University of Vermont

  • environmental leaders

    "I learned a lot while I was in Alaska—everything from identifying tundra vegetation to what to do if a bear attacks." — Genna Waldvogel

    Genna WaldvogelEnvironmental sciences major, intern at Alaska field station, conductor of research project on seasons and streams. More about Genna >>

  • environmental leaders

    "I felt a strong sense of community in RSENR." — Kelsey Head

    Kelsey Head Environmental studies major, student educator with the UVM Watershed Alliance, creator of environmental curriculum for young people, intern, volunteer coordinator. More about Kelsey >>

  • environmental leaders

    "I directly contributed to the outcome of the project." — Joshua Carrera

    Joshua Carrera Natural resources major, social activist, co-creator of online course, participant in travel study to Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador and beyond, delegate. More about Joshua >>

  • environmental leaders

    " I was looking to learn and broaden my experience in the wildlife biology and education fields." — Flavio Sutti, Ph.D. student

    Flavio SuttiPh.D. candidate in natural resources, Consultant biologist in Italy, master in wildlife biology, researching landscape context as a framework for agricultural systems. More about Flavio >>

  • environmental leaders

    "I care deeply about forests, and I have come to care passionately about working with horses in the woods." — Ethan Tapper

    Ethan TapperForestry major, horse logging intern studying forest management and impact of horses working in the woods. More about Ethan >>

The Rubenstein School offers exciting, hands-on environmental programs that integrate natural sciences and social perspectives. Our small, close-knit community challenges students to discover knowledge, skills, and values to become innovative, environmentally-responsible leaders. More about our School...

Academic Programs

 Undergraduate Majors
 Undergraduate Minors
  • Environmental Studies
  • Forestry
  • Geospatial Technologies
  • Parks, Recreation and Tourism
  • Wildlife Biology
 Graduate Degrees, Concentrations & Certificates

RSENR NEWS

RSENR EVENTS

Thursday August 28, 2014
Modeling Consumption Rates of Atlantic Herring (Clupea harengus)

By Mitchell Jones

Seminar: 10:30 University Heights North 1, Multipurpose Room
Defense: 11:30 University Heights North 1, Multipurpose Room

Committee
Jason Stockwell, Ph.D., RSENR, Advisor
J. Ellen Marsden, Ph.D., RSENR
Arne Bomblies, Ph.D., CEMS

ABSTRACT
Pelagic forage fish play critical roles in productive marine food webs by providing a link between zooplankton and piscivores and transferring energy from feeding grounds to other ecosystems. The amount of energy moved to higher trophic levels or new systems is directly linked to the consumption rate of pelagic forage fish. In the Gulf of Maine, Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) are the dominant forage fish; the purpose of this study is to determine their specific consumption rate. Using fish collected in autumn 2012 and spring 2013, we used a mercury mass balance model to estimate individual and population consumption of Atlantic herring in the Gulf of Maine. Our results suggest that the specific consumption rate initially increases from age 1.5 until age 6, when it asymptotes. Our higher estimates, and the general trend of increased consumption rate with age, were contradictory to much of what exists in the literature. We examined our results further to explore the underlying cause of the increase in consumption rate. We combined the mercury mass balance model with a Wisconsin bioenergetics model and ran several simulations adjusting the most sensitive factors, activity and prey mercury. The results of our simulations showed that an increase in activity relative to age and mass can best explain the increase in consumption rate of Adult herring. This suggests that an ontogenetic shift to migration in adult Atlantic herring results in increased energy demand with age and ultimately increased consumption.

Monday September 1, 2014
Tuesday September 2, 2014
ON THE CUSP OF A RENEWABLE ENERGY TRANSITION IN VERMONT? Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis of Transition Policies and Pathways

By: Christopher E. Clement

Seminar: 1pm, Green Conference Room, Aiken 311
Defense: 2pm, Green Conference Room, Aiken 311

Committee:
Jon Erickson, Professor, RSENR, Co-Advisor
Asim Zia, Associate Professor, CDAE, Co-Advisor
Paul Hines, Assistant Professor, CEMS, Chair
Brian Voigt, Research Assistant Professor, RSENR

ABSTRACT
With the 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP), Vermont articulated an ambitious vision to transform the total energy system to support almost entirely renewable generation. The achievement of 90% renewable energy by 2050 will require a massive cross-scale and crosssector coordinated policy effort. My proposed research describes my plan to analyze this renewable energy transition through modeling and simulation, decision analysis, spatial analysis, and qualitative methods.

Four studies comprise a multi-pronged approach to modeling, simulating, and analyzing policy scenarios and implementation pathways that are part of achieving this transition. (1) The topdown system dynamics model, Energy Futures Simulation, serves as a synthesis platform in which I will implement in-depth analyses of policy scenarios. (2) Using the quantitative outputs of this system dynamics model in a multi-criteria decision analysis I will provide a more nuanced understanding of the various factors that will contribute toward the design of the carbon tax. (3) In developing a rationale and approach to regional energy shed planning, I will explore the patial implications of in-state renewable energy generation. (4) Framing the CEP implementation as a socio-technical transition, I will expand from the technical focus to analyze social, cultural, and normative factors that are critical to achieving a transition to renewables energy system. These efforts draw from diverse theoretical foundations and methods to make a novel contribution to cross-scale energy systems analysis. I hope that my research will make significant analytical and rhetorical contributions to planning and policy design for an energy transition in Vermont.

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