Sustainability

Hatching an idea
September 13, 2017 08:01 AM - University of Saskatchewan

Backyard chickens are permitted in a number of Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Victoria, Whitehorse and some boroughs of Montréal.

Wanda Martin would like to see Saskatoon on that list.

Researchers develop cheaper, faster test for E. coli in drinking water
September 7, 2017 09:50 AM - University of Waterloo

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have invented a fast, affordable way for developing communities to test their drinking water for potentially deadly E. coli.

Unlike current tests that cost about $70 and can take up to three days to get back from the lab, the Waterloo invention uses paper strips similar to those in litmus tests to produce results in less than three hours at a cost of 50 cents.

Engineers develop tools to share power from renewable energy sources during outages
September 5, 2017 03:42 PM - University of California - San Diego

If you think you can use the solar panels on your roof to power your home during an outage, think again. During an outage, while your home remains connected to the grid, the devices that manage your solar panels are powered down for safety reasons. In other words, this permanent connection to the grid makes it impossible for homeowners to draw on power generated by their own renewable energy resources.

18 Years in the Making, New Fruit Varieties Coming to Market
September 5, 2017 09:01 AM - University of Guelph

Four new tender fruit varieties are coming soon to Canada.

After 18 years of research and testing, the University of Guelph is poised to release two varieties of yellow Japanese plums and two varieties of early peaches.

Warmer waters from climate change will leave fish shrinking, gasping for air
August 25, 2017 08:28 AM - University of British Columbia

Fish are expected to shrink in size by 20 to 30 per cent if ocean temperatures continue to climb due to climate change.

A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia provides a deeper explanation of why fish are expected to decline in size.

University of Saskatchewan, NASA team up on global water survey
August 25, 2017 08:28 AM - University of Saskatchewan

Pardon the pun, but Canada is practically overflowing with freshwater.

And, believe it or not, that abundance causes problems for water researchers.

“Canada is blessed with more freshwater than anywhere else in the world, but there’s no way you can put sensors in to monitor everything,” said Al Pietroniro, executive director of National Hydrological Services, an adjunct professor with the University of Saskatchewan and member of the Centre for Hydrology. “It’s too big.”

Spinning plant waste into carbon fiber for cars, planes
August 23, 2017 09:00 AM - American Chemical Society

Using plants and trees to make products such as paper or ethanol leaves behind a residue called lignin, a component of plant cell walls. That leftover lignin isn’t good for much and often gets burned or tossed into landfills. Now, researchers report transforming lignin into carbon fiber to produce a lower-cost material strong enough to build car or aircraft parts.

The researchers will present their work today at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, is holding the meeting here through Thursday. It features nearly 9,400 presentations on a wide range of science topics.

Destruction of small wetlands directly linked to algal blooms in Great Lakes
August 18, 2017 01:54 PM - University of Waterloo

Canada’s current wetland protection efforts have overlooked how the environment naturally protects fresh-water resources from agricultural fertilizer contaminants, researchers from the University of Waterloo have found.

In a recent study, researchers at Waterloo’s Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering found that small wetlands have a more significant role to play than larger ones in preventing excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer from reaching waterbodies such as the Great Lakes.

More Berries in the Box
August 15, 2017 08:03 AM - Dalhousie University

As Dalhousie’s Industry Chair in Wild Blueberry Physiology, David Percival had just one challenge: to put more berries in the box.

That was 20 years ago. Today, wild blueberry production in Nova Scotia has quadrupled to over 400 million pounds annually. And it’s a story that begins with Mr. Blueberry himself, John Bragg.

Study Finds Drought Recoveries Taking Longer
August 14, 2017 05:19 PM - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

As global temperatures continue to rise, droughts are expected to become more frequent and severe in many regions during this century. A new study with NASA participation finds that land ecosystems took progressively longer to recover from droughts in the 20th century, and incomplete drought recovery may become the new normal in some areas, possibly leading to tree death and increased emissions of greenhouse gases.

In results published Aug. 10 in the journal Nature, a research team led by Christopher Schwalm of Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts, and including a scientist from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, measured recovery time following droughts in various regions of the world. They used projections from climate models verified by observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite and ground measurements. The researchers found that drought recovery was taking longer in all land areas. In two particularly vulnerable regions -- the tropics and northern high latitudes -- recovery took ever longer than in other regions.

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