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The harmful effects of climate change on wildlife habitats can been counteracted by localised land management, a new research paper has suggested. Scientists from the University of Exeter have suggested that habitats could be controlled through various focused practices to help 'buffer' species against the worst effects of continued climate change. The research team, based at the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) at the University's Penryn Campus in Cornwall, acknowledge that some species can adapt to changing conditions to meet new challenges, such as moving to cooler habitats as temperatures rise. However, the team believe that mankind can provide crucial assistance to species across the globe by manipulating the nearby region to suit the needs of the local wildlife. The review paper features in the respected scientific publication, the Journal of Applied Ecology. Owen Greenwood, a Bioscientist at the University of Exeter and lead author of the paper said: "We know that climate change has a huge impact on biodiversity, and one aspect is that many species are unable to migrate to less hostile habitats due to unfavourable conditions, such as farmlands providing a barrier for example. "What we have shown in this paper is that, by managing the land in a smarter way, we can help species adapt and survive despite the problems associated with climate change. And these are all things that can be done on a local level, and so could be acted upon in a relatively short space of time." The team considered the effects of climate change across the globe, and how it affected the local wildlife. They suggest that localised landscape management can be used to offset the adverse impacts on biodiversity to changes in temperature, water availability and sea-level rise. Some of the techniques suggested include altering the topography of a local area, as manipulating vegetation structure can alter the temperature and moisture conditions to allow organisms to thrive. The scientists also suggest ensuring coastal systems have sufficient sediment supplies and space to allow landward migration to take place. Dr Ilya Maclean, a lecturer in Natural Environment at the University of Exeter and a co-author on the paper added: "Habitat for wildlife is becoming increasingly fragmented and isolated. Because of this, many species find it difficult to keep pace with climate change. They struggle to move between isolated habitat patches to reach cooler regions. Now, more than ever, we need to find ways of protecting wildlife from climate change within their existing habitats, which is what we set out to do. The review paper, Using in situ management to conserve biodiversity under climate change by Ilya Maclean, Owen Greenwood, Andrew Suggitt and Robin Curtis from the University of Exeter, and Hannah Mossman from Manchester Metropolitan University, is published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

News Article
Site: http://news.mit.edu/topic/mitenergy-rss.xml

Vice President for Research Maria Zuber today released a report outlining progress in several key areas of MIT’s five-year Plan for Action on Climate Change, underscoring strong collaboration across campus in addressing what the report calls “the urgent problem of global climate change.” The Institute first announced the multifaceted plan last October, presenting steps MIT will take to fight global climate change. The five-year plan will enhance efforts in five key areas of climate action, now called the “five pillars”: Today’s report provides updates on new and continuing initiatives that directly support those five pillars, including research grants, MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI), low-carbon energy centers, energy-industry partnerships, academic conferences and contests focused on climate-change solutions, and tools to improve energy efficiency on campus. The report also highlights a new Climate Action Advisory Committee (CAAC), methods for engaging external partners, and ways to communicate the plan’s progress, including through a website and annual report. “As we said in our climate action plan, our goal is for MIT to seize a position of leadership in the urgent fight against climate change,” Zuber says. “Thanks to the talents and energy of people across the MIT community, we are making steady progress in activating our plan. Seeing the gathering of world leaders in New York on Earth Day to begin to put the Paris Agreement into effect gives us reason for optimism — and reminds us that we have a lot of work ahead of us.” Zuber is now finalizing membership of the CAAC, first announced in March in an agreement reached between MIT and the student-led group Fossil Free MIT. The CAAC, headed by Zuber, aims “to bring to bear on climate action the full depth and breadth of the MIT community’s talent, experience, expertise, and creativity,” the report says. According to the report, CAAC membership will include: one director or representative each from the ESI, the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), the Center for Global Change Science, the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, the Climate CoLab, the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, the MIT Office of Sustainability, the Sloan Sustainability Initiative; two undergraduates, two graduate students, two postdocs, and two alumni; one additional faculty member; two additional staff members; and any interested MIT Corporation members. The primary responsibilities of the CAAC are to: consult on the implementation of the plan; develop a set of strategies and benchmarks for MIT’s engagement with industry, government, and other institutions; and assist in finding ways to engage the broader MIT community in climate action. Plans are for the first CAAC meeting to take place in early May. The report provides updates to many MIT initiatives that now support the plan’s five pillars. Toward the goal of understanding of climate change and advancing mitigation and adaptation solutions, the ESI will announce a second round of environmental-solution seed grants in fall 2016. (Seed grants were also awarded last year.) In keeping with the ESI’s five-school approach, seed grants will support faculty partnerships across multiple departments to pursue critical climate and environmental research questions. Additionally, at an Earth Day event held on campus on April 22, ESI Director John Fernandez detailed his vision for the ESI’s three key areas of focus: research, education, and convening. Primary research topics include climate science and earth systems, cities and infrastructure, and sustainable society and economy. Education initiatives will include new problem sets, lectures, and modules focused on environmental issues in required undergraduate classes, and the formation of a student “corps” for environmental action. Convening means more collaborative events across campus, such as the Hackathon for Climate, organized in January by the ESI and Climate CoLab. “We’re at an inflection point [for climate action], both globally and institutionally,” Fernandez says. Globally, the Paris climate agreement succeeded in rallying world leaders around reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At MIT, he said, “an environmental initiative is 30 years in the making. We’re really at a point where all the planets are aligning and, from upper administration to Fossil Free MIT, the community is really engaged in ways that we can really do something substantial.” To help accelerate progress toward large-scale deployment of low- and zero-carbon energy technologies, MITEI has been setting up its eight new Low-Carbon Energy Centers (LCECs), each focused on advancing a specific technology area key to addressing climate change; it has named two co-directors for four of the centers, with others to follow. In February, national energy provider Exelon announced plans to join several LCECs. Last November, MITEI’s Utility of the Future Study workshop brought together faculty from MIT and the Institute for Research in Technology in Madrid, along with leaders from 20 energy companies, and members of government energy bodies, to examine alternative business models and technologies in the power sector. In May, MITEI hosts the final workshop to prepare for the study’s conclusion and report release this fall. One of the LCECs, the Center for Electric Power Systems, will launch as the study concludes, leveraging the study’s findings for further research. MITEI is also launching the Mobility of the Future Study this spring to explore ways to decarbonize the transportation sector. “As MITEI is developing the eight Low-Carbon Energy Centers, it’s a great time to both reflect on and build on the wealth of energy research across the Institute dedicated to advancing technologies that can help address climate change,” MITEI Director Robert Armstrong says. “Our team is enjoying working with such innovative faculty members and students to shape these centers, and we’re simultaneously having many productive conversations with industry and government representatives interested in getting involved in this collaborative research initiative.” As part of the third pillar, educating a new generation of climate, energy, and environmental innovators, ESI is working with faculty and students to design a minor in environment and sustainability. It will include four main components: earth system and climate science, environmental governance, engineering for sustainability, and environmental history and culture. To help share knowledge about climate change, the Climate CoLab last October launched a contest soliciting ideas on how MIT alumni can help implement the plan. Winners are being selected now, and may present their proposals at MIT and beyond. Earlier this year, the Climate CoLab launched 13 open contests calling for expert strategies in addressing climate change in many areas, including decarbonizing energy supply, shifting public attitudes and behaviors, infrastructure, waste management, and information technologies. Furthering the fifth pillar, using the MIT community as a “test bed” for change, Zuber and Fossil Free MIT recently underscored that a 32 percent reduction in carbon emissions on campus is the minimum; the campus will strive to be carbon neutral. In January, the Office of Sustainability released MIT’s first comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory. The Office of Sustainability will report findings of the Energy and Greenhouse Gas Working Group, tasked with finding ways to reach 32 percent emissions reduction and beyond. In March, the Office of Sustainability and Climate CoLab launched a contest for ideas from MIT and outside to reduce emissions on the MIT campus. MIT has finalized a gas supply agreement with Eversource for the campus cogeneration plant to run entirely on natural gas by 2020, with the exception of emergencies and testing. The Department of Facilities has adopted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold version 4 as the standard for all new construction and major renovations; the department is also assessing any roof’s suitability for solar panels. A Sustainability Data Hub, an open data platform for campus energy use, is being designed, and the Department of Facilities is finalizing a carbon calculator for MIT capital projects. In November, Zuber announced MIT will soon enact “shadow” — or “internal” — carbon pricing at MIT. Office of Sustainability Director Julie Newman heads up many initiatives of the fifth pillar, which she calls an “ambitious” undertaking. But, she says, the MIT community has quickly rallied around the idea of considering carbon reduction in all new campus projects. “Carbon reduction is not a second thought anymore,” she says. “It’s becoming integrated into the decision process. I don’t think I’ve seen a campus move so quickly to incorporate changes.” The report stresses the need for more sustained engagement with governments, industries, and other institutions of higher education in combating climate change. “While this strategy of engagement is reflected clearly in the plan’s action items, it must go beyond these to fully leverage MIT’s convening power,” the report says. Potential engagement opportunities include: direct interactions with other stakeholders, facilitated gatherings of industry and other partners in Cambridge and beyond, and town hall-style events with the MIT community. The upcoming Global Change Forum hosted by the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change will focus on “Corporate Strategy and Climate Change” to examine how public and private sectors can adapt to climate change. And the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research will host a workshop in May for industry participants, academics, and policymakers to examine research on energy and environmental policy. The report says Zuber also plans to convene a forum in the coming months to explore ethical responsibilities of countries, industries, companies, institutions, and individuals in limiting the increase in average global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels. Getting the word out Future updates of the plan will be shared via climateaction.mit.edu, which is being revamped and will relaunch in a few months. On the website, people can find information about specific roles and activities of MIT offices involved in the plan, upcoming climate-related events on campus, and contacting members of the CAAC. The Office of the Vice President for Research plans to produce an annual report to assess MIT’s progress in implementing the plan and how the plan’s external partners are responding to the climate challenge.

Shan Y.,ESI | Leang K.K.,University of Nevada, Reno
IEEE Control Systems | Year: 2013

This article focuses on the design and control of nanopo-sitioning systems (nanoposi-tioners) that operate mostly in a repetitive fashion. In addition to accuracy, speed is also a crucial requirement for these systems. Multi-axis nanopositioners are critical in applications such as atomic force microscopy (AFM) [1], fiber optic alignment [2], micro- and nanoma-chining [3], [4], and nanometrology [5], [6]. More specifically, for video-rate scanning probe microscopy (SPM) and high-throughput probe-based nano-fabrication [7], the desired motion trajectory of the nanopositioner repeats from one operating cycle to the next and the motion should be as fast and accurate as possible. However, vibrations caused by mechanical resonance are a major factor limiting the speed. Typically, the bandwidth of these systems is limited by the first mode of vibration [8], [9]. © 2013 IEEE. Source

News Article
Site: http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/rss-feeds/all/rss.xml/all

ZipChip is an innovative system that provides high-quality separation capabilities as a front-end for mass spectrometry (MS), resulting in fast analysis for a broad range of biomolecules. Powered by integrated microfluidic technology, ZipChip revolutionizes the analysis of small molecules to large intact proteins from a range of biofluids and matrices such as blood, urine, plasma, cell lysates, growth media and biotherapeutic products. This enhancement will accelerate the pace and productivity of the biopharmaceutical and biotech development process, from the discovery and development of biotherapeutics all the way through to production and product QA/QC. Traditionally, MS is used for a wide range of biopharma and biotech applications. However, for many large molecules, such as intact proteins, antibodies (mAb), or antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), traditional separation techniques are not directly compatible with traditional MS instruments. Even with small molecules, onerous sample preparation and long analysis times seriously impact lab productivity. With ZipChip, users can obtain positive analysis of these separation peaks by simply connecting a ZipChip interface to existing MS instruments. The system integrates on-board sample preparation, capillary electrophoresis (CE) and electrospray ionization (ESI) into a single microfluidic device to prepare, separate and electrospray biological samples directly into a mass spectrometer. With little sample preparation by the user, the cost-effective technology analyzes molecules quickly, eliminating any trade-off between speed, quality and the amount of sample needed. Through this single interface, users can achieve the following benefits: • Reduced analysis time: In three minutes or less, the system produce separations that are typically equivalent to thirty-minute liquid chromatography (LC) or traditional CE runs with better quality results. • Broad applications and low sample volumes: ZipChips are optimized for both large and small molecules and only require a few nanoliters of sample. • Process efficiency: Typical LC or CE sample prep can take up to thirty minutes. Add to that the long run times and could save users up to one hour per sample. • Simple implementation and ease of use: The system easily integrates with commonly used MS instruments and has simple push-button operation.

News Article
Site: http://news.mit.edu/topic/mitenergy-rss.xml

On Jan. 19, some 35 members of the MIT community spent a day getting creative and collaborative on solutions to carbon emissions and climate change at the Hackathon for Climate. The all-day event — hosted by the Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI) and the Climate CoLab — invited community members to come together on the topic of climate change. “This is a big challenge, but there are a lot of smart people thinking about it,” said John Fernández, director of the ESI. “Yet, here at MIT there are wellsprings of energy and interest on the environment that are not fully tapped.” With this event and others like it, Fernández hopes to give these individuals an outlet for their ideas and passion. “What we’re trying to do is create a mechanism and a system for tapping that energy, that passion, and all that intelligence and creativity to solve one of the world’s biggest problems,” said Thomas Malone, the Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management and founder and principal investigator of the Climate CoLab. Participants included MIT students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Participating as “coaches” to facilitate the generation and development of ideas were professors Harriet Ritvo, Steven Barrett, Elfatih Eltahir, Ari Epstein, Bob Jaffe, David McGee, and MITEI Director of Research and Analysis Frank O’Sullivan. “I’m delighted that we get to do this today, and hopefully in the future, to add value to the community by linking up,” said Amanda Graham, executive director of the ESI. The event kicked off with a session of idea generation where attendees wrote down and posted their ideas on the walls. After looking around and sharing ideas, people made quick pitches for the idea of their choice and recruited team members. Of the tens of ideas, teams emerged around five. One group came up with an app idea to encourage and optimize home gardening that they dubbed “Farmville Live,” after the popular virtual farming game. “The app would try to persuade people who either don’t garden or don’t garden very much to start growing just a few tomato plants in their backyard,” said team member Casey Stelmach, a graduate student in management. “The app would calculate potential yield based on where you are, recommend the most low-maintenance garden, and use a leveling system that encourages consumers to start small and — if they get really into it — start growing more and more food in their garden.” Another team presented the “CliMITbit,” or as they put it, the “Fitbit of sustainability,” an app that would provide a user with an estimate of his or her comprehensive carbon footprint. “We were taking the idea of personal monitoring, like a calorie counter app, and trying to translate that into carbon emissions,” said team member Katie Arthur, a graduate student in Comparative Media Studies and Writing. “We looked at food, transport, and energy in the home — the three biggest places that Americans emit carbon emissions. We wanted to allow users to be able to track that.” The other teams included a group called FLY ECO that looked at harnessing energy from airplane landings; a team that envisioned a website comparing local options for transport and home energy; and another that explored shipping by helium dirigible. After four hours of research and discussion, teams presented their proposals and took questions from judges and the audience. “What we were trying to do here was generate ideas, and I am really pleasantly surprised at the uniformly good quality of the proposals that came out of this process,” Malone said. The FLY ECO team received an award for the most novel idea, while the Farmville Live team was recognized for the best presentation. The “Grand Prize” went to CliMITbit — the proposal that the judges deemed had the most potential impact. The Hackathon for Climate is one of the first events convened by ESI, which was launched in May 2014. The first phase of the initiative established a multidisciplinary research program and laid the groundwork for an environment and sustainability minor. Now, ESI is adding community events and engagement to its portfolio. The hackathon came after a number of other environment and climate-oriented events during Independent Activities Period (IAP) in January, including a student-organized series of climate science and policy  “101” seminars and a daylong symposium sponsored by the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. With this timing, ESI aimed to help create a unified experience for MIT community members. “Coherence needs to be created,” said Graham. “How do we create pathways for people that bring these things together, to get the value of the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts?” The event aimed to do the same with its participants, bringing together a diverse body to collaborate on a shared problem. “The diversity of communities that were represented in the group — students, faculty, staff, and alumni from all five MIT schools — was astounding to me,” Fernández said. “And the enthusiasm throughout all of those communities was very high.” “Bringing together a whole range of people across ages, across disciplines, across roles — I think that is a really exciting and potentially really powerful thing for an initiative to do,” Malone said. The co-sponsor of the event, Climate CoLab is a project of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. It supports a quickly growing, worldwide community of over 50,000 people who use a Web-based platform to develop and evaluate proposals for how to address climate change. Proposals are judged by a group of experts who give participants feedback; contest winners receive cash prizes and other support for their projects. The hackathon on Friday was a chance to generate ideas, which participants can then refine and submit as proposals on the site. “Students have much to contribute to the conversation of what to do about climate change, and we want to see more of their work on the platform,” said Laur Fisher, project manager of the Climate CoLab. “We have some of the world’s leading experts on climate change-related fields, and if your proposal gets entered into a contest, you can get feedback from these people.” At the close of the event, Fernández and Malone invited participants to reach out if interested in pursuing their proposal further. “We’re very serious about taking these projects forward,” Fernández said. “We view this as a way for the Climate CoLab to include more support for the ideation process that leads to good proposals: Where do the good ideas come from, and how do the teams get formed?” Malone said. “I’m very pleased with how well this worked, and we’re now talking about how to do more of this.”

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