Science news

Stan Jastrzebski / Courtesy Andy Mesecar

Even before the first case of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, turned up in Indiana last week, a Purdue team was trying to thwart the disease. Biology professor Andy Mesecar has been studying MERS for about a year. That’s on top of a decade trying to kill a fatal disease which caused a worldwide panic a decade ago.

A Purdue professor is leading a team that’s discovered a unique astronomical feature.  Dr. Matt Lister says ionized gas clouds were first predicted in the early 1970s.

He and his colleagues found evidence of one while monitoring a quasar three billion light years away from Earth. The cloud caused the refraction of the quasar’s radio waves when it passed in between.

Lister says using a quasar as a type of backlight is one method that will help to identify and learn about such clouds in the future.

Smart grid one focus of Discovery Park workshop

Aug 27, 2013
photo provided

Electricity and the smart grid are topics for discussion over the next two days at Purdue.

The Cyber and Energy centers in Discovery Park, along with several colleges on the West Lafayette campus and Purdue University-Calumet, are hosting the workshop covering electricity systems.

Chemical Engineering professor Joe Pekny says special focus will be on the smart grid. He says that involves making computer technology available to consumers, so they may participate in the next generation electric grid.

Mike Loizzo / WBAA Radio

Indiana’s attorney general is raising awareness of the Wabash River and how it’s an asset to the state. Greg Zoeller is touring stretches of the river by boat.

In Lafayette Tuesday, he talked about the threat posed by the presence of the invasive species of Asian Carp.

“There’s going to be an awful lot that has to be done to address this,” he says. “It’s a national effort. The Great Lakes states really didn’t cause this problem, so I think it is appropriate the federal government step in and kind of help.”

Study suggests trees dealing with climate change

Jul 15, 2013
Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Some trees seem to be adapting to climate change by using less water. That’s the conclusion a team of researchers from several universities has recently published in the journal Nature.

Using atmospheric devices on a 150 foot high tower in the Morgan Monroe State Forest, Indiana University researchers measured how much water vapor and gases were being absorbed and released by the forest.

A Purdue researcher says Asian carp are going where experts thought the fish would not. Specifically, Forestry and Natural Resources Assistant Professor Reuben Goforth says the species are showing greater flexibility in the location and conditions under which they can spawn.

He says what’s not known is if they already have the ability to adapt, or if the fish is evolving in U.S. waters.

“In terms of their evolution, it’s certainly not unheard of for a species to be able to undergo in some level of microevolution to become adapted to new environments relatively quickly.”

IN voters casting ballots in special election

Jun 29, 2012

A mock election is underway to determine Indiana’s new state animal.

The Indiana Historical Bureau is sponsoring the unofficial contest in hopes to increase awareness of the state’s natural heritage. The primary election ends Monday and features critters from three different time periods: prehistoric, pioneer, and modern.

History Education Specialist Jill Weiss says one candidate has jumped out to an early lead.

Yes, there are more and more people on the planet, and yes, there are fewer and fewer fish in the sea, but do we really notice? After all, fish live in water and we live on land; so we don't mingle that much. If fish were sparrows, we might see a dramatic decline, but who misses what they don't see in the first place?

Resetting What's "Normal"

Warm weather brings EAB out sooner than expected

Apr 22, 2012
Agricultural Research Service / U.S. Department of Agriculture

Homeowners in Tippecanoe and surrounding counties who want to protect their ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) have to act quickly. That’s according to Purdue’s Department of Entomology.

This insect has already killed many ash trees in Delphi was found to be responsible for the death of several ash trees in Lafayette last year. 

French study points to pesticides as cause of CCD

Apr 18, 2012

Researchers believe they are closing in on what is causing the decline in the number of honeybees.

A new study by French scientists points to a pesticide called neonicotinoid (NEE-oh-NIK-uh-tin-oyd).

Purdue Entomologist Christian Krupke says there seems to be more of a direct link between chemical use and Colony Collapse Disorder. He says specifically, this nicotine-based class of pesticides. The French researchers gave a non-lethal dose to honeybees they studied, which led to behavioral changes.