The Science of Sustainability

Science on the SPOT

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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.

Science on the SPOT: The Glowing Millipedes of Alcatraz

Science on the SPOT: The Glowing Millipedes of Alcatraz

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.

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Science on the SPOT: Preserving the Forest of the Sea

Science on the SPOT: Preserving the Forest of the Sea

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.

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Science on the SPOT: Shadows and Spiders– A Secret Cave in California

Science on the SPOT: Shadows and Spiders– A Secret Cave in California

The rural foothills along the Santa Cruz County Coast hold an ancient secret. Deep below the redwoods, White Moon Cave extends for nearly a mile — making it one of the longest caves in California. But few people have ever been in it. Join the KQED Science team as we squeeze through the narrow clandestine entrance, and meet the uncanny cave inhabitants to bring new light to this hidden realm.

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Science on the SPOT: Up all Night with SOFIA, NASA's Flying Observatory

Science on the SPOT: Up all Night with SOFIA, NASA's Flying Observatory

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.

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Science on the SPOT: New Hope for Heart Repair

Science on the SPOT: New Hope for Heart Repair

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.

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Science on the SPOT: Monarch Meetup

Science on the SPOT: Monarch Meetup

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.

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Science on the SPOT: National Wildlife Health Center Investigates

Science on the SPOT: National Wildlife Health Center Investigates

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.

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Science on the SPOT: Resurrecting the Dead

Science on the SPOT: Resurrecting the Dead

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.

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Science on the SPOT: The Science of Salt Glaze Pottery

Science on the SPOT: The Science of Salt Glaze Pottery

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.

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Science on the SPOT: Dark Matter: Inside the Compost Cycle

Science on the SPOT: Dark Matter: Inside the Compost Cycle

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.

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Science on the SPOT: Salt Creek Tiger Beetles

Science on the SPOT: Salt Creek Tiger Beetles

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.

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Science on the SPOT: Northern Pacific Rattlesnake Tracker

Science on the SPOT: Northern Pacific Rattlesnake Tracker

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.

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Science on the SPOT: Rendezvous With Horseshoe Crabs

Science on the SPOT: Rendezvous With Horseshoe Crabs

Watch as thousands of prehistoric horseshoe crabs take over a beach in Delaware.

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Science on the SPOT: Bats Beneath Us

Science on the SPOT: Bats Beneath Us

Every summer, 250,000 bats take up residence under a freeway bridge in California's Central Valley. And each night, they exit the bridge in a stunning ribbon-like formation.

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Science on the SPOT: Green Eggs By The Gram – Sustainable Caviar

Science on the SPOT: Green Eggs By The Gram – Sustainable Caviar

Once an exotic product associated with royalty and overfishing, caviar is now being farmed sustainably right here in California.

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Science on the SPOT: Sound Waves – Listening to Orcas

Science on the SPOT: Sound Waves – Listening to Orcas

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.

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Science on the SPOT: Journey of the San Francisco Bay Trail

Science on the SPOT: Journey of the San Francisco Bay Trail

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.

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Science on the SPOT: Lupe the Mammoth Comes to Life

Science on the SPOT: Lupe the Mammoth Comes to Life

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.

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Science on the SPOT: Banana Slugs Unpeeled

Science on the SPOT: Banana Slugs Unpeeled

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.

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Science on the SPOT: Secrets of Sourdough

Science on the SPOT: Secrets of Sourdough

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.

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