If you're like me, when you’re doing the dinner dishes you normally aren't thinking about the fate of the delta smelt, the little native fish that is one of several in steep decline and facing extinction. And yet for millions of Bay Area residents the two things–dishwashing and delta smelt–are connected. In fact, choices we […]
Coral reefs, often referred to as underwater rainforests, are the most diverse aquatic ecosystem on the planet. Often mistaken as underwater plants, coral are actually animals related to anemones and jellyfish. A reef can be made up of many different types of coral colonies and be thousands of years old. Each branch or part of […]
Would a gene doper get an asterisk?The last few blogs I have been talking about people adding genes to their DNA to make them better athletes. The reason they're considering this sort of gene doping instead of just taking a designer steroid or two is that a DNA change will supposedly be more permanent, safer, […]
Photo Credit: John CalambokidisChances are, if you've ever been swimming, you understand that it's hard to dive deep. But marine mammals do it all the time — and they dive to depths beyond our imagination. Sperm whales, beaked whales, elephant seals all have an amazing ability for deep-diving, and along with that, fascinating specializations to […]
QUEST radio takes a trip to Point Reyes, where a tug of war is underway over the management of an estuary. What is most ecologically healthy for the estuary– the preservation of pristine wilderness, or the sustainable stewardship of land and water through farming?
At Point Reyes National Seashore, environmental ideology has run into hard science, with a tug-of-war for management of an estuary coming down to the question of what is the most ecologically healthy thing to do. On its face, it's a legal battle between the National Park Service, which owns the land, and an oyster farmer, […]
Image from Wikipedia, originally from socialfiction.orgI'm in mourning: In early September, Alex the African grey parrot mysteriously died. I never met Alex personally, but I've heard him speak. Yes, he spoke. He also counted. And he could tell you which of a pair of keys was the bigger one, or the yellow one. He was […]
What is soft, furry, clean, and curious and actually makes a decent pet? A rabbit. Yep, rabbits are one of the few species that we take on our Oakland Zoo ZooMobile outings and feel it is ok to choose as pets, with proper care and preparations, of course (not so much for the hedgehogs). While […]
The human brain was once a black box, but scientists are finding ways to peer inside and explore some of our most complicated thought processes. Using MRI scanners in innovative ways, Stanford scientists are learning how children's brains process words when they read.
For more than 100 years, south San Francisco Bay has been a center for industrial salt production. Now federal and state biologists are working on a 40-year, $1 billion project to restore the ponds to healthy wetlands for fish, wildlife and public recreation.
The human brain was once a black box, but scientists are finding ways to peer inside and explore some of our most complicated thought processes. Using MRI scanners in innovative ways, Stanford scientists are learning how children's brains process words when they read. You may view the "Watching the Brain at Work" TV story online, […]
The lush forested areas of central and western Africa are commonly referred to as "the bush." The diverse forms of wildlife found in the bush–including great apes, elephants, and forest antelope–have long served as a primary food source for the inhabitants of the region. This bushmeat is an important food and trade item for poor […]
Someday genes may "pump you up." Lots of athletes are using performance enhancing drugs to, well, enhance their performance. Examples include steroids to increase strength and EPO to increase endurance. Of course these methods have their drawbacks (even beyond the murky ethical ones). They're dangerous and the penalties can be pretty severe if the athlete […]
In search of the common ancestor of all mammals, UC Santa Cruz scientist David Haussler is pulling a complete reversal. Instead of studying fossils, he's comparing the genomes of living mammals to construct a map of our common ancestors' DNA. His technique holds promise for providing a better picture of how life evolved.
In search of the common ancestor of all mammals, UC Santa Cruz scientist David Haussler is pulling a complete reversal. Instead of investigating fossil remains, he's comparing the genomes of living mammals and constructing a map of our common ancestors' DNA. His technique holds promise for providing a better picture of how life evolved on […]
Credit: P.D. Gingerich, Univ. Michigan.This past week, fossil whales made it into the newswires again. This time, the news wasn't strictly about a new discovery or new insight — instead, it has to with accusations of vandalism. About 150 km south of Cairo lies a huge expanse of desert, called Wadi Al-Hitan. Unlike the classic […]
Great Whites get all the attention, but the waters of the San Francisco Bay are teeming with other, smaller sharks (like the leopard shark), who occupy the top spot on the Bay food chain. Where do they live? What is their relationship with sharks on the coastal waters? How do their social structures work? How […]
Watch Your Back in the Mangrove Forest Bengal Tiger -original photo by: Paul MannixMosquitoes are not the only ones that appear to consider humans a main protein source; Tigers in the Sunderbans Preserve in West Bengal, India, also find them to be easy prey. Some report that close to 300 people have perished in recent […]
All last week my partner and I savored a ratatouille made from a rather large and unique zucchini. What made this particular zucchini special? The answer has to do with soil enzymes, deforestation, and Skippy peanut butter. My zucchini began its life in a bountiful test garden at the DriWater factory in Santa Rosa, from […]