Stories indexed under: Environment

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  • Photo: Melanoplus grasshopper Grasshoppers signal slow recovery of post-agricultural woodlands, study finds Nov. 24, 2014 New research by Philip Hahn and John Orrock at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on the recovery of South Carolina longleaf pine woodlands once used for cropland shows just how long lasting the legacy of agriculture can be in the recovery of natural places. By comparing grasshoppers found at woodland sites once used for agriculture to similar sites never disturbed by farming, Hahn and Orrock show that despite decades of recovery, the numbers and types of species found in each differ.
  • Crops play a major role in the annual CO2 cycle increase Nov. 19, 2014 In a study published Wednesday, Nov. 19, in Nature, scientists at Boston University, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and McGill University show that a steep rise in the productivity of crops grown for food accounts for as much as 25 percent of the increase in this carbon dioxide (CO2) seasonality.
  • Photo: Bill Provencher New master’s program in energy conservation is first of its kind Nov. 7, 2014 A new professional master's program will launch at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in fall 2015 and become the first in the world specifically designed to train analytically minded students to evaluate energy efficiency and other resource-conservation initiatives.
  • They know the drill: UW leads the league in boring through ice sheets Oct. 30, 2014 Hollow coring drills designed and managed by UW-Madison’s Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDDO) program are used to extract ice cores that can analyze the past atmosphere. Shaun Marcott, an assistant professor of geoscience at UW-Madison, was the first author of a paper published today in the journal Nature documenting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere between 23,000 and 9,000 years ago, based on data from an 11,000-foot hole in Antarctica.
  • Photo: Downtown Madison isthmus When the isthmus is an island: Madison’s hottest, and coldest, spots Oct. 21, 2014 In a new study published this month in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers highlight the urban heat island effect in Madison: The city’s concentrated asphalt, brick and concrete lead to higher temperatures than its nonurban surroundings.
  • Photo: Birds gather at bird feeder Climate change alters cast of winter birds Oct. 16, 2014 Over the past two decades, the resident communities of birds that attend eastern North America’s backyard bird feeders in winter have quietly been remade, most likely as a result of a warming climate. Writing this week in the journal Global Change Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison wildlife biologists Benjamin Zuckerberg and Karine Princé document that once rare wintering bird species are now commonplace in the American Northeast.
  • Photo: Lodgepole pine forest Mountain pine beetles get a bad rap for wildfires, study says Sept. 29, 2014 Mountain pine beetles get a bad rap, and understandably so. The grain-of-rice-sized insects are responsible for killing pine trees over tens of millions of acres in the Western U.S. and Canada over the last decade. But contrary to popular belief, these pests may not be to blame for more severe wildfires like those that have recently swept through the region. Instead, according to a new study by UW-Madison zoology professor Monica Turner, weather and topography play a greater role in the ecological severity of fires than these bark-boring beetles.
  • Actions on climate change bring better health, study says Sept. 22, 2014 The number of extremely hot days in Eastern and Midwestern U.S. cities is projected to triple by mid-century, according to a new study led by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers and published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Purple white ash Campus begins treating for emerald ash borer Sept. 9, 2014 Crews will soon begin treating 17 ash trees across campus for emerald ash borer, an exotic wood-boring beetle that is known to attack ash trees in North America. In November 2013, it was confirmed found in Madison.
  • Antarctic ice sheet Climate conundrum: Conflicting indicators on what preceded human-driven warming Aug. 11, 2014 When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently requested a figure for its annual report, to show global temperature trends over the last 10,000 years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Zhengyu Liu knew that was going to be a problem. Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science today, Liu and colleagues describe a consistent global warming trend over the course of the Holocene, our current geological epoch, counter to a study published last year that described a period of global cooling before human influence.
  • Recycling Movers encouraged to donate and recycle to reduce waste and mess Aug. 6, 2014 As the mid-August downtown leases turn over, overflowing dumpsters and buried curbs contain many items that can be reused or recycled. In an effort to reduce landfill waste and increase community benefit, the UW–Madison WE CONSERVE program and Office of Sustainability are partnering with the City of Madison, Goodwill Industries, Society of St. Vincent de Paul and student organization REthink Wisconsin to collect and donate reusable items.
  • Photo: Sara Souther Drilling in the dark: Biological impacts of fracking still largely unknown Aug. 1, 2014 As production of shale gas soars, the industry's effects on nature and wildlife remain largely unexplored, according to a study by a group of conservation biologists published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment on August 1.
  • Waste containment site UW researchers create safe, resistant material to store waste July 18, 2014 Storing industrial waste has never been a pretty job, and it's getting harder.
  • Three new studies to take a look at angles related to Wisconsin water July 7, 2014 Three new research projects, all based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will each take a look at a specific angle related to the state’s water supply and use, including one study specifically studying Madison’s water for the presence and effects of manganese.
  • Mobile sustainability game spurs students to take environmental action June 3, 2014 Traversing the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus while consulting iPads and smartphones, the students in Cathy Middlecamp’s introductory environmental studies course could have been mistaken for anyone checking social media en route to class. But for these students, class was already in session. Middlecamp, a professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, partnered with the UW Mobile Learning Incubator to have students in Environmental Studies 126 playtest a new mobile game under development that explores sustainability features on the UW–Madison campus.
  • Photo: Aerial view of Lake Mendota Possible futures for the Yahara Watershed to be unveiled at public event May 13, 2014 The Yahara Watershed is a unique and vibrant part of south-central Wisconsin. It is home to the state capital, 370,000 people, 170,000 acres of productive farmland, and four beloved lakes - Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa.
  • Styrocycle team UW–Madison Styrofoam reuse and recycling program wins competition April 29, 2014 A team of University of Wisconsin–Madison undergraduates has won a $90,000 award to expand a novel Styrofoam reuse and recycling program in the Madison area.
  • Bottles of sorted seeds Arboretum’s seed-cleaning volunteers far from dormant during cold months April 8, 2014 The rhythms of nature time the sprouting of seeds with a litany of cues — physical and chemical changes brought on by fire and frost and even the teeth and acid of a browsing animal’s digestion.
  • Craig Benson Competition seeks interdisciplinary solutions to climate change April 1, 2014 A new competition to spark innovative solutions related to climate change and its impacts is kicking off Friday, April 4 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Photo: aerial view of Gulf of Mexico dead zone Excess nitrogen in water prompts March 28 summit March 6, 2014 Concern about excess nitrogen getting into the state's waterways and drinking water is the impetus for a Nitrogen Science Summit March 28 on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.