Joseph M. 'Donny' Smoak, Ph.D, in the Everglades.

Environmental Science professor invited to China climate change conference

Joseph M. “Donny” Smoak, Ph.D., associate professor of Environmental Science, is among a handful of U.S. scientists invited to present at a climate change conference in China next month.

Nanchang University will cover travel expenses for Smoak to make a one-hour presentation at the International Workshop on Global Change and Aquatic Ecosystems, May 27-29.

Smoak recently was awarded a National Science Foundation grant for research in Everglades National Park. The $168,582 grant is part of the National Science Foundation’s Water Sustainability and Climate program. The research will help scientists better understand how coastal wetlands respond to sea-level rise and climate change.

The conference invited Smoak because of his “tremendous accomplishments in the field of aquatic research,” according to the invitation from Professor Jinbao Wan of Nanchang University.

The goal of the conference is to “provide a better understanding of the causes and consequences of ecosystem degradation and highlight the implementation of proper strategies for the restoration of impaired aquatic ecosystems in China,’’ Wan wrote.

The topic of Smoak’s presentation is “Carbon Sequestration and Climate Change Considerations.” He also was invited to present afterward at the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Nanjing.

“I am honored to be invited to a conference devoted to such a globally important topic as climate change,’’ Smoak said. “Many of the issues we are studying in the Everglades are at work in China because many aquatic systems there also have undergone major human alterations and are being influenced by climate change.”

Norine Noonan, regional vice chancellor for academic affairs, said Smoak’s invitation reflects USF St. Petersburg’s recognized strength in environmental science. “Donny Smoak’s research in the Everglades will make an important contribution to our knowledge of the impact of climate change worldwide,” she said.