Welcome Back, Kyle Riordan!

Graduate student and former hyrax midden hunter Kyle Riordan will rejoin the ASOM Team in August to coordinate laboratory and sedimentological analysis. (Kyle is the one on the left!)

French Mission visits Rock Art Discovered by ASOM Field Team

Omani Ministry of Heritage and Culture representative Ali Ahmad Al-Kathiri reports that a French archaeological team has visited the rock art our ASOM team documented in at Mthbon in November 2019. Much in need of dedicated research attention, this rock art stretches along one of the eastern upper tributaries to Wadi Darbat. We hope the French Mission with its expertise in paleography and epigraphy will take on further study!

New PhD for Abigail Buffington

Congratulations to Abby Buffington who passed the oral defense of her dissertation, Using Phytolith Assemblages to Detect a Pastoral Niche in the Vegetation Communities and Plant Exploitation Strategies of Early-Middle Holocene Herders in Wadi Sana, Yemen.

Drew Arbogast admitted to graduate programs

ASOM Team undergraduate Drew Arbogast has been offered a graduate place in the OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources to study conservation. He has also been accepted at University of Iowa. Congratulations Drew! (We hate to lose you!)

Annalee Sekulic Receives Eleanor Ruffington McMahon Travel Grant

Awarded by the OSU College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, the Eleanor Ruffington McMahon Award supports undergraduate women honors scholars’ travel to present at conferences. Annalee receives more than the usual cap of $500 to present her research  at the April 2019 Society for Ethnobiology. Congratulations Annalee!

Abigail Buffington receives Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring Award

Congratulations Abby! Abby has mentored six undergraduates in McCorriston’s laboratory, and several have gone on to great achievements–Anna and Craig to graduate study, Drew to scholarships and an honors’ thesis, Annalee to win scholarships and travel awards. Accolades and all our appreciation to Abby.

ASOM Research at the Ohio Statehouse Rotunda

ASOM researcher Annalee Sekulic was among 26 students selected to present at the Second Ohio State Undergraduate Research Day at Capitol Square. Here’s Annalee next to her poster on the macroremains from hyrax middens in Oman:

Emergent Sustainability in Open Property Regimes

Mark Moritz, Ian Hamilton and colleagues published their paper Emergent Sustainability in Open Property Regimes in PNAS. In the paper, they compared eight cases with more or less open access to common-pool resources to develop a theoretical model that explains under what conditions one can expect the emergence of sustainability in open property regimes. Here is a link to the paper and here is the abstract:

Current theoretical models of the commons assert that common-pool resources can only be managed sustainably with clearly defined boundaries around both communities and the resources they use. In these theoretical models, open access inevitably leads to a tragedy of the commons. However, in many open-access systems, use of common-pool resources appears to be sustainable over the long term, i.e., current resource use does not threaten use of common-pool resources for future generations. In this paper, we outline the conditions that support sustainable resource use in open property regimes. We use the conceptual framework of complex adaptive systems to explain how processes within and couplings between human and natural systems can lead to the emergence of efficient, equitable and sustainable resource use. We illustrate these dynamics in eight case studies of different social-ecological systems including mobile pastoralism, marine and freshwater fisheries, swidden agriculture, and desert foraging. Our theoretical framework identifies eight conditions that are critical for the emergence of sustainable use of common-pool resources in open property regimes. In addition, we explain how changes in boundary conditions may push open property regimes either to common property regimes or a tragedy of the commons. Our theoretical model of emergent sustainability helps to understand the diversity and dynamics of property regimes across a wide range of social-ecological systems and explains the enigma of open access without a tragedy. We recommend that policy interventions in such self-organizing systems should focus on managing the conditions that are critical for the emergence and persistence of sustainability.

Lawrence joins the team

Hi, I’m Lawrence and I’ve recently joined the ASOM team as a post-doctoral researcher within the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology. I am joining the team to assist with the agent-based modelling – specifically to inform a model of the present-day pastoral system.

I have been conducting research in Dhofar for a few years. Initially, I was involved in research expeditions to study the biodiversity in a wadi system in western Dhofar. Our Anglo-Omani team worked their socks off and were rewarded with this stunning footage of several large mammal species including the critically endangered Arabian leopard. Read about the expeditions here.

For my MSc and PhD my research addressed the issue of overstocking of camels, cattle and goats – the impacts of which are apparent throughout Dhofar. More specifically, I looked at the socio-ecological system driving overstocking, and its impacts on the drought deciduous cloud forest habitat.

It’s great to be surrounded by so many enthusiastic individuals involved in research in Dhofar, and I look forward to my time here at OSU (provided Arctic blasts are limited to one per year, brrr).