Death by volcano?

The discovery of anomalously high levels of mercury in rocks from the Ordivician geological period has led to a new interpretation of the ensuing mass extinction. A sequence of disturbances may have led to catastrophic cooling by reflective sulfate aerosols injected into the atmosphere by massive volcanism. The finding is important since aerosol cooling is under consideration as a way to temper global warming.

Smart cornfields of the future

Scientists attending a workshop at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory  slipped the leash of scientific caution and tried to imagine what they would do if they could redesign plants at will. The ideas they dreamed up may make the difference between full bellies and empty ones in the near future when population may outrun the ability of traditional plant breeding to increase yields.

Major Midwest flood risk underestimated by as much as 5 feet, study finds

As floodwaters surge along major rivers in the midwestern United States, a new study from Washington University in St. Louis suggests federal agencies are underestimating historic 100-year flood levels on these rivers by as much as five feet, a miscalculation that has serious implications for future flood risks, flood insurance, and business development in an expanding floodplain.

Their classroom is the desert

The hallmark of the 18-month Pathfinder Program in Environmental Sustainability at Washington University in St. Louis is the field trips to ecosystems, such as the Mojave Desert, that give students the chance to see and touch the land they have been studying. It’s hard to get the students back in the van, says Ray Arvidson, who leads the program.

Tyson designated an Earth Observatory

A 60-acre plot in Washington University in St. Louis’ Tyson Research Center has been named a Forest Global Earth Observatory, or ForestGEO. The oak-hickory forest in the rolling foothills of the Ozarks joins a network of 51 long-term forest study sites in 23 countries, including eight others in the United States. Together, the forests, containing roughly 8,500 species and 4.5 million individual trees, comprise the largest, systematically studied network of forest-ecology plots in the world.

Environmental politics and climate change​​​

Political scientist William Lowry has paid close attention to environmental issues for 25 years, marshaling what he learns each year and testing it in front of a class of critical students. He has honed his class “Environmental and Energy Issues” to the point where it is a white-water ride down a river of arguments and counterarguments that puts everything in context and lays out the facts — but skips the lecturing and fearmongering that characterize this debate. There can be no better guide to the perplexed.

Climate Change Initiative: A conversation

Himadri Pakrasi, PhD, director of the International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability, sat down recently with Peter Raven, PhD, the George Engelmann Professor of Botany Emeritus in Arts & Sciences and president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, for a conversation about the Washington University Climate Change Initiative.

Global leaders to gather in St. Louis to strengthen U.S.-India connection around innovation and education

Leaders from two of the world’s top research universities and several major international corporations will gather in St. Louis Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19-20, for the Washington University in St. Louis-Indian Institute of Technology Bombay Corporate Conclave, aimed at strengthening the U.S.-India connection around innovation and education, particularly in addressing pressing global issues.
Older Stories