The Science of Sustainability

Science on the SPOT

series-sots640

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: Fungus Fair

Science on the SPOT: Fungus Fair

QUEST tags along with fair organizer J.R. Blair and his San Francisco State University students as they collect mushrooms in San Francisco's McLaren Park. Then we tour the annual Fungus Fair in Berkeley to explore the Bay Area's tasty, dangerous and weirdly wonderful fungi.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Biological Mystery

Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Biological Mystery

UC Santa Cruz plant biologists study rare albino redwood trees to better understand the inner workings of these unusual plants. By learning how albino plants survive, they may unlock some of the mysteries of how redwood trees live.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Cracking the Code

Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Cracking the Code

Stanford geneticists trek into the mountains to uncover rare albino redwood trees. Seeking to discover the root of the mutation, they are taking small samples back to their lab and for the first time will sequence the complicated redwood genome.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Peregrine Falcons Up Close

Science on the SPOT: Peregrine Falcons Up Close

QUEST meets the San Francisco Zoo's resident Peregrine Falcon, "Bella." The story of the Peregrine Falcon is a conservation success story. And the zoo's hope is that when people meet Bella they are inspired to take conservation into their own hands.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Open Source Creativity – Hackerspaces

Science on the SPOT: Open Source Creativity – Hackerspaces

Inspired in part by the open source movement, public spaces are emerging where people congregate to share ideas, make cool projects, teach, and brainstorm on everything from coding to cooking.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Restoring San Francisco's Lost Manzanita

Science on the SPOT: Restoring San Francisco's Lost Manzanita

QUEST explores how the San Francisco Botanical Garden is toiling to bring one of the city's rarest native plants, the Franciscana manzanita, back from the brink of extinction.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Measuring Redwood Giants

Science on the SPOT: Measuring Redwood Giants

Forest ecologist Steve Sillett leads a team of scientists as they climb and measure every branch of the tallest old growth redwoods in California to study how they are being impacted by climate change.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Watching the Tides

Science on the SPOT: Watching the Tides

Ocean tides rise and fall twice a day, influenced by the gravitational forces of the sun and moon. QUEST explores how tides work and visits the oldest continually operating tidal gauge in the Western Hemisphere.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Cal Academy Butterfly Collection

Science on the SPOT: Cal Academy Butterfly Collection

The California Academy of Sciences has the largest collection of biological reference materials west of the Mississippi River. Norman Penny, collections manager of the entomology department, gives QUEST viewers a peek at the academy's vast butterfly collection.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Fire and Butterflies

Science on the SPOT: Fire and Butterflies

Can fire save the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly? The Golden Gate National Recreation Area experiments with using controlled burns to improve habitat for this critically imperiled Bay Area native.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Life on the Farallones

Science on the SPOT: Life on the Farallones

The Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco are a vital home to many birds and marine mammals. QUEST visits the Farallones and sees what life is like for scientists working in this forbidding and inhospitable world.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Digging the Devil's Slide Tunnel

Science on the SPOT: Digging the Devil's Slide Tunnel

California Highway One, south of Pacifica, has earned the nickname, "The Devil's Slide." Now two tunnels are being dug to bypass this treacherous stretch of road. QUEST goes deep underground to learn how Caltrans is digging this new tunnel.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols

Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols

Artist Kate Nichols longed to paint with the iridescent colors of butterfly wings, but no such pigments existed. So she became the first artist-in-residence at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to synthesize nanoparticles and incorporate them into her artwork.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Driverless Cars

Science on the SPOT: Driverless Cars

Meet Shelley, a car that drives itself. Researchers at Stanford University have developed an autonomous race car and plan on taking it on one of the toughest courses in the country. First, the car is taking them for a test ride at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Albino Redwoods, Ghosts of the Forest

Science on the SPOT: Albino Redwoods, Ghosts of the Forest

QUEST ventures into the deep canopy of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park near Felton, California to track down the rare, elusive phantoms of the forest: albino redwood trees.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: DIY Fog at The Exploratorium

Science on the SPOT: DIY Fog at The Exploratorium

For a demonstration on how advection fog is created (and how you can do this at home), check out this video we filmed with The Exploratorium's Eric Muller.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Science of Fog

Science on the SPOT: Science of Fog

San Francisco's fickle summer weather has earned it the nickname "Fog City." Science on the SPOT asks UC Berkeley's Todd Dawson to clear up the mysterious origins of this weather phenomenon, and share his research on how fog is integral to our state's ecology.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Marine Sanctuary Patrol Flight

Science on the SPOT: Marine Sanctuary Patrol Flight

The Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine sanctuaries cover more than 9,500 square miles of ocean habitat. Patrolling such an immense area by boat would take days, but now sanctuary managers are taking to the air in a rugged de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter bush plane to get a bird's eye view.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Skulls at the Cal Academy

Science on the SPOT: Skulls at the Cal Academy

In our second episode of Science on the SPOT, join us on a behind-the-scenes trip deep into the massive collection of marine mammal skulls at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. You'd be surprised how much you can learn about an animal's life– and death– by reading their bones.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Swimming with Sharks

Science on the SPOT: Swimming with Sharks

In our first installment of QUEST's new Science on the SPOT web series, we go behind-the-scenes at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Meet the intrepid dive team who keeps the enormous Outer Bay Exhibit tank spic-and-span while swimming in 40 pounds of stainless steel, shark-resistant armor.

Continue Reading