23
Fri, Feb

  • Wolves need space to roam to control expanding coyote populations

    Wolves and other top predators need large ranges to be able to control smaller predators whose populations have expanded to the detriment of a balanced ecosystem.

    That’s the main finding of a study appearing May 23 in Nature Communications that analyzed the relationship between top predators on three different continents and the next-in-line predators they eat and compete with. The results were similar across continents, showing that as top predators’ ranges were cut back and fragmented, they were no longer able to control smaller predators.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Fall Calving Season May Yield Higher Returns for Tennessee Beef Producers - Risk and returns evaluated

    The vast majority of cow-calf producers in Tennessee and the Southeast using a defined calving season have long favored spring calving; however, researchers at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture have evaluated the risk and returns for a fall calving season, proving once again that timing is everything.

    Selecting an optimal calving season involves a complex set of factors including nutritional demands of brood cows, forage availability, calf weaning weights, calving rates, seasonality in cattle, and feed prices and labor availability.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • NOAA names University of Michigan to host cooperative institute for Great Lakes region

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today announced it has selected the University of Michigan to continue hosting NOAA’s cooperative institute in the Great Lakes region. 

    NOAA made the selection after an open, competitive evaluation to continue funding the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR), formerly called the Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research. 

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Vanishing Borneo: Saving One of the World's Last Great Places

    Palm oil is the second-most important oil in the modern consumer society, after petroleum. Producing it is a $50-billion-a-year business. It’s in a multitude of the household products in North America, Europe, and Australia: margarine, toothpaste, shampoo, lipstick, cookies, Nutella, you name it. Doritos are saturated with palm oil. It’s what gives chocolate bars their appetizing sheen – otherwise, they would look like mud. Palm oil has replaced artery-clogging ghee as India’s main cooking oil. India is now the major consumer of this clear, tasteless oil squeezed from the nuts of the oil-palm tree, Elais guyanensis, originally from West Africa, but now grown pantropically, mainly within ten degrees north and south of the Equator.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Significant groundwater loss in California's Central Valley during recent droughts

    A new study from researchers at UCLA and the University of Houston reveals estimates of significant groundwater loss in California’s Central Valley during the recent drought and sparks questions of sustainability for the important agricultural area.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Producing fertilizer from air could be five times as efficient

    African farmers who are able to produce their own fertilizer from only air. Bhaskar S. Patil brings this prospect closer with a revolutionary reactor that coverts nitrogen from the atmosphere into NOx, the raw material for fertilizer. His method, in theory, is up to five times as efficient as existing processes, enabling farms to have a small-scale installation without the need for a big investment. He receives his doctorate on 10 May at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).
    The production of one of the key raw materials for fertilizer, ammonia (NH3) or nitrogen oxide (NOx), is a very energy-intensive process that is responsible for about 2% of all global CO2 emissions. However, it is hardly possible any longer to cut the energy consumption via current production processes since the theoretically minimal feasible energy consumption has already been more or less reached.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Genome sequence of fuel-producing alga announced

    The report, in Genome Announcements, comes after almost seven years of research, according to Dr. Tim Devarenne, AgriLife Research biochemist and principal investigator in College Station. In addition to sequencing the genome, other genetic facts emerged that ultimately could help his team and others studying this green microalga further research toward producing algae and plants as a renewable fuel source.

    "This alga is colony-forming, which means that a lot of individual cells grow to form a colony. These cells make lots of hydrocarbons and then export them into an extracellular matrix for storage," Devarenne said. "And these hydrocarbons can be converted into fuels -- gasoline, kerosene and diesel, for example, the same way that one converts petroleum into these fuels."

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Invention Produces Cleaner Water with Less Energy and No Filter

    The same technology that adds fizz to soda can now be used to remove particles from dirty water. Researchers at Princeton University have found a technique for using carbon dioxide in a low-cost water treatment system that eliminates the need for costly and complex filters.

    The system injects CO2 gas into a stream of water as a method of filtering out particles. The gas, which mixes with the water in a system of channels, temporarily changes the water's chemistry. The chemical changes cause the contaminating particles to move to one side of the channel depending on their electrical charge. By taking advantage of this migration, the researchers are able to split the water stream and filter out suspended particles. 

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Not just your typical garden-variety UAlberta volunteer

    When asked why she loves to garden, Shirley Ross quotes the late Lois Hole, Alberta’s most beloved green thumb.

    "Caring is the soul of gardening . . . We take risks and place our trust in factors beyond our control. Yet in the end, we are almost always rewarded with a beautiful harvest."

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Six-legged livestock – sustainable food production

    Identifying areas of particular high impact is an important step to improving the environmental sustainability of production systems. Insects have been heralded as the foods of the future - and now the first study to measure the environmental impacts and identify hotspots associated with commercial insect production has been published.

    Cricket farming can be a sustainable way to produce animal source foods

    The study demonstrated that cricket farming can be a sustainable means of producing animal source foods. The study compared cricket production in Thailand to broiler chicken production. Fifteen different environmental impacts were investigated including global warming potential, resource depletion and eutrophication. In most cases, cricket production had a lower impact than broiler chicken production. The major reason for the lower impacts is the fact that the feed conversion into animal protein is more efficient, as the production of the feed is a major hotspot in both systems.

    >> Read the Full Article