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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Stream Ecology Course offered in Spring 2018

COURSE ANNOUNCEMENT

STREAM ECOLOGY  |  BIOLOGY 5074

Learn about the structure and function of streams and rivers. We will connect ecological principles to the structure and function of running waters, and explore how ecological processes in these dynamic ecosystems are affected by environmental change. This course includes lecture/discussion meetings as well as a lab/field component, during which students will conduct coordinated semester-long research projects. The final exam will include an oral presentation and write-up of project results in the format of a ...

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Science and policy come together at recent faculty workshop

From VT News

Today’s global problems, such as food security, clean water, and infectious disease, defy disciplinary silos and government jurisdictions.

That’s why approximately 70 members of Virginia Tech’s Global Systems Science Destination Area (GSS DA) and the Policy Strategic Growth Area (Policy SGA) met recently to identify areas for collaboration.

The all-day workshop, held Sept. 29 at the Inn at Virginia Tech, involved short talks in the morning by faculty-led research teams from science and policy areas.

Topics included freshwater resources, coastal ...

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Crowdfunding project aims to send a Hokie to Capitol Hill

From VT News

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Human health disparities in Appalachia. The Dan River coal ash spill in North Carolina. The water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Air pollution in urban industrialized areas around the world.

The list goes on.

Now more than ever, U.S. laws designed to protect and improve public health and the environment, such as the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Clean Air ...

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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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Deep cuts for research funding at flagship Midwestern universities will further weaken local economies

From The Atlantic

Four floors above a dull cinder-block lobby in a nondescript building at the Ohio State University, the doors of a slow-moving elevator open on an unexpectedly futuristic 10,000-square-foot laboratory bristling with technology. It’s a reveal reminiscent of a James Bond movie. In fact, the researchers who run this year-old, $750,000 lab at OSU’s Spine Research Institute resort often to Hollywood comparisons.

Thin beams of blue light shoot from 36 of the same kind of infrared motion cameras used ...

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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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