HERC scholars and friends participate in fieldwork across the North Atlantic and Caribbean regions.

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City University of New York
Human Ecodynamics Research Center

Sustainability, resilience, and the future of humans on earth

Director:Prof Sophia Perdikaris (sophiap@brooklyn.cuny.edu)

Associate Directors: Prof Andrew Dugmore (andrew.dugmore@ed.ac.uk), Prof. Thomas H. McGovern (thomas.h.mcgovern@gmail.com), Dr. Reginald Murphy (regmurphy@hotmail.com)

The Human Ecodynamics Research Center (HERC) at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York  will work to coordinate CUNY- wide efforts in sustainability science and education, and to connect our efforts with national and international initiatives in sustainability science and education. HERC combines and coordinates long term CUNY international, interdisciplinary collaborations through the North Atlantic Biocultural Organization (NABO, www.nabohome.org) and the Barbuda Archaeological Research Center (BARC). HERC staff and affiliated scholars work to connect cutting edge sustainability science and long term human ecodynamics research to education for sustainability through active field projects, cross-disciplinary workshops and conferences, multi-institutional collaborations, and innovative cyberinfrastructure.

Key HERC Activities:

  • HERC has been tasked since 2009 by the NSF Office of Polar Programs to develop an international and interdisciplinary research forum called the Global Human Ecodynamics Alliance (GHEA, www.gheahome.org).
  • HERC administers a 5 year (2011-16) NSF Research Coordination Network grant through the Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) initiative to advance long term human ecodynamics research, innovative supporting cyberinfrastructure, education for sustainability and  public engagement in sustainability science.
  • HERC administers a field research station in Codrington Barbuda (four buildings on one hectare) in collaboration with the Barbuda Council and sponsors international research and education programs on Barbuda in archaeology, anthropology, paleoecology, marine biology, and geography and maintains active collaboration with the Barbuda/Antigua school system.
  • HERC sponsors student participation in field schools in Barbuda, Iceland, and Orkney and works to provide life-changing hands on field research experiences at both undergraduate and graduate level.
  • HERC coordinates long term international, interdisciplinary research projects in the North Atlantic and Caribbean, with NSF funded field teams active in Greenland, Iceland, and Barbuda in 2012.
  • HERC organizes national and international meetings centered on Sustainability Science & Education, providing travel support to students, practitioners and stakeholders from rural communities
  • HERC works with many collaborators to represent the GHEA cooperative at major international meetings including Resilience 2011, ICASS 2011,  Int. Council for Sustainability Science (ICSS) 2012 AAAS 2012, SAA 2012, Orkney Heritage & Sustainability 2012, Planet Under Pressure 2012.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Fishing and Egg Harvesting in Lake Mývatn, North East Iceland – Ágústa Edwald

The Mývatn Ecology Project is a part of Changing Islands Ecodynamics project  with Professor Thomas McGovern (PI).  Funded by project grant OPP Arctic Social Sciences 1202692 from the National Science foundation (NSF).

A scene from one of the islands in Lake Mývatn in 1821. A coloured engraving from Thienemann (1827). Reproduced from Einarsson 2004, 11

The rich archaeological record that has been investigated in recent decades in the Mývatn region coupled with the detailed research on the lake’s ecology carried out by the Mývatn science station, especially since the 1970s creates a unique opportunity to establish a deep chronology of human-environmental relations on a millennial scale.

The historical records do not stretch as far back as the deep middens or the sediments in the lake. However, traditional knowledge is based on the observations and adjustments in a community over generations and centuries. Even though the writing down of these traditions, deliberate or not, does not occur until the early modern period, by their nature they do contain information that can be assumed to originate in earlier times.

*More coming soon*


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