University of Vermont

Center for Research on Vermont

Vermont Research News: Birds, earthworms, books and more....

Audobon's Yellow-rumped Warbler (Courtesy of Audobon's Field Guide).

The Vermont Bird Records Committee issued its Thirty-Sixth Annual Report. The number of bird species remained level at 388, constituting 22 orders and 61 families. The first documented subspecies Vermont recording of Audobon’s Yellow-rumped Warbler – spotted in Windsor -- was accepted. The Vermont State Bird Checklist is based on more than a century of documented observations.

SCIENCE

A total of 766 areas in Addison County, Vermont have been dubbed “sensitive locations” due to their susceptibility to landslide hazards. A recent report from researchers at Green Mountain College gathered historical and recent data from early 2016 using GIS-based modeling.

Vermont archaeologist Jess Robinson utilized LiDAR technology, a relatively new surveying technology that uses lasers to create topographical maps, to identify formerly undiscovered historical features in the state. Mount Independence in Orwell was found to contain batteries and other landscape features that have passed through decades undetected. See the Seven Days article for more information.

ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY

Lake Champlain may be more susceptible to damage from climate change than scientists previously thought. A study conducted by UVM researchers found that due to the newly discovered sensitivity of the lake, the regulations set forth by the EPA to protect Lake Champlain may not be effective in preventing algal blooms and water quality problems. Check out the article in Phys.org for more details and video interview with team member Chris Koliba here.

A detailed analysis of climate trends in the northern tier of Vermont from 2000-2014 show an overall increase in storm events and general precipitation amounts. The study, conducted by Johnson State College researchers focused on weather statistics from the St. Johnsbury station for an accurate regional report.

A recent statewide study found that Vermont’s earthworms are both a nuisance and an asset to forest ecosystems. The researchers from Forest & Parks and UVM identified fifteen species of exotic earthworms that sequester carbon stores in the forest floor. However, earthworms simultaneously increase emissions of nitrous oxide, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon, which can counteract these positive environmental effects.

VERMONT BOOKS

The Oxford Companion to Cheese edited by Catherine Donnelly--a professor of nutrition and food science at UVM--and with a foreword by Mateo Kehler--a founder of Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont--was published this month. The guide includes information about local cheese all over the world and information from hundreds of writers in 35 different countries.

Milton Avery’s Vermont by Jamie Franklin and Karen Wilkin was recently published in conjunction with the Bennington Museum’s November exhibition on the artist. The book contains color illustrations of Avery’s work over the six summers he spent in Vermont between 1935 and 1943, as well as a scholarly examination of the art.

HUMANITIES

Vermont has one of the lowest increases in premium rates for health care policies sold under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a study by Kaiser Health News. The state’s average premium is increasing by 5 percent, due to Vermont’s relatively low uninsured population when the ACA was enacted. See the article in Times Argus for more details.

The Buffalo Soldiers, popularized by Bob Marley’s hit song, were actually a regiment stationed at Fort Ethan Allen from 1909 to 1913. The group was one of the first all-black regiments to be established in the U.S. Army during a time of peace. A marker was recently enacted in the Colchester fort in their honor. See the VPR article for more information.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding immigration in light of the election, the Vermont Refugee Resettlement organization continues to function normally and Rutland remains set to accept 100 new refugees from Iraq and Syria. According to an article in Politico, Vermont has welcomed more than 8,000 immigrants since 1989.

Vermont economist Art Woolf and the Public Assets Institute have both recently written about declines in the number of jobs and workers in Vermont’s labor force. The Public Assets report is here. Dr. Woolf’s column in the Free Press is here.

STUDENT RESEARCH

Six Johnson State College students presented their work at the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges Conference in October. The students’ presentations varied widely, including two art exhibitons, a short story, and a short video. Psychology major Brady Rainville presented his research exploring the impact of strollers versus backpacks on infant development.

 Is our country and everything in it simply too big? Gund Institute PhD student Sam Bliss explores the prospect of “degrowth,” the idea that humans and their wild counterparts would exist more productively within a smaller economy. Proponents, like those that gathered at September’s international degrowth conference in Budapest, believe that this future could include everything from bike co-ops and urban food forests to tool-lending libraries.

 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The Vermont Research News is a bi-monthly curated collection of Vermont research -- focused on research in the Vermont "laboratory" -- research that provides original knowledge to the world and research that adds to understanding of the state's social, economic, cultural and physical environment.

Send your news items to Editor Kirsti Blow.

Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter