Bonnie Stevens

Brain Food - Reporter/Host
Bonnie Stevens

Northern Arizona University is home to a giant collection of dried plant specimens that scientists across the globe use as a resource center. The Deaver Herbarium is essentially a plant museum that holds more than 120 thousand samples from the Southwest, some gathered more than 100 years ago. Biologist Tina Ayers is the director and curator. 


A rare “super bloom” is rolling across the Southwest this spring. A late, wet El Niño pattern has caused an explosion of wildflowers from the Pacific Ocean, to the Mojave Desert, to the mountains of northern Arizona. Brian Klimowski is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Flagstaff. 


Bonnie Stevens

By studying the relationship between minerals and microbes on Earth, scientists hope to learn more about the environment on Mars. The recent discovery of high concentrations of manganese on the Red Planet may suggest the signature of life. Now, a group of scientists is studying similar manganese-rich rock samples near Flagstaff to try to make a biological connection.


An elusive bat in the forests of Nicaragua has caught the attention of researchers at Northern Arizona University. The Vampyrum spectrum is the largest bat in the Americas, with a three foot wingspan. Wildlife biologist Carol Chambers collects data on the rare animal. She says habitat loss and human disturbance make them particularly susceptible to population decline.


NAU

Students at Northern Arizona University are part of an experiment in virtual reality learning. They're using high=tech goggles and applications to transport themselves into ancient cultures and inside molecules for a better understanding of how our senses help us learn. 


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