Tag Archives: topography

Leatherback sea turtles

UD alumna studies leatherback sea turtles in Costa Rica

It’s not every day that you get to see a creature that has been around for 110 million years emerge from the ocean and lay its eggs on the beach. Unless, of course, you’re like University of Delaware graduate Lauren Cruz, who spends her days in Costa Rica with the Leatherback Trust studying leatherback sea turtle nesting ecology.

Cruz, a 2013 graduate who studied wildlife conservation in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is tracking the demographics of the turtles that nest at Playa Grande and Parque Nacional de las baulas — which translates to the park of leatherback sea turtles — and spends her nights with a team patrolling the beach looking for nesting turtles.  (more…)

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El Niño tied to melting of Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier

Pine Island Glacier is one of the biggest routes for ice to flow from Antarctica into the sea. The floating ice shelf at the glacier’s tip has been melting and thinning for the past four decades, causing the glacier to speed up and discharge more ice.

Understanding this ice shelf is a key for predicting sea-level rise in a warming world. A paper published Jan. 2 in the advance online version of the journal Science shows that the ice shelf melting depends on the local wind direction, which is tied to tropical changes associated with El Niño. (more…)

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A tangle of talents untangles neurons

Brown’s growing programs in brain science and engineering come together in the lab of Diane Hoffman-Kim. In a recent paper, her group employed techniques ranging from semiconductor-style circuit patterning to rat cell culture to optimize the growth of nerve cells for applications such as reconstructive surgery.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Two wrongs don’t make a right, they say, but here’s how one tangle can straighten out another.

Diane Hoffman-Kim, associate professor of medicine in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology, is an affiliate of both Brown’s Center for Biomedical Engineering and the Brown Institute for Brain Science. Every thread of expertise woven through those multidisciplinary titles mattered in the Hoffman-Kim lab’s most recent paper, led by graduate student Cristina Lopez-Fagundo. (more…)

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Grand Canyon as Old as the Dinosaurs, Suggests New Study Led by CU-Boulder

An analysis of mineral grains from the bottom of the western Grand Canyon indicates it was largely carved out by about 70 million years ago — a time when dinosaurs were around and may have even peeked over the rim, says a study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The new research pushes back the conventionally accepted date for the formation of the Grand Canyon in Arizona by more than 60 million years, said CU-Boulder Assistant Professor Rebecca Flowers. The team used a dating method that exploits the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium atoms to helium atoms in a phosphate mineral known as apatite, said Flowers, a faculty member in CU-Boulder’s geological sciences department. (more…)

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New Book Explores Noah’s Flood; Says Bible and Science Can Get Along

“I doubt the historic truth about Noah’s Flood will ever be known with certainty. And I don’t think it really matters. The discoveries of science have revealed the world and our universe to be far more spectacular than could have been imagined by Mesopotamian minds. To still see the world through their eyes is to minimize the wonder of creation.”

David Montgomery, “The Rocks Don’t Lie”

David Montgomery is a geomorphologist, a geologist who studies changes to topography over time and how geological processes shape landscapes. He has seen firsthand evidence of how the forces that have shaped Earth run counter to some significant religious beliefs.

But the idea that scientific reason and religious faith are somehow at odds with each other, he said, “is, in my view, a false dichotomy.” (more…)

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Hawaiian Seabirds Vulnerable to Sea-Level Rise on Low-Lying Atoll

HAWAI’I ISLAND, Hawai’i — The Hawaiian Islands’ largest atoll, French Frigate Shoals, is key to understanding how seabird nesting habitat will change with predicted rising sea levels, according to a team of U.S. Geological Survey biologists.

The team led by Dr. Michelle Reynolds of USGS’ Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center studied the island’s topography and the population dynamics of eight seabird species on French Frigate Shoals, an isolated atoll of low-lying coral islands in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands about halfway between the main Hawaiian Islands and Midway Atoll in the mid-Pacific. These islands are part of the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawai’i. Papahānaumokuākea is a seasonal home to more than 14 million seabirds, the largest tropical seabird rookery in the world. Virtually all of the world’s populations of Laysan albatross and black-footed albatross live there, as well as globally significant populations of red-tailed tropicbirds, Bonin petrels, Tristram’s storm-petrels and white terns. The USGS research provides new information useful for wildlife management in the face of sea-level rise. (more…)

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Climate Change Led to Collapse of Ancient Indus Civilization, Study Finds

A new study combining the latest archaeological evidence with state-of-the-art geoscience technologies provides evidence that climate change was a key ingredient in the collapse of the great Indus or Harappan Civilization almost 4000 years ago. The study also resolves a long-standing debate over the source and fate of the Sarasvati, the sacred river of Hindu mythology.

Once extending more than 1 million square kilometers across the plains of the Indus River from the Arabian Sea to the Ganges, over what is now Pakistan, northwest India and eastern Afghanistan, the Indus civilization was the largest—but least known—of the first great urban cultures that also included Egypt and Mesopotamia. Like their contemporaries, the Harappans, named for one of their largest cities, lived next to rivers owing their livelihoods to the fertility of annually watered lands. (more…)

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Geologists Discover New Class of Landform – on Mars

An odd, previously unseen landform could provide a window into the geological history of Mars, according to new research by University of Washington geologists.

They call the structures periodic bedrock ridges (and they use the abbreviation PBRs to evoke a favorite brand of beer). The ridges look like sand dunes but, rather than being made from material piled up by the wind, the scientists say the ridges actually form from wind erosion of bedrock. (more…)

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