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Asia Center of The Academy of Natural Sciences

Funding Needs for the Asia Center

China | Kyrgyzstan | Mongolia


Nanjing University

David Velinsky and Clyde Goulden are organizing a workshop on water quality monitoring and remediation for graduate students and faculty of Nanjing University to facilitate future studies and assist in the “clean up” of Tai Hu, the third largest lake in China that is a primary drinking water source for over 6 million people near Shanghai. The lake is badly enriched by local developments; the Chinese Government is allocating a great deal of funds to clean up the lake. Historically, China has not trained scientists in the areas of biological monitoring and remediation. Therefore, a workshop as we propose will be very helpful. In addition to chemical and aquatic organism monitoring techniques the workshop will include representatives from the Delaware River Basin Commission and from the Environmental Protection Agency who will introduce the students to the laws and policies developed here in the U.S. instrumental in the remediation that has helped improve our rivers and streams in the U.S. The two-week workshop will be held in Philadelphia at the Academy and at St. Joseph University in August, 2008. We want to plan a trip then to visit Tai Hu and work with the students in establishing a monitoring program.

A major part of our approach for this will include Adaptive Management, a methodological approach to assess success in remediation using statistical evaluation of benchmarks to evaluate real improvements. The two week workshop will cost $50,000. We have yet to seek funds for the follow-up workshop in China that would cost $35,000.

Nanjing Museum

The director of the Nanjing Museum, a cultural and archaeology museum, intends to broaden his exhibits program to include natural history and has asked the Academy to help develop new exhibits for them. An initial suggestion for the development of their exhibits (which could in part also be a traveling exhibit that could come to the U.S.) could illustrate the origins of cereals and livestock that were initially domesticated in this part of the world. We are seeking funds of $20,000 that would cover travel costs for members of the Academy’s Exhibits and Education staff to visit Nanjing to begin a dialog and agreement for this development.

Nanjing Paleontology Museum

We also are in communication with the Nanjing Paleontology Museum that has interesting exhibits on early forms of fossilized animals from the Changjiang fossil deposits near Kunming, China. The fossil beds at Changjiang date from the Early Cambrian (>5.5 million years old) when complex animals first appear in the fossil record, representing early forms of trilobites and bottom dwelling worms and other invertebrates from an experimental time period when the evolution of large body form began, resulting in the present day animal life found in the oceans. We are seeking $20,000 to support travel by Ted Daeshler and others for an initial visit to discuss development of a traveling exhibit that could not only go around Asia but also here in the U.S.


Issyk Kul

A proposal was submitted to the Christensen Fund for an exploratory visit to the Lake Issyk Kul watershed of eastern Kyrgyzstan. We plan that this initial grant will begin a long-term effort to understand and manage lake conditions for the welfare of the lake (the 6th deepest and one of the oldest natural lakes in the World) and the surrounding indigenous peoples.

If this grant is funded, we want to establish a field research station and laboratory for studies by international scientists working with local Kyrgyz scientists, and the training of young Kyrgyz and U.S. graduate students. A station already exists at the lake but it has not been operational since the early 1990s due to lack of funding. We will visit this site with the hope of opening and improving the facilities so that it can be available for widespread use, or to seek a new site. We are asking for an initial grant of $30,000 for an exploratory trip and will follow with a request of about $100,000 for the first major expedition to the lake. Several Academy scientists will ultimately be involved with this project to study the diatoms, insects and fishes of the watershed streams (not previously described) and the impact of climate change on stream hydrology and water quality of the lake.


Hovsgol ILTER

Our work Hovsgol is continuing with grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF—funded through the University of Pennsylvania; Clyde Goulden is a co-PI on the grant) to continue research on climate change impacts on the landscape and nomadic livestock herders in northern Mongolia.

Mongolian Aquatic Insect Survey

Although there is an existing program funded by the Mongolian government for biological monitoring in the Selenge Basin, it lacks funding to train and equip the field samplers, and it lacks laboratory staff to process the samples and analyze the data. Along with our taxonomic survey, we have carried out biomonitoring sampling protocols at most stream sites and have the largest dataset for Mongolian aquatic invertebrates. We propose a program to build on our initial projects results and fund a postdoctoral scientist to take our project data and develop it specifically for Mongolia. Results would feed into the Institute of Meterology and Hydrology reports and would be relayed to the public inhabiting these areas through publich meetings, brochures and theough their citizen sampling representative(s). The Proposed funding is $71,000/one year.

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Asia Center at The Academy of Natural Sciences
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103 |