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December 8, 2014 | Honors and Awards

Professor gets national honor for his teaching

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching have selected the University of Georgia's John A. Knox as the Georgia Professor of the Year for 2014.

November 4, 2014 | News

Graduate Program Applications Due December 1st

Applications for the Graduate Program for Fall 2015 matriculation are due December 1, 2014. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Steven Holloway, or the Graduate Program Administrator, Amy Bellamy, at geoggrad@uga.edu.

October 28, 2014 | News

Geography Graduate student Adriana Rincón meets head of the ICC

Geography Grad student Adriana Rincón met the head prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, this morning at the Law School's Children and International Criminal Justice Conference. The prosecutor personally answered Adriana's question about the ICC's role and understanding of transitional justice mechanisms in Colombia.

September 30, 2014 | News

Dr. Andrew Grundstein: Study finds thunderstorms worsen asthma, allergy symptoms

In one of the first studies of its kind done in the United States, a University of Georgia professor teamed up with faculty at Emory University to research the effect thunderstorms can have on people with asthma and allergies.

Andrew Grundstein, a professor in the Department of Geography at UGA and the lead author of the study entitled “Thunderstorm-associated asthma in Atlanta, Georgia,” said people generally think of rain as a good thing for pollen allergies and asthma, and normally they would be right. But research showed that when rain escalates to a thunderstorm, it can actually exacerbate symptoms.

“Certain kinds of pollen, like grass pollens, will get pulled into the thunderstorm clouds, the pollen greens will rupture and produce very tiny ones,” he said. “People who inhale those small particles, they can get deep into your lungs.”

According to the study, this phenomenon is possible because thunderstorms have an updraft, causing allergens to be transported off the ground and into the air.

“Our findings corroborate previous reports of an association of thunderstorm activity with asthma exacerbation,” the study reads. “Furthermore, our results provide preliminary evidence in support of rainfall and wind gusts playing important roles in this association.”

The link between thunderstorms and an increase in asthma symptoms may pose a problem for asthmatics and allergy sufferers in Georgia. According to the National Weather Service, thunderstorms are most common in spring and summer months in north Georgia. Additionally, WeatherSpark found thunderstorms occur on an average of 31 percent of days that rain in Atlanta.

Grundstein, who has a research specialty in climatology, said he first came across an article about thunderstorm asthma in foreign countries when teaching a graduate seminar years ago. Since then, he has worked with a group of health scientists at Emory to test the theory in metro Atlanta.

“We helped with the information on the weather conditions,” Grundstein said. “They had a big data set of people seeking medical attention in emergency rooms, so we combined our information with their information.”
He said they basically looked at emergency room data in Atlanta to see how it corresponded with thunderstorms in the area. What they found was a three percent influx in people going to emergency rooms with asthma symptoms after thunderstorms. Grundstein said that represents a low estimate, as there are likely those who suffer from thunderstorm asthma who treat themselves without going to a hospital.

But in places such as England, where three percent of the population is still a large part of the population, that can cause problems, Grundstein said.

“One of the things that’s really important is in a lot of the states in England where you have these big outbreaks, all these people have asthma attacks and they rush to the emergency rooms and get overloaded,” he said. “Being aware in thunderstorms [that] these things could happen, you might help them prepare better.”

Grundstein said the people who run into trouble are usually not those with severe asthma, but those with mild asthma paired with pollen allergies because those with frequent asthma attacks have and know how to use medication.

Grundstein said he recommends people with asthma, especially those with pollen allergies, stay informed about symptoms and treatments.

“Talk to your doctor about an appropriate kind of regiment to control it and what to do if you do have an asthma attack,” he said. “It might be helpful to stay indoors during the thunderstorm.”

August 12, 2014 | News


Landscape Ecology and Bio-Cultural Heritage: The New Geographies of Conservation

This course engages students in geographical literacy of nature conservation by deconstructing contemporary narratives of cultural landscapes as they relate to Landscape Ecology. The main goal is to expose graduate students to the current literature on cultural landscape conservation and train them in biocultural heritage studies, geospatial tools, with challenges to political-ecology theory and critical biogeography. The study of place, power relations of culture/nature binaries will help us to reconstruct appropriate narratives with four major pillars:
a) cultural reactions, perceptions and conceptions of nature, and protected areas
b) natural restoration cycles of the forest environment and its appropriation by society
c) ecological footprint, human impacts and ethno-landscape ecology
d) environmental forecasting of geographical scenarios of sustainability.

We will theorize the process of conservation territories in a global economy and analyze the metageography of continents to frame conservation scenarios in a North-South vector with spatialities of sustainability and transfrontier conservation, as well as commodification of plants, animals and environmental services. We will also identify constraints of managing cultural landscapes with the paradigm of biocultural heritage in either farmscape/ seascape/ cityscape and other foci of centralized protection schemes. We then will construct our narrative for the human dimension of a place worth conserving, namely a cultural landscape. The discussions will be based on students' presentations, and videoconference(s) with the main actors of political ecology, cultural landscape research and conservation science available to us.

• Heckler, S. (Ed). 2012. Landscape, Power and Processes. Reevaluating TEK. Berghahn
• Sarmiento, F. (2012). Critical Biogeography of the Northern Andean Higlands. Kona Publishers.
• Peet, R., P. Robbins & M.J. Watts. 2011. Global Political Ecology. Routledge
• Johnson, L & E.S. Hunt (Eds). 2013. Landscape Ethnoecology: Berghahn.
• Roe, M. and K. Taylor. 2014. New Cultural Landscapes. Routledge, New York.
• Taylor, K. and J. Lennon (Eds). 2012. Managing Cultural Landscapes. Routledge.
• Goldman, M., P. Nadasdy & M. D. Turner. (Eds) 2011. Knowing Nature: Conversations at the Intersection of Political Ecology and Science Studies. U. Chicago Press.
• Taylor, K., N. Mitchell & A. St.Clair (eds). 2015. Conserving Cultural Landscapes: Challenges and New Directions. Routledge.

Graduate Students Readings:
As customary in Geography, we will develop the reading seminar list to match students’ interest. You should expect to read and analyze about five articles per week from Landscape Ecology, Environmental Conservation, world Heritage, Landscape, Human Ecology, Nature and Culture, Conservation Biology, Geographical Review, AAG Annals, Biodiversity letters, Biogeography, Ambio, BioScience and other journals of the student’s chosen field. A final list of papers will be developed during the first two weeks with everyone’s input. A final Symposium presentation will be held at the Center for Integrative Conservation and Research, CICR, open to campus and the public.

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