This holiday season, you better watch out — for ticks. Unusually high fall temperatures in the northeastern United States have let blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis), also known as deer ticks, remain active later into December than usual.
Dr. Joshua Ginsberg, President of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, joined with partners from five other research institutions to host “Science for a Sustainable World” a reception to launch the Science Policy Exchange (SPE).
Scientists estimate that almost 75 percent of new (and re-emerging) diseases affecting humans at the beginning of the 21st Century were transmitted through animals. Among these so-called "zoonotic" diseases are AIDS, SARS, H5N2 avian flu and H1N1, or swine flu.
Here in the Hudson Valley, nature’s harvest has been abundant. Nuts and fruits will help wildlife fuel their southern migrations or stock their winter larders. Not every year produces such a bounty; this season’s bumper crop of wild foods will impact local plants and animals for years to come.
This spring, Cary Institute educators hosted two Data Jams, one in New York’s Hudson Valley and the other in Baltimore, Maryland. Both competitions, now in their second year, challenge middle and high school students to interpret ecological data and creatively communicate their findings to general audiences.
The Grand Canyon reach of the Colorado River meanders through one of the most remote ecosystems in the United States. It would be easy to assume steep canyon walls and uninhabited shores resulted in pristine waters. But research by Cary Institute’s Dr. Emma Rosi-Marshall and colleagues has found that this isolated part of the Colorado harbors toxic levels of mercury and selenium.
In 1997, Cary Institute Distinguished Senior Scientist Steward T. A. Pickett formed the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES), one of only two National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research sites in an urban setting. Under his direction, BES has grown into an interdisciplinary team of more than 150 researchers and collaborators advancing an understanding of how to achieve sustainable, resilient cities.
Alan Berkowitz will lead education activities for the Urban Water Innovation Network (UWIN), a consortium of 14 institutions recently awarded $12 million dollars by the National Science Foundation to address threats to urban water systems. Led by Colorado State, partners include the Cary Institute, Princeton University, University of California – Berkeley, University of Maryland – Baltimore County, Arizona State, and Oregon State.
Wikipedia reigns. It’s the world’s most popular online encyclopedia, the sixth most visited website in America, and a source most students rely on. But, according to a recent paper by Dr. Gene E. Likens, Cary Institute President Emeritus, Wikipedia entries on politically controversial science can be unreliable.
Summer was a bustling and productive time at the Cary Institute. Rick Ostfeld’s field crew continued their mammal and tick surveys – work essential to understanding the ecology of tick-borne disease. Visiting scientist Ken Schmidt and his team spent their 18th season investigating the ecology and behavior of veeries.
Imagine a world where a computer program could pinpoint the next infectious disease outbreak, guiding response efforts and saving lives. Cary Institute disease ecologist Dr. Barbara Han is bringing this vision closer to reality.
This summer, the Cary Institute offered a special two-week camp exploring the interface between ecology and art. Cary educators teamed with George Kaye of Ecographs and Laurie Seeman of Strawtown Studio to add a new dimension to stream studies.
When you think of urban planning and design, the U.S. Forest Service likely isn't the first federal agency that comes to mind. But with upwards of 70 percent of the world's population projected to live in cities by 2050, the Forest Service is not only paying attention to urban ecosystems, they're hoping to help shape urban design and planning around them.
Beavers, once valued for their fur, may soon have more appreciation in the Northeastern United States. There they are helping prevent harmful levels of nitrogen from reaching the area's vulnerable estuaries. By creating ponds that slow down the movement of water, they aid in removing nitrogen from the water.
I'd like to beg your indulgence to share a few personal thoughts today that were inspired by the recent passing of my friend Scott Meyer. Scott ran the Merritt Bookstore in Millbrook, and was one of the most inquisitive and optimistic people I've ever met.
In April 2014, just after world health officials identified a series of suspicious deaths in Guinea as an outbreak of Ebola, 10 ecologists, 4 veterinarians, and an anthropologist traveled to a Guinean village named Meliandou. Theirs was a detective mission to determine how this outbreak began. How had "patient zero," a 2-year-old boy named Emile, contracted the Ebola virus?
In the Hudson Valley, our forests have been shaped by human activities, which have often altered and hidden the roles played by natural processes like climate and soil fertility. For thousands of years, we have been manipulating local plant communities.
Many people don't give a lot of thought to some of the forest animals that may be crossing a road or trying to scurry out of the way as a car comes speeding around a corner. Well, there may be a lot more thought given to opossums, now that they have been connected to being the saviors of human beings against Lyme disease.
Diseases spread by ticks are on the rise around the world, spurred by a combination of factors, including shifting climates and population sprawl into rural areas. Reported cases of Lyme, the most common US tick-borne illness, have nearly tripled in the country since 1992.
Urban ecologists attribute the swell of interest in their discipline to multiple factors, including the realization that human actions are warming the planet, that people are migrating to cities in increasing numbers and evidence that the study of urban ecosystems provides important and practical insights.
If you type anything scientific into Google, the chances are that Wikipedia will be prominently placed in the search results. The fact that other encyclopedias don't get a look in is a sign of just how popular the site is, with crowd-sourced wisdom trusted ahead of the knowledge of select specialists.
Long before our current politicized battles over the science of climate change, vaccines and evolution, there was an older generation of political science fights — over the health effects of smoking and the environmental costs of acid rain and the depletion of the Earth's ozone layer, to name a few.