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January

Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) removes surgeonfish from Florida waters, putting a stop to this invasive Indo-Pacific species and protecting our ecosystem.

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More than 6,000 years old, the 16-acre preserve at the MMC has never been more alive. Boasting about 10,000 visitors a year, it is home to more than 450 plant and animal species, including many that are endangered. It serves as a living laboratory for FIU courses, as well as an outdoor classroom/park for local residents.

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John Dufresne, professor at FIU's Creative Writing MFA program, is the author of five novels, two of which were New York Times Notable Books of the Year, two short story collections and two books on writing and creativity. In his 2014 TEDxFIU talk, Dufresne takes you on a journey inside a writer’s mind and shows you his approach to creating a story.

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February

Curious to know if flooding will destroy your house by the end of the century? Take a trip over to the Coral Gables Museum and find out for yourself.The museum currently features an exhibit on sea level rise put together by FIU students and faculty.

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Less than two years after its grand opening, MAST@FIU, the only four-year high school on a university campus in Miami-Dade County, has been rated one of the top high schools in the nation for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

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FIU researchers have traced the evolution of bioluminescence in deep-sea shrimps. The study, led by marine scientists Juliet Wong, Jorge L. Perez-Moreno and Heather Bracken-Grissom in the FIU Department of Biological Sciences, is the most comprehensive study of evolutionary relationships between deep-sea shrimps to date.

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As President Obama prepared to release his FY16 Presidential budget request to Congress, FIU researchers were on global and environmental stages in an action-packed week that included the White House’s Caribbean Energy Security Summit and Energy and Climate Change Symposium.

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Miami Heat legend Alonzo Mourning and players Hassan Whiteside and James Ennis joined volunteers from the School of Environment, Arts and Society in the 6th Annual HEAT Beach Sweep Jesse J. McCrary Jr. Elementary.

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March

In just a few weeks, redbay ambrosia beetles will be on the move in Florida, a major concern for the state’s multimillion dollar avocado industry. FIU researchers believe a combination of drones and dogs could be game-changers in the fight to stop a deadly fungus spread by these invasive pests.

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Kekla Magoon, award-winning author of children’s and young adult books, recently visited campus.She met with students in Rhona Trauvitch’s “Major American Authors” class to discuss her book How It Went Down (2014).

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A team of researchers, including FIU biologist John Kominoski, has found organic carbon from forests, including leaves and twigs, is cut in half when low-to-moderate nutrient pollution, such as an excess nitrogen and phosphorus, is added to stream ecosystems.

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FIU has been selected as the only site in Florida to host a first complete edition of William Shakespeare's plays. The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum will display First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare.

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South Florida ranks as the world’s most vulnerable urban region in terms of assets exposed to the effects of sea level rise. FIU’s research is dedicated to developing and implementing solutions for the major environmental and economic challenges created by the rising seas.

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April

"Powerful Partnership for Everglades" is an annual newsletter which highlights the partnership between Florida International University (FIU) and the Everglades Foundation. This partnership aims to encourage students to enter conservation careers and researchers to develop innovative approaches to the interpretation and public dissemination of research.

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The Florida Everglades is one of the most unique natural resources in the world, with an abundance of wildlife found nowhere else. SEAS researchers and their efforts in the Everglades were featured in a short documentary on the Fusion Network.

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A new book by Director of the FIU CHUE and FIU English professor Michael Patrick Gillespie explores the ways James Joyce wrote about his homeland with conflicting bitterness and affection--a common ambivalence in expatriate authors, whose time in exile tends to shape their creative approach to the world.

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South Florida’s butterflies have become the unintended victim of insecticide control, according to FIU researchers. A five-year study by scientists in the FIU Ecotoxicology and Risk Assessment Lab has found that exposure to naled, permethrin and dichlorvos — insecticides sprayed loyally for mosquito control — are acutely toxic with some species being more sensitive than others.

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In honor of Miami Beach’s centennial anniversary, FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) artist-in-residence Xavier Cortada unveiled a 5’ x 3’ digital painting, “Just below the surface: 1915 (The Founding of Miami Beach),” archival ink on aluminum, at the Miami Beach City Hall late March.

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FIU honored Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient (1992), at this year’s Lawrence A. Sanders Award in Fiction. Hosted by the Creative Writing Program and Department of English, the Lawrence A. Sanders Award in Fiction is awarded annually to a writer of fiction, identified by the Creative Writing Program, whose work combines literary excellence with popular appeal.

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Mike Heithaus has been appointed the dean of FIU’s College of Arts & Sciences. Heithaus, who has served as interim dean since July 2014, replaces Kenneth G. Furton, who was named provost and executive vice president of FIU last year. As the seventh dean of Arts & Sciences, Heithaus will focus on initiatives to improve student success, engage faculty and expand research opportunities. Heithaus is the founding executive director of the School of Environment, Arts and Society (SEAS).

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A two-part show on the effects of sea level rise on Turkey Point nuclear generating station aired on Al Jazeera America featuring FIU’s Pete Harlem Phillip Stoddard.

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May

Don't miss the latest edition of the FIU Creative Writing Program's literary magazine, Gulf Stream.

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President Rosenberg blogs from China about an academic conference he attended on tropical botany co-sponsored by HU and FIU with Dr. Jennifer Richards, Dr. Hong Liu, and recently arrived Dr. Chris Baraloto, the founding director of our new International Center for Tropical Botany.

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June

A group of international scientists have released their findings about a proposed trans-isthmus shipping canal in Nicaragua, raising concerns about environmental impact and lack of information.

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FIU graduate David Menasche ’97 led an incredible life and inspired many. Even while battling cancer, Menasche refused to let it define him. “The cancer was going to kill me,” he wrote. “But taking drugs to prolong a life of misery was a choice. My choice.” That day began a new chapter, one in which Menasche, in his own words, would “really live.”

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Pope Francis issued a sweeping 184-page papal letter, "Laudato Si’: On the Care of our Common Home". He writes that climate change is a global problem with far reaching environmental and social consequences — especially for the poor.

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A new outreach program developed by faculty members, Mahadev Bhat and Krish Jayachandran, in the Department of Earth and Environment aims to enhance the sustainability of farm operations of veterans, socially disadvantaged, and new farmers in South Florida.

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Congratulations to Les Standiford! His 2005 novel Meet You In Hell has just met the New York Times Best Sellers list. Wanting to tell the story of the larger-than-life personalities responsible for the boom of the American steel industry, the director of the FIU Creative Writing Program published the historical nonfiction book in 2005.

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Find out what SEAS researchers have to say about hurricanes and their consequences.

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A rare discovery by an FIU geologist could radically change diamond prospecting worldwide. Researcher Stephen Haggerty recently embarked on a field trip to search for a long-elusive kimberlite pipe in the dense bush of northwestern Liberia. Kimberlite pipes are concealed geological structures that serve as the primary source of the world’s commercial diamond production.

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Compact Currents is a quarterly e-newsletter by the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact highlighting the progress of the Compact, and the counties and municipalities in Southeast Florida.

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July

In a study commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to address the growing number of butterflies going extinct, FIU-SERC researcher Dr. Gary Rand found two common chemicals used in spraying were toxic to butterflies at amounts typically used to control mosquitoes.

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Researchers are embarking on the largest-ever attempt to survey the world’s shark populations. More than 400 reef locations will be surveyed during the three-year project dubbed Global FinPrint. Mike Heithaus, FIU marine biologist and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, is part of the international team of researchers.

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Florida’s rainy season is in full force and pet owners are being cautioned to keep an eye out for toxic toads that can potentially kill dogs and cats. “The wet season means increased activity of all amphibians,” said Maureen Donnelly, associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and professor of biological sciences.

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As part of a new op-ed series, FIU News shares the expertise and diverse perspectives of members of the university community. In this piece, Hugh E. Willoughby, Distinguished Research Professor of Earth Sciences in the Department of Earth and Environment, addresses hurricane observation techniques and how their evolution has helped make big storms less deadly.

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FIU grad Kim Weisenbourn writes a 2-part online article series about her experiences at FIU Aquarius Reef Base in Key Largo, FL for ReefNation.

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FIU's Dr. Stephen Haggerty was featured featured in a cover article in the Miami New Times about his recent discovery that plants "feed" on a mineral called kimberlite and thus could help in finding diamonds.

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August

With rising seas threatening coastal communities all across the world, FIU has launched the Sea Level Solutions Center to help people understand, adapt and persevere.

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Ten projects to improve the health of the Gulf and fortify its ecosystems has been funded by the U.S. Treasury Department from Deepwater Horizon oil spill penalties. FIU's Dr. Kevin Boswell will be carrying out a study on informing fishery-independent reef fish surveys through advanced survey techniques.

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Micheal Heithaus, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Brian Schriner, Dean of the College of Architecture and the Arts were part of an academic panel on WLRN's radio show Topical Currents. The panel discussed higher education and the acronym of “STEM”: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Educators want to broaden not only the STEM acronym, but the performance of students and researchers to include the Arts, particularly writing.

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Tropical forests in the Andes Mountains are changing in the face of climate change. A new study published in PNAS reveals the number of highland tree species is decreasing as a result of lowland tree species moving upslope along South America’s longest mountain chain in response to rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns.

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To conserve the planet’s ecosystems and their diverse plant and animal species, human populations should consume less meat, according to FIU researchers, Brian Machovina and Kenneth J. Feeley.

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Alumnus Richard Blanco ’91, MFA ’97 will take to the steps of the United States embassy in Havana Aug. 14 as the American flag is raised in Cuba for the first time in more than 54 years.

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In The Prince of Los Cocuyos, presidential inaugural poet and two-time FIU alumnus Richard Blanco poignantly shares his story as a kid born in Spain to a family of Cuban exiles who then immigrated to New York and ended up in Miami

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South Florida’s predisposition to weather extremes renders the region’s infrastructure acutely vulnerable. But weather extremes are not exclusive to South Florida. The Urban Resilience to Extreme Weather-Related Events Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN), a newly formed team of researchers, is addressing these challenges on an international scale.

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The White House’s Council on Environmental Quality named FIU as the host for its first Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) seminar on developing locally relevant exercises supporting community resilience to climate change. The seminar will focus on climate adaptation, preparedness and resilience.

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As a team of international astronauts splashes down for a 14-day training mission in FIU’s Aquarius Reef Base, they will be advancing coral reef research at the same time.

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FIU Biology Professor Kenneth J. Feeley is one of 173 researchers who contributed to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on tropical tree species in the the world’s tropical forests.

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September

FIU Master of Fine Arts alumna Ashley Jones MFA ‘15 has been recognized as one of the country’s outstanding, emerging women writers. She is among six writers selected to receive a 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award.

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During the 30th annual International Coastal Cleanup Day, about 2,400 volunteers of all ages Saturday helped beautify more than 30 miles of coastline at 40 sites in Miami-Dade County — by picking up 18 to 20 tons of trash and recyclable materials.

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Seven Florida grasshopper sparrows, among the world’s most endangered birds, have been given a second chance at survival in the care of researchers working to save threatened species across the planet.

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Bonefish catches are on the decline, and researchers in the FIU Southeast Environmental Research Center are trying to get to the bottom of this concerning trend.

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Now in its second year at FIU, GLADES (Growth of Leadership, Academics and Diversity in Ecological Sciences) was named the Ecological Society of America’s Chapter of the Year.

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This November, FIU scientists will board Aquarius to conduct the first experiment to date to quantify how sharks affect the behavior of coral reef fishes. In conjunction with the mission, FIU is launching the Teacher Under the Sea Initiative. We are soliciting applications from K-12 teachers around the world to become mission outreach specialists for the November mission.

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The annual Alumni Reading honors recent graduates of the Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts program at Florida International University as well as alumnae from the program who have recently published books. Books & Books is proud of the program's quarter-century of excellence in publishing by students, graduates, and faculty members alike.

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This year at TEDxFIU, eight talks will inspire the audience to always move forward – innovating and giving. Southeast Environmental Research Center Director Todd Crowl has been selected as one of the speakers on November 5.

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October

Nearly 50 participants — including FIU students, alumni and staff, and representatives from the public, private and nonprofit sectors — listened to presentations from Everglades science, restoration, policy and litigation experts.

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Researchers warn all species are important, and conservation efforts should be based on the need for biological diversity and not on how useful individual species are to people.

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Miami Beach has put into action an aggressive and expensive plan to combat the effects of sea level rise. FIU SERC researcher Dr. Henry Briceño is working with the City to assess the water quality in Biscayne Bay that is being pumped back in due to sea level rise.

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FIU biology professor Philip Stoddard has been appointed by the White House to the Governance Coordinating Committee of the National Ocean Council. He is one of just 18 representatives in the country selected to recommend policies to the Cabinet-level National Ocean Council and facilitate collaboration and cooperation among different agencies and jurisdictions.

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FIU is shaping the way Shakespeare is taught in local schools. In partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the university has teamed up with local middle and high school teachers for the “Symposium on the Study and Teaching of Shakespeare.”

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FIU alumnus Richard Blanco's memoir, The Prince of Los Cocuyos, was this year’s FIU common reading book for first-year students.

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Humans are changing marine ecosystems in different and unprecedented ways. As humans continue to alter the number of predators living in the oceans through overfishing and other activities, their prey and other parts of the marine ecosystem are also indirectly impacted.

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More than 1,200 climate change leaders, including FIU faculty, staff and students, representing more than 80 countries throughout the world recently attended the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

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The marine scientist Kevin Boswell was recently awarded a grant by the Florida Institute of Oceanography’s Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program to study deep reef fish communities impacted by the oil spill. He was one of 10 researchers from across the state selected to help improve the health of the Gulf of Mexico and fortify its ecosystems through his research.

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Mike Heithaus, dean of FIU's College of Arts & Sciences, testified before the House Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research. The hearing, titled "Research Innovations from Our Nation's Agricultural Colleges and Universities", was held on Tuesday, September 29 in Washington, D.C.

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November

FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg and student Salome Garcia joined United States Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy Nov. 19 in Washington D.C. to call for action on climate change.

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In nature, species interact with each other on a daily basis. It is known that certain species, like plants and the mycorrhizal fungi that live in their roots, benefit from each other through the sharing of nutrients. But human activities are interfering with and, in some cases, disrupting these interactions, according to FIU researchers.

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CLIMA features new environmental works by SEAS Artist-in-Residence Xavier Cortada, as well as a broad range of earlier works by the artist–including paintings, drawings, videos, digital art and his polar installations.

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On a rainy Saturday morning in October, a dedicated group of 15 undergraduate students embarked on a field trip to Key Largo, where they were transformed into dolphin researchers for a day as part of their marine biology class.

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December

Two separate papers published this month in Nature analyze plant form and function on a global scale. Christopher Baraloto, director of the FIU International Center for Tropical Botany, co-authored the studies and is one of only a small group of researchers who contributed to both.

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FIU biology student Luke Linhoff is on a mission to save the endangered Wyoming toad. The toad is no longer found naturally in the wild, and only about 500 remain in captivity in Wyoming, the only state in which they are known to reside.

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After alumnus Anthony Gagliano MFA ’02 died, leaving his second crime novel unfinished, Gagliano’s former creative writing professors, Les Standiford and Dan Wakefield, took on the task of bringing Vaughn’s unfinished story to a close. Click “play” to hear Dufresne, the book's editor, read from the opening chapter of The Emperor’s Club.

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In early December, FIU alumnus Sandy Delgado visited Havana, Cuba to be part of the VIII Cuban Congress of Meteorology. The program was diverse and included topics on Forecasting, Agrometeorology, Climate Change, Pollution, Oceanography and more. Mr. Delgado and received both his B.S. and M.S. from FIU in the Department of Earth and Environment is a Research Associate at the National Hurricane Center.

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Follow Ryan Stoa — a Senior Scholar with FIU’s College of Law, who recently attended the climate talks in Paris — as he breaks down the last days of COP21.

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Two professors, Krish Jayachandran and Mahadev Bhat founded FIU’s Agroecology Program ten years ago. The program is a research-based and experiential learning academic track geared to educating students to work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and in related businesses.

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FIU and Geeki Girls Gatherings collaborated for a second year to present the GeekiWood conference Dec. 5. The conference is a unique event where producers, educators, technicians and scientists come together to blend the magic of film and television with real science to empower middle school girls, giving them a greater appreciation for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

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FIU researchers are on a mission to control and eliminate Chagas disease, which is spread by Rhodnius prolixus and other kissing bug species.

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Stephany Alvarez-Ventura MS ’11, a once-aspiring banker, now spends her days among honeybees and organic gardens.Like many before her, Alvarez-Ventura was drawn by the enthusiasm of Earth and Environment professors Mahadev Bhat and Krish Jayachandran. They helped her secure a research assistantship to pursue a master’s degree. She devoted her thesis to studying colony collapse disorder.

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In this piece, in anticipation of the theatrical release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, psychology professor Bennett L. Schwartz probes into why we love the Star Wars series.

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FIU biology student Luke Linhoff is on a mission to save the endangered Wyoming toad. The toad is no longer found naturally in the wild, and only about 500 remain in captivity in Wyoming, the only state in which they are known to reside. Its decline is the result of habitat loss, climate change and the amphibian disease Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Linhoff is studying their behavior, habitat and the location patterns of those that are released into the wild.

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Twelve FIU students have earned the opportunity to participate in hands-on research, competitive summer internships and personal mentorship that will train them to be the next generation of scientists and engineers in charge of environmental restoration in the United States.

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IU biology student James Stroud has observed a non-native species of lizard in Bermuda, a potential problem for the island’s critically endangered Bermuda skink. A two-year conservation project studying the island’s lizard populations led to the discovery of the Cuban brown anole, a species once rumored to inhabit the North Atlantic island, but was never verified until now.

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In this op-ed, Tiffany Troxler, director of the FIU Sea Level Solutions Center and Southeast Environmental Research Center researcher, explains the importance of the international gathering which will hopefully culminate with a new international agreement to mitigate climate change.

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FIU researchers are on a mission to control and eliminate Chagas disease, which is spread by Rhodnius prolixus and other kissing bug species. Not as sweet as it sounds, the kissing bug earned its name because it bites people’s faces, usually around the mouth, and feed on their blood at night.

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