2018 News Archive

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

Road salt applied during the winter lingers in the environment, where it can pollute drinking water supplies. A recent study reveals hotspots and landscape features linked to elevated salt in wells.

Urban Plant Diversity

It's spring and a young man's fancy may turn to.......gardening. Of course, it is tempting to find ornamental plants that no one else has in the neighborhood, so a significant fraction of the nursery trade focuses on exotics—species that do not occur locally.

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

Social and ecological dynamics of neighborhoods influence who mosquitoes bite

air pollution

Particulate Pollution

Increasingly we recognize the impacts of small airborne particles on our health. Breathing particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter, known as PM2.5, is estimated to cause more than 3 million deaths per year worldwide.

wood pellets

Are wood pellets a green fuel?

James Watt's steam engine vaulted coal to its major role as a fuel for the Industrial Revolution. In more recent years, about 40 percent of the world's electricity has been generated in coal-fired power plants, consuming more than 80 percent of the coal mined each year.

biomass

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. 

plastic on beach

Microplastics

With some 300 million tons of plastic products produced annually, it is not surprising that plastic is ubiquitous debris in the environment. Plastic bags hang in the trees in New York City and blow across the barren lands of the Mojave desert.

windmill

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.

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.

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. 

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