By Guy Spriggs

For most Americans, levees are man-made engineering projects, rarely mentioned outside of the flooding that follows disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

However, recent research conducted by Earth and Environmental Science (EES) Assistant Professor Derek Sawyer published in the journal “Geology” sheds new light on levees most of us never see – those built naturally by underwater rivers deep below the ocean’s surface.

“On the ocean floor there are rivers gouging their way to deeper parts of the ocean,” Sawyer explained. “As a river moves along the bottom it makes its own channel, and it can run for hundreds of miles.”

These underwater rivers typically form outboard of

"Our Roots Run Deep As Ironweed" Book Cover

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 18, 2014) — Three University of Kentucky authors will present recent books about mountaintop removal mining, and the treasured landscapes and Appalachian communities that lie in its midst, at a book talk and signing Thursday, Feb. 27.  

Erik Reece, of the Department of English, and Jim Krupa, of the Department of Biology, will discuss their book, "The Embattled Wilderness: The Natural and Human History of Robinson Forest and the Fight for its Future" (University of Georgia Press, 2013). Shannon Elizabeth Bell, of the Department of Sociology, will discuss her book, "


by Keith Hautala

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 17, 2014) — The University of Kentucky's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) formally opened the Pioneer Natural Resources Stratigraphy and Paleo-environments Laboratory at a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, Feb. 14.

The laboratory is situated on the completely renovated ground floor of the Slone Building. The project was undertaken with $900,000 in support from Pioneer Natural Resources, a large, independent oil and natural gas company based in Irving, Texas. The company provided an initial grant of $600,000 and an additional $300,000 in operating funds.

Additional support for the project came from the UK College of Arts and Sciences, UK Facilities Management, and the Herman Lee and Nell Stuart Donovan

Andrew H. Knoll

by Keith Hautala

(Feb. 10, 2014) — A Harvard professor will deliver a special lecture at the University of Kentucky about the earliest forms of life on Earth.  

"The Deep History of Life: What Kinds of Life Characterized Earth During the Precambrian?" will be presented by Andrew H. Knoll, of the Harvard University Departments of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Earth and Planetary Sciences. Knoll's talk is free and open to the public and will take place starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at Memorial Hall. Free parking will be available at Parking Structure No. 2, on Hilltop Avenue. 

The Precambrian period refers to the time when only primitive life forms existed on Earth, before about 545 million years ago.

"Fossils of shells, bones, tracks, and trails record a history of animal evolution more than 600 million years in duration," Knoll



video courtesy of UK Public Relations & Marketing

article by Jenny Wells

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 7, 2013) — In addition to research presentations, the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) will offer numerous volunteer opportunities for the entire campus community when the University of Kentucky hosts the conference April 3-5, 2014. From helping direct traffic, to managing technology, to just helping students find where they need to go, there will be a variety of positions available to students, faculty and staff.

Students will have even more flexibility to get involved, as the University Senate has given permission for faculty to redirect their classes April 3 and 4 so students can attend conference events and presentations. 

"This is a bit unusual; it's a new


by Kathy Johnson & Sarah Geegan

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 30, 2013) ― The University of Kentucky is one of the top producers of U.S. Fulbright Scholars in the country.  In a recently released ranking in the Chronicle of Higher Education, UK is ranked sixth among research institutions for its number of professors earning the prestigious Fulbright grants for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Sponsored by the United States Department of State and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program, which provides funding for professionals, teachers,

John Avise

by Allison Elliot-Shannon

(Oct. 21, 2013) — Prominent evolutionary biologist John Avise will deliver two lectures at the University of Kentucky this week, as the featured speaker for the fifth annual installment of the prestigious Thomas Hunt Morgan Speaker Series sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology.

Avise will offer two talks, the first a technical and scientific talk titled "Clones, Hermaphrodites, and Pregnancies." This talk will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in Room 116 of the Thomas Hunt Morgan building on Rose Street. The second talk, titled "Genetics in the Wild," will take place at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 25, in the auditorium of William T. Young Library. The second talk will be appropriate for a general audience. Both lectures are free and open to the public.


by Sarah Geegan & Grace Liddle

 The College of Arts and Sciences is offering 13 courses that begin in the middle of the fall 2013 semester. For students who may have recently dropped a class or hope to pick up some extra credit hours, these courses provide flexibility after the regular registration period.

Course topics range from the science of what we eat, archaeology and history of ancient Mexico, an introductory course on the city of Lexington, and a study on the culture and economics of local and global food systems.

The "Global Food & Local Agriculture" course explores questions associated with why people eat what they do and what that implies about society. To answer these questions, the class introduces


A recent article in CNN Money describes how Green employment has continued to grow despite the recent economic downturn. 

see: or the attached pdf of the article.

Shanghai skyline

by Sarah Geegan 

UK Confucius Institute Director Huajing Maske describes the UK Faculty China Short-Term Teaching Program as "groundbreaking" for several reasons.

First of all, the numbers are groundbreaking. The program, which provides teaching stints by embedding American professors in the departments of partner universities in China, involved faculty members from several non-China institutions. In the program's inaugural year, UK's 29 faculty at Shanghai University represented nearly half of the overall faculty cohort.

"It was quite impressive to see how strong the UK numbers were among the faculty participating in the short-term teaching program," Maske said. "UK was by far the largest group

Aman Shah presents at the 2013 National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. UK will host the 2014 conference.

video courtesy of UK Public Relations and Marketing

article by Jenny Wells

Planning and hosting a national conference is no easy task, but for the UK community, collaboration makes it all possible. The University of Kentucky will host the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research, or NCUR, next semester, which will bring nearly 4,000 additional students from across the country to the UK campus. And as students, faculty and staff can attest -- it is something worth bragging about.

NCUR will take place April 3-5, 2014, all throughout UK's campus. The conference will give undergraduates a unique opportunity to present their research and creative endeavors, while meeting other like-minded students from all across the country. They not only promote their individual work,

Shanghai's skyline at night.

by Sarah Geegan

As the University of Kentucky prepares its students to compete in a globalized world, it's crucial to provide students with what associate provost for international programs Susan Carvalho calls "China literacy."

As the world's leading exporter, with the world's second-largest economy, there is no question that China is a dominant player in the 21st century marketplace.

"We’re thinking about how to make sure we’re graduating students who are world-ready, and there is no question that 'China literacy,' if we could use that term, is needed by people who are going into the global workforce," Carvalho said. "And it’s hard to think of any sectors that aren’t impacted in some way by what China does."

Just as China's influence spans across various industries, the elements of global literacy span across multiple disciplines. Part of

Real-time sensor readings from lakes and streams are sent to laboratories at Flathead Lake Biological Station in Montana and Hancock Biological Station in Kentucky and go into a database management system.

By Alicia Gregory

In 2009, the Virtual Observatory And Ecological Informatics System (VOEIS) project was launched. Funded by an NSF EPSCoR grant, VOEIS united researchers at five universities in Kentucky and two universities in Montana to develop a cyber infrastructure system to monitor, analyze, model, and forecast the consequences of environmental changes in freshwater ecosystems.

Real-time sensor readings from lakes and streams are sent to laboratories at Flathead Lake Biological Station in Montana and Hancock Biological Station in Kentucky and go into a database management system.

Barbara Kucera, principal

About Dr. Michael McGlue: My research aims to answer questions related to environmental change and energy resources through field and ship-based examinations of the sedimentary rock record. I apply a broad range of techniques (high resolution seismic surveying, sequence stratigraphy, clastic sedimentology, organic/inorganic geochemistry, clay mineralogy, petrography, geochronology, and paleoecology) to better understand depositional processes, stratigraphic architecture, and paleoenvironments in continental rift and retroarc foreland basins.    Active research themes over the next few years will include: (1) Pliocene-Quaternary stratigraphic evolution of the southern Tanganyika rift (East Africa); (2) mudrock provenance and source-to-sink dynamics in continental basins; (3) hydrocarbon source rock kinetics, unconventional resource potential and porosity evolution in


By Sarah Geegan

English professor Erik Reece and Biology professor James Krupa recently released a book that brings to life the history and ecology of one of Kentucky's most important natural landscapes —the Robinson Forest in eastern Kentucky.

"The Embattled Wilderness" depicts the fourteen thousand acres of diverse forest region-- a haven of biological richness-- as endangered by the ever-expanding desert created by mountaintop removal mining. The authors, alternating chapters that focus on the natural and cultural history of the forest, combine their professional knowledge of the area to persuasively appeal for its protection.

Erik Reece, an environmental writer,  explains

Vandana Shiva returns to the University of Kentucky Thursday to share her expertise with the campus and community.

By Gail Hairston

Internationally regarded sustainability scholar and activist Vandana Shiva returns to the University of Kentucky Thursday to share her expertise with the campus and community.

Her publications and work in sustainable agriculture, development, feminist theory, alternative globalization and bioengineering as well as her creation of Navdanya, a participatory research initiative to provide direction and support to environmental activism in India, have inspired colleagues to deem her one of the brightest minds working in the interdisciplinary field of sustainability today.

Shiva will present her lecture at 8 p.m. Feb. 28, in Memorial Hall. This event is

The university's February #AskAChat Twitter Chat with UK Sustainability Coordinator Shane Tedder from 2-3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, will offer UK Twitter followers an opportunity to ask questions about sustainability issues and UK sustainability initiatives.

By Whitney Hale, Emily Damron

Tomorrow's #AskACat Twitter Chat will give followers an opportunity to ask questions regarding sustainability efforts at the University of Kentucky and general issues of sustainability.

UK Sustainability Coordinator Shane Tedder will answer questions that our followers have about sustainability at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, via the university's official Twitter account, @universityofky. Those interested in following and/or participating in the chat can follow the university's account or #AskACat for questions posed and responses from the Twitter chat.

Tedder can speak to several sustainability topics at UK and beyond, including the


Sustaining Living Culture,  Frieda E. Gebert and Kevin Gibson (eds) Published by On Sustainability

From the On Sustainability Website: "While it is indisputable that the Earth’s physical resources are being depleted, distinct cultural practices are also being eroded by forces of development and homogenization. The central question addressed in this book is how to sustain cultural practices that are still active today but are, nevertheless, vulnerable. This is a time when many unique cultures are threatened; practitioners of rare arts are aging, young people are being integrated into larger communities, languages are disappearing, and cultural memories are being lost. Sadly, once the integrity of cultural knowledge is lost, it can never be fully restored. These


The Embattled Wilderness
The Natural and Human History of Robinson Forest and the Fight for Its Future

Erik Reece and James (Jim) Krupa
Foreword by Wendell Berry

An imperiled forest—and the case for saving it.

You can order a copy by email through the Morris Bookshop (

Follow this link to read Tom Eblen's review of the book in the Lexington Herald-Leader (May 7, 2013).

This book demonstrates the importance and beauty of the seamless integration of humanities and natural science. It epitomizes the goal of the ENS program to foster scholarship at the nexus of economics, environment, and society.

Excerpt from


By Guy Spriggs

According to Spanish and topical studies major Sammi Meador, it can be hard to use words like environmentalism and sustainability when talking about her personal and academic interests.

“These are hot topics right now,” Meador said, “and a lot of people think these are just wishy-washy terms.”

As she explains, however, sustainability is about far more than buzz words and empty gestures. Environmental studies is also about people.

“People think it’s a liberal white kid thing, that the goal is to be a hippie and to save the animals and all that. But there’s a human side to it. Sustainability really includes every aspect of human society,” she said.

“I’m coming from a place of privilege that affords me the time and resources to ponder these ethical questions,” Meador continued. “I don’t


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