Science and Technology

KNAU/Bonnie Stevens

Growing microscopic organisms in a lab to conduct biological warfare might sound like the makings of a science fiction movie. But in the case of the bark beetle, it's real. An entomologist at Northern Arizona University is using a fungus to combat the beetles' deadly attack on forests across the West. As Arizona Public Radio's Bonnie Stevens reports, the fungus is the latest in a string of unconventional methods to stop the bugs' rampage.

If you’re one of those people who puts on weight while another person eating the same meal doesn’t, blame your gut! Greg Caporaso says it’s all about the microbiome — or the microbes living in our bodies — that determines how many calories we extract from food and also, how susceptible we are to disease.

pathmicro.med.sc.edu

Soft ticks are arachnids, like spiders. They live in pine and hardwood forests and thrive on the blood of mice, squirrels, chipmunks and sometimes birds. They don’t usually feed on humans, but, as in the case that closed Camp Colton near Flagstaff recently, it does happen once in awhile. Northern Arizona University Forest Entomology Professor Rich Hofstetter explains.

Bonnie Stevens

Earthquakes can’t be predicted, but Professor Dave Brumbaugh says Northern Arizona can expect seismic activity simply because there are a number of faults here. Brumbaugh is the director of the Arizona Earthquake Information Center on the Northern Arizona University Campus. He says the Earth’s crust in the region is expanding.

Much of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from human activities — like burning fossil fuel — is taken up as plant food. Northern Arizona University’s Debbie Huntzinger, a researcher of climate change models, says the land’s surface is currently storing more of the greenhouse gas than it’s giving off. 

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