The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the start of a new moose research project in the Adirondack region. This winter, 14 moose were fitted with GPS collars as part of a multi-year project assessing moose health and population. [Read more…] about Adirondack Moose Research Project Launched
As I stroll through the cemetery near my home on a snowy day, splashes of golden orange, bright as daylilies in July, pop from the gray stones. These patches are elegant sunburst lichens, which provide a vibrant example of just how colorful lichens can be. Lichens come in a wonderful range of colors, from the subtle pale green of old man’s beard to the brilliant yellow of goldspeck lichens. While these colors can be beautiful, they are also useful, as the pigments block harmful ultraviolet rays, allow lichens to absorb light as heat, and protect them from harmful microbes. [Read more…] about Colorful Lichens
DEC has launched an ArcGIS Dashboard to provide stakeholders with a simple and direct platform to access data and information relevant to the Upper Susquehanna Basin and Chesapeake Bay TMDL in New York State. [Read more…] about Upper Susquehanna Watershed Dashboard Launched
We’re told that diamonds are eternal, but it turns out that glitter, which is just as sparkly and way cheaper, could be equally enduring. Parents, teachers and day-care providers know that despite their efforts to wash the stuff down the drain, glitter will inevitably wind up in their breakfast, their eyes, or on the lapels of their business suit worn to a crucial meeting with the boss.
I never would have imagined that glitter could be a pollutant of concern. At my age I need glasses to find a postage stamp – it’s a long shot that I could help pick up glitter. It seems fair to ask whether there aren’t bigger fish to fry. [Read more…] about Microplastics: All That Glitters Isn’t Green
When clients call about decay in large older trees, every so often it’s necessary to respond that I’m not interested in hearing any lip from them. I do this respectfully of course.
It’s a frequent misconception that the roll of callus tissue or “lip” that trees produce at the margins of a wound will cause, or at least accelerate, trunk rot by catching and holding a small amount of rainwater.
It makes perfect sense to us that if an open tree wound is allowed to stay wet for longer, it will decay faster. We all know that a stack of wood exposed to the elements will turn punky in a few years, whereas if it’s kept in a dry shed it can last indefinitely. [Read more…] about Lips and Walls: Digging into Tree Decay
I tell him that if he could pull back the earth like a blanket and peek in, he might see a small, mousey ball of white, black, and yellowy-orange fur curled tightly inside a nest of dried grasses and dead leaves.
A long, sparsely-furred tail would be coiled like a thin ribbon around this little package: a woodland jumping mouse, whose pre-hibernation diet consists largely of truffles. [Read more…] about Woodland Jumping Mice are Truffle Specialists
In mid-October of this year, a team of German scientists published a report on their work injecting tadpole noggins with algae.
This enabled the tiny brains (of amphibians, not researchers) to photosynthesize when exposed to light, flooding neurons with oxygen and rendering the frog-babies more intelligent. Or at least not brain-dead, which those tadpoles were before being converted to plant-imals. [Read more…] about Algae Injections: Synthetic Photosynthesis
The relationship between politics and science has always been complicated, and at times, disastrous.
The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by the British scientist Francis Galton who advocated that society should promote the marriage of the “fittest” individuals by providing monetary incentives.
Numerous intellectuals and political leaders (Winston Churchill and John Maynard Keynes in Britain; Woodrow Wilson and Alexander Graham Bell in the United States) came to accept the idea that society should strive for the improvement of the human race through governmental intervention. [Read more…] about Lethal Chambers: The Curse of Anglo-American Eugenics
My German mother was a highly superstitious soul, especially when it came to the natural world. Case in point, one day a “fairy ring” of mushrooms appeared in our yard. My mother became agitated and told me not to disturb the ring, for it was a “hexenringe” – a place, she believed, where witches gathered and dire consequences would befall anyone entering or tampering with it.
Fairy rings have a rich history in European folklore and myth. Austrians claimed the rings were created where dragons rested, while the Dutch saw them as a place where the devil churned his milk. [Read more…] about The Science of Fairy Rings, Free and Tethered
Burning fuel, like wood and gasoline, happens around the world every day. Most of the time, we burn fuels to make heat or power engines. Sometimes the burning happens by accident, as in the case of wildfires.
Most of the time, the process of burning fuels creates emissions in the form of visible smoke. Black carbon is a significant component of fine particulate matter pollution and a key ingredient in “soot.” [Read more…] about Black Carbon: Some History & Science of Soot