Tag Archives: rhode island

Brown professor brings drone-based robotics class to area high schools

Computer science professor Stefanie Tellex is helping schools across Rhode Island implement a new curriculum in which students learn basic robotics by building their own autonomous drones.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to a Brown University professor, a high-flying new robotics curriculum is coming to high schools across Rhode Island.  (more…)

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R.I. nitrogen cycle differs in bay and sound

A new study reports that anammox, a key process in the nitrogen cycle, is barely present in Narragansett Bay even though it’s a major factor just a little farther out into Rhode Island Sound. Scientists traced that to differences between bay and sound sediments, but that raises new questions about what’s going on in the Bay to account for those.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Rhode Island’s geography is famously small, but new measurements of the nitrogen cycle in its waterways suggest that even over a small distance, differences can be huge. Scientists report that the nitrogen-converting process anammox is almost completely absent in Narragansett Bay, even though it is going strong in Rhode Island Sound only 15 miles off the coast. (more…)

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Bipolar patients have high Rx burden

A new study of patients with bipolar disorder finds that 36 percent of those who were admitted to a Rhode Island psychiatric hospital  in 2010 were receiving “complex polypharmacy” — four or more psychotropic medications — from their community providers. The polypharmacy rate was significantly higher for women. Including prescriptions for other conditions the patients may have had, the average patient was on six medications.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A study of 230 patients with bipolar I disorder whose symptoms were severe enough to warrant admission to a Rhode Island psychiatric hospital in 2010 reveals that more than a third were admitted despite taking four or more psychiatric medications. Including medicines for other conditions, such as cardiometabolic diseases, the average patient came to the hospital taking six different drugs. (more…)

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Celebrated jumping frogs: For top hops, scientists look to Calaveras pros

The Calaveras County Jumping Frog Jubilee has entered the scientific record via a new paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Experienced bullfrog ‘jockeys’ at the event routinely get their frogs to jump much farther than researchers had ever measured in the lab. How? Decades of refined technique, uncommonly motivated humans and herps, and good old-fashioned large sample size.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — One day, amid his decades-long study of how animals move, including how frogs jump, Brown University biologist Thomas Roberts found himself and colleague Richard Marsh puzzling over the Guinness Book of World Records. A bullfrog named Rosie the Ribiter reportedly had jumped more than 2.1 meters in a single hop at the Calaveras County Jumping Frog Jubilee in 1986, but scientific studies had never reported a bullfrog jump beyond 1.3 meters. (more…)

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Research Enables Fishermen to Harvest Lucrative Shellfish on Georges Bank

Combined research efforts by scientists involved in the Gulf of Maine Toxicity (GOMTOX) project, funded by NOAA’s Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) program, and administered by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), have led to enhanced understanding of toxic algal blooms on Georges Bank.   This new information, coupled with an at-sea and dockside testing protocol developed through collaboration between GOMTOX and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigators, has allowed fishermen to harvest ocean quahogs and surf clams in these offshore waters for the first time in more than two decades.

The shellfish industry estimates the Georges Bank fishery can produce up to 1 million bushels of surf clams and ocean quahogs a year, valued $10 – 15 million annually. “There is a billion dollars’ worth of shellfish product on Georges Bank that is property of the United States but that can’t be harvested because of the threat of toxicity, and 99.9% of the time, it is good wholesome product,” says Dave Wallace of North Atlantic Clam Association and a GOMTOX participant.  “In an unusual and unique partnership, we worked with GOMTOX scientists, the FDA, and the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Delaware and now that huge resource can go into commerce, which helps the entire country.” (more…)

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Under California: An ancient tectonic plate

The Isabella anomaly — indications of a large mass of cool, dehydrated material about 100 kilometers beneath central California — is in fact a surviving slab of the Farallon oceanic plate. Most of the Farallon plate was driven deep into the Earth’s mantle as the Pacific and North American plates began converging about 100 million years ago, eventually coming together to form the San Andreas fault.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Large chunks of an ancient tectonic plate that slid under North America millions of years ago are still present under parts of central California and Mexico, according to new research led by Brown University geophysicists. (more…)

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Confirmed: Stress Gradient Hypothesis: How Plant Communities Endure Stress

The Stress Gradient Hypothesis holds that as stress increases in an ecosystem, mutually supportive interactions become more significant and negative interactions, such as competition, become less so. The idea has been hotly debated but is now backed by a review of hundreds of studies co-authored in Ecology Letters by Mark Bertness, professor of biology at Brown, who first formally proposed the hypothesis in 1994. The time has come, he said, to test its application and predictive value.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Ecology is rife with predation, competition, and other dramatic “negative interactions,” but those alone do not determine the course life on Earth. Organisms sometimes benefit each other, too, and according to the Stress Gradient Hypothesis, their “positive interactions” become measurably more influential when ecosystems become threatened by conditions such as drought. Ecologists have argued about the hypothesis ever since Brown University ecologist Mark Bertness co-proposed it in 1994; Bertness says a large new global meta-analysis he co-authored in Ecology Letters definitively shows that it is true. (more…)

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Scientists Use Marine Robots to Detect Endangered Whales

Two robots equipped with instruments designed to “listen” for the calls of baleen whales detected nine endangered North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of Maine last month. The robots reported the detections to shore-based researchers within hours of hearing the whales (i.e., in real time), demonstrating a new and powerful tool for managing interactions between whales and human activities.

The team of researchers, led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists Mark Baumgartner and Dave Fratantoni, reported their sightings to NOAA, the federal agency responsible for enforcing the Marine Mammal Protection Act. NOAA Fisheries Service, in turn, put in place on Dec. 5 a “dynamic management area,” asking mariners to voluntarily slow their vessel speed to avoid striking the animals. (more…)

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