The Science of Sustainability

Biology

Return of the Shorebirds

Return of the Shorebirds

Shorebirds have returned to San Francisco Bay for the winter. Find out about their journeys and studies underway to track their migration and population.

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Why I Do Science: Stephen Palumbi

Why I Do Science: Stephen Palumbi

In this edition of "Why I Do Science", we hear from Stephen Palumbi, a world-renowned marine biologist and director of the Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, California.

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Saving Bighorn Sheep, One Mural At a Time

Saving Bighorn Sheep, One Mural At a Time

Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are animals worth seeing. With their bright white rumps and the rams' remarkable headgear, they bound and leap over seemingly impassable alpine terrain. But you may have a tricky time spotting one–there are only about four hundred in existence.

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Who is Qualified to Decide Scientific Matters?

Who is Qualified to Decide Scientific Matters?

In November, California voters need to decide whether or not GM foods should be labeled as such. They are making this decision even though a recent study shows that 49% of the people surveyed think that GM foods have genes whereas regular foods do not. Is this any way to run a democracy?

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Slideshow: An Early Fall Flight Around the Bay

Slideshow: An Early Fall Flight Around the Bay

Take a low-flying trip around the Bay (in photos).

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Think Pink? I’d Rather Raise a Stink

Think Pink? I’d Rather Raise a Stink

Every October, high-profile outlets from Ace Hardware to the NFL sell pink products to raise awareness and money for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Critics of "pinkwashing" urge consumers to ask just how much of that money goes to support breast cancer programs–and challenge us to move beyond awareness to action.

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Illustrating Science: Translating Knowledge Into Pictures

Illustrating Science: Translating Knowledge Into Pictures

Allison Bruce has a wonderful job: she spends all day making pictures for scientists. Bruce started out in science herself, earning a chemistry degree from UC Davis. After college, she worked in an environmental lab, but she didn't enjoy it and turned to art classes "to keep from losing my mind," she says.

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Counting Climate-Challenged Pikas

Counting Climate-Challenged Pikas

A group of West Oakland students treks up to the Sierra to try to help a small mammal that may be threatened by climate change.

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Get Your Binoculars, It's Raptor Viewing Time

Get Your Binoculars, It's Raptor Viewing Time

The autumn brings the annual raptor migration over Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands north of San Francisco. Find out about their journey and the people who count them.

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Creative Use of a Cancer Mutation May Improve Nylon Production

Creative Use of a Cancer Mutation May Improve Nylon Production

Chemists want to reengineer metabolic proteins and pathways in microbes so they can convert sugar into commodity chemicals. Now a mutant protein found in cancer cells provides clues to help scientists improve a protein that could help microbes create a precursor to nylon. In science, as in so much of life, inspiration can come from unusual places.

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Your Videos on QUEST: Steve Fyffe

Your Videos on QUEST: Steve Fyffe

Motion-activated cameras at Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve provide scientists a window into the secret lives of the animals there. This short video by the Stanford News Service reveals how these "camera traps" work and shows some of the amazing animals that roam around Jasper Ridge at night.

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West Coast a Test Bed for Ocean Acidification

West Coast a Test Bed for Ocean Acidification

Scientists say the waters off the West Coast could be hit hard by ocean acidification, but thanks to the natural conditions, it's a good place to study how ocean species might adapt.

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Science and the Flu: A Little Learning Is A Dangerous Thing

Science and the Flu: A Little Learning Is A Dangerous Thing

The first sniffles of flu season are upon us: a friend of mine was struck down, and couldn't join me in attending a science dialogue on Sunday night. This was darkly humorous, as the topic of the evening was pandemics.

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Genome 3.0: ENCODE Takes Our DNA From Junk to Treasure

Genome 3.0: ENCODE Takes Our DNA From Junk to Treasure

New research is making us rethink how our DNA works – again.

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Black Holes: Ultimate Trash Compactors of the Universe

Black Holes: Ultimate Trash Compactors of the Universe

As bizarre as black holes have been depicted in science fiction, the reality of black holes as described by science is far stranger.

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Culture Clash: Of Cats, Birds and Conservation

Culture Clash: Of Cats, Birds and Conservation

Feral cats threaten native wildlife, from reptiles to birds, and often lead a miserable life. By better understanding the concerns of cat colony caretakers, wildlife biologists hope to find enough common ground to benefit both cats and wildlife.

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Field Notes: Dan Costa in Antarctica

Field Notes: Dan Costa in Antarctica

QUEST Producer Sheraz Sadiq interviews Bay Area filmmaker and musician Jesse Hiatt about the experience of filming in one of the world's most extreme environments. His breathtaking footage was edited into the QUEST segment, "Field Notes: Dan Costa in Antarctica."

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California Wildlife Mural Celebrates Its Third Birthday

California Wildlife Mural Celebrates Its Third Birthday

In 2009, after West Valley College built its brand new biology building, a group of faculty stood in the natural history lab staring at a blank wall. "It's too empty," they agreed. "How about a mural?" suggested biology and genetics instructor Molly Schrey.

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The State of California's Sea Otters

The State of California's Sea Otters

Southern sea otters are local icons, gracing a plethora of souvenirs, murals and postcards throughout central and northern California. With a face like that, it’s easy to see why. But sea otters themselves are not so plentiful. In honor of Sea Otter Awareness Week at the end of September, take a closer look at what’s behind that furry façade.

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Is Nail Biting a Pathology? Or Just a Bad Habit?

Is Nail Biting a Pathology? Or Just a Bad Habit?

Nail biting — like skin picking and hair tending — stems from an evolutionarily adaptive behavior: grooming. But in "pathological groomers," as they're known in in the world of psychiatry, that healthy urge goes haywire.

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