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Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Water, Alfalfa, China, and a modern Tragedy of the Commons

Posted 12 Aug 2014 / 0

NPR Morning Edition “In Time Of Drought, Arizona’s Alfalfa Exports Are Criticized” There are so many interesting aspects to this story. First and foremost, it illustrates that “tragedies of the common” are entirely, well — common — in modern economies. The rules of resource use dictate whether that resource will be over-exploited: if there are Read More

A Minor Post, Climate Change, Cooperation, Deserts, Ecosystem Services, Environmental Justice, Ethics, Radio & Podcasts, Resource Consumption, Sustainability, Sustainable Agriculture, Water Supply

EnviroAtlas is now live, publicly available

Posted 30 May 2014 / 0

For the past couple of years I have been playing around with a really cool tool called EnviroAtlas, a project of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This past semester I created two classroom activities that use EnviroAtlas, implementing them for the first time in my Ecology for Architects course. The EnviroAtlas tool was in beta-testing Read More

A Minor Post, Biodiversity Loss, Biomes, Bogs & Wetlands, Citizen Science, Computer Science, Conservation Biology, Data Limitation, Deserts, Ecosystem Services, Education, Educational Software and Apps, Environmental Justice, Eutrophication, Grasslands, Habitat Destruction, Invasive Species, Long Term Ecological Research, Macroecology, Pollution, Ponds & Lakes, Population Pressure, Public Policy, Quantitative Analysis, Rivers & Streams, Sustainability, Teaching, Teaching Tools, Temperate Forest, Temperate Rainforest, Urban Ecology, Water Supply, Web

If sloths endure costs to maintain closed-loop agricultural systems, why can’t we?

Posted 05 Feb 2014 / 0

The New York Times “The Sloth’s Busy Inner Life” This is a great story about how paradoxical behaviors can be understood through appreciating mutualisms. If you don’t understand the benefits of algae to sloths and sloths to algae,  you can’t understand this behavior. But you also need to understand how sloths directly benefit moths and how Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Closed Loop Systems, Coevolution, Community Ecology, Composting, Mutualism, Predation, Quantifying Costs and Benefits, Tropical Forest

What happens when a landscape ecologist takes on urban ecology

Posted 29 Jan 2014 / 0

What’s so cool about the work that Eric Sanderson is describing is that it really amounts to doing historical research using an ecological forensics approach. The idea of mapping out “probable areas” of different populations — including humans — using mapped data is pretty smart. It is amazing how humans have transformed Manhattan. Thanks to Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Architecture, Community Ecology, Ecological Modeling, Ecology, Ecosystem Ecology, Ecosystem Services, Geography, Geology, Habitat Destruction, History, Hydrology, Ponds & Lakes, Rivers & Streams, Sustainable Urban Design, Talks & Seminars, Temperate Forest, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Urban Ecology

Sweet Fern Productions puts Alfred Russel Wallace to paper

Posted 26 Jan 2014 / 0

Sweet Fern Productions “The Animated Life of A.R. Wallace” I loved the Sweet Fern video on whale fall, but this is even more valuable as a historical account of Wallace’s life. I really like the way that this video depicts natural selection! Great way of showing differential survival as Wallace might have seen it!

A Minor Post, Biography, Evolution, Evolution Education, Film & Television, Geography, History, Natural Selection, Science as a career, Science in Art & Design, Speciation, Teaching Tools, Tropical Forest, Wallace Darwin Project

Concentrated factory farming of livestock massively alters the phosphorus cycle

Posted 25 Jan 2014 / 0

NPR Morning Edition “How Mass-Produced Meat Turned Phosphorus Into Pollution” This short feature provides a clear example of how human agricultural practices massively modify nutrient cycles, decoupling what used to be inseparable: where animal feed is grown and where animals are raised. This separation means that we no longer have closed-loop agricultural systems. I would suggest Read More

A Minor Post, Closed Loop Systems, Composting, Economics, Ecosystem Ecology, Eutrophication, Food, Pollution, Ponds & Lakes, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts, Rivers & Streams, Soil Ecology, Sustainable Agriculture, Vegetarianism

Once considered clear, the line between ecological and evolutionary time scales is becoming more blurry

Posted 25 Jan 2014 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “What Darwin Got Wrong” Great article on the importance of better understanding rapid and/or fluctuating evolution! The number of applications to applied human issues is fascinating.

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Climate Change, Coevolution, Community Ecology, Fluidity of Knowledge, Freshwater Ecosystems, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Interactions, Invasive Species, Natural Selection, Pollution, Population Genetics, Predation, Resistance Evolution in Parasites, Rivers & Streams

Now legal, Northern California’s pot farms join the rest of agriculture in impacting water supply

Posted 14 Jan 2014 / 0

NPR The Salt “California’s Pot Farms Could Leave Salmon Runs Truly Smoked” It is funny because as marijuana becomes legalized it joins tobacco and coffee as a potentially high-impact, low-necessity agricultural product. And I know there are a lot of cigarette smokers, coffee fiends, and potheads taking exception to that last sentence.

A Minor Post, Freshwater Ecosystems, Habitat Destruction, Law, Radio & Podcasts, Rivers & Streams, Sustainability, Water Supply

Scientific American “Tiny Plants” article provides a primer on the inter-relationship between ecological and evolutionary change

Posted 07 Jan 2014 / 0

I am always on the lookout for great popular science articles to assign to my students. What makes a popular science article great? Well, to start with it should address concepts that are core to my classes (admittedly, this definition of “greatness” is highly relative to what I decide is important to teach). Concept density Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Coevolution, Conservation Biology, Ecology, Experiments (General), Extinction, Habitat Destruction, Interactions, Macroevolution, Marine Ecosystems, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Pollution, Resilience, Sustainability, Terrestrial