Tag Archives: hawaii

Solar Energy Costs and Benefits

Article by Tim Smith

When considering whether to go solar, perhaps the most deciding factor is the cost versus the benefits of converting to solar energy. It goes without saying that solar energy will save you money, but installing a solar power system for your home isn’t exactly cheap. These benefits to installing a solar power system as well as the costs can help you to perform a cost-benefit analysis and decide whether solar energy is right for you. (more…)

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NASA Robot Plunges Into Volcano to Explore Fissure

— Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are developing robots to explore volcanoes
— VolcanoBot 1 was tested at Kilauea volcano in Hawaii
— A lighter, smaller VolcanoBot 2 will be tested this year

Volcanoes have always fascinated Carolyn Parcheta. She remembers a pivotal moment watching a researcher take a lava sample on a science TV program video in 6th grade. (more…)

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Confirmed: Stellar Behemoth Self-Destructs in a Type IIb Supernova

Our Sun may seem pretty impressive: 330,000 times as massive as Earth, it accounts for 99.86 percent of the Solar System’s total mass; it generates about 400 trillion trillion watts of power; and it has a surface temperature of about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet for a star, it’s a lightweight. (more…)

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No Ocean-Borne Radiation from Fukushima Detected on West Coast Shoreline, According to Analysis of 1st Samples from ‘Kelp Watch 2014’

LONG BEACH, Calif.—Scientists working together on Kelp Watch 2014 announced today that the West Coast shoreline shows no signs of ocean-borne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, following their analysis of the first collection of kelp samples along the western U.S. coastline.

Kelp Watch 2014 is a project that uses coastal kelp beds as detectors of radioactive seawater arriving from Fukushima via the North Pacific Current. It is a collaborative effort led by Steven Manley, marine biology professor at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), and Kai Vetter, head of applied nuclear physics at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and a nuclear engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley. (more…)

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Deforestation of sandy soils a greater threat to climate change

Deforestation may have far greater consequences for climate change in some soils than in others, according to new research led by Yale University scientists — a finding that could provide critical insights into which ecosystems must be managed with extra care because they are vulnerable to biodiversity loss and which ecosystems are more resilient to widespread tree removal.

In a comprehensive analysis of soil collected from 11 distinct U.S. regions, from Hawaii to northern Alaska, researchers found that the extent to which deforestation disturbs underground microbial communities that regulate the loss of carbon into the atmosphere depends almost exclusively on the texture of the soil. The results were published in the journal Global Change Biology. (more…)

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Scientists Identify Core Skin Bacterial Community in Humpback Whales

Results Could Aid Future Efforts to Monitor Health

Bacteria are invisible to the naked eye, but they reside on nearly every surface humans encounter—including the skin.  Uncovering the role these microorganisms play in human health is a major focus of research in skin microbiology, but little is known about the identity or function of skin bacteria in other mammals.

In a paper published in the open access journal PLOS ONE, researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and colleagues identified a core skin bacterial community that humpback whales share across populations, which could point to a way to assess the overall health of these endangered marine mammals. (more…)

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‘Life as Research Scientist’: Lauren Cruz, Wildlife Ecologist

Wildlife biologist Lauren Cruz is dedicated to the conservation of coastal ecosystems. She is a recent graduate from the University of Delaware and currently having a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation, Agricultural and Natural Resources and a minor in Entomology. Miss Cruz plans to pursue a M.S. in Marine Science. She attended the Brown University Environmental Leadership Lab on the Big Island of Hawai’i and participated in several projects in different wildlife fields while at the University of Delaware. During her summers, she worked at the Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center where she lead kayak tours and taught visiting groups about the marsh ecosystem and its inhabitants.

As part of our series on ‘life as research scientist’ we approached Miss Cruz with our questions, and here we have the answers about her research and others:

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?

Lauren Cruz:  I am currently working with The Leatherback Trust which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of leatherbacks and other sea turtle species. My team monitors the nesting ecology of leatherback, black and olive ridley sea turtles in Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas (Leatherback National Marine Park) in Playa Grande, Costa Rica. Paying special attention to leatherbacks, we are adding to 20 years of continuous sea turtle data on this beach. Many biologists have conducted research on this beach and have filled many gaps in our understanding of leatherback ecology. Some examples include finding the incubation temperature at which sex is determined for leatherbacks, placing transmitters on leatherbacks to see where they migrate to after egg laying as well as monitoring the temperatures and possible effects climate change can have on turtle nesting. The leatherback population has dropped by about 98% since the start of the project.  (more…)

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Ancient sharks reared young in prehistoric river-delta nursery

ANN ARBOR — Like salmon in reverse, long-snouted Bandringa sharks migrated downstream from freshwater swamps to a tropical coastline to spawn 310 million years ago, leaving behind fossil evidence of one of the earliest known shark nurseries.

That’s the surprising conclusion of University of Michigan paleontologist Lauren Sallan and a University of Chicago colleague, who reanalyzed all known specimens of Bandringa, a bottom-feeding predator that lived in an ancient river delta system that spanned what is today the Upper Midwest. (more…)

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