In 2022 students and young researchers created research posters to present their innovative ideas and research in regards to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action.

Research poster on Implementation Gap of NETs

Indiana University
Undergraduate: Thomas Day
Faculty mentor: Dr. Jessica O’Reilly

The most recent IPCC scenarios limiting warming to less than 2° Celsius by 2100 require negative carbon dioxide emissions after achieving net-zero emissions around 2050. Currently, there is a lack of incorporation of negative emission technologies (NETs) in climate action plans. This research project seeks to explain the science to policy implementation gap of NETs. The study was conducted in two segments: 1) A review of the Nationally Determined Contributions to the UNFCCC and adapted stakeholder scenarios, 2) Interviews of delegates during the second week of COP26 in Glasgow. This research revealed that while small advances are being made, many countries are still waiting for the technology to be more economical and less environmentally damaging. While negative carbon emissions are required to achieve warming of less than 2° Celsius by 2100 and achieve SDG 13.2, NETs must take a supportive role behind mitigation and adaptation policies.

Indiana University
Graduate: Dylan Patterson
Faculty mentor: Jessica Davis

This poster covers work done across the Indiana University school system in the summer of 2021. A standardized method to collect tree points in arcGIS was created by IUPUI & IU Bloomington and brought to the other campuses; data collected was ran through a tool created by the US Forest Service called i-tree that then quantifies the tree canopies benefit to the community, it’s carbon sequestered, etc. The tool is used to both generate support for the tree canopy from campus decision makers, and as a management tool for the different schools grounds departments.

Research poster on Driving Forestry Decision Making

Research poster on the role of planting trees in achieving climate action

Moi University
Undergraduate: Gatuni Damaris Nyambura
Faculty mentor: Dr. Kefa Simwa

This research poster is about the Role of Planting Trees in Achieving Climate Action.

Moi University
Graduate: Hellen Wambui Githogori
Faculty mentor: Dr. Zurah Mohammed

This research poster is on the Action of Women in Climate Change Adaptation: From Vulnerability to Resilience.

Research poster on action of women in climate change adaptation

Research poster on Habitat change and its consequence on reef fish specialization at biogeographic transitional zones

National Taiwan University
Graduate: Yuting Vicky Lin
Faculty mentor: Vianney Denis

In biogeographic transition zones between temperate and tropical areas, human-induced warming enhances the success and abundance of generalists. Due to fast responses of their populations to environmental change, reef fishes are commonly considered to be sentinels of the ongoing tropicalization in marine ecosystems. Despite the reliance of these marine ectotherms on the benthos, the importance of the latter has rarely been considered as a factor constraining the fish distribution. Here, we examined how the partitioning of benthic habitats can influence the specialization of reef fish fauna along a latitudinal gradient and later we compared the diversity and trophic structure among distinct fish assemblages. We further diagnosed ‘specialist’ and ‘generalist’ fishes of this partitioning. We then explored the possible consequences of future changes on the benthic habitats and their associated reef fish fauna, based on sea surface temperature recorded over the last three decades. Fish fauna showed the highest specialization when tropical and subtropical partitions of benthic habitat were considered. The warm-tropical assemblage had higher richness and evenness than the cool-subtropical one, while both assemblages were dominated by planktivores. Fifty-one tropical, seven subtropical specialists, and 22 possible generalists were identified. A steady warming occurred across latitudes, but warming was accentuated in the winter of subtropical habitat. Among specialists, we distinguished between species constrained only by temperature and other species whose distribution might also depend on the availability of benthic habitats. Beside generalists, some tropical specialists might shift their distribution following the movement of isotherms, while others might also be conditioned by the poleward shifts of benthic organisms. Consequently, temporal mismatch between the emergence of suitable thermal environments and the arrival of those specialists may exist. Therefore, the tropicalization of high-latitude areas may be characterized by different waves of colonization from generalist to specialist fishes.

Newcastle University
Undergraduate: Georgia O’Reilly

RUBISCO is an enzyme involved in the first major step of carbon fixation, a process by which atmospheric carbon dioxide is converted by plants and other photosynthetic organisms to energy-rich molecules such as glucose. The efficiency of RUBISCO is reduced by its lag in reaction to changes in solar energy (i.e., the transition from cloudy to sunny sky) which limits the volume of carbon being assimilated. This poster displays the findings of research assessing the extent to which the selective breeding of crops (such as the cowpea) to increase the efficiency of RUBSICO in carbon assimilation resulting in a reduction of greenhouse gasses entering the atmosphere.

Research poster on An Evaluation of Using Selective Breeding Based Upon a Species’ RUBISCO to Enhance Carbon Capture

Research poster on Rhythmic Buildings

Newcastle University
Postgraduate: Layla van Ellen
Faculty mentors: Ben Bridgens, Oliver Heidrich, Neil Burford

This poster displays a snapshot of my current PhD research into the relationships between adaptable architecture, novel biotechnologies and sustainability. Using a mixed-methods approach comprised of a literature review, semi-structured interviews and a brainstorm session with researchers in bio-design, architecture and microbiology, a Rhythmic Buildings framework was developed. This framework is designed to capture the changing patterns (or rhythms) which make up the context in which architecture, particularly adaptable/sustainable architecture, operates.

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Undergraduate: Ana Paula Amcir Silva Montaño
Faculty mentor: Alfonso Alatorre García

Community Forest Enterprises (CFE) are social enterprises, which hold complete faculty over their forestry resources, as well as their management and profit distribution. These communities exercise Community Management and focus it towards sustainability, community income generation, infrastructure and goods and services. Mexico has around 250 forests under community management of great socioeconomic importance and is a pioneer country in this management system. Four CFE in Sierra Juárez, Oaxaca, are considered within this research as a study case to portray the importance and success of these social enterprises in Mexico. This research aims to emphasize EFC’s role as a climate action tool to achieve SDG 13, particularly considering section 13b, which mentions encouragement and improvement of environmental management and planning on developing countries.

Research poster on Community Management as a Climate Action Tool

Research poster on Characterization of the photoacclimatory response in Arthrospira maxima

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Graduate: Brandon Alejandro Mejía Sarao
Faculty mentor: Dr. Susana Enríquez Domínguez

While livestock farming is one of the main sources of high-protein foods for human consumption it is also responsible for 14.5% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. As an alternative to livestock, Arthrospira maxima, commonly known as spirulina, a multicellular cyanobacteria endemic to Mexico, produces biomass with 65% protein content, almost three times as much as beef. It also provides a high content of antioxidants and biomolecules of diverse therapeutic interest, such as C-phycocyanin and sulfolipids. The present work characterizes the photoacclimatory response of Arthrospira maxima to identify the optimal light and temperature conditions that allow maximizing biomass quantity and quality, while minimizing production costs, setting the basis for cultures that could either be deployed as large-scale, highly profitable investment projects or as community/family-scale social projects, that help supplement nutritional needs while mitigating the GHG emissions that would result from relying solely on livestock farming as a protein source.