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Graduate fellows head out to assess threats on water resources

Interdisciplinary fellowship will train scholars to develop strategies to reduce threats to water, climate, and health
Posted October 4, 2013
Johns Hopkins graduate students chart their course on the Chesapeake Bay. IMAGE: Andy Herbick Johns Hopkins graduate students chart their course on the Chesapeake Bay. IMAGE: Andy Herbick

Oyster season is nearly upon us in the Chesapeake region and that means half shells with hot sauce.  While some of us are drooling in anticipation of this year’s succulent catch, most of us realize that the oyster population­—along with the general health of the Bay—is declining.  A group of Johns Hopkins graduate students in a new interdisciplinary program are on their way to find out why. 

The first cohort of fellows in the Water, Climate and Health IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) program is engrossed in research to uncover threats to our water resources and develop strategies to reduce those threats. The fellowship, which started last year, will train a corps of talented graduate students from various disciplines and backgrounds.  Field research will teach fellows how to apply new skills to practical problems through a place-based capstone course centering on the three diverse watersheds of the Chesapeake Bay, Peruvian Amazon, and Nile River basin.

According to Grace Brush, the WCH IGERT principle investigator, award-winning DoGEE professor and water study legend, the core of the fellowship is the concept of cooperation and interaction among scholars from a variety of backgrounds. Through collaboration, integrated strategies will evolve that “are needed for predicting and adapting to climate-driven stressors on water resources and human health.”