Google+  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  LinkedIn

UC Santa Barbara
Department of Geography
UC Santa Barbara
Department of Geography
News & Events Department News Events Calendar Event Photos News Favorites News Archive Colloquia Archive
If you would like to be on our mailing list of latest news postings which goes out about every 2 weeks, or if you have anything relating to the Department that you consider noteworthy, interesting, or just plain fun that you would like to share, please contact the news editor at


UC Santa Barbara Geography / News & Events / Department News

April 17, 2014 - Rick Church Selected for 2014 UCGIS Research Award

Chaowei Yang, Chair of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) Research Committee, just made the following announcement: “As Chair of the UCGIS Research Committee, I am honored to announce that Dr. Richard Church was selected for the 2014 UCGIS Research Award for his highly-cited “Maximal Covering Location Problem” paper and relevant fundamental contribution to GIScience. The selection was made by a committee chaired by Dr. Luc Anselin with Drs. Ming Tsou, Jochen Albrecht, and Ross Meentemeyer. We are honored to present this award to someone with Dr.Church's distinguished record and career accomplishments (as evidenced by the following award citation).

2014 UCGIS Research Award Citation for Professor Richard Church:

Richard Church, currently Professor of Geography and Associate Dean of Mathematical, Life and Physical Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara is a leading figure in scientific efforts to use and integrate spatial analytical methods with GIS. He has made seminal and sustained academic contributions to GIS, location analysis and modeling, natural resource management, and transportation. His findings have impacted a range of disciplines and enhanced planning and decision making for urban, regional, and environmental management.

He has authored over 230 publications during his 39-year career, with a vast array of co-authors representing a wide range of disciplines, including geography, business, environmental science, civil and industrial engineering, operations research, management science, mathematics, and statistics, among others. His research has had a major influence on the field of GIScience. According to Google Scholar, his work has been cited over 7,900 times, giving him an h-index of 43 (ISI Web of Science indicates over 2,500 citations and an h-index of 27).

Professor Church has made seminal contributions to location analysis, most notably by introducing the “Maximal Covering Location Problem” in a 1974 article in the Papers in Regional Science. This article and the problem it formalizes has become crucial to siting and facility location in that it operationalizes notions of central place theory in an optimization model that considers budgetary constraints. This work and its later extensions constitute a major contribution to the theory and application of location analysis, evidenced by over 1,350 citations to date. It has also made the transition to location software packages included in commercial GIS, such as ArcGIS and TransCAD.

A second influential aspect of Dr. Church’s research pertains to the integration of GIS and location modeling, evidenced by a large number of highly cited articles and book chapters. The culmination of this perspective on GIScience is his recent book on Business Site Selection, Location Analysis and GIS. In this work, he demonstrates how GIS and location modeling are intimately linked in a number of ways – abstraction, data quality, model specification, computational requirement, and geo-visualization. In addition, he has made significant contributions to natural resource management, transportation, and system vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure.

He was elected Fellow of the Regional Science Association International (2009) and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009), and he received the Lifetime Achievement Award, Section on Location Analysis of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS – 2012).

Editor's note: Many thanks to Geography graduate student Crystal English for bringing this material to our attention.

Image 1 for article titled "Rick Church Selected for 2014 UCGIS Research Award"
Richard Church is a Professor of Geography at UCSB. He specializes in the analysis of problems defined over space and time, including logistics and transportation, location theory, water resource systems, and urban and environmental systems, using and developing new techniques in Operations Research, GIS, Decision Theory, and Heuristics. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Systems Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Church has taught courses in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Management Science and Geography (photo credit: Randall Lamb)
Image 2 for article titled "Rick Church Selected for 2014 UCGIS Research Award"
Since joining the faculty of the Department of Geography in 1980, Professor Richard Church has advised 14 PhD dissertation committees and 28 Masters theses. He has also served on 25 doctoral and 22 Masters committees. One of his colleagues writes, "It has always amazed me that he can give so much time to his students and still get so many of his own sole-authored papers published and give freely of his time to department and university service." For his dedication and exemplary mentorship of graduate students Professor Richard Church was awarded the UCSB 2012-2013 Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award

April 16, 2014 - Geography Makes a Splash at 2014 Spring Insight

UCSB put out the welcome mat on Saturday, April 12, for Spring Insight, the campus’s annual open house. The event introduces admitted and prospective students and their families to the opportunities available to them at UCSB. An estimated 10,000+ guests attended between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Hundreds of faculty and staff members, representing 90 departments, including almost every degree-granting department in the undergraduate colleges, as well as more than 250 student volunteers, make Spring Insight possible. Throughout the day, participants attended their choice of more than 60 concurrent session offerings, including public faculty lectures, numerous special tours, open houses, exhibits, and fairs (source).

The UCSB Department of Geography teamed up with the Sustainability Program to strut their stuff at Spring Insight. Geography participated in the Academic Information Fair, and according to Mo Lovegreen, our Executive Officer, “We had a very successful Spring Insight this year. Both our graduate and undergraduate students worked the tables, and I was told by the Spring Insight coordinators that we had the “best table” at the event! Thanks to the following people that staffed the tables for us: Heather Frazier, Bonnie Bounds, Helen Chen, Kitty Currier, Tim Niblett, Winny Guan, John Solly, Yelizaveta Aleksyuk (Lisa), Matt Conway, Jennifer King, and Dar Roberts. You all did an amazing job and got us a long list of individuals to follow-up with (a new record for the department!).”

Geography and Sustainability held a joint open house in Ellison Hall, and Sustainability also offered tours of the campus to explain what UCSB does to be more sustainable and to show off their diverse efforts in smart campus initiatives, conservation efforts, water reductions, recycling, transportation, green building, climate, food, energy, and more. As Mo put it: “We also held an open house and sustainability/smart campus tours (had our undergraduates participate with I-pads showing off their work on the interactive campus map) and had about sixty people attend the three tours and a number of people that joined us for the open house component. A big thanks to the following people that helped with the open house/tours: Ryan Kelley, Katie Maynard, Jewel Snavely, Jeff Martin, Elissa McBride, Kristyn Arakawa, Nancy Yuv, Sam Goldman, Whitney Jones, Carl Greenfield, Noelle Steele, Garrison Yang, Zac Trafny, Felice Tsui, Ava Cheng, and Qingyun (Rick) Zhang. The feedback on the tours was very positive and the visitors really enjoyed having the undergraduates walk with them and talk about their experience on campus.”

Check out the Spring Insight events on the UCSB Geography Facebook page, and have a look at UCSB Sustainability’s description of their smart campus tours on their Facebook page. Photos of both events will eventually be posted on our 2014 Event Photos page – many thanks to Lisa Gumm, Photography Intern, UCSB Sustainability, and to Ryan Kelley, Geography Undergraduate Adviser, for contributing the photographs.

Image 1 for article titled "Geography Makes a Splash at 2014 Spring Insight"
Undergraduate student Matt Conway and graduate student Tim Niblett manning the Geography table at the Academic Information Fair – along the Pardall bike path near the Davidson Library – on Saturday, April 12th, 9am to 3pm.
Image 2 for article titled "Geography Makes a Splash at 2014 Spring Insight"
Mo Lovegreen, Geography’s Executive Officer and the UCSB Director of Campus Sustainability, leading one of the three 50 minute sustainability tours of the campus.
Image 3 for article titled "Geography Makes a Splash at 2014 Spring Insight"
Jewel Snavely, UCSB Sustainability Coordinator, helps out at the Sustainability and Geography Joint Open House held in Ellison Hall
Image 4 for article titled "Geography Makes a Splash at 2014 Spring Insight"
Ryan Kelley, our Undergraduate Adviser, spreads the good word about Geography during Open House

April 15, 2014 - CaGIS Distinguished Career Award Presented to Keith Clarke

“The Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) is composed of educators, researchers and practitioners involved in the design, creation, use and dissemination of geographic information. CaGIS provides an effective network that connects professionals who work in the broad field of Cartography and Geographic Information Science both nationally and internationally (www.cartogis.org). The CaGIS board met at the annual Association of American Geographers Meeting in Tampa, Florida, April 8-12, 2014, and awarded UCSB Geography Professor Keith Clarke the 2013 Distinguished Career Award. The following is the announcement of the award by Terry Slocum, Vice President of CaGIS:

"As Past President of the Cartography and Geographic Information Society, I am pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Career Award is Keith Clarke. The Distinguished Career Award is awarded each year to honor the accomplishments of senior professionals who have contributed substantially to the advancement of the fields of cartography, GIS or GIScience, or the interface between cartography and GIScience. I would like to thank Lynn Usery and Mike Goodchild for nominating Keith and for providing the material that will enable me to introduce Keith.

Keith received his BA from Middlesex Polytech in London and his MA and PhD from the University of Michigan. He was a faculty member at Hunter College from 1982-1986 and has been on the faculty at UCSB since 1996.

In the research realm, Keith has been highly thought of for his work in four areas. His early work dealt with terrain modeling, where he used the techniques of fractals and spectral analysis to develop a novel method for estimating the fractal dimension of terrain. A second theme of Keith’s research has involved an examination of the history of geographic information technologies and their roles in military and intelligence applications. An example of his work here is his controversial argument that a large proportion of technical developments that now underpin geographic information technologies originated in issues surrounding the Corona spy-satellite program in the 1960s.

Perhaps Keith is best known for his pioneering work on the application of cellular automaton models to urban growth. Urban growth models are often difficult to calibrate, but Keith’s work has produced major advances. Finally, Keith is known for his novel work in field GIS. In collaboration with others at UCSB and Iowa State, he has promoted the use of mobile computing technologies and wireless connectivity to exploit the use of GIS tools in the field. For example, he has promoted the use of computers embedded in user’s clothing. These research ideas have been published in more than 100 refereed journal articles and book chapters, and supported by numerous grants from NSF, NASA, and USGS.

In the teaching realm, Keith has supervised 21 PhD and 40 Master’s students, and he has frequently published papers with these students. Although certainly successful with graduate students, he also has been active in undergraduate teaching. He is author of the widely known text Getting Started With Geographic Information Systems (now in its fifth edition) and is the author of the just released e-book Maps & Web Mapping: An Introduction to Cartography. It is not surprising that in 2003 UCGIS recognized Keith as Educator of the Year.

In the service realm, Keith has been active at a variety of levels. For example, he chaired the department at UCSB for six years, served as President of CaGIS, served as North American editor of the prestigious journal IJGIS, chaired several National Research Council Committees, and has edited the book series in Geographic Information Science for Pearson over a 22-year period.

Reflecting these achievements, Keith has been the recipient of numerous awards – particularly noteworthy is the John Wesley Powell Award, the USGS’s highest award for achievement. Clearly, Keith is more than worthy of the Distinguished Career Award from CaGIS."

Image 1 for article titled "CaGIS Distinguished Career Award Presented to Keith Clarke"
Terry Slocum presents Keith Clarke with the Distinguished Career Award from CaGIS
Image 2 for article titled "CaGIS Distinguished Career Award Presented to Keith Clarke"
Professor Keith Clarke and his charming wife, Margot
Image 3 for article titled "CaGIS Distinguished Career Award Presented to Keith Clarke"
Keith Clarke, the cook
Image 4 for article titled "CaGIS Distinguished Career Award Presented to Keith Clarke"
Keith Clarke, the gardener
Image 5 for article titled "CaGIS Distinguished Career Award Presented to Keith Clarke"
Keith Clarke, the Elvis fan (Elvis, aka, Park Williams)
Image 6 for article titled "CaGIS Distinguished Career Award Presented to Keith Clarke"
Keith Clarke, the fisherman
Image 7 for article titled "CaGIS Distinguished Career Award Presented to Keith Clarke"
Keith Clarke takes the cake, in more ways than one!

April 14, 2014 - Tunnel to the Other Side of the Earth

Mark Grosch, one-time Geography Staff Researcher for Reg Golledge and now an Adaptive Technology Specialist with the Disabled Students Program, recently drew our attention to the Map Tunneling Tool, available at Freemaptools.com. The “map you can make use of” is an antipodes map. “An antipode of a point on the earth is the region on the Earth's surface which is diametrically opposite to that point. The two points which are antipodal to one another are considered to be connected by a straight line or tunnel through the center of the Earth” (freemaptools.com; op. cit.).

Antipodes--“The word derives from the Greek words for “opposed” (anti-) and ‘foot’ (pod or pous), or under the feet, opposite. Later on, the Latin usage changed its meaning to ‘those with feet opposite,’ a race of people with feet sticking out of their heads, or people who were inverted and walked on their hands with their legs sticking up in the air, which is what the population on the other side of the world was imagined to be doing. These were common mythical creatures that mediaeval map makers often drew in unknown places to fill up the space. These up-side-down people living at the opposite side of the earth were known as Antichthones. […] They took their place on mediaeval maps and marginalia right next to the dog-faced race and the sciapods! ‘Yonder in Ethiopia are the Antipodes, men that have their feet against our feet.’ (from the earliest usage in English of the word Antipodes, from a 1398 translation of Bartholomew of England's "The Properties of Things," a kind of proto-encyclopeadia in 19 volumes written in Latin in 1240)” (source).

“An interesting thing about the antipodes is that the concept was recognized by the ancient Greeks (Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, Strabo, and Diogenes), demonstrating their understanding of a spherical world. In contrast, the early Christians found the idea of antipodes to be absurd, requiring a belief that people in the antipodes were inverted, because, of course, being on the other side of the world and all, they couldn’t possibly stand on their feet like we do! Popes and clergy declared the very notion of antipodes to be heretical, because it would require a belief that, since all people descended from Adam and Eve, descendants of Adam and Eve would have had to have gotten in a boat and traveled over seas to the southern lands, (which were not even known in those times with any certainty to exist). From the point of view of scriptural inerrancy, the fact that the Bible doesn't mention anything about this at all means that it could not be possible” (Ibid.).

“Although it seems strange that our antipode is an iceberg in the middle of an ocean, actually it is about what we would expect. After all, over 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by ocean, and the land masses of the southern hemisphere are particularly skimpy. So the antipode of just about anywhere in the northern hemisphere is likely to be in the middle of the ocean. Less than 4% of the earth’s land masses are antipodal to land” (Ibid.).

“Playing antipodes produces amusing pairings. Bermudans would still enjoy sea breezes by Perth, Australia, but climate shock would await Timbuktu’s desert dwellers, who’d come up near tropical Fiji. And as one player says, Imagine the disappointment of someone digging their way out of Siberia and ending up in Antarctica” (source). Mark Grosch, another “player,” takes it a step further: “Notice that the current search area for the Malaysian Air flight is the antipode of the Bermuda Triangle.”

Image 1 for article titled "Tunnel to the Other Side of the Earth"
This map shows the antipodes of each point on the Earth’s surface – the points where the blue and magenta overlap are land antipodes - most land has its antipodes in the ocean. This map uses the Lambert azimuthal equal area projection. The magenta areas can be considered to be opposite reflections of the blue areas but on the inner ‘surface’ of the globe of the Earth (Wikipedia: Antipodes)
Image 2 for article titled "Tunnel to the Other Side of the Earth"
The same map, from the perspective of the Western Hemisphere. Here the blue areas can be considered to be opposite reflections of the yellow areas but on the inner "surface" of the globe of the Earth (Ibid.)
Image 3 for article titled "Tunnel to the Other Side of the Earth"
Up-side-down people living at the opposite side of the earth were known as Antichthones, a race of people with feet sticking out of their heads, or people who were inverted and walked on their hands with their legs sticking up in the air, which is what the population on the other side of the world was imagined to be doing. These were common mythical creatures that mediaeval map makers often drew in unknown places to fill up the space (geographer-at-large.com; op. cit.)
Image 4 for article titled "Tunnel to the Other Side of the Earth"
Mark Grosch. His comment was tongue in cheek (or was it foot in mouth?)

April 14, 2014 - Oliver Chadwick Makes Cameo Appearance in Soil Documentary Feature Film

"Symphony of the Soil" is a 104-minute documentary feature film, produced and directed by Deborah Koons Garcia, that explores the complexity and mystery of soil. Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world's most esteemed soil scientists, farmers, and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story.

Using a captivating mix of art and science, the film shows that soil is a complex living organism, the foundation of life on earth. Yet most people are soil-blind and "treat soil like dirt." Through the knowledge and wisdom revealed in this film, we can come to respect, even revere, this miraculous substance, and appreciate that treating the soil right can help solve some of our most pressing environmental problems. In addition to the feature film, there are several short films, Sonatas of the Soil, that delve deeply into soil-related topics, and several short clips, Grace Notes, that are available to stream on the film's website.

UCSB Geography’s Oliver Chadwick is one of the “world’s most esteemed soil scientists” who makes a cameo appearance in the documentary. Check out the 2+ minute trailer at vimeo.com. (Editor’s note: Many thanks to Associate Specialist Seth Peterson for bringing this material to our attention.)

Image 1 for article titled "Oliver Chadwick Makes Cameo Appearance in Soil Documentary Feature Film"
Screen print of Oliver's cameo appearance
Image 2 for article titled "Oliver Chadwick Makes Cameo Appearance in Soil Documentary Feature Film"
Oliver Chadwick’s Soil Science Group in the Department of Geography is currently involved with projects in Southern Spain (Bedrock Stream Incision), California (Predictive Soil Mapping and Soil-landscape Modeling), Hawaii (Silicon Isotope Geochemistry and Time-Climate Matrix), and the Amazon (Soil Biogeochemistry)—see http://www.geog.ucsb.edu/pedology/ for details.

April 10, 2014 - Computing with a View on the Indian Ocean

Article by Geography graduate student Kitty Currier, 9 April, 2014:

Few office environments can compete with the vista and ambiance of Queen of Blue Whales. This 13 m fishing-turned-whale-watching boat/research vessel recently served as a platform for cetacean surveys off the southern coast of Sri Lanka. For a few days I was lucky enough to participate, trading my office in Ellison Hall for a desk bobbing up and down on the Indian Ocean.

The six-day transect cruise was part of an ongoing study to understand the spatial distribution of whales relative to shipping lanes that bring a constant stream of traffic through the area. Collaborators on the study come from the local whale-watching business Raja and the Whales, the non-profit organizations Biosphere Foundation and International Fund for Animal Welfare, University of Ruhuna's Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences and Technology, and the University of St. Andrews' School of Biology.

Six of us were on board to conduct this phase of the study—Captain Raja and two crewmembers of Raja and the Whales, and Abigail Alling, Mark Van Thillo, and myself representing Biosphere Foundation. Our research boat, Queen of Blue Whales, was outfitted with an in-line hydrophone array, depth sounder, GPS receivers and two data-logging laptops. We completed two 25 nm transects per day, starting by 0700 and finishing around 1600. Two observers and one helmsman scanned the surrounding sea for whales, dolphins, fishing boats and gear, ships, and plastic while one recorder entered their observations at the deck laptop station. Pygmy blue whales were our most frequently sighted cetacean, with an average of 20 logged per day. Also sighted were Bryde’s whales, numerous spinner dolphins, false killer whales, and a few striped dolphins.

Crossing the shipping lanes required finesse with our 300 m-long hydrophone array in tow. It’s easy to see how commercial ships cruising at 20 kn or more pose a hazard to whales feeding, resting or traveling near the ocean’s surface. Combined with long-line fishing boats and gear, abundant at the perimeter of the shipping lanes, these vessels create a veritable obstacle course for passing sea life.

Captain Raja has been documenting the location and circumstances of his cetacean sightings since starting his whale-watching company five years ago. In his data are descriptions of 20, 40, and even 100 whales appearing at a time. Orcas, humpbacks, and sperm, fin, and sei whales are regular visitors to these waters in addition to the blues and Bryde’s we observed during the survey. For obvious reasons, whale watching has become a lucrative part of the tourism industry of Mirissa, the small coastal town where many of the companies are based. In Raja’s notes are accounts of up to 20 whale-watching and dive boats surrounding a single animal. Many tour operators fail to respect international guidelines for responsible whale watching, a problem compounded by the high intensity of boats competing for business.

Filed away in Raja’s data is a section on dead whale sightings, a depressing reminder that not all encounters are pleasant. In the past few years, the success of Mirissa’s whale-watching industry has both expanded local tourism and attracted government attention. However, the ongoing problem of ship strikes combined with pressure from an increasing number of whale-watching boats ironically pose threats to the animals that spawned the industry in the first place.

These worries are real yet seemed far away as I enjoyed the rare opportunity to watch blue whales surfacing all around us during the survey. More immediately pressing was the threat of being launched from my chair with each big swell while typing on the deck of Queen of Blue Whales. Big challenges lie ahead for the wildlife—and humans—who frequent these waters, but with people like Raja, whose passion for whales drives his business practices and desire to facilitate marine research, my outlook is positive.

Image 1 for article titled "Computing with a View on the Indian Ocean"
Not your average cubicle: laptop station on the upper deck of Queen of Blue Whales
Image 2 for article titled "Computing with a View on the Indian Ocean"
Study area
Image 3 for article titled "Computing with a View on the Indian Ocean"
Whale-spotting while dodging ships
Image 4 for article titled "Computing with a View on the Indian Ocean"
Kitty, hard at work

April 08, 2014 - The Power of Poop: A Whale Story

An article published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B in 2010, titled “Iron Defecation by Sperm Whales Stimulates Carbon Export in the Southern Ocean,” is receiving a lot of renewed attention, thanks to a delightfully illustrated summation of it by Robert Krulwich, an NPR science writer, titled “The Power of Poop: A Whale Story.”

According to the abstract of the 2010 article, “The iron-limited Southern Ocean plays an important role in regulating atmospheric CO2 levels. Marine mammal respiration has been proposed to decrease the efficiency of the Southern Ocean biological pump by returning photosynthetically fixed carbon to the atmosphere. Here, we show that by consuming prey at depth and defecating iron-rich liquid faeces into the photic zone, sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) instead stimulate new primary production and carbon export to the deep ocean. We estimate that Southern Ocean sperm whales defecate 50 tonnes of iron into the photic zone each year. Molar ratios of Cexport ∶Feadded determined during natural ocean fertilization events are used to estimate the amount of carbon exported to the deep ocean in response to the iron defecated by sperm whales. We find that Southern Ocean sperm whales stimulate the export of 4 × 105 tonnes of carbon per year to the deep ocean and respire only 2 × 105 tonnes of carbon per year. By enhancing new primary production, the populations of 12 000 sperm whales in the Southern Ocean act as a carbon sink, removing 2 × 105 tonnes more carbon from the atmosphere than they add during respiration. The ability of the Southern Ocean to act as a carbon sink may have been diminished by large-scale removal of sperm whales during industrial whaling.”

Krulwich boils “the Whale Poop Hypothesis” down to commenting that “It begins with this obvious observation: Whales poop. In fact, they poop mightily. Smetacek proposed that because baleen whales prowl the seas consuming immense quantities of krill, they might, during digestion, concentrate their food into iron-rich deposits which, when the time comes, they eject back into the ocean. Nobody had looked closely at whale poop, but following Smetacek's article, marine biologist Stephen Nicol found, to quote him, 'huge amounts of iron in whale poo."

He goes on to say, “So who knew? A couple of centuries ago, the southern seas were packed with baleen whales. Blue whales, the biggest creatures on Earth, were a hundred times more plentiful than they are today. Biologists couldn't understand how whales could feed themselves in such an iron-poor environment. And now we may have an answer: Whales are extraordinary recyclers. What whales consume (which is a lot), they give back. As science writer J.B. MacKinnon writes in his book The Once and Future World, "Whales may have been boosting the productivity of the entire ocean, making their own extraordinary abundance possible."

Editor's note: Many thanks to Linda Norrington, a Friend of Geography (and of whales!), for suggesting this fascinating material.

Image 1 for article titled "The Power of Poop: A Whale Story"
Image 2 for article titled "The Power of Poop: A Whale Story"
"This, I would think, should be self-evident: Generally speaking, big creatures eat smaller creatures that, in turn, eat even smaller creatures, like this ..." ( Robert Krulwich/NPR, op. cit.)
Image 3 for article titled "The Power of Poop: A Whale Story"
Krill need iron to grow and multiply. Given what we know about ocean chemistry, Smetacek wrote, there's not enough iron in the southern ocean water to support that many krill. So either the whales had smaller meals a century ago, or somehow the oceans got an extra kick or boost of iron to create more krill. Nobody was willing to consider a food pyramid that looked like this (Ibid.)
Image 4 for article titled "The Power of Poop: A Whale Story"
Nicols' team analyzed 27 fecal samples from four species of baleen whales, reported New Scientist. "He found that on average whale faeces had 10 million times as much iron as Antarctic seawater." Basically, that's iron concentrate. And strategically emitted — which would have to be up near the ocean surface, where the sun shines — that extra iron would create blooms of phytoplankton, which would then be eaten by krill, leading to a boost in the krill population, leading to ... yes ... bigger whale dinners! (Ibid.)

April 07, 2014 - 4-H GIS Project: Building a UCSB Scavenger Hunt

How many palm trees are in the courtyard beside Storke Tower? What color are the door handles on the Thunderdome? These and other trivia questions were devised by Santa Barbara County 4-H members, ages 9–16, in a project to create a scavenger hunt on the UCSB campus while learning about GIS.

4-H is an international youth development organization that focuses on science, citizenship, and life skills. Members participate in projects in each of these areas that emphasize hands-on, experiential learning. In the US, 4-H programs are implemented by land-grant universities—like the University of California—and the Cooperative Extension System, a nationwide, non-credit educational network (source).

Geography graduate students Kitty Currier, Susan Meerdink, Marcela Suárez, and Haiyun Ye of the Center for Spatial Studies and the department’s Outreach Committee developed the scavenger hunt project to align with the 2013 national 4-H science theme, “Maps & Apps.” Following the 4-H “learn by doing” approach, the project was designed to teach participants how to read and navigate with a map, use a GPS receiver to collect geospatial data, and visualize their data using Google Earth. Over three consecutive Saturdays in February, participants met in Ellison Hall to learn skills and conduct activities that culminated in their final project: a scavenger hunt on the UCSB campus, complete with trivia questions, photographs, and a route map.

On Day 1, participants learned the basics of map-reading by following self-guided tours from the Interactive Campus Map (http://map.geog.ucsb.edu/). Day 2 was devoted to data collection, where the participants selected and walked to different locations on campus, recorded their latitude–longitude coordinates, devised trivia questions, and shot descriptive photographs. Participants synthesized their data on Day 3, when they were tasked in pairs to design their own scavenger hunt. Working with a common set of data from Day 2, each pair developed their own design that included a map created in Google Earth, trivia questions, and photographs, all assembled on two letter-sized pages.

“I was pretty surprised at how much some kids already knew about maps and also their passion in learning more about maps” said Haiyun, who helped lead and to design the project. “I like seeing how kids help each other out in groups. I was impressed by how good their final scavenger hunt maps were. I was also glad to see how excited they were when looking at the products of their effort.”

Haiyun, Marcela, Susan and Kitty became 4-H Volunteer Leaders in order to conduct the project. This brought back memories for Susan and Kitty, who were, themselves, members of 4-H clubs in Plymouth County, Iowa, and Larimer County, Colorado, respectively. Graduate students Erin Wetherley and Bonnie Bounds provided additional help in running the project. Participants reported that they especially enjoyed walking around campus and using Google Earth. “It was fun to learn about the earth’s surface,” said one nine-year-old participant. Others mentioned teamwork and learning to use GPS receivers as highlights of their experience. Especially gratifying was feedback provided by the parent of one 16-year-old participant: “He's now looking into GIS areas as a major for college. You hooked (at least) one!”

Editor’s note: Many thanks to Kitty Currier for providing this article.

Image 1 for article titled "4-H GIS Project: Building a UCSB Scavenger Hunt"
Day 1, ready to go! (Photo credit: Erin Wetherley)
Image 2 for article titled "4-H GIS Project: Building a UCSB Scavenger Hunt"
Geography graduate student Kitty Currier wrote this summary of the 4-H GIS outreach project
Image 3 for article titled "4-H GIS Project: Building a UCSB Scavenger Hunt"
The 4-H logo. “The name represents four personal development areas of focus for the organization: head, heart, hands, and health. The organization has over 6.5 million members in the United States, from ages 5 to 21, in approximately 90,000 clubs. The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills of youth through experiential learning programs and a positive youth development approach. Though typically thought of as an agriculturally focused organization as a result of its history, 4-H today focuses on citizenship, healthy living, science, engineering, and technology programs. Today, 4-H and related programs exist in over 80 countries around the world; the organization and administration varies from country to country. Each of these programs operates independently, but cooperatively through international exchanges, global education programs, and communications. The 4-H motto is "To make the best better", while its slogan is "Learn by doing" (Wikipedia: 4-H)

April 03, 2014 - Geography Grads Garner an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and an Honorable Mention

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced this year's recipients of Graduate Research Fellowships (GRF), and the UCSB Department of Geography would like to congratulate our own Kate Voss for being offered a fellowship and Michelle Oyewole for receiving an honorable mention. There were over 14,000 applications for this highly competitive program which awarded 2,000 fellowships and 1,992 honorable mentions this year.

GRF Program fellows receive three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based masters or doctoral degrees. The support is intended for students who are at the early stages of their graduate study, and it includes a $32,000 annual stipend, a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the institution, International research and professional development opportunities, and XSEDE Supercomputer access.

“The graduate students awarded the GRF in 2014 represent a diverse group of scientific disciplines and come from all states and the District of Columbia, as well as commonwealths and territories of the United States. They are also a diverse group of individuals. Among the 2,000 awardees, 1,069 are women, 382 are from underrepresented minority groups, 55 are persons with disabilities, and 37 are veterans. The Fellows in the 2014 class come from 442 baccalaureate institutions, 58 more than in 2010, when the program first began awarding 2,000 fellowships each year” (source).

UCSB as a whole was well-represented among both the awardees and the honorable mentions, with 23 and 22 in each respective category. “As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. The reputation of the GRFP follows recipients and often helps them become life-long leaders that contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners, a U.S. Secretary of Energy (Steven Chu), the Google founder (Sergey Brin), and Freakonomics co-author, Steven Levitt” (source).

Image 1 for article titled "Geography Grads Garner an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and an Honorable Mention"
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program logo
Image 2 for article titled "Geography Grads Garner an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and an Honorable Mention"
Geography graduate student Katalyn (Kate) Voss (advisors: Lopez-Carr/Carvalho)
Image 3 for article titled "Geography Grads Garner an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and an Honorable Mention"
Geography graduate student Michelle Oyewole (advisors: King/Cleveland)

April 01, 2014 - Taco Bell Buys the Liberty Bell

A full page ad appeared in six major American newspapers (The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, and USA Today) announcing that the fast food chain Taco Bell has purchased the Liberty Bell. The full text of the ad reads:

Taco Bell Buys the Liberty Bell: In an effort to help the national debt, Taco Bell is pleased to announce that we have agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, one of our country's most historic treasures. It will now be called the "Taco Liberty Bell" and will still be accessible to the American public for viewing. While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country's debt.”

In a separate press release, Taco Bell explained that the Liberty Bell would divide its time between Philadelphia and the Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, CA. It compared the purchase to the adoption of highways by corporations. Taco Bell argued that it was simply "going one step further by purchasing one of the country's greatest historic treasures." The company boasted, "Taco Bell's heritage and imagery have revolved around the symbolism of the bell. Now we've got the crown jewel of bells."

There is also some irony to the Taco Liberty Bell controversy when one considers that much of the popular history of the Bell is more myth than reality. Modern scholars consider its iconic status a creation of mid-nineteenth century writers who invented the tale that the Bell was rung to announce that the Declaration of Independence had been approved. In reality, the steeple of the Philadelphia state house was in disrepair in 1776, so it is doubtful that the Bell (which later came to be known as the Liberty Bell) was rung at all to signal the signing of the Declaration (source).

Image 1 for article titled "Taco Bell Buys the Liberty Bell"
Taco Bell's original restaurant design with its first logo sign in Wausau, Wisconsin. Demolished May 5, 2010. Taco Bell is an American chain of fast-food restaurants based in Irvine, California. A subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., they serve a variety of Tex-Mex foods including tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, other specialty items, and a variety of "Value menu" items. Taco Bell serves more than 2 billion customers each year in more than 6,500 restaurants, mostly in the U.S., more than 80 percent of which are owned and operated by independent franchisees (Wikipedia: Taco Bell)
Image 2 for article titled "Taco Bell Buys the Liberty Bell"
Taco Bell’s full page ad.
For more news see the News Archive
Copyright © 2014 University of California, Santa Barbara | The Regents of the University of California | Terms of Use
ADA accessibility reviewed March 2014. If any of this material is not accessible to you, please contact our department at (805)893-3663 or contact
and we will provide alternatives.

Google+  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  LinkedIn