be described and measured? This week we discussed two anthropological approaches […]

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April 19, 2017

Entangled with the natural world: Nature seen through culture’s eyes

Krystal Yhap, Rebecca Wenker In Ecuador, a young girl is studying marine life with artisanal fishermen. While on the beach, she found herself mesmerized by the rippling waves of the sea. Amidst the waves she notices a large red fish flapping to shore. A crowd surrounded this mysterious fish, intrigued about its possible identity. The […]

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April 6, 2017

Which one leads to a green future: Scientists’ effort or deniers’ gamble?

Qiurui Zhu and Juliet Nagel Climate change and its impacts on the environment and human well-being are getting more and more attention worldwide. The Paris Agreement aims to bring all nations into the combat with climate change and has set an ambitious goal: keeping the global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by […]

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March 15, 2017

Fresh fruit, virtual land, and conference ribbons: what can we learn from a network perspective?

Kelly Hondula, Natalie Yee After learning about how to construct and interpret social network data sets the previous week, the MEES Coupled Human and Natural Systems class spent a week delving into understanding the types of questions that social and natural scientists investigate using network analysis. We explored social networks of communication, global trade networks, […]

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March 8, 2017

Social Networking: Beyond the Likes and Shares

Natalie Yee and Rachel Eberius Social networks are not just places where we post photos or share updates on our lives. They can be described more broadly to include a series of social interactions and personal relationships. We explored this other definition in class as it related to our work and personal interactions within the […]

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February 22, 2017

The Triumph of the Commons: No actually, it can happen!

Rachel Eberius, Krystal Yhap, Suzi Spitzer Man’s tendency to overharvest and exhaust communal goods was first recognized in Garret Harding’s classic 1968 article The Tragedy of the Commons. It is our nature, Harding believed, to act in a rational, self-serving manner and because of this tendency we will inevitably deplete communal environmental resources. In preparation […]

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February 15, 2017

One fish, two fish, one fish—wait, where did all the fish go?

Noelle Olsen Last week for class, we traveled near and far (UMES students) to the new UMCES office in Annapolis. Dr. Hubacek gave us an interactive, crash-course lesson in natural resource management and economics by playing the game, Fish Banks. Fish banks originated from the minds of scientists at the MIT Sloan School of Management […]

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February 13, 2017

The Chesapeake Sentinels

A new paper on Chesapeake Bay Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) was published last week by colleagues from the Virginia Institute of the Marine Science (VIMS) and University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, led by Jon Lefcheck (VIMS). This paper, entitled “Multiple stressors threaten the imperiled coastal foundation species eelgrass (Zostera marina) in Chesapeake Bay, […]

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February 8, 2017

Greater than the sum of its parts: What is a coupled human and natural system?

Suzi Spitzer and Noelle Olsen This semester, we will be publishing a series of synthesis blogs written by graduate students enrolled in a new course called “Coupled Human and Natural Systems.” The class is the foundation-level course of Environment and Society, a new academic track within the MEES graduate program at UMCES. The MEES curriculum […]

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February 6, 2017

Lessons on how to synthesize science

We recently completed our third SAV SYN workshop, which is an effort to synthesize (SYN) data related to the submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) of Chesapeake Bay. We have been analyzing a variety of data sets to better understand how SAV are responding to changes in the Bay and to understand what we can infer about […]

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