Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.86
Liaison Elida Erickson
Submission Date March 23, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of California, Santa Cruz
AC-9: Academic Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 9.22 / 12.00 Shauna Casey
Sustainability Programs Manager
Campus Sustainability Office
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Number of the institution’s faculty and/or staff engaged in sustainability research:

Total number of the institution’s faculty and/or staff engaged in research:

Number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that include at least one faculty or staff member that conducts sustainability research:

The total number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that conduct research:

A copy of the sustainability research inventory that includes the names and department affiliations of faculty and staff engaged in sustainability research:

Names and department affiliations of faculty and staff engaged in sustainability research:
A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the research inventory:

We reviewed research statements on all faculty websites from all academic departments to identify those whose interests related in some way to sustainability. We circulated that list to UCSC's academic task force, consisting of 3 faculty representatives, and asked them to identify any missing faculty from that list. We repeat the process and update this list every year.

A brief description of notable accomplishments during the previous three years by faculty and/or staff engaged in sustainability research:

Kristy Kroeker ocean acidification research: The Packard Fellowship, one of the nation's most prestigious honors for young faculty members, gives Kroeker $875,000 over the next five years to support her research on environmental change in dynamic environments and complex ecosystems. Kroeker is interested in how the rapidly accelerating changes in our environment will alter the fundamental ways that marine ecosystems work in the future. With the Packard funding, Kroeker plans to conduct large-scale studies of marine ecosystems to understand how these global changes will affect not only individual species but complex assemblages of multiple species. She noted that various environmental changes can have different and sometimes opposing patterns of occurrence and effects on species, yet they are often studied in isolation. "While many species are already responding to warming trends by shifting into cooler climates, ocean acidification is progressing most rapidly in these cooler environments," she said. http://news.ucsc.edu/2015/10/kroeker-packard.html?utm_source=10-20 2015&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tuesday-newsday (2015)

Barry Sinervo ecosystem climate impacts: UC Santa Cruz researchers have developed an ambitious plan to use the UC Natural Reserve System (NRS) to detect and forecast the ecological impacts of climate change in California. Their proposal to establish a UC-wide Institute for the Study of Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts (ISEECI) has received $1.9 million in funding, the largest of the new President's Research Catalyst Awards announced by UC President Janet Napolitano on December 10. UC Santa Cruz biologist Barry Sinervo will lead the institute, which involves all of UC's nine undergraduate campuses. The NRS is the world's largest system of university-administered natural reserves, offering a powerful opportunity for scientists to study how climate change will affect California ecosystems and the ecosystem services that people rely on. (2015)

Erica Zavaleta conservation scholars program: A UC Santa Cruz program to nurture a diverse cadre of environmental conservation leaders will receive $2 million over four years from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, joining four other universities in the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program. “The conservation field needs greater diversity to become even more successful,” said Erika Zavaleta, UC Santa Cruz professor of environmental studies who conceived of the UCSC-based version of the conservation scholars program. UCSC will use its long-established strengths in conservation, experiential learning, and educating first-generation college students and students of color as it recruits 20 exceptional students nationally each year over four years for intensive hands-on field experiences. http://news.ucsc.edu/2015/11/conservation-scholars.html (2015)

Coastal Sustainability graduate program: UC Santa Cruz has received a $560,000 grant from Wells Fargo to develop and launch a new coastal sustainability graduate program and fund coastal sustainability graduate fellowships. The new two-year master's degree program in environmental science and management is expected to launch in fall 2017. The program will train students to take a solutions-based approach to social and ecological challenges in the coastal zone, where climate change is increasing the vulnerability of ecosystems that provide natural resources and services to dense human populations and productive economies. http://news.ucsc.edu/2016/01/coastal-sustainability.html (2015)

A research team led by Yat Li, associate professor of chemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz, developed the solar-microbial device that uses only sunlight and wastewater to produce hydrogen gas could provide a sustainable energy source while improving the efficiency of wastewater treatment. http://news.ucsc.edu/2013/10/solar-microbial-device.html (2013)

Led by Greg Rau, a senior scientist in the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz and a visiting scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), developed a new technique to remove and store atmospheric carbon dioxide while generating carbon-negative hydrogen and producing alkalinity, which can be used to offset ocean acidification. The system uses the acidity normally produced in saline water electrolysis to accelerate silicate mineral dissolution while producing hydrogen fuel and other gases. The resulting electrolyte solution was shown to be significantly elevated in hydroxide concentration, and it strongly absorbed and retained atmospheric carbon dioxide. The researchers suggest that the carbonate and bicarbonate produced in the process could be used to mitigate ongoing ocean acidification, similar to how antacids neutralize excess acid in the stomach. http://news.ucsc.edu/2013/05/carbon-capture.html (2013)

UC Santa Cruz researchers evaluate groundwater supply and management- Ruth Langridge, a UC Santa Cruz researcher with the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, created a report for the State Water Resources Control board reviewing the history, development, overall condition and current management practices for all of California’s court-adjudicated groundwater basins. The research team that created the report also includes UC Santa Cruz sociology Ph.D. students Abigail Brown and Kirsten Rudestam, and Esther Conrad, a recent Ph.D. graduate of UC Berkeley. Court adjudication of California's groundwater basins is more often focused on resolving conflicts among water users and less on sustainable groundwater management, according to a UC Santa Cruz study commissioned by the State Water Resources Control Board. The finding comes in “An Evaluation of California’s Adjudicated Groundwater Basins."

CASFS researcher Mark Lipson wins sustainability champion award- The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has given its “Sustainability Champion” award to UC Santa Cruz alumnus Mark Lipson, currently a researcher with UCSC’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.Lipson (Merrill, ‘81, environmental studies) served as organic and sustainable agriculture policy advisor for the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture until last year when he joined CASFS as a research associate. NSAC said the award, given at its annual meeting in Davis, was made to honor Lipson’s years of service to the organic and sustainable agriculture movement, and his “groundbreaking work on Capitol Hill shepherding historic changes, such as the much-celebrated five-fold increase in funding for organic research secured in the 2008 Farm Bill.” http://news.ucsc.edu/2016/02/lipson-award.html

The website URL where information about sustainability research is available:

Number of academic departments here includes research centers, groups and clusters which is why it is not the same number of academic departments listed in institutional characteristics.

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