Tag Archives: oregon

How do you know if the wildfires are making you sick?

UCLA pulmonologist Reza Ronaghi explains how the blazes affect air quality and what precautions people can take

The wildfires raging throughout California and Oregon have caused great concern about air quality and the safety of being outdoors. And dealing with the public health implications of the fires is further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.  (more…)

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‘Life as Research Scientist’: Jo Varner, Biologist

Jo Varner, University of Utah biology doctoral student, is currently conducting research on how small mammals like Pikas are coping with Earth’s warming climate. Her study is concentrated on Pikas in the Columbia River Gorge area in the U.S, which is an unusual habitat for this species. Recently we had the opportunity to talk to Miss Varner about her research, why it is important and how life as a research scientist is. Here is what we learned from Miss Jo Varner:

Q. Let us start with your research topic. What is your research area? Will you please tell us a bit more on this? What did you find?

Jo Varner: Glad to talk with you! Broadly, I am interested in how climate change is impacting animals, particularly in sensitive environments like the high mountains. Specifically, I am working with American pikas, which are a small mammal closely related to rabbits. Pikas are typically restricted to high elevation mountains in western North America. They appear to be very sensitive to climate change in parts of their range, but in other parts they seem to be less vulnerable. (more…)

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A Roly-Poly Pika Gathers Much Moss

High-Fiber Salad Bar May Help Lagomorphs Survive Climate Change

In some mountain ranges, Earth’s warming climate is driving rabbit relatives known as pikas to higher elevations or wiping them out. But University of Utah biologists discovered that roly-poly pikas living in rockslides near sea level in Oregon can survive hot weather by eating more moss than any other mammal.

“Our work shows pikas can eat unusual foods like moss to persist in strange environments,” says biology professor Denise Dearing, senior author of the new study, published online on Dec. 18, 2013 in the February 2014 issue of Journal of Mammalogy. “It suggests that they may be more resistant to climate change than we thought.” (more…)

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Nighttime heat waves quadruple in Pacific Northwest

Nighttime heat waves are becoming more frequent in western Washington and Oregon.

And if you don’t sleep well in hot weather, this might be a good time to buy a fan, since records show that on average heat waves tend to strike around the last week of July.

University of Washington research shows that the region west of the Cascades saw only three nighttime heat waves between 1901 and 1980, but that number quadrupled to 12 nighttime heat waves in the three decades after 1980, according to a paper published in the July issue of the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. (more…)

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Researchers Find Asian Needle Ants Displacing Other Aggressive Invaders

Researchers from North Carolina State University have found that one of the most aggressive invasive ant species in the United States – the Argentine ant – appears to have met its match in the Asian needle ant. Specifically, the researchers have found that the Asian needle ant is successfully displacing Argentine ants in an urban environment, indicating that the Asian needle ant – with its venomous sting – may be the next invasive species to see a population boom.

In the world of invasive species, the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is a success story. Its aggressive, territorial behavior and ability to create huge “supercolonies” – consisting of thousands of queens and millions of workers – have enabled the Argentine ant to spread across the United States, displacing native species and changing ecosystems to suit its needs. No other ant species had been seen successfully pushing back – until now. (more…)

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Researchers ID Ways to Exploit ‘Cloud Browsers’ for Large-Scale, Anonymous Computing

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Oregon have found a way to exploit cloud-based Web browsers, using them to perform large-scale computing tasks anonymously. The finding has potential ramifications for the security of “cloud browser” services.

At issue are cloud browsers, which create a Web interface in the cloud so that computing is done there rather than on a user’s machine. This is particularly useful for mobile devices, such as smartphones, which have limited computing power.The cloud-computing paradigm pools the computational power and storage of multiple computers, allowing shared resources for multiple users. (more…)

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Speaking of Ethics

Lecturer explores the imperatives of environmental ethics

Speaking to University of Delaware faculty and students and community members in Brown Lab on Monday night, Oct. 15, environmental philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore discussed how important it is for humans to realize their ethical responsibility to save the world from a climate crisis.

In a lecture titled “Why It’s Wrong to Wreck the World: Climate Change and the Moral Obligation to the Future,” Moore reflected on the relationship humans have with the environment and argued that once humans realize the impact of their actions, they will naturally feel a moral obligation to care for the planet. (more…)

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Sea Floor Samples Help Explain Arid Southwest

Surface-dwelling algae adjust their biochemistry to surface temperatures. As they die and sink to the bottom, they build a sedimentary record of sea-surface temperature across millennia. Brown’s work on surface temperatures, coupled with work from Texas A&M on rainfall and weather patterns, has helped chart the wetter, lake-filled geological history of the currently arid American West.

During the last ice age, the landscape of the American West was very different. Where now there are deserts and salt flats in the Southwest and Great Basin regions, there once were giant lakes and wetlands. The Great Salt Lake, for example, is a tiny remnant of the prehistoric Lake Bonneville, which at one time covered almost 20,000 square miles. (more…)

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