Brain Food

Brain Food: Hydrologic Systems And Forest Restoration

Jun 5, 2014
Ecological Restoration Institute

Many scientists say intense wildfires, like the Slide Fire in Oak Creek Canyon, underscore the urgency for forest restoration. Hydrogeologist Abe Springer studies how forest treatments, like thinning and prescribed burns, are impacting natural water systems. He say 80-85 percent of precipitation evaporates or transpires in northern Arizona's over crowded forests. Most of the rest runs off with very little left to recharge the aquifers.

Bonnie Stevens/KNAU

A machine that helped astronauts get used to what it feels like to walk in space is now being used at Northern Arizona University. Physical Therapy Professor Dirk de Heer says the Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmill teaches students about biomechanics.

Egbert Schwartz

Biologist Egbert Schwartz has developed a technique to identify whether micro-organisms can grow in places where no other signs of life can be found, like the rocky, icy region of Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys.

Courtesy photo

As highways, cities, canals and railroads continue to be built across the West, some natural landscapes are becoming fragmented into patches, too small to support populations of certain animals.

In the near future, so-called smart materials may eliminate the need for batteries in hybrid cars and in solar panels. Cornell Ciocanel is a mechanical engineer at Northern Arizona University. He’s developing a new smart material that’s strong enough to be used in the body of a car and also stores electricity like a battery.