Ferrum News

Ferrum Professor Selected for National Panel Studying Effects of Climate Change on Ecology


 A Ferrum College professor with a passion for preserving the world’s water supplies has been selected to work with other scientists studying critical ecological data to help scientists understand the effects of climate change on our ecosystems.

Dr. Carolyn Thomas, professor of environmental studies and biology, is one of 12 experts selected to serve the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). NEON is a non-profit organization that manages large-scale ecological observing systems and experiments on behalf of the scientific community.

“My passion and profession is to help solve the world’s water pollution problems and specifically Virginia’s water pollution issues,” Thomas said. “I look forward to sharing my expertise with other scientific leaders from around the country while providing additional insight and learning opportunities for Ferrum students.”

NEON will create a new national observatory network to collect ecological and climatic observations across the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The observatory network will be the first of its kind designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales over multiple decades.

Thomas was chosen to work with the group based on her involvement with the Ecological Society of America, an international society of 10,000 members, and her work with the Collaboration through Appalachian Watershed Studies (CAWS), which serves to enhance ecology education at several small Appalachian colleges and universities through collaborative study of ecosystems.

“What really excites me is that NEON will model research to be conducted over the next few years after work being done at smaller institutions like Ferrum,” Thomas says. “The scientific community is finally recognizing the outstanding research at smaller colleges since that work is closely connected to the communities we serve. This project has the ability to really change the way research works.”

For more information, contact the Public Relations Office, at (540) 365-4300.