These experts from the UW-Madison faculty and staff have agreed to comment on breaking news, ongoing developments and trends in their areas of expertise. If you need help arranging interviews, email University Communications.
Experts on today’s news…
Barry Burden on: President Trump's first 100 days
Ken Mayer, an expert on the American presidency, and Barry Burden, an expert on mandates for new presidents and the value of unified government, can comment on President Trump's first 100 days in office.
"Although President Trump has the benefit of a Republican Congress, his first 100 days have been made difficult due to his loss in the popular vote, limited number of allies in Washington, and general lack of focus in the administration," Burden says.
Patrick Liesch on: Ticks
Patrick Liesch, an expert on insect identification and biology, can comment on the tick outlook for this spring and summer.
"Some scientists have predicted high tick and Lyme disease pressure in the eastern US in 2017," Liesch says in a blog. "While that topic has gotten a lot of attention in the news, this may not be the case in our state. The thought behind the prediction is that high rodent populations (a host for juvenile deer ticks) may bolster deer tick numbers ... Regardless of tick numbers, the threat of ticks and Lyme disease is still out there and isn’t something to be ignored."
Susan Carpenter on: Endangered rusty-patched bumble bee
On Tuesday, the rusty-patched bumble bee became the first bumble bee to be listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Susan Carpenter, a native plant specialist and expert on native pollinators with the UW–Madison Arboretum, can comment on the threats to the rusty-patched bumble bee and other pollinators and measures taken to protect them. The Arboretum is one of the remaining sites where the rusty-patched bumble bee can still be found.
Jonathan Martin on: Executive order on climate
President Trump is expected to sign an executive order that could alter existing climate regulations, guidelines and policies in the U.S.. Martin, an expert on mid-latitude weather systems and their connection to climate change, and who recently published a study that shows Northern Hemisphere winters have become systematically warmer over the last 70 years, is among several experts at UW who can discuss what this executive order could mean.
- Tracey Holloway is an expert on air quality in the U.S., including the impacts the Clean Power Plan would have had on U.S. air quality management.
- Ankur Desai is an expert on carbon and greenhouse gas emissions and their effects on a changing climate.
- Galen McKinley says: "CO2 is the driver of the current global warming trend. Limiting this warming requires limiting CO2 emissions. Analyses clearly show that it will cost our society far less to limit emissions than to adapt to the consequences of strong warming."
- Dan Vimont, who studies the impacts of climate change, particularly in Wisconsin, says: "Climate change is already affecting Wisconsin and will continue to affect our natural and built resources in the coming decades. Action is on two fronts: We need to take local actions to prepare for the inevitable amounts of climate change that we will experience, and take global actions to avoid dangerous levels of global climatic changes."
- Jonathan Patz, who studies the health risks of climate change and the health benefits of climate policies adds: "As a physician and public health scientist, I am concerned how short our memories are about why environmental laws were first created – to protect us from the unanticipated (often toxic) consequences of unbridled industrialization. I am further dismayed by what seems a complete disregard for well-established public health science, linking harmful exposures to illness and death …similar to the long and divisive debate on the link between tobacco smoke and lung cancer.”
Karen Strier on: Yellow fever primate deaths in Brazil
An outbreak of yellow fever, a mosquito-borne virus found in Africa and South America, has swept through southeastern Brazil. While it has taken and threatened many human lives, the virus has also killed thousands of susceptible monkeys, particularly devastating the endangered brown howler monkey. Strier studies primates in a federally-protected reserve near the city of Caratinga, in Minas Gerais, Brazil and nearly all of the howler monkeys have died in her study forest. She can talk about the impact of the virus on monkeys in Brazil, and on the opportunities it has created to better understand them.