Even small amounts of oil made birds sick near Deepwater Horizon spill

From VT News

Photos from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on April 20, 2010, show heartbreaking images of deceased or soon-to-be-deceased sea life—birds, fish, sea turtles, and mammals coated in thick, black grime.

However, even small amounts of oil exposure affected the health of birds in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a Virginia Tech research team. Their findings were published Oct. 12 in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

The team examined samples ...

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Declining songbirds need forests to survive

From VT News

Before cutting down forest, land managers in drought-prone areas might first consider the birds in the trees.

According to a new study by biologists at Virginia Tech and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, the offspring of a certain songbird, the wood thrush, are more likely to survive drought in larger forest plots that offer plenty of shade and resources.

These results were published Oct. 18 in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, a ...

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Amy Pruden and Marc Edwards receive NSF RAPID grant to help well owners after recent hurricanes

From VT News:

It all started with a few phone calls to check in on friends at Texas A&M and the University of Florida.

After hurricanes Harvey and Irma battered the southern coastline, Kelsey Pieper called Extension faculty from the two universities — friends she’d met through her work as a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech.

“We just reached out and were like, ‘Hey, we’re thinking of you, do you need anything?’ ...

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Kendra Sewall receives NSF CAREER grant

From VT News:

Is overcrowding in cities bad for your brain?  Do children in preschool learn better because of the social enrichment? Are animals at zoos learning and behaving the way they would in the wild even if they aren’t in normal group sizes?

These are the types of questions behind the research of a Virginia Tech neurobiologist who studies the impacts of the social environment on the brain.

Kendra Sewall, an assistant professor of biological sciences in the College of Science and ...

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Aquaculture: Mixing of farmed fish and their wild relatives could have adverse impacts on environment

From VT News

In Ghana, experts suspect that some fish farmers have started to raise unapproved, controversial strains of the Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus that have the ability to grow quickly on their farms.

A Virginia Tech graduate student seeks to establish which strains farmers are growing in the country, and whether these include the unapproved strains of genetically improved farm tilapia (GIFT).

“If it is confirmed that the GIFT strains are on the farms in ...

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Bryan Brown’s aquatic invertebrate research will contribute to a watershed restoration model

From VT News

Aquatic invertebrates found in mountain streams — crayfish, stoneflies and mayflies, among others — are important to ecosystems because they are part of the natural food web and are often used by state agencies as indicators of freshwater health.

Soon, land managers will be able to track the behaviors of these invertebrates using a computer model developed by a research team that includes Virginia Tech aquatic ecologist, Bryan Brown.

The model, supported by a National Science Foundation grant, ...

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Jeb Barrett’s research shows that extreme melt restructured the invertebrate ecosystem in Antarctica

From VT News

An extreme weather event can drastically change the structure of an ecosystem for many years to come, according to a team of ecologists working in Antarctica that includes a researcher with Virginia Tech’s Global Change Center.

In the McMurdo Dry Valleys, a warm summer in January 2002 contributed to record melt and re-arranged the composition of invertebrate communities, such as nematodes and tardigrades, or “water bears” that live there, establishing dominance among ...

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Examining the connection between human health and environment in Central Appalachia

Research team (from left): Emily Satterwhite, Susan West Marmagas, Leigh-Anne Krometis, Linsey Marr, Korine Kolivras, and Julia Gohlke.

From VT News

AUG 2 2017 | Spend enough time driving through Central Appalachia, and you’ll see lush green mountain ranges brimming with diverse plant and animal species. Within those mountains, though, you can also find some of the most dramatic human health disparities in the nation.

Past studies going back to the 1970s indicate heightened incidences of ...

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Notes from the field: Finding fossils in the Triassic rocks of Wyoming

From @VT Research

JULY 31, 2017 | Over the past week, the VT Paleobiology group, led by Drs. Michelle Stocker and Sterling Nesbitt, headed out to Wyoming to find fossil bones from the Triassic (~199 to 252 million years ago) as a part of a month-long expedition to do field work across the Midwest. The area around Lander Wyoming is home to several exposures of Triassic sedimentary rocks, exactly the kind of place you want to look to ...

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Postcards from the field: Gifty is collecting data on Nile tilapia from the Pra River in Ghana

By Gifty Anane-Taabeah

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

“I am currently lodging in Half-Assini, a border town between Ghana and our western neighboring country, Ivory Coast. I spent most of my day at Elubo, another border town about 45 minutes-drive from Half-Assini, in search of O. niloticus samples. Wednesdays are market days in Elubo and an opportune time to scout for wild-caught O. niloticus. This is especially important because Ghana shares the Tano River with Ivory Coast and the data generated will be useful for conserving ...

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