Researchers in Massachusetts and Wisconsin are comparing modern flower blooming data with notes made by Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold. The sight of irises blooming during a Boston winter helped spur the research.
Credit Darlyne A. Murawski / Getty Images/National Geographic Creative
Modern scientists trying to understand climate change are engaged in an unlikely collaboration — with two beloved but long-dead nature writers: Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold.
The authors of Walden and A Sand County Almanac and last spring's bizarrely warm weather have helped today's scientists understand that the first flowers of spring can continue to bloom earlier, as temperatures rise to unprecedented levels.
Whether crustaceans feel pain is generally something people try not to think about while munching on a crab cake or a lobster roll. Few of us would like to think that our dinner suffered during preparation, but still, we can't help but be a little curious.
Vegetation like the kind growing here at Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station could one day be used to feed small biofuel refineries spread throughout the Midwest.
Credit J.E.Doll / Michigan State University
This map shows the potential biomass collection within 10 states. Each circle represents an area of about 7,800 square miles, which could produce about 23 million gallons of ethanol per year. A gigagram, or Gg, is about 1,100 tons.
Millions of acres of marginal farmland in the Midwest — land that isn't in good enough condition to grow crops — could be used to produce liquid fuels made from plant material, according to a study in Nature. And those biofuels could, in theory, provide about 25 percent of the advanced biofuels required by a 2007 federal law.
But there are many ifs and buts about this study — and, in fact, about the future of advanced biofuels.