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News from the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center

On Tuesday August 8th, SESYNC will host a mixer at the Ecological Society of America's 2017 meeting in Portland. The mixer will be at Portland City Grill, one mile from the conference center, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. All ESA attendees are welcome to join us for hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and networking for all career levels. 

Hear from SESYNC's Director and current postdocs about our Immersion and LTER postdoctoral fellowships, as well as opportunities for research support.

Also visit SESYNC's booth #414 in the exhibitor hall to get some swag, meet SESYNC staff, and learn more about our open opportunities. 

More details can be found at

One Meal a Day
As Lake Chad vanishes, seven million people are on the brink of starvation

By Lisa Palmer, SESYNC Senior Fellow, in New Republic

Not so long ago, Lake Chad was one of the largest bodies of water in Africa.  The thick  reeds and vital wetlands around its basin provided vast freshwater reserves, breeding grounds for fish, fertile soil for agriculture, and grasslands where farmers grazed their animals. In 1963, it spanned almost 10,000 square miles, an expanse roughly the size of Maryland. But as climate change has taken its toll, the lake has shrunk by 90 percent .
Today, only 965 square miles remain. Wetlands have given way to sand dunes. Farmers have abandoned their fields. Those who still live by the lake struggle to survive, beset by chronic drought and the slow onset of ecological catastrophe.

This looming crisis has only worsened with the rise of Boko Haram, which has driven some 74,000 Nigerians into neighboring Cameroon. In response, Cameroon's government has banned farmers from using some brands of fertilizer, an ingredient used in homemade explosives, and has ordered that staples like maize, millet, and sorghum growing along roadsides be no higher than three feet, to prevent Boko Haram from hiding in planted fields.

Read the rest in  New Republic.

SESYNC Welcomes New Staff
SESYNC Welcomes SESYNC-LTER Postdoc Dexter Locke

SESYNC  is pleased to welcome Dr. Dexter Locke as a new SESYNC-LTER Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Dexter is an Urban Ecologist with a Ph.D. in Geography from Clark University. Prior to Clark, he earned a Master's of Environmental Science from Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He also graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Planning, with minors in Economics as well as Forestry.

Read more about Dexter on our website.
Recent Publications

So you want your research to be relevant? Building the bridge between ecosystem services research and practice. Led by Lydia Olander in Ecosystem Services as part of the SESYNC team  Incorporating Values & Assessing Social & Environmental Trade-Offs in Managing for Ecosystem Services. Co-authored by SESYNC's Director of Social Science & Policy, Jim Boyd.

Ecological homogenization of residential macrosystems. This Comment published in Nature Ecology & Evolution was led by Peter Groffman and co-authored by SESYNC researchers Morgan Grove, Meghan Avolio, and Dexter Locke.

The 'seafood gap' in the food-water nexus literature-- issues surrounding freshwater use in seafood production chains. SESYNC Postdoc Jessica Gephart led this publication in the journal Advances in Water Resources.

Examining horizontal and vertical social ties to achieve social-ecological fit in an emerging marine reserve network. SESYNC Postdoc Steven Alexander led this research, published in Aquatic Conservation.

Studying Water Quality Using Socio-environmental Synthesis Approach: A Case Study in Baltimore's Watershed. Publication led by Mintesinot Jiru, a member of SESYNC's External Advisory Board, in Hydrology.

Pre-dispersal seed predators and fungi differ in their effect on Luehea seemannii capsule development, seed germination, and dormancy across two Panamanian forests. Co-authored by former SESYNC Postdoc  Noelle Beckman in Biotropica

Impact of Land Use Activities in the Maumee River Watershed on Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Erie. Led by Ramiro Berardo in the journal Case Studies in the Environment, as a result of the Summer 2015 short course Teaching Socio-Environmental Synthesis with Case Studies.

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