- Posted By: Jaime Adler
- Written by: Susie Kocher and Steve Quarles
Most people planning home improvement projects take into account how improvements will affect the home’s ability to withstand rain and weathering. We should also consider the threat of wildfire when planning home improvement projects this spring.
Most homes that burn during wildfires are ignited by flying embers landing on combustible material on or near homes. A wildfire passes by a home quickly, usually in a few minutes, while the exposure to flying embers can last for an hour or more. Therefore, activities homeowners undertake to make their home less ignitable from embers do the most to ensure its survival.
The most important home upgrade homeowners...
- Posted By: Trina Wood
- Written by: Peter Moyle, Professor of Fish Biology, UC Davis
The San Joaquin/Sacramento Delta and Suisun Marsh were once part of a continuous, enormously productive aquatic ecosystem that supported dense populations of fish from Sacramento perch to salmon, huge flocks of wintering waterfowl, and concentrations of mammals from beaver to tule elk. This amazing ecosystem is gone and cannot be brought back.
The once vast marshes have been turned into farmland and cities, protected by a complex system of levees. The patchy remnants of the original ecosystem are disappearing fast, as more and more native plants and animals become extinct or endangered. In their place, hundreds of alien species thrive in the altered conditions—crabs, clams, worms and fish from all over the...
- Author: Janet L. White
"Biofilms" surround us. They pervade our environment and our bodies. They form the dental plaque on our teeth and establish the chronic infections in our childrens' ear canals. They can spread on the watery surface of a contact lens.
Biofilms are now thought to be involved in 80 percent of human microbial infections, and are likely responsible for the resistance of chronic infections to antibiotics. Biofilms even form around "extremophiles" – such as the ancient blue-green cyanobacteria that thrive in extreme environments like the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park and the lake crusts of Antarctica. These microorganisms with fossil records going back 3.5 billion years also clog water pipes and create the slimy...
- Author: Jaime Adler
Whether you are enjoying a family day at the beach or a hike through the woods, the pictures you take not only document your memories, but they also capture observations in nature. The relatively new website, iNaturalist, creates a forum for the public to be able to share those photos as a living record of our environment.
iNaturalist works in three different ways. You can post your own observations by creating a free account and uploading a picture of a beautiful patch of wildflowers or a type of bird you have never seen before. Other users can then comment on your photo and also help you identify the species you observed. You can also use the site to explore your neighborhood,...
- Author: Janet Byron
Technology that allows orchard sprayers to skip the space between trees can protect the environment while saving growers money.
The idea is simple: when orchards receive dormant and in-season sprays of agricultural chemicals, the spray should only fall on the trees where it is needed, rather than on the ground, where it is not.
Orchard sprayers can be retrofit with target sensors that activate spray nozzles only when a tree is present.
A review of research on this “smart” sprayer technology, published in the April-June 2011 issue of the University of California’s California Agriculture journal, found that...