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The key to stopping Ebola? Using machine learning to track infected bats

Over the course of the past year or so, there have been a number of incredible tech projects aimed at stopping the spread of Ebola. One approach that we’ve never come across before, however, involves plotting the possible spread of Ebola and other “filoviruses” of the same family by predicting which bat species they’re most likely to be carried by

Soil acidity mitigation study takes surprise turn

As an investigation by scientists at Duke University and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies shows, the value of long-term studies can't be understated. In it, investigators looking at the impacts of acid rain on the soil acidity of a New Hampshire forest found that everything behaved as expected for about a decade. But after that, the system went haywire.

First maps of diseases which spread from animals to humans

There are many infections in humans which originate from animals. Diseases which spread in this way are called zoonoses. Zika is one example and was first discovered in a monkey with a mild fever in the Zika forest in Uganda in the 1940s. Another is Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome or MERS – which originates in camels.

Deadly diseases can jump from animals to humans. These maps show where that might happen next.

Of all the ailments that plague people, the majority began like these three: with a bacteria, virus, parasite or other pathogen that jumped from an innocuous animal host to the human population. But there's no global database documenting where these kinds of infections — called zoonoses — might be lying in wait.

credit: Andrea_44 via flickr

These maps could help predict the next big animal-to-human disease outbreak

When it comes to emerging diseases, the Zika virus is just the tip of the iceberg. New research has revealed several hot spots around the world where diseases are most likely to move from wildlife—wild mammals, specifically—into the human population. 

Tree-smart trade is critical

In the Adirondacks and the Catskills, beech bark disease is taking out the largest beeches. Emerald ash borer, a little beetle that has killed over 100 million ash trees in the Midwest, is now active throughout the state, including the Capital Region.

Cary Institute scientist says SE NY Is prime target of forest pests

A forest ecologist from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Dutchess County is the lead author of a paper about imported forest pests. Cary Institute and Harvard Forest led a team of scientists for the research. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with Cary Institute Senior Scientist Dr. Gary Lovett about the report’s findings.

More forest pests than ever are entering the U.S., and it’s costing the public a fortune

In the 20th century, chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease decimated billions of U.S. trees, in forests and along urban and suburban streets. The tree diseases, caused by invasive pests, effectively changed the face of one American city landscape after another—chestnut trees were virtually wiped out and elms diminished to but a few locations—and cost local governments and homeowners a fortune.

The ‘slow motion crisis’ that’s facing U.S. forests

Last week, a group of researchers published saddening news about "sudden oak death," spread by an invasive water mold, that has killed over a million trees in coastal California. The pathogen, they found, simply cannot be stopped — though it can still be contained, and the harm mitigated. But it is too extensively established now in California to eradicate.

What it would take to stop invasive pests from destroying millions of U.S. trees

When cheap consumer goods arrive on American shores, they sometimes bring invasive parasites that go on to decimate forests and urban trees. A new study, out Tuesday in the journal Ecological Applications, synthesizes the information available on the true costs of these species and lays out the best available policy responses.

Cary Institute, Bard receive grant for large-scale tick control study

Two institutions in the Hudson Valley have received a $5 million grant for a large-scale study aimed at reducing tick populations and Lyme disease. The five-year project is the first to explore Lyme disease management for entire communities.

Beating Zika in the wild

Fighting mosquitoes is no walk in the park. A disease ecologist describes the landscape of mosquito-borne diseases here in the United States.

Water a key factor in Zika virus spread

The World Health Organization on Monday declared the spread of the Zika virus to be a public health emergency of international concern due to its potential link to microcephaly, a birth defect that causes abnormal head and brain development.

The serious downsides of road salt

Storm Jonas made it clear how important road salt is for keeping the streets and sidewalks of New York City clear of snow and ice. The Department of Sanitation had more than 300,000 tons of it on hand to deal with Jonas, more than the weight of three aircraft carriers.

City lights, urban sprawl, and uncovering the future of ecology with Dr. Peter Groffman

"For a long time in environmental science we've done a pretty good job of keeping people outside the box of ecosystems" says Dr. Peter Groffman, who studies the microbial and chemical ecology of urban landscapes and waterways.

Dr. Joshua Ginsberg on the Paris Agreement

Recently we asked Dr. Joshua Ginsberg, president of the Cary Institute, for his thoughts about the Paris climate change accord, or the Paris Agreement, signed by 195 nations in December. Although he admits that there are flaws — it falls short of the reductions in greenhouse gasses scientists believe necessary and is a voluntary, and therefore non-binding, agreement — he believes it is “a real step forward” that establishes a framework for moving ahead.

Got dams or culverts? Speak up and help save fish

A public-private partnership is hoping to make travel a bit easier for Hudson Valley fish by figuring out all the places where fish can't get there from here, and then fixing as many of them as possible.

There's a secret world under the snow, and it's in trouble

As much of the U.S. East Coast continues to dig out from last week's historic blizzard, it's easy to think of snow as a disruptive force that causes normal life to come to a standstill. While that might be true for large cities and the people who live in them, it is not true for wildlife—especially wild animals that have long made their homes in the fields and forests

Lake Poopo

Bolivia’s second-largest lake has evaporated

What was once Bolivia's second-largest lake is now almost entirely gone, turned into a barren expanse of salty earth that's littered with dead fish and abandoned boats.

Cool science (very cool) examines how ice storms may shape the future of northern forests

A team of scientists in New Hampshire succeeded this week in capturing one of nature's most destructive forces - ice - and corralling it in two large research plots on the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest.

Lake Poopo

Bolivia's second largest lake has dried out. Can it be saved?

Bolivia's second largest lake, Poopó, has all but dried up, threatening the livelihood of fishing communities and spelling ecological disaster for hundreds of species. The Bolivian government is blaming dry weather spurred by El Niño and a changing climate, but that's not the whole story.

Cary scientists win prestigious John H. Martin Award

The John H. Martin Award recognizes a paper in aquatic sciences that is judged to have had a high impact on subsequent research in the field. The 2016 Martin Award is for "Carbon dioxide supersaturation in the surface waters of lakes" by Jonathan Cole, Nina Caraco, George Kling and Tim Kratz. Cole et al (1994) documented that lakes are often supersaturated with CO2 and focused attention on inland waters as sources of carbon to the atmosphere.

bats

Hunt for Ebola’s wild hideout takes off as epidemic wanes

With the official end of Ebola transmission across West Africa anticipated on 14 January, an epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people in 2 years may be starting to fade into history. But that does not mean that Ebola has disappeared. The virus remains hidden in animal reservoirs, and is almost certain to spill over into humans again.

Better watch out for ticks this holiday season

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.

Will climate change = more disease?

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.

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