The arid Southwest is ideal for preserving plant and animal remains. It's a living laboratory for scientists. At the Ancient DNA Lab at Northern Arizona University, wildlife geneticist Faith Walker is using tiny pieces of mummified biological material to learn more about life on Earth thousands of years ago.
Flagstaff has long been a training destination for world class athletes. The high altitude makes their bodies produce more red blood cells and absorb more oxygen, which in turn builds their endurance and speed. Canadian exercise physiologist Trent Stellingwerff wants to know what else happens when elite athletes train at 7,000 feet.
Wine making is an art. It's also a science. Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona is teaching that science in the Southwest's only viticulture program.
Nikki Bagley is the director of the "wine school". She says, "What a student will get when they get in this program is experience from planting the vine in the ground, managing it through its entire life. They'll get experience with that and then move into the winter - producing the wine, labeling the wine and selling the wine out of our tasting room."
If a tree falls in the forest and no one's there to hear, does it make a sound? It definitely makes sound waves, according to wood scientist Dave Auty of Northern Arizona University. Auty uses "acoustic evaluation technology", or sound wave probes, to determine the stiffness and quality of a tree before it's harvested. It's a technique new to northern Arizona forests.
New knowledge about the endangered Bonytail Chub is helping biologists understand more about the native Colorado River fish: how it maneuvered through pre-dam floods and is surviving current experimental high-flow releases.