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Bug Hunt

Every July, for four years running, Shannon LaDeau inspected nine ceramic toilets sitting idly in a vacant lot behind a building, near a block of abandoned lots and houses on the edge of the West Baltimore neighborhood of Franklin Square. No, she is not weird. This was for science.

mirror lake

Lakes are being a-salted

During winter storms, snowplows rumble along the roads ringing New Hampshire's Mirror Lake. A spray of salt whirls out from behind each truck—sodium chloride settles on the frozen asphalt and helps break up the ice. Road salt is great for combatting winter's hazards, but it's a tool with potentially devastating consequences. A

Lyme disease’s worst enemy? It might be foxes

It is August, the month when a new generation of black-legged ticks that transmit Lyme and other diseases are hatching. On forest floors, suburban estates and urban parks, they are looking for their first blood meal. 

Wildebeest drownings feed a river ecosystem for years

More than a million wildebeests migrate each year in East Africa, moving from Tanzania to Kenya and back again. These antelopes, also known as gnus (NEUZ), follow the rains and abundant grass that will later spring up.

mouse

Why this adorable mouse is to blame for the spread of Lyme disease

White-footed mice — known for their wide eyes and ears, long tails and snow-white bellies and the feet from which they get their name — are often overlooked by humans, hiding out by the billions in U.S. forests, shrubby thickets and even wooded wetlands. But there's one creature that knows them well: the tick.

abandoned buildings

The hidden inequality of mosquito bites

Living in a low-income neighborhood means dealing with all manner of injustices that richer people don't have to deal with — from low life expectancy to worse air quality to earsplitting noise to slower Internet speeds.

With a tick boom, it’s not just Lyme disease you have to fear

Everybody knows about Lyme disease. But experts say the Northern United States may be in for a bad tick season this summer, raising concerns about Lyme and other scary tick-borne diseases, including the Powassan virus, which causes encephalitis and can leave people with permanent neurological damage.

Tick towns: Researchers target neighborhoods in Lyme effort

With a bumper crop of blacklegged ticks possible this season, researchers in a Lyme disease-plagued part of New York's Hudson Valley are tackling tick problems across entire neighborhoods with fungal sprays and bait boxes. The $8.8 million, five-year project aims to find out if treating 24 neighborhoods in Dutchess County for ticks, also known as deer ticks, can significantly reduce cases of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

How wildebeest deaths sustain the Mara ecosystem

From documentaries to real life, the mass carnage of the wildebeest in migration is a natural phenomenon that remains the world's largest terrestrial animal migration.

lyme rash

Why you should really be scared of ticks this summer

Ecologists at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in the Hudson Valley say tick populations are slated to be the highest in years due to a wet winter two years ago, which offered ample acorns for the Lyme disease-carrying mice that ticks feed on.

storks

This river kills thousands of wildebeests — then gives life to everything else.

African wildebeests are like clueless couples that get hacked to pieces in horror movies. Time after time, year after year, giant herds of the animals creep to the edge of the Mara River in Kenya and start to drink, seemingly oblivious to danger.

Marabou storks

How 2 million pounds of rotting flesh helps the Serengeti

For wildebeest, the yearly migration across the Serengeti can mean life or death. Predators such as crocodiles and big cats lie in wait as the herd of more than one million makes its 1,000-mile loop across the savannas of Tanzania and Kenya.

Today, even US water is overly medicated-these scientists want to change that

Sylvia Lee, PhD, is a scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York. She has access to an unusual-yet essential-set of laboratory equipment: a whole greenhouse filled with white fiberglass bathtubs. 

The 'slow motion crisis' that's facing US forests

The U.S. is subject to the introduction of 2.5 new invasive insects into its forests ever year, according to a comprehensive analysis of this problem by Gary Lovett of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and a group of 15 colleagues. And that number is just for insects — it doesn't count diseases, such as sudden oak death.

ticks

Prepare for a Bad Summer for Ticks

Milder winters, burgeoning mice and deer populations and a bumper acorn crop from two years ago mean this year's tick season is expected to be bad and more widespread, experts say. With that comes the threat of more tick-borne diseases, including the most common, Lyme disease.

Road salt is putting North America’s lakes at risk

In the 1940s, Americans found a new way to love salt. Not simply for sprinkling on food — we'd acquired a taste for the mineral long before that — but for spreading on roads and sidewalks. Salt became a go-to method to de-ice frozen pavement.

lyme map

Lyme disease is set to explode and we still don’t have a vaccine

A new prediction says 2017 and 2018 will see major Lyme disease outbreaks in new areas. This could lead to lifelong health consequences, so where's the vaccine?

forest

Will climate change affect forest ecology?

For many of us, winter in the Northeast means cold temperatures and piles of snow, drifting through forests and across fields. It’s hard to imagine that winter here could be different, but the prospect of climate change has scientists asking just what our winters might look like in the future – and how those changes might influence forest ecology.

black-legged tick

Climate change could be increasing the footprint of Lyme disease

One implication of the warm weather is that it attracts mice, which also harbor the ticks and bacteria that cause Lyme disease: 2017 is expected to be a very risky Lyme disease season.

ticks

Forbidding forecast for Lyme disease in the Northeast

Rick Ostfeld and Felicia Keesing have been studying Lyme disease and ways to stop it for more than 20 years. The couple has come up with a way to predict how bad a Lyme season will be a full year in advance.

mosquito

Zika may be spread by 35 mosquito species, says study

Zika virus could be transmitted by 35 mosquito species, including 26 previously unsuspected ones, according to a new predictive model created by scientists.

water warning

Trump to order water rule to be reconsidered

President Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday directing federal agencies to channel the wisdom of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in reconsidering an Obama administration rule that expanded Washington’s jurisdiction over state and local waterways under the Clean Water Act.

rainforest

Why killer viruses are on the rise

The world is now in uncharted territory when it comes to infectious diseases. We're facing a whole new era. Over the past century, the number of new infectious diseases cropping up each year has nearly quadrupled. The number of outbreaks per year has more than tripled.

chemicals

Science is falling woefully behind in testing new chemicals

Recently, a PBS documentary about Rachel Carson's life made headlines. Her seminal work Silent Springwhich documented the detrimental effects of pesticides—still stands as a pillar of the modern environmental movement. But a new report suggests that science has been struggling to stay afloat in a rapidly growing sea of chemicals.

firewood

Study: Invasive bugs found in fallen trees years after storm

They may be down but they're not out: Damaging insects can emerge from fallen trees and logs for several years after a major storm, according to a U.S. Forest Service study that reinforces longstanding warnings against moving firewood from place to place.

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