Natural Sciences

Tallgrass prairie restoration could be bolstered by understanding rare microbes

In the first half of the nineteenth century, American settlers pushed westward into the Great Plains, lured to the prairies by the agricultural promise of their dark, rich soils.

Within a century, America’s tallgrass prairies—which once stretched across more than 150 million acres, from Minnesota south to Texas and from Illinois west to Nebraska—had all but vanished under settlers’ plows. The demise of the tallgrass prairie also meant the demise of dozens of species of grasses that could grow to the height of a man, hundreds of species of flowers and herds of roaming bison.

Bugs that don't blend in can endanger larger insect community

One badly disguised bug easily becomes a snack for a bird.

But the impact reaches far beyond one poorly camouflaged insect. The bird, drawn to the insect that doesn't blend in, sticks around to eat all the other insects that live on the same plant. Those insects, in turn, are not able to feed on the leaves of the plants as they normally would.

Satellite designed and built by CU-Boulder students now in orbit

DANDE has left the planet.

A beach ball-sized satellite designed and built by a team of CU-Boulder students is now whipping around the planet in a polar orbit. Roughly 150 students have been involved in the project since 2007.

The satellite, known as the Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer satellite, or DANDE, will investigate how atmospheric drag can affect satellite orbits.

CU-Boulder/NIST physicist Ana Maria Rey wins 2013 MacArthur Fellowship

Ana Maria Rey, a theoretical physicist and a fellow of JILA, a joint institute of the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, today was named a winner of a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as the “genius grant.” Rey also is an assistant research professor in the CU-Boulder Department of Physics. She teaches undergrauate and graduate classes.

Rey is the eighth CU-Boulder faculty member to win the prestigious award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Chicago.

NSF fellows tackle research ranging from cystic fibrosis treatment to a better hip replacement

This fall, the University of Colorado Boulder is again hosting a large class of National Science Foundation fellows. Twenty-six new graduate researchers have received NSF fellowships, bringing the total number of NSF fellows on campus to 101, a new record for CU-Boulder.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is one of the most prestigious awards available for student researchers in the country. This year CU-Boulder was among the top 20 universities enrolling NSF fellows.

MAVEN arrives in Florida

Following a decade of work from the birth of an idea to a finished spacecraft, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, mission to Mars being led by the University of Colorado Boulder has arrived in Florida for a slated November launch.

“We are now on the final journey to the launch pad,” said CU-Boulder Professor Bruce Jakosky of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, principal investigator for the project. “It doesn’t get more exciting than that.”

Set by the sun: An escape from electrical lights synchs our circadian clocks to the solar day

A weeklong wilderness escape from the electrical lights that illuminate most of our daily lives is enough to reset our internal circadian clocks to synchronize with sunrise and sunset, according to new research from the University of Colorado Boulder.

The West is getting dustier, says CU-Boulder study

The amount of dust being blown across the landscape has increased over the last 17 years in large swaths of the West, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The escalation in dust emissions — which may be due to the interplay of several factors, including increased windstorm frequency, drought cycles and changing land-use patterns — has implications both for the areas where the dust is first picked up by the winds and for the places where the dust is put back down.

CU-Boulder prof to lead NASA campaign to study North American air quality

A University of Colorado Boulder professor is leading a major NASA airborne science campaign this summer that will probe weather patterns and air pollution over a vast expanse of North America that have potential global climate consequences.

Water-rock reaction could create enough 'food' to sustain life on Mars or in Earth's ocean crust

A chemical reaction between iron-containing minerals and water may produce enough hydrogen “food” to sustain microbial communities living in pores and cracks within the enormous volume of rock below the ocean floor and parts of the continents, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

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