Warmer winters, early springs…melting ice leads to more food insecurity

From NPR

Story by Clare Leschin-Hoar

There was a time when Sandra Gologergen’s freezer never ran out. Packed with traditional Inuit foods like whale, walrus, seal and fish, her freezer has been an essential lifeline, ensuring her husband, three kids and grandson make it through the long harsh winters of Savoonga, Alaska.

“Then that changed,” she says.

Warmer winters and changing ice conditions meant hunters were unable to bag the Pacific walrus the Savoonga residents traditionally relied on as a key food source. ...

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John Jelesko and David Haak are mapping the geolocation of Poison Ivy using the Appalachian Trail

From VT News

July 18, 2016

John Jelesko was hiking along the Appalachian Trail when he saw his quarry — one which other hikers would think of as their nemesis.

“Careful,” he said as he and David Haak stopped at a white blaze marker and pulled out his bag of scientific tricks. Though many people want to avoid poison ivy, the thick wall of poison ivy plants bordering the trail is just what the team of ...

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Global Change researchers Scott Davies and Kendra Sewall publish in Biology Letters

From VT News:

No need to head to the movie theater or download the video game app: Angry Birds can be found right in your backyard this summer — if you live in the suburbs, that is.

Virginia Tech researchers recently found in Southwest Virginia that birds that live in suburban areas exhibit significantly higher levels of territorial aggression than their country counterparts. The results were published in Biology Letters June ...

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Sterling Nesbitt: Fossils show ostrich relatives lived in North America 50 million years ago

From VT News:

Exceedingly well-preserved bird fossil specimens dating 50 million years represent a new species that is a previously unknown relative of the modern-day ostrich, according to a new paper co-authored by Sterling Nesbitt of Virginia Tech’s College of Science and part of the university’s Global Change Center.

The bird fossils were found more than a decade ago, completely intact with bones, feathers, and soft tissues, in a former lake bed in Wyoming. Nesbitt cannot hide a grin as ...

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VT faculty explore the “Resilient Earth” Destination Area

From VT News

May 5, 2016

When faculty members from different disciplines gather, they learn one another’s language.

So the process continued Wednesday as two groups of about 100 faculty members each joined at the Graduate Life Center to discuss the Adaptive Brain and Behavior Across the Lifespan destination area, and the Resilient Earth Systems destination area.

The sessions are part of a continuing process to identify difficult problems in society — areas that Virginia Tech can tackle with established, ...

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New hook designs could reduce bycatch & reel in unsustainable fishing

From The Guardian

Within seconds of being hauled onto the Shen Lain Cheng, a 79-foot tuna fishing boat from China, the crew’s most senior member, whose deeply wrinkled face conveys more than his 58 years, is plunging a T-handled spike between the glistening eyes of a 100-lb yellowfin tuna. The hope is that the swift death has minimized the release of lactic acid, which degrades the flesh meat and reduces the crew’s chances of earning a grade-A ...

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Virginia Tech researchers say Flint-like water problems also present in Virginia wells

From the Roanoke Times

Article by Robby Korth

Flint, Michigan, is hardly the only place Virginia Tech researchers are looking for contaminants in drinking water.

In Virginia, one team that’s part of Virginia Tech’s Cooperative Extension has tested private well samples serving 16,000 people across the state since 2008.

Researchers discovered health-based contaminants above federal standards for municipal systems in almost 60 percent of the well samples — including Flint-like elevated lead levels in almost 20 percent of homes and ...

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New sea level alarm not to be ignored

From National Geographic

There are days when even a born optimist starts to waver in his conviction. The release of a new study projecting that sea level could rise between five and six feet by 2100—when many children born today will still be alive and have been forced to move inland—made Thursday one of those days.

There have been lots of other studies, you might say. True: The last sea-level alarm (in what ...

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Michelle Stocker finds fossils of worm-lizard from 40 million years ago

From VT News

BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 29, 2016 – A new species of an extinct, tiny worm-like lizard – dating back some 40 million years ago when the world’s climate was far different – has been found in rural West Texas, and given a nickname befitting its one-time home: Solastella, Latin for Lone Star.

The description of the fossil was made by Michelle Stocker, now a research scientist with Virginia Tech’s Department of Geosciences, part of ...

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NYT’S: Landmark Climate Accord in Paris

From the New York Times:

December 12, 2015: With the sudden bang of a gavel Saturday night, representatives of 195 nations reached a landmark accord that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to lowering planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change.

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