Biology

Wikicommons

A new study released this month models what happen to the health of the planet when giant plants and animal vanish. It’s happened before—at the end of the last Ice Age when mammoths and enormous sloths died out. Humans likely played a part in that extinction and the researchers say Earth’s big animals today are headed for the same fate because of overhunting, habitat loss, climate change and other factors. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with Northern Arizona University’s Andrew Abraham who was one of the authors of the study.


Melissa Sevigny

Not many vegetables have a Facebook page at all, let alone with nearly 19,000 followers, but “Glass Gem” corn is special. Its translucent, rainbow-colored kernels made it an Internet sensation. Growers of this heritage crop say Glass Gem has inspired thousands of people to get involved with seed-saving and reconnect with ancient foodways. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny tells the story of how this unique corn made its way from Oklahoma to Cornville, Arizona—and from there, to the world.


Earth Notes: Leslie Goodding

Sep 25, 2019
Aven Nelson Papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming

In May 1902 a young man with a black beard and tousled hair stood beside the Muddy River in a place later submerged by the waters of Lake Mead. Leslie Goodding inspected an unusual willow tree there—shrubby with long, slender branches and festooned with dangling, pale-yellow catkins. He cut a few sprigs from the tree and clamped them into his wooden plant press.  

Judi Rochford

Forensic scientists (at least on TV shows) collect DNA to figure out who was at the scene of a crime. What if you could use the same technique to discover when a mountain lion crossed a river or what kind of fish live in a lake? A team at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott is working on that idea as a new, faster way to survey wildlife. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

Grand Canyon National Park / Erin Whittaker

Low, steady releases of water from Glen Canyon Dam are taking place this spring and summer as an experiment to increase aquatic insects on the Colorado River. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, these “bug flows” benefit the river’s ecology and might even help anglers catch more fish.


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