Brain Food

Bonnie Stevens

Scientists have noticed a sharp population decline in monarch butterflies migrating between Mexico and Canada. Flagstaff entomologist Mike Wagner wants to know if growing more milkweed will boost their numbers. Milkweed is a pollinator plant for many insects and the only plant on which monarchs will lay their eggs. 


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. 


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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