Science Utah

Utah Public Radio presents SCIENCE UTAH - the podcast home for all UPR science news. Come along as our intrepid reporters seek to understand such mysteries as gene editing, wildlife disease, and dog poop.

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_ChrisUK / Flickr

Utah State University’s Synthetic Spider Silk Laboratory is using CRISPR technology to edit the DNA of silkworms in order to increase the strength and elasticity of their silk. Their DNA will contain strands from silk spiders, who are known for their incredibly strong silk. 

Gabriel Ugueto

If you have ever traveled to southeastern Utah, you may have noticed a greenish-colored rock formation sandwiched between the monumental red rocks. This green mudstone is part of the Morrison Formation, a distinct rock layer spread across the western United States. 

Gail Patricelli

  

For Gail Patricelli, when a female sage-grouse dies, it’s arts and crafts time. She collects the corpses and taxidermies them to the top of a robotic tank kit. She then drives the sage grouse around the breeding grounds - known as leks - to try and understand the threatened birds. 

Gillian Allard, FAO of United Nations / Bugwood.org

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is warning Utahns not to transport firewood across state lines because the wood could be harboring invasive insects. 

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

 

 

Everyone who lives in Utah is aware that we have plenty of mule deer. If you’ve lived here for any appreciable amount of time, you’ve probably seen gopher snakes and maybe even a quail or two, but there are some wildlife species here in Utah that are a little harder to glimpse.

Zach Gompert / iNaturalist

Utah State University biology professors wants to engage the community with a unique citizen science project aiming to explore interactions between insects and alfalfa plants. 

Carter Moore / Utah Public Radio


 219 million dollars. That’s the price, according to the National Park Service, that it would cost to address the maintenance issues that have been deferred in Utah’s 14 parks, monuments and historical sites. Thanks to a bill introduced by US congressman from Utah Rob Bishop though, these projects may finally get funded. 

HEAL Utah

If everything continues as planned, more than 30 communities in Utah will be at least partly nuclear powered by 2027. The Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, or UAMPS, a cooperative of municipal energy leaders, has contracted to be the first in the world to try out a Modular Nuclear Reactor. That's a small nuclear reactor that is, in theory, safer and more efficient than the traditional reactor. For Utah’s environmentalists, however, this project brings more problems than solutions. 

Mark Fisher / National Geographic

  

To summit the peak of Mount Everest is an iconic challenge that attracts mountaineers from around the world. However, the journey to the peak is dangerous, and in 2019 eleven people died on the mountain, the highest death count since 2011.

David Francis / USU Extension

With housing costs along the Wasatch Front climbing 80% since 2005, you might expect the Bastian family, farmers in Salt Lake County, to cash in for a tidy paycheck. But instead they opted to donate 100 acres of prime farmland to Utah State University Extension, with the goal of building a center for increasing agricultural literacy.

Anny Chung / Utah State University

Sometimes it’s a good year for one kind of wild plant and sometimes it’s a good year for another kind. But what causes these fluctuations in plant abundances from year to year? A new study suggests it might be linked to soil microbes underneath those plants.

Friends of Cedar Mesa

 A local non-profit has built a visitor’s center at Bears Ears National Monument to help visitors enjoy the site respectfully. Representatives say the number of visitors has increased since 2017 when the monument became national news.

Not Enough Fire In Our Forests, Study Suggests

Jun 3, 2019
Milena Rockwood / Uinta Wasatch Cache National Forest


Smokey the Bear has reminded campers for 75 years that “only you can prevent forest fires” but much of today’s wildfires are more catastrophic than ever, and that isn’t exactly your fault. While fire is a natural and necessary part of forests, fuels have accumulated from years of suppression and mismanagement.

Elizebeth Ogata

Utah State University in Logan is hosting some special guests from their sister campus in Blanding this month.

brewbooks / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Research tells us that early springs can offset the impacts of climate change. The earlier green-up makes for a longer growing season, and more carbon dioxide captured from the atmosphere. But we haven’t been able to tell if spring is coming earlier for conifers in the mountains – until now.

Mark Mauno / Flickr

New research has brought us closer to understanding the composition of the earth’s interior – and it is less uniform than previously thought.

California Condor Recovery: Slow But Steady

May 28, 2019
nps.gov


Soaring thousands of feet above the sandstone cliffs and spires of the desert, California Condors look for their next feeding opportunity. For these prehistoric birds, however, the next meal could be their last.

10. UPDATE

May 28, 2019

Announcing a new format.


BLM Nevada

Wild horses are an iconic symbol of America's West but ecologists say they are damaging our ecosystems and reproducing at an alarming rate. According to Dr. Terry Messmer, a professor of wildland resources at Utah State University, the United States has a horse problem. 

9. Air Quality

May 7, 2019
Salt Lake Tribune

UPR Science Reporter Jennifer Pemberton examines air quality in Cache Valley and beyond. This story originally aired in May 2013.

8. Social Media & Public Lands

Apr 30, 2019
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

UPR Science Reporter Leslie Forero explores how social media can have both positive and negative impacts on public lands.

7. CRISPR

Apr 23, 2019

UPR Science Reporter Leslie Forero interviews the Utah State University Jackson Lab about their work on CRISPR - a tool for editing an organism's genes.

6. Women in Science

Apr 16, 2019
Encyclopedia Britannica

UPR's Ashley Rohde explores the underrepresentation issue of women in science. 

5. Stream Restoration with Beavers

Apr 2, 2019
USU Restoration Consortium


4. Dog Poop

Mar 19, 2019

UPR's Ashley Rhode explores how dog doo can impact water quality.


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