In 2011, Lake Erie turned into a toxic pea soup. One-sixth of the lake harbored a thick and deadly algal bloom that killed fish, closed beaches and struck a blow to Toledo, Ohio’s tourism industry. The bloom was three times larger than any algal bloom ever recorded there. The contamination was forecast by ecologists in 2011, said Stephen Carpenter, newly retired as director of the Center for Limnology, at a recent campus symposium centered around a new effort to understand, predict and prevent these kinds of abrupt ecological changes.
Tropical forests boast a diversity of tree species — Barro Colorado Island, for example, has roughly as many tree species as all of Europe — and as part of his Ph.D. research, Jacob Usinowicz wanted to understand why and how they all manage to coexist.
Writing this week (Oct. 9, 2017) in the journal New Phytologist, University of Wisconsin–Madison Professor of Botany Hiroshi Maeda and his colleagues describe an ancient loosening up of a key biochemical pathway that set the stage for the ancestors of beets to develop their characteristic red pigment.
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $12.5 million to the University of Wisconsin–Madison to develop an integrated facility that will expand the frontier of astrophysical plasma research. Combining and extending two existing projects, the Big Red Plasma Ball and the Madison Symmetric Torus, the new Wisconsin Plasma Physics Laboratory, or WiPPL, will research fundamental properties of plasma in order to better understand our universe, where the hot gas is abundant.
Tuesday's announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded to researchers Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Kip Thorne and Barry Barish of the California Institute of Technology, bears University of Wisconsin System connections.
The effort combined chemical analysis of nitrate film, review of historical literature on it, and information from professionals who have handled, stored and shipped it.
Monica Turner in the New York Times: Fire on the Mountain: 2 Forests Offer Clues to Yellowstone’s Fate in a Warming World
Yellowstone’s recent fires offer a rare natural experiment to see how forests regenerate after burning and reburning at short intervals.