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Plenary Lectures and Presentations

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Dr. Nancy Grimm
Professor of Ecology, Arizona State University, USA

Presentation: Global Environmental Change and the Water Challenges of Cities

Biographical Information: Nancy Grimm is a Professor of Ecology in the School of Life Sciences and Senior Sustainability Scientist at Arizona State University, USA. She is currently on a two-year assignment at the U.S. National Science Foundation, where she is a program director for the Ecosystem Science program, an interdisciplinary program liaison working extensively with the Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability portfolio, and a senior scientist for the National Climate Assessment (on half-time detail to the U.S. Global Climate Research Program). Her research addresses how human-environment interactions and climate variability influence ecosystem processes and services in both riverine and urban ecosystems, collaborating with hydrologists, engineers, geologists, chemists, sociologists, geographers, and anthropologists. She was the founding director of the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research program, an interdisciplinary study of the Phoenix urban socio-ecological ecosystem, from 1997-2010. Grimm earned her BA in ecology (1978) from Hampshire College in Massachusetts and M.S. (1980) and Ph.D. (1985) in zoology from Arizona State University, and has held research scientist and faculty positions at the latter institution since 1990. She has been president of the Ecological Society of America and the North American Benthological Society and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Grimm chaired or served on several national and international advisory and editorial boards, is author or co-author of over 140 scientific publications, and is currently a lead author for the National Climate Assessment.

This talk will begin at the global scale with the challenges of provisioning clean water for >3 billion urban inhabitants, then will focus down to climate-change challenges for aquatic ecosystems and the services they provide at the continental to regional scale. Dr. Grimm will examine a case study of the water-related challenges in an arid urban environment (Phoenix, Arizona). Water is examined through the lenses of ecosystem services and resilience, examining whether designed/engineered urban aquatic systems can be resilient and adaptable.