Science

Wyoming is one of the states with the most surviving glaciers in the lower 48 states. And trapped in the layers of all that ice is an intricate history of life on earth. During a visit to the University of Wyoming this week, Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards sat down to talk with geoscientist Richard Alley about what this history tells us about climate change. Alley shared a Nobel Peace Prize for his work and participated in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The Trump administration on Friday ordered agencies to eliminate at least one-third of their advisory committees, a move that has government watchdogs and science advocacy groups concerned.

Lusha Tronstad

Alpine areas are predicted to be one of the areas most affected by climate change and some unique microbes have made their homes in the glacier-fed streams there. The loss of these little critters can have large effects on both the ecosystem around them and on people, says University of Wyoming invertebrate zoologist Lusha Tronstad.

Wikimedia Commons

Every year, the University of Wyoming hosts the annual Wyoming Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) conference. The event is focused on inspiring young women, 7th grade through high school, who are interested in STEM subjects to continue in the field by providing them with role models and networks on campus.

An organization called ‘500 Women Scientists’ got its start in the Mountain West. Now, it has gone global with a database of experts who are also women.

It all started when members of the group noticed a pattern: an overabundance of something they call ‘manels.’

“They are all-male panels,” says Liz McCullagh, a neuroscientist at the University of Colorado and a member of 500 Women Scientists. “And in particular in fields where we know there’s a lot of representation of women, it’s incredibly frustrating.”

A junior high school robotics team from Casper has won a state LEGO robotics competition and will travel to Houston to compete against teams from across the world.

Archaeologists studying a prehistoric site in Golden, Colorado, have found that people lived there thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

The site is called “Magic Mountain” after an amusement park that used to own the land back when excavations started in the 1950s.

Archaeologists like Mark Mitchell knew that people, likely nomadic hunter-gatherers, had lived and camped at the site for much of the last 5,000 years. 

Rocky Mountain Citizen Science Conference

Citizen science is the focus of the last event planned by the Biodiversity Institute whose future is uncertain. This weekend, the Rocky Mountain Citizen Science Conference located in Cody brings scientists involved in projects where people in the community help collect data for science research projects. Community-engaged scientific research is booming.

A paper published in BioScience looks at how poetry can be used to teach scientific concepts and how researchers can use poetry to gain a new perspective.

London Homer-Wambeam

Last Friday, lawmakers gathered in Laramie for the groundbreaking of the new University of Wyoming Science Initiative Building.

Yellowstone National Park

In September, Ear Spring Geyser in Yellowstone National Park erupted. At 20 feet, it was the largest eruption in over 60 years. But it wasn't just water that spewed out.

Wellcome Images

Two researchers at the University of Wyoming have contributed to a study that paints a picture of human population over the last 10,000 years.

The Department of Interior just released a new science policy that it says will increase transparency. But conservationists are concerned. 

Wyoming Geological Survey

A rare mammal fossil found near Kemmerer will be displayed publicly for the first time since it was found in 2016.

Starting this fall, our region will host something new: a graduate program in space resources.

“This is the very first program in the world that is focused on space resources,” says Angel Abbud-Madrid, the director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines.

Melodie Edwards

In the last few years, researchers have discovered the earth is literally filled with microbes, those little single-celled critters we sometimes call germs. They’ve even been found living as deep as the earth’s core. And they say these microbes could help us gain access to thousands of years of knowledge. Now scientists at the University of Wyoming want to use those layers of ancient history to help us recover from wildfires as the climate warms up.

Melodie S. Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

It’s year two in a major project to catalog the microbes of Wyoming, and now University of Wyoming scientists have a robot to help them do the job.

thecuriositycube.com

Pharmaceuticals and biosciences company MilliporeSigma is stopping in Laramie this week to showcase its “Curiosity Cube.” What used to be a 22 by 10-foot shipping container is now a mobile science lab with interactive experiments. The Curiosity Cube allows kids to experience different technologies like high-tech microscopes, virtual reality, and 3D printers. 

Maggie Mullen

Over the next few weeks, we're going to take you on a tour of some of our favorite public lands.  

Most people visit Curt Gowdy State Park in Southeastern Wyoming for the world-class mountain biking, reservoirs filled with rainbow trout, and hikes through steep granite formations.

But entomologist Christy Bell comes for the bees.

Wyoming State Geological Survey

On a bright, cloudless day in southwest Wyoming, Rick Hebdon, a commercial fossil collector, drove over a steep dirt road to one of his quarries within the Green River Formation. He’s been uncovering fossils for most of his life, but it still holds a thrill for him.

Kamila Kudelska

Last week the Wyoming Archaeological Society and the Montana Archaeological Society held a joint conference in Billings, Montana. Three years ago, women archaeologists from both Wyoming and Montana started a group called The Sisterhood of the Traveling Trowel.

The group tries to help emerging women archaeologists in their careers. Crystal Allegria and Bonnie Smith are both members of the sisterhood and archaeologists in the Plains Country. Wyoming Public Radio’s Kamila Kudelska speaks with both women on the need to help women archaeologists. Kudelska first asked Bonnie Smith what the group’s goal was this year. 

Eric Kilby via Flicker with Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The largest fossil of a mammal ever found in the Green River formation is getting ready for further research. The ancient fossil was found damaged and in several parts back in 2016 in the 50-million-year old formation.

It’s been identified as in the tapiromorph family. The actual species is still debated, though a Duke University paleontologist identified it as a Heptodon calciculus. 

The Modern West 30: Melting And Migration

Dec 19, 2017
JOE RIIS

This time, we visit melting ice fields, ask whether climate change is fueling summer fires, and step into the hooves of big animals as they migrate to winter ranges.

A greater sage-grouse male struts for a female at a lek (dancing or mating ground) near Bridgeport, CA
Jeannie Stafford / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A new report from the Endangered Species Coalition, a conservation group based in Washington D.C., says decisions on endangered species are undercut by politics. The report examines 10 fish, plant and wildlife conservation decisions where, according to the coalition, science was ignored or suppressed.

 

Melodie Edwards

We drive for hours on a terrible dirt road to reach the ice patch, but Colorado State University archeology professor emeritus Larry Todd says, heck, this is nothing.

“Today we'll be able to get in the truck and drive for an hour and a half to an ice patch. That's about as close as we can get,” he says. “More often it's, go to the trailhead, load up the horses and pack mules and ride for six to eight hours to get into the area where you can start studying those.”

University of Wyoming Geological Museum

The University of Wyoming Geological Museum and Coe Library are teaming up to digitize more than 5,000 specimens from the museum’s rare fossil mammal collection. The project was made possible by a $100,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Chris DuRoss USGS

Scientists this week closed up a large trench they built to study the Teton Fault, a 40-mile geological feature along the east side of the Teton Range.

The research team affiliated with the U.S. Geological Survey, the Forest Service, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and many other groups will now take data they collected in the trench and try to evaluate how often large earthquakes hit the Teton Fault.

Copyright by Dennis Kunzel and James T. Staley

Cutting edge science is discovering that billions of species of microscopic bacteria live everywhere... on our bodies and in nature.

Now, the National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Wyoming $20 million to learn more about those microbes. Scientists plan to sample and catalog microscopic life in the extreme ecosystems of Wyoming: from glaciers to oil pads to the bison rangelands of the Wind River Reservation.

UW Molecular Biology Professor Naomi Ward said the study will add greatly to human understanding of the role of microbes in nature.

The Modern West 27: Dark Side Of The Moon

Sep 19, 2017
GreatAmericanEclipse.com

August’s total solar eclipse drew hundreds of thousands of people to Wyoming for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Melodie Edwards

Jill Tarter is a woman who struggled her entire career with a double whammy.

Not only she one of just a handful of women in her scientific field, but that field was the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), something most people consider the stuff of comic books.

Tarter’s daughter works for the National Outdoor Leadership School or NOLS in Lander and, while she was visiting her, she spoke to a sold out audience at the Lander high school the night before the solar eclipse. Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards sat down with her.

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