Maya Walton Explores A Hot Topic: Climate Change
We wanted to share with the Shansi community a bit about Maya Walton’s recent activities. A Shansi Fellow to Gadjah Madah University in Yogyakarta Indonesia from 2007-2009, Maya is now finishing up a Master of Science from the Zoology Department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She studies coral reef disease levels inside and outside of Marine Protected Areas. Her work examines coral reef health at the ecosystem level and explores the potential of using reef fish community data, coral community size structure, protection status, and oceanographic data to help identify areas that may be vulnerable to coral disease outbreaks.
Maya has been part of a research team that has been looking at trends in climate change. Early in October 2013, lead researcher Camilo Mora published the team’s findings in Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. The article, titled, “The Projected Timing of Climate Departure From Recent Variability,” revealed some very surprising discoveries. Within 35 years, they found, even the lowest monthly dips in temperature will be hotter than the past 150 years. On talking about his research, Camila Mora said, “the results shocked us. Within my generation, whatever climate we were used to will be a thing of the past.”
According to these trends, the tropics will experience the most extreme climate change earlier than other parts of the globe. Home to the world’s most diverse ecosystems of marine and terrestrial species, these rapid climate changes in the tropics will have a debilitating effect on the balance of these ecosystems. This in turn will effect the food supply for the populations living in this area. It’s a very important article, and has been picked up by The New York Times, as well as The Independent.
Maya will head to Washington DC next year as a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow. This Fellowship places highly qualified graduate students in the legislative and executive branches of government to examine policy regarding ocean, coastal, or Great Lakes resources and how those policy decisions affect these regions.