Global Reach Impacts Louisiana’s Coastal Environment
The College of the Coast & Environment (CC&E) has a global focus, using international collaborations to improve conditions in our Louisiana delta and across the United States. Our faculty and students have international experiences and global backgrounds that contribute to the college’s success. Not only does the state gain knowledge through these international collaborative efforts that can be applied locally, but the vast majority is funded through extramural sources, creating a winning combination for the college, university, and state.
Deltas around the world are experiencing similar problems as the Mississippi Delta, including land loss and diminishing ecosystems and their services. To better understanding these issues, LSU looks at deltas that are similar to the Mississippi, such as the Amazon (Brazil), Ganges (India), Nile (Egypt), Rhone (France), Yangtz and Yellow Rivers (China), Mekong (Vietnam) and the Grijalva-Usumacint (Mexico).
Additionally, we look at how other world regions are experiencing and adapting to climate change. Our findings help us better adapt to changes that impact our coast and environment.
From research and workshops conducted around the world, to multi-lingual and multi-cultural faculty and students, our college is home to renowned experts in advancing knowledge about the complex interaction of the natural and human factors behind coastal and environmental issues.
Faculty with a Global View. Beyond the U.S., our faculty hails from Croatia, Turkey, Mexico, Poland, India, and China, Hong Kong. Our faculty is also fluent in many languages, including: Bengali, Cantonese, Croatian, French, Hindi, Italian, Mandarin, Polish, Spanish, and Turkish. Their expertise is sought nationally and internationally.
International Students Bring a Global Perspective. Our graduate and undergraduate programs attract a high number of students from around the world. In spring 2017, 18% of our graduate students came from ten countries: China, Iran, India, Canada, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Korea, Turkey, and the Ukraine. These students bring international perspectives and contribute to scientific research. They form relationships with faculty and other students often last a life-time.
Research Conducted Around the World. Our faculty is involved in research and collaborative efforts on every continent. The following highlights just a few of CC&E’s international initiatives.
CC&E serves as the North America Regional Engagement Partner for Future Earth Coasts (FEC), an international project that supports sustainability and adaptation to global change in coastal zones. In addition to working with FEC’s headquarters in Ireland, CC&E engages with the other regional engagement partners located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, St. John’s, Canada (covering the Arctic region), Algave, Portugal, Lagos, Nigeria, Yantai, China, and Taipei, Taiwan.
Faculty collaborate with numerous international organizations such as the International Association for Ecology, the United Nations Global Oxygen Observing Network (GO2NE), and more.
Through an NSF grant, researchers at CC&E and other departments at LSU are tackling poverty in coastal Tanzania. They are studying the attributes that contribute to and can help break the cycle of poverty and increase resiliency, and in this process studying mangroves, trees and fisheries.
In the cold climate of Antarctica, CC&E scientists are are studying how penguins are adapting to climate change, which tells us how similar organisms in other environments may be impacted. CC&E researchers are also studying how the Southern Ocean absorbs huge amounts of carbon dioxide in order to understand how this capacity changes as the climate changes. This information helps us better predict and prepare for future climate scenarios.
China shares coastal problems similar to Louisiana, with coasts vulnerable to storms, deltas that are subsiding and sea level rising. Great progress has been made in using models to forecast landfalls for storms, but there is still more to learn in forecasting storm strength and storm surge from extreme weather events. CC&E is studying these issues with Xiamen University (Xiamen), East China Normal University (Shanghai), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Changchun), Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research (Yantai), China Geological Survey, Qingdao Institute of Marine Geology (Qingdao) and other important universities and institutes in China.
The Vietnam delta is facing huge changes as its natural forest is converted into agricultural land. Our scientists are studying how this change is impacting the coastal dead zone and contributing to land loss.
Australia & New Zealand
The life and death of coral reefs and their symbiotic algae has been studied by CC&E in Australia and New Zealand.
Though a partnership with HZ University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, CC&E is addressing the issue of resilient deltas with research, conferences and student exchanges. Also in the Netherlands, CC&E’s partnership with Zeeland University addresses hazard-mitigation and land-use planning in post-Katrina coastal Louisiana.
North and Central America
CC&E scientists are actively involved in research studying the ecology of fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean. Water quality and coastal circulation are being studied in Mexico and Honduras. Hypoxia, circulation, microbial cycling, food chains and fisheries are studied in the Gulf of Mexico.
As a part of the international Geotraces program, CC&E is conducting research in the North Pole to monitor how ice melting is impacting water chemistry.
Scientists are working in Brazil to understand mangrove systems, which will change as sea level rises. These ecosystems are important for regulating nutrients and providing essential habitat for commercial and recreational species. As temperature increases, we are seeing an increase in black mangrove forests, so a greater understanding of these South American mangrove systems will better prepare us for changes in Louisiana’s mangrove population.
Each year CC&E student participate in the Coastal Roots in Chile program, a three-week study in coastal restoration, environmental stewardship, and general environmental science with the Colegio Concepcion San Pedro and the Universidad de Concepcion in Chile.
The above represent a sample of the numerous international initiatives undertaken by CC&E faculty and researchers. For more information on LSU’s College of the Coast and Environment visit www.cce.lsu.edu.