Brain Food: Insights and Discoveries from Northern Arizona

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Check out Brain Food: Insights and Discoveries from Northern Arizona. From ground breaking scientific research to global music projects, Brain Food profiles some of the unique projects happening in the region and the interesting people behind them.

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When bears raid campsites, it might be because of a relationship that developed thousands of years ago between humans and carnivores. That's what an archaeologist at Northern Arizona University believes. Chrissina Burke is looking at ancient bison kill sites to prove that wild animals have been conditioned to see humans as food providers. 

Burke says, "The research focuses is really focused on how do humans impact animals on the landscape. So, what I've been looking at in that context is how carnivores came in, saw, and said, 'Oh hey look! A smorgasbord. Free food!" 

BBC

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.


KNAU/Bonnie Stevens

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."

KNAU/Bonnie Stevens

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.


Courtesy of thetreecenter.com

Voracious Japanese beetles are becoming frequent fliers on airlines traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast. And that’s wreaking havoc on hundreds of species of plants. Ecosystem scientist Bruce Hungate is trying to find out how the beetles are getting their boarding passes. 


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