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Hippo waste causes fish kills in Africa’s Mara River

Ecologists have long known that agricultural and sewage pollution can cause low oxygen conditions and fish kills in rivers. A study published today in Nature Communications reports that hippo waste can have a similar effect in Africa’s Mara River, which passes through the world renowned Maasai Mara National Reserve of Kenya, home to more than 4,000 hippos.

Mycorrhizae

Most folks don't realize it, but the roots of plants are connected underground by a vast network of fungi that improve the function of plant roots. The fungi exist in what is known as a symbiosis—both the fungus and the plant benefit. The fungus gets its energy from the plant, and the plant gains access to soil nutrients by the action of the fungus.

Lyme Disease

Climate change and warming temperatures are broadening the range of suitable tick habitat. As ticks move north, they're bringing Lyme and other diseases with them. As ticks are beginning to emerge, it is time to heighten vigilance; check yourself, your children, and pets regularly.

Together we can get our freshwaters off drugs

Pharmaceuticals are found in surface waters around the world. These compounds evade wastewater treatment infrastructure, pollute drinking water, and impact aquatic ecosystems. Here are some steps you can take to help stem the tide of pharmaceutical pollution.

Road salt pollutes drinking water wells in suburban New York State

Study reveals hotspots and landscape features linked to elevated salt in wells

Rats, cats, and people trade-off as main course for mosquitoes in Baltimore, MD

Social and ecological dynamics of neighborhoods influence who mosquitoes bite

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Wood pellets: Renewable, but not carbon neutral

A return to firewood is bad for forests and the climate. So reports William Schlesinger, President Emeritus of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, in an Insights article published today in the journal Science.

Long Lake, MI

Carbon and cannibalism: What happens to bass when you increase the amount of decomposing plant debris in an experimental lake

Lakes across the northern hemisphere are getting darker; causes include heavier rains, changes in land use patterns, and recovery from acid rain. Cary Institute ecologist Chris Solomon is working to advance understanding of how lake browning impacts fishery productivity. Recent work explores the role of phantom midges and bass cannibalism in this complex system.

redwing

Phenology

The science of phenology is now advancing with the lengthening record of the Earth's greenness, snowcover and temperature from satellites and other sensors.

Long-term monitoring is essential to effective environmental policy

Environmental policy guided by science saves lives, money, and ecosystems. So reports a team of eleven senior researchers in Environmental Science & Policy. Using air pollution in the United States as a case study, they highlight the success of cleanup strategies backed by long-term environmental monitoring. 

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Renewable futures

I had to chuckle over the recent Wall Street Journal report that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had rejected Trump's plans to subsidize the coal and nuclear power industries—to prop them up as a campaign promise. The agency is mainly composed of Trump's own appointees. So sad.

In urban streams, pharmaceutical pollution is driving microbial resistance

In urban streams, persistent pharmaceutical pollution can cause aquatic microbial communities to become resistant to drugs.

solar panels

An experiment with clean air

As we hear pressures to roll back some of the provisions that ensure clean air, largely in pursuit of unfettered economic activity, it is worth spending a little time reflecting on the benefits of clean air to human health. A long list of gases that exacerbate asthma, emphysema, and COP, such as ozone and nitric oxide, are known irritants and oxidizers of lung tissue. 

Fire hydrant covered in road salt. Image by Allison Cekala.

US rivers and streams are compromised by increasing salt loads

Human activities are exposing US rivers and streams to a cocktail of salts, with consequences for infrastructure and drinking water supplies.

Lake Mohonk and Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY

Understanding the world's lakes takes center stage at GLEON 19

More than 240 scientists and researchers from around the world recently descended on the Hudson Valley to strengthen an international partnership aimed at studying and understanding the world’s lakes.

North America's Lakes are getting saltier

North America’s freshwater lakes are getting saltier. The culprits: development and road salt. So reports an extensive study of 371 lakes conducted by a team of researchers in the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) Graduate Student Fellowship Program, an initiative led by Cary Institute scientist Kathleen Weathers. 

Research Experiences for Undergraduates: Celebrating 30 years

The Cary Institute is home to one of the longest running Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs in the nation. Since 1987, more than 300 students have spent a summer conducting independent research with a Cary mentor. 

birds

Citizen science, range maps, and conservation

Effective conservation begins with a keen understanding of where species live and what environmental conditions they need to survive. Using new modeling techniques fueled by citizen science, Vijay Ramesh and colleagues have developed a data-driven method to accurately map where species live so that these areas, and the species within them, can be protected. 

rosi and berkowitz BES

Greening Charm City

The Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) is a National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network site directed by Cary’s Emma Rosi. 

Spotlights

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds work at the frontiers of science. Proposals selected for funding must pass a rigorous and objective merit-review system. We are thrilled to congratulate four Cary scientists on their recent receipt of NSF awards.

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From our President

It is an exciting time at the Cary Institute. Our strategic plan is in full implementation, and we are hiring staff and making plans to modernize our facilities. New scientists will strengthen our world-class research program, and investments in conference space, labs, and technology will enable us to continue advancing the science needed for environmental solutions. 

wildebeest

Wildebeest feed the Mara River

Africa’s Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is home to one of the largest overland animal migrations in the world. Each year, more than a million wildebeest journey between Tanzania and Kenya in search of food and water.

Pharmaceutical pollution accumulates in watersheds

Low dose, constant drip: Pharmaceuticals & personal care products impact aquatic life

When it comes to common chemicals in streams, the dose doesn't always make the poison for aquatic life

$2M NSF grant harnesses big data & AI to advance disease prevention

Team to develop tools to map areas at risk of zoonotic disease outbreaks with new NSF grant

preventing lyme disease: the tick project

NYS Senator highlights recommendations in Lyme disease report

Podcast

Two New York state senators released a report last week aimed at combating the spread of Lyme and tick-borne diseases. Disease ecologist Rick Ostfeld commends the report, but offers suggestions for improving it.

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