Science on the SPOT
The Science on the SPOT original web video series from KQED's QUEST goes behind the scenes at local Bay Area labs, follows breaking discoveries, and gets you special access to obscure science locations and collections, plus much more.
More than a million visitors visit Alcatraz every year, but a recent discovery has revealed another attraction that lives within the shadows of this historic prison.
UC Berkeley's University Herbarium boasts one of the largest and oldest collections of seaweed in the United States. Herbarium curator Kathy Ann Miller is leading a massive project to preserve digitally nearly 80,000 specimens of west coast seaweed.
SOFIA is more than a telescope tucked into a re-purposed commercial airliner. It's a complete flying astronomical observation platform which carries a dozen or more astronomers, observers and crew far above the clouds to observe objects and phenomena too cold to be seen in visible light.
Scientists in San Francisco have coaxed mouse hearts to repair themselves from within.The breakthrough could lead to treatments for 5 million people in the United States whose hearts were damaged after they survived heart attacks.
Monarch butterflies migrate from all over the western United States to overwinter along the California coast. Conservation Biologist Stu Weiss uses specialized photographic equipment to study what makes good monarch overwintering habitat.
The USGS National Wildlife Health Center investigates animal die-offs and threats to endangered species through on-site investigation and necropsies–animal autopsy–at its headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin.
QUEST travels to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to meet Linda Spurlock, an anatomist and forensic reconstruction artist who uses clay to re-construct the faces of ancient humans in order to show what they looked like when alive. She also sketches more recently deceased people using only their remains in order to help police solve crimes.
The art and science of salt glaze pottery requires skills and techniques acquired over generations of trial and error. Ben Owen III combines his family’s experiential knowledge of ceramics and additional scientific knowledge to create and improve his unique works of art.
How does San Francisco’s 600 tons of compostable waste become a nutrient-rich material that improves the quality of our local wines? Agronomist Bob Shaffer, Northern California’s “compost guy,” takes QUEST into the composting process.
The Salt Creek tiger beetle is one of the most endangered species in the United States, with only 200 to 500 beetles left. They're found only in a small saline wetland area just north of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Katie Colbert, a naturalist at the Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness, shares with us how she tracked dozens of Northern Pacific rattlesnakes and what surprised her about their movements and behaviors.
Watch as thousands of prehistoric horseshoe crabs take over a beach in Delaware.
Once an exotic product associated with royalty and overfishing, caviar is now being farmed sustainably right here in California.
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.
A dedicated group of outdoor lovers and trail planners is working to build a 500-mile trail around San Francisco Bay. Come along as QUEST hikes and bikes the newest section.
In 2005, a partial skeleton of a juvenile mammoth was discovered along the Guadalupe River near downtown San Jose. A full-scale replica is now featured in a new exhibit at the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose. Learn more with Kaitlin Maguire from the UC Museum of Paleontology about these majestic creatures that roamed the Bay Area during the Ice Age.
One of the most beloved and iconic native species within the old growth redwood forests is the Pacific Banana Slug. QUEST goes on a hunt to find and introduce Ariolomax dolichophallus, a bright yellow slug with a big personality.
What is true sourdough bread? It's more than just the tangy flavor. Science on the SPOT visits with Maria Marco of UC Davis and baker Eduardo Morrell to learn more about the secret science of sourdough.