NAU News

An important type of soil fungi took a Flagstaff researcher by surprise with its ability to migrate around the world.

Ian Horvath, Flickr

The authors of a new commentary in Science magazine say forest managers should allow more naturally-ignited wildfires to burn. That’s already part of forest management in northern Arizona.

The Arizona Board of Regents will decide if Arizona State University President Michael Crow and University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart get six-figure merit bonuses.

Board members are scheduled to vote Friday on whether Crow gets up to $150,000 in performance incentives. That would bring his total compensation and benefits to about $1 million for fiscal 2015.

Hart could get a $115,000 incentive for total compensation of nearly $754,000.


Information about Pluto continues to beam back to Earth from the New Horizons space probe. And scientists are finding the data perplexing, enchanting...and surprising!


The president of Northern Arizona University will address the Arizona Board of Regents at its meeting in Flagstaff Thursday. Rita Cheng will update the board on how NAU is faring after state funding to higher education was slashed by nearly $100 million. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

KNAU/Bonnie Stevens

Tree climbing scientists are going to great heights to find pine genes with the perfect fit for the future.

Hillary Cooper is a biologist at Northern Arizona University. Perched high-up in a Southwestern White Pine on Mount Elden, she gathers cones for an experiment to see if they'll grow in warmer, drier conditions. "It wasn't too windy today," Cooper says, "but we had to climb pretty high on about a 4" trunk and then really stretch out to get those cones at the tippy top."

It’s an iconic southwestern scene: the glimmer of green or yellow cottonwood leaves fluttering against the backdrop of Zion Canyon’s tremendous red- and cream-colored cliffs. Along southwest Utah’s Virgin River, groves of cottonwood trees please the eye, offer very welcome shade, and provide habitat for numerous types of animals.

But Zion’s cottonwoods are in trouble. Big as they are, the cottonwood trees along the river aren’t particularly long lived. Worse yet, as they die they are not being replaced by younger trees.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a huge floating island of plastic. Twice the size of Texas, it's riding the ocean currents between California and Japan, threatening sea life along the way. Flagstaff-based marine scientist Maria Campbell studies ocean micro plastics with the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science. She says the plastics absorb harmful chemicals in the water.

With their bald heads, beady eyes, and habit of shredding messy roadkill, turkey vultures look like birds only a mother could love. But this week we all should look up and tip our hats at the key role they play in the natural world. Saturday September 5 is International Vulture Awareness Day.


Arizona unexpectedly ended the 2015 fiscal year $325 million in the black. As a result, some lawmakers are discussing restoring the funds cut from the state’s three public universities in the current budget. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.