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Newswise - News for Journalists

Newswise Special Wire
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Public edition |

Newswise Earth Day, Environment News, and Spring Topics 15-Apr-2015

Earth Day, Environment News, and Spring Topics

Earth Day, Climate Change, and Environment News

Increased Levels of Radon in Pennsylvania Homes Correspond to Onset of Fracking

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers say that levels of radon in Pennsylvania homes – where 42 percent of readings surpass what the U.S. government considers safe – have been on the rise since 2004, around the time that the fracking industry began drilling natural gas wells in the state.

(Embargo expired on 09-Apr-2015 at 00:05 ET)

Environmental Health Perspectives; R21 ES023675

– Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Recipe for Saving Coral Reefs: Add More Fish

Fish are the key ingredients in a new recipe to diagnose and restore degraded coral reef ecosystems, according to scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, WCS, James Cook University, and other organizations in a new study in the journal Nature.

 • Video / Image(s) embedded •  (Embargo expired on 08-Apr-2015 at 13:00 ET)


– Wildlife Conservation Society

Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Limits Soil Storage

Soil carbon may not be as stable as previously thought. Also, soil microbes exert more direct control on carbon buildup than global climate models represent.

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Science 344 (6183), 508­–509 (2014)

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

U-M Researchers Track the Toxicity of Lake Erie Cyanobacterial Blooms

Efforts to reduce the amount of phosphorus and other nutrients washing off farm fields and into Lake Erie shifted into overdrive after high levels of a bacterial toxin shut down the drinking water supply to more than 400,000 Toledo-area residents last August.

– University of Michigan

Dispersant Used to Clean Deepwater Horizon Spill More Toxic to Corals Than the Oil

The dispersant used to remediate the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is more toxic to cold-water corals at lower concentrations than the spilled oil, according to a new study that comes on the eve of the spill’s fifth anniversary, April 20th.

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Deep Sea Research II

– Temple University

Researchers Show Animals Can Adapt to Increasingly Frequent Cold Snaps

University of Florida and Kansas State University discovered there is substantial genetic variation in nature for both long-term seasonal acclimation and short-term acclimation associated with rapid extreme weather events.

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– University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Connecting the Dots with a Golden-Winged Warbler

For the first time, the same Golden-winged Warbler has been caught at both a migration hotspot and in his wintering grounds.

 • Video / Image(s) embedded • 

– Michigan Technological University

Nitrogen in a Mo Fo Lo Po World

Managing nitrogen levels in soils has created debate over the decades. Recently, a group of scientists, industry representatives, farmers, and government and non-government organization members met to discuss managing nitrogen on farms with the goal of “Mo Fo Lo Po:” more food, low pollution.

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Journal of Environmental Quality

– American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)

California’s Solar Incentive Program Has Had Only Modest Impact on Adoption Rates

According to a new analysis, California's aggressive incentive program for installing rooftop solar-electric systems has not been as effective as generally believed.

Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems

– Vanderbilt University

Researchers Clarify Impact of Permafrost Thaw

Scientists know more about how climate change may be affected by the thawing of billions of tons of organic carbon in the Arctic permafrost. climate change happens

 • Image(s) embedded • 

– Northern Arizona University

Complex Bacterial Challenge in Fight Against Deadly Amphibian Disease

New research from The University of Manchester and the Institute of Zoology has shed light on the complex challenge facing scientists battling one of the world’s most devastating animal diseases.

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Applied and Environmental Microbiology

– University of Manchester

Declining Great Apes of Central Africa Get New Action Plan for Conservation for the Next Decade

The number of gorillas and chimpanzees in Central Africa continues to decline due to hunting, habitat loss, and disease, combined with a widespread lack of law enforcement and corruption in the judicial process, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF, and partners in a new conservation plan.

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Regional Action Plan for the Conservation of Western Lowland Gorillas and Central Chimpanzees 2015-2025

– Wildlife Conservation Society

Global Climate Trend Since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C Per Decade

Global Temperature Report: March 2015

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– University of Alabama Huntsville

News Alert: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Anniversary Events at the University of Florida

April 20 is the fifth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill, which resulted in the loss of 11 lives and substantial environmental and economic impacts for residents along the Gulf Coast region. In 2011, UF became the lead institution on one of four Deepwater Horizon Research Consortia grants, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

– University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Endangered Tortoises Thrive on Invasive Plants

Introduced plants make up roughly half the diet of two subspecies of endangered tortoise, field research in the Galapagos reveals. Tortoises seem to prefer non-native to native plants and the plants may help them to stay well-nourished during the dry season.

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Biotropica, March 2015

– Washington University in St. Louis

Trending Stories Report for 3 April 2015

Trending news releases with the most views in a single day. Topics include: nanotech treating cancer, immunology, autism, patient monitoring, research ethics, lingering effects of dispersant in Gulf of Mexico, wildlife conservation.

– Newswise Trends

Study Suggests Oil Dispersant Used in Gulf Oil Spill Causes Lung and Gill Injuries to Humans and Aquatic Animals, Also Identifies Protective Enzyme

New research from UAB suggests that Corexit EC9500A, an oil-dispersal agentl, contributes to damage to epithelium cells within the lungs of humans and gills of marine creatures. The study also identifies an enzyme that is expressed in epithelial cells across species that has protective properties against Corexit-induced damage.


– University of Alabama at Birmingham

Current Residential Development Research is a Poor Foundation for Sustainable Development

A new paper from Colorado State University, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and others shows that residential development research is lacking when it comes to achieving key sustainability objectives because in most cases it is limited by a single discipline perspective.

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Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

– Wildlife Conservation Society

Virginia Tech, Ecuadoran Scientists Study Rare ‘Pinocchio Lizard’ in Effort to Save It

A long lizard nose is an important part of their social interactions and a unique aspect of the natural history of this remarkable lizard. Scientists say the more they know about its behavior, the better the chances they have to save it.

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2015 Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology

– Virginia Tech

Story Tips From the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory April 2015

To arrange for an interview with a researcher, please contact the Communications staff member identified at the end of each tip. For more information on ORNL and its research and development activities, please refer to one of our media contacts. If you have a general media-related question or comment, you can send it to

– Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Making Every Bite Count

Make Every Bite Count campaign calls for colleges and universities to make a commitment to preserving and celebrating agricultural biodiversity in their own regions.

– Wake Forest University

New Method Relates Greenland Ice Sheet Changes to Sea-Level Rise

Early schemes to model the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and their impact on sea levels failed to accurately account for changes caused by snowfall and snow melt. These changes depend on ice sheet elevation and region. Researchers developed a new method that includes the effects of elevation and region.

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The Cryosphere 8, 181–194 (2014a); The Cryosphere 8, 195–208 (2014b)

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Mayors From Great Lakes, Middle East to Sign Water Pact

Leaders from both regions will convene during Water After Borders: Global Stakes, Local Politics, a two-day University of Illinois at Chicago summit that will focus on strategies for sharing water across political, geographical and cultural boundaries.

– University of Illinois at Chicago

Eco-Tourism, Wildlife Conservation, Sustainability: What’s on Your Environmental Bucket List?

The environmental leaders of tomorrow have big plans for what they hope to experience.

 • Video embedded • 

– SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

The New Cool: LSU Physicist Discovers New Material Set to Change Cooling Industry

New material that may change the way we cool our food, homes and cars

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– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Connecting Vehicles

Computational framework for optimizing traffic flow could be the beginning of a road revolution.

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– Oak Ridge National Laboratory

University of Oklahoma to Host Society of Environmental Journalists Annual Conference in Norman, Oklahoma, October 2015

The University of Oklahoma will host Environmental Journalism 2016, the 25th Annual Conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ). SEJ’s meeting will bring 600 journalists and news-makers to Norman, Oklahoma October 7-11, 2015 for a comprehensive agenda of tours and sessions. See for details, and information on exhibitor opportunities.

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SEJ Annual Conference, October 2015

– Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ)

Major New Research Project to Study How Tropical Forests Worldwide Respond to Climate Change

Tropical forests play major roles in regulating Earth's climate, but there are large uncertainties over how they'll respond over the next 100 years as the planet's climate warms. An expansive new project led by scientists from Berkeley Lab aims to bring the future of tropical forests and the climate system into much clearer focus. The project is called the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments-Tropics, or NGEE-Tropics.

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– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Earth Day: Experts Discuss Why Companies Are Placing More Importance on Running a Sustainable Business and the Impact of Those Decisions on the Environment

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– DePaul University

Building Sustainable Cities: DePaul University Experts Discuss Food Access, Car-Free Living, Green Suburbs and Social Justice

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– DePaul University

Texas A&M Colonias Water Project Could Be A Lifesaver

 • Image(s) embedded • 

– Texas A&M University

Asian Air Pollution Affecting World’s Weather

– Texas A&M University

Oxygen, Aerobic Life Found Deep Beneath The Ocean

 • Image(s) embedded • 

– Texas A&M University

What To Do With Nuclear Waste? Texas A&M Researcher May Have the Answer

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– Texas A&M University

Beyond California, Other Water Crises Loom, Says @MissouriSandT Expert

– Missouri University of Science and Technology

Tornado Recovery/Emergency Management Expert Available

– Western Illinois University

Spring Topics

Air Pollutants Could Boost Potency of Common Airborne Allergens

A pair of air pollutants linked to climate change could also be major contributors to the unparalleled rise in the number of people sneezing, sniffling and wheezing during allergy season. The gases, nitrogen dioxide and ground-level ozone, appear to provoke chemical changes in certain airborne allergens that may increase their potency. That, in combination with changes in global climate could help explain why allergies are becoming more common.

249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS)

– American Chemical Society (ACS)

It’s a War on Pollen during Spring Allergy Season

Tip sheet on best ways to combat symptoms of spring allergies.

 • Video embedded • 

– American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)

Nothing to Sneeze At: Five Tips for Spring Allergy Relief

Five tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology to help those with spring allergies avoid symptoms and enjoy the season.

– American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)

Sneezing? Check the Gottlieb Allergy Count

Those in the Midwest with sensitive respiratory systems will find relief beginning Monday, March 16 as the Gottlieb Allergy Count kicks off its first report of 2015. The Gottlieb Allergy Count is the official daily allergy count for the Midwest. “I have conducted initial testing and am detecting pollen in the air, which may be triggering sneezing and itchy skin in allergy sufferers,” said Joseph Leija, MD, retired allergist who is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to conduct the official allergy count.

 • Image(s) embedded • 

– Loyola University Health System

Fall, Winter Rains Will Bring Great Wildflower Displays in Much of Texas

Most areas of Texas should have great wildflower blooms this spring, and some areas already have a great show started thanks to intermittent rains since last fall, according to a restoration ecologist at The University of Texas at Austin's Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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– University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)

Spring Allergy Season is Imminent -- Despite This Winter's Snow and Cold Temperatures!

This winter was one of the coldest on record, but spring allergy season is already beginning and it’s time for sufferers to start preparing now. An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, which are commonly called hay fever. Symptoms include itchy eyes, nose and throat; sneezing; stuffy or runny nose; tearing or dark circles under the eyes.

– Montefiore Medical Center

Beating Seasonal Allergies

After a seemingly never-ending winter, temperatures have finally warmed and spring is in the air — literally. In fact, people with spring allergies are most likely already experiencing sneezing, watery eyes and fatigue because of tree pollen.

 • Image(s) embedded • 
Expert(s) available

– Valley Health System

Tax Season: GW Experts Available

– George Washington University


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