The drought continues and our ponds shrink at Trinity River Audubon Center. I'm torn between fascination about the process and worried for the life and diversity that we've worked so hard to nurture. The floodplain ponds will come back with the first flood -- and they're the ones with the highest diversity. But the ponds that were gone had a fairly low diversity... they were young ponds (deliberately formed during the brownfield remediation process, backed with a waterproof cloth, and planted (basically environmentally created swimming pools) and were just starting to develop.
University of Alberta researcher David Bressler has an idea for the future of recycling.
Using throwaway parts of beef carcasses that were sidelined from the value-added production process after Mad-cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE) damaged the Canadian beef industry in 2003, Bressler has collaborated with industry, government and other researchers to forge cattle proteins into heavy-duty plastics that could soon be used in everything from car parts to CD cases.
Assuming you don't have the space for a smelly compost heap but want to be as environmentally responsible as possible, what’s the most
responsible way to dispose of a banana peel, or any other food waste?
A new study about the impact of various food waste disposal systems says putting it into a garbage disposer results in lower global warming potential than putting it in the trash and sending it to a landfill.
“What do you think we’ll fight World War III over?”
It was an interesting question for a third date, and the first thing my (now ex-) boyfriend and I disagreed on. I said “cheap oil” and he answered “water.”
Our difference of opinion was largely a product of our upbringings. I was raised on thunderstorms and flooded basements back East, while he grew up amid droughts and “water wars” in California.
Months after we parted ways, I was reminded of that conversation as I drove through California’s Central Valley, past billboards plastered with water propaganda and tractors shadowed by dust clouds.
As with everything, my insatiable curiosity leads me to adventures. This past week I went on a hike to one of the remote areas of Trinity River Audubon Center to view a pond that I hadn't seen before (because you have to hack your way through a lot of brush to get there, and I'd never gotten around to it.) It's been hot here in Texas (you may have noticed) but the sight of the pond itself was eerie. The shores had receded nearly 40 feet in some areas and there were dead carp (skeletons) strewn on the shoreline and at least 40 large dead mussels. Wading birds were wading in the water, but it wasn't very deep water.
Large amounts of research and money have been invested in the development of transgenic, or GM (genetically modified) crops. These crops are genetically engineered to withstand drought, excessive rain or other weather conditions, or to improve their yield or increase their rate of development, or to express certain toxins that would limit the amount of insects feeding on them.
The great thing about being a scientist is that you have more adventures than anyone else! Today I took along the kids from the Lone Star Adventure Camp on a bug hike at the Trinity River Audubon Center, exploring the insect (grasshoppers in particular) diversity of the area around Catttail Pond. Earlier in the summer when I did bug hunts with YMCA camps, I had noticed that the grasshoppers caught near the building (where we have a lot of switchgrass and Sideoats gramma) seemed to represent a different population than the ones caught some twenty yards away, where the area was mostly Johnson grass. It'd be difficult to collect a pack of adults willing to go hike in the sun for 90 minutes to check out this idea, but kids -- ah, kids are up for adventure, sun, and catching c
Modern tissue engineering techniques could enable the development and production of meat grown, or ‘cultured’, in the lab. This research into in vitro meat (see figure 1 for an example) has its roots in experiments conducted by NASA, and since then, the idea has slowly trickled into the focus of other research groups (at the moment, the main hubs of activity appear to universities in the Netherlands). But even as early as 1930, Churchill has said:
Fifty years hence, we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.
Rice accounts for nearly half the daily calories for the world's population but crops are at risk from tsunamis and tidal surges and perhaps future unknown effects of climate change.
But naturally occurring fungi called endophytes might come to the rescue.
In an effort to explore ways to increase the adaptability of rice to disasters that have already led to rice shortages, USGS researchers and their colleagues colonized two commercial varieties of rice with the spores of fungi that exist naturally within native coastal (salt-tolerant) and geothermal (heat-tolerant) plants.