Sci/tech

New studies quantify the impacts of water use on diversity of fish and aquatic insects in NC streams
February 22, 2017 11:47 AM - RTI International

The health of fish and aquatic insects could be significantly affected by withdrawals of fresh water from the rivers and streams across North Carolina according to a new scientific assessment.

A series of studies were conducted by a team of researchers, led by Jennifer Phelan, Ph.D., a senior ecologist at RTI International, to understand the relationships between changes in streamflow and the diversity of fish and richness of aquatic insects.

Dream of energy-collecting windows is one step closer to reality
February 22, 2017 10:55 AM - University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering

Discovery could lower cost and expand possibilities for building-integrated solar energy collection

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Milano-Bicocca are bringing the dream of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy one step closer to reality thanks to high tech silicon nanoparticles.

The researchers developed technology to embed the silicon nanoparticles into what they call efficient luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs). These LSCs are the key element of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy. When light shines through the surface, the useful frequencies of light are trapped inside and concentrated to the edges where small solar cells can be put in place to capture the energy.

The research is published today in Nature Photonics, a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Nature Publishing Group.

OFFSHORE WIND PUSH
February 22, 2017 10:29 AM - Tracey Bryan via University of Delaware

Researchers show US grid can handle more offshore wind power, cutting pollution and power costs

Injecting large amounts of offshore wind power into the U.S. electrical grid is manageable, will cut electricity costs, and will reduce pollution compared to current fossil fuel sources, according to researchers from the University of Delaware and Princeton University who have completed a first-of-its-kind simulation with the electric power industry.

Transforming restaurant waste into fuel
February 22, 2017 08:16 AM - University of Saskatchewan

When most people look at discarded vegetable oil—browned and gritty from frying food—they likely see nothing more than waste.

But to Ajay Dalai, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, the cooking process creates a byproduct that has newfound potential as a source of fuel and biolubricant.

 

The invisible clean-up crew: Engineering microbial cultures to destroy pollutants
February 22, 2017 07:59 AM - University of Toronto

University of Toronto engineering professor Elizabeth Edwards is internationally recognized for using biotechnology to clean up industrial solvents in soil and groundwater. Her technique earned her the prestigious Killam Prize in 2016 and has already been used to restore more than 500 sites around the world.

NASA's Fermi Finds Possible Dark Matter Ties in Andromeda Galaxy
February 21, 2017 04:46 PM - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.

NASA's Fermi Finds Possible Dark Matter Ties in Andromeda Galaxy
February 21, 2017 04:46 PM - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.

Researcher Unveils Tool for Cleaner Long Island Sound
February 21, 2017 11:56 AM - Kim Krieger via University of Connecticut

A new model released this week by UConn ecologist Jamie Vaudrey pinpoints sources of nitrogen pollution along Long Island Sound, and shows municipalities what they might do to alleviate it. Vaudrey presented her research Feb. 19 at the AAAS annual meeting in Boston.

Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean bordered by Connecticut to the north, New York City to the west, and Long Island to the south. The Sound is home to dozens of species of birds, 170 species of fish, and more than 1,200 species of invertebrates. Historically it has supported rich recreational and commercial fisheries for lobster, oysters, blue crabs, scallops, striped bass, flounder, and bluefish.

Fluorescence method detects mercury contamination in fish
February 21, 2017 11:25 AM - Plataforma SINC

Researchers from the University of Burgos (Spain) have developed a fluorescent polymer that lights up in contact with mercury that may be present in fish. High levels of the metal were detected in samples of swordfish and tuna. According to the conclusions of another Spanish study, mercury exposure is linked to reduced foetal and placental growth in pregnant women.

The presence of the toxic metal mercury in the environment comes from natural sources, however, in the last decades industrial waste has caused an increase in concentrations of the metal in some areas of the sea. In the food chain, mercury can be diluted either in organic form as methylmercury (MeHg+) or as an inorganic salt, the cation Hg2+.

Save the Bees? There's an App for That
February 21, 2017 08:38 AM - University of Vermont

New mobile app to help farmers protect pollinators.

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