California’s grasslands are some of the most heavily invaded habitats in the state. As the climate changes—temperatures increase and water becomes scarcer—the conditions will favor exotic grasses, which will become even more prevalent.
They are an icon of the Pacific Northwest, stirring a mix of fascination, awe and affection. Thousands of people come to the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound just to catch a glimpse of the Southern Resident orcas that call these waters home.
It’s clear that in the wild, orcas seem to have a pretty universal rule: don’t attack humans. The reason would appear to be both biological and cultural.
Scientists are looking for clues in killer whales' aquatic droppings as they try to determine why their numbers remain so low in Puget Sound. To sniff out these floating data dumps, researchers have turned to a furry colleague named Tucker.
Nothing excites whale researchers and whale fanatics more than seeing a new calf born into the pod. However, researchers have learned that calf survival rates are incredibly low, especially for the orca’s first born. The mother’s young calf often dies because of something the mother passes on to her offspring—PCBs.
One of the most ambitious wetland restoration projects in the country is underway in San Francisco Bay. Thousands of acres of those ponds are being restored for shorebirds and wildlife.
Companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Heinz ketchup have determined that plastic made from plants — not oil — makes sense both for the environment and for business. The growing demand has meant a boom in the bioplastic industry. Could this mean the end of the plastic bottle as we know it?
Here Dr. Starr talks about three patients who have dramatically improved lives because scientists sequenced their DNA and correctly interpreted the results. The dream of helping individual patients using data from the human genome project is finally being realized.
At one hospital in San Francisco, more than half of the patients in an alcohol abuse program refuse medications that could help them stop drinking. So Bay Area scientists find themselves waging two campaigns: to develop drugs that work, and to convince alcoholics to take them.