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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The University of Utah will be hosting a symposium on Thursday about air quality in the state. Dr. Steve Bannister will be a guest panalist. He studies the economic influence of air quality in Utah and around the world.

UDWR

Previously thought to be extinct, black-footed ferrets are one of the rarest mammals in the United States. Thanks to captive breeding programs, these ferrets are being bred and reintroduced to prairie habitats across the Western US, including Coyote Basin near Vernal.

Natalie Boren / UDWR

Not long ago, Pelican Lake, roughly between Vernal and Deschene, was full of bluegill fish and bass.

Bill Branson

There is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease, but for mice with induced Parkinson’s, exercise seems to slow the progression of the neurodegenerative disease, and surveys suggest something similar could be happening with humans. A research group at University of Utah is looking into this kind of treatment with a grant for controlled experiments.

usu.edu

Drs. Bruce Bugbee and Lance Seefeldt are both scientists at Utah State University. Dr. Bugbee is a botanist, he studies plants; and Dr. Seefeldt is a biochemist, he studies the chemistry of living organisms. It may not sound like these scientists have very much in common, but they do have one common interest.

Rachel Kubina

The Navajo sandstone is one of Utah’s most iconic rock formations, with its massive white-pink cliffs strikingly visible in Zion and other national parks and monuments. Deposited during the Jurassic time period, these sandstones tell us the story of a major turning point in Earth’s history when fertile lands turned into an immense desert – in a process called desertification. 

Ashley Rohde

Citizens of Utah joined people around the world on Friday in an international climate strike.

Public Domain

Bighorn sheep are a charismatic species in the Western United States, but populations throughout the West have struggled due to a widespread respiratory illness originally introduced by European settlers.

Ileen Kennedy / Utah National Guard

The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) recently received $9.6 million for its Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWPP) to help Utah County restore watersheds affected by the Pole Canyon and Bald Mountain fires.

There are 42 threatened or endangered species that call Utah home. These species are protected by federal law through the Endangered Species Act. However, the Trump administration recently announced some big changes to the act, which may have a large impact on those species.

UDWR

Beginning August 28, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will be adding rotenone to several lakes and streams in the Eastern Uinta Mountains aimed at helping eliminate invasive species that threaten the populations of Colorado River Cutthroat trout. 

Kristen Murphy / Deseret News

Dr. Mathieu Francoeur, a professor and mechanical engineer at the University of Utah, has created a tiny device that could increase the efficiency of all of our electronics. 

Some vaccines have been extremely successful. 

“If you want to see one of the greatest public health achievements ever, follow smallpox, and how we were able to eradicate it.”

  

Doctors in Cache Valley have a new tool to help them detect and diagnose breast cancer earlier in their patients - 3D mammography.

Bureau of Land Management

As wildfires are becoming larger and more frequent across the nation, scientists are interested in the potential impacts smoke emissions may have on the atmosphere and air quality. 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steam rollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of the past. It reminds us of all that was once good and that could be again.”

Allen Neves / Deseret News

  

Many Utahns are familiar with the species Anabrus simplex, though they may not know it by that name. According to folklore associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the spring of 1848 these little critters attacked newly planted crops that were vital for the survival of Mormon settlers. 

Bats are important parts of many ecosystems. Collectively they consume literal tons of flying insects, including the mosquitoes that spread diseases like West Nile, which was recently found in Moab. We have 18 species of bats across the state of Utah, but they may be under threat of a deadly disease.

_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. 

Litter Problem Burgeoning At Utah's National Parks

Jul 17, 2019
David Stanley / Flickr

Utah’s national parks are having more visitors, but unfortunately, they are leaving more trash. 

Tourism - And Vandalism - Are On The Rise In Utah

Jul 16, 2019
Molly Marcello

It’s early morning at Sand Flats Recreation Area as a small group of people makes their way over sandstone and brush. Usually, visitors to Sand Flats bring their mountain bikes or off-road vehicles. They’re recreators in search of the internationally famous trails over slick rock. But this particular group of people - walking with notebooks and sturdy shoes - is searching out something else.

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.

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