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Communities can do more through 'Climate Smart' initiative

In 2009, the New York State Department of Conservation launched the Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare New Yorkers for the effects of climate change.

Lake Sunapee

Landsat 8 as a tool for monitoring algal blooms

In a new study, researchers investigate how advances in remote sensing technology can be used to predict and monitor algal blooms before they turn harmful. Using satellites that detect chlorophyll, which is present in algae, they are developing ways to monitor water quality from outer space.

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.

8 facts about the ecology of Lyme

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. In the Northeast, the blacklegged ticks that spread Lyme disease are increasing their range, putting more people in harm’s way. 

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.

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 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.

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. 

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. 

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