Researchers discover how ‘cryptic’ connections in disease transmission influence epidemics

Diseases have repeatedly spilled over from wildlife to humans, causing local to global epidemics, such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola, SARS, and Nipah.

A new study by researchers of disease transmission in bats has broad implications for understanding hidden or “cryptic” connections that can spread diseases between species and lead to large-scale outbreaks.

By dusting bats with a fluorescent powder that glows under ultraviolet ...

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Surface water and flood dynamics increase vulnerability to waterborne disease and climate change

Diarrheal disease, a preventable and treatable illness, remains the second-leading cause of death in children under the age of 5 and a persistent public health threat in sub-Saharan Africa.

Researchers have now uncovered how surface water dynamics may increase the vulnerability of dependent populations to diarrheal disease and climate change.

Kathleen Alexander, professor of wildlife in Virginia Tech’s College of ...

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Mammal diversity will take millions of years to recover from the current biodiversity crisis

Matt Davis, Søren Faurby, and Jens-Christian Svenning

Significance

Biodiversity is more than the number of species on Earth. It is also the amount of unique evolutionary history in the tree of life. We find that losses of this phylogenetic diversity (PD) are disproportionally large in mammals compared with ...

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Coastal@VT hosted Rotating Resilience Roundtables to address issues of coastal resilience in Virginia

As illustrated by recent hurricanes Florence and Michael, it is now more important than ever for the research and stakeholder communities of Virginia to come together to plan and prepare for such hazards as hurricanes, increased precipitation, and accelerated river and coastal flooding.

The coastal zone hosts more than half of the world’s population, large port facilities vital to the global economy, and military installations important to national ...

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Water experts to study emerging threat of antibiotic resistance

Through the awarding of two contracts, the Centers for Disease Control is tapping the expertise of Amy Pruden and Marc Edwards in a wider effort to address emerging public health priorities.

Bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics lead to an estimated 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses per year in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control is launching an ...

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IGC Seminar Reflection Series: The Science of Scientific Consensus, by Becca O’Brien

The Science of Scientific Consensus

The Sun circles the earth! Spontaneous generation can bring forth life!  The earth is one solid mass!  These are all statements that the majority of scientists once agreed with, but that we now recognize to be incorrect.  It is easy to look back on them and feel confident about how far human knowledge has come, but the truth is that many of the statements ...

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Conservationists get a billion dollars. Here’s how it may help.

Humans are rapidly taming the world’s wild places.

In the past century, nearly 80 percent of all land has been modified or impacted by human development. As a result, other species have rapidly declined. One study estimates animals are going extinct 1,000 times faster than they would have without human influence.

To ...

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New Course: Intro. to Microbial Community Analysis

Drs. Brian Badgley, David Haak (SPES), Lisa Belden, and Frank Aylward (BIOL) are offering a new, broad-based soils course for those that have had little exposure to the belowground world.  If you are interested in…

Do you need to characterize the impact of the microbial communities in your study system? Do you already have sequence data describing microbial communities that you need to process? Are you curious about the current state of the science for studying microbiomes?

Faculty from the School of Plant and Environmental ...

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IGC Seminar Reflection Series: Fellows in Doubt, by Kristen Bretz and Camilo Alfonso

Fellows in Doubt

A sense of gloom and frustration clung to the air along with the late lingering Virginia humidity as the first year IGC fellows met for their weekly seminar on September 24 to discuss denialism and the Merchants of Doubt, the film based on the Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway book of the same name. 

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Changing climate forces desperate Guatemalans to migrate

Eduardo Méndez López lifts his gaze to the sky, hoping to see clouds laden with rain.

After months of subsisting almost exclusively on plain corn tortillas and salt, his eyes and cheeks appear sunken in, his skin stretched thin over bone. The majority of his neighbors look the same.

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People Need Lakes and Lakes Need People

After Hurricane Florence hit the southeast coast last month, Claytor Lake, hundreds of miles away in southwestern Virginia, took a hit.  More than fifteen tons of debris ended up in the lake – everything from the usual ‘flotsam and jetsam’ to at least one toilet, a mannequin, and an empty boat.

This part of Virginia is not home to very many lakes, and ...

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Bill Gates launches effort to help the world adapt to climate change

In Bangladesh, low-lying and vulnerable to yearly flooding, farmers are shifting from raising chickens to raising ducks. Ducks can swim.

In the Philippines, where half the mangrove forests have been lost to development, biologists are replanting the trees to recreate nature’s protective coastal shield against deadly typhoons. The gnarled tangle of mangrove roots slows the movement of ...

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