Published: Sept. 23, 2016

Research at CU Boulder encompasses thousands of scholarly, scientific and creative endeavors at any given time, resulting in new knowledge, technologies and creative work that advance the economy, culture and health of Colorado, the nation and the world. Here is a selection of the top CU research stories of the week.

Greenland Ice Sheet may be losing more glacial mass than previously estimated

Measuring just how much mass a glacier is losing—through melting and calving—is no easy task. While there’s plenty of satellite data from space, scientists haven’t had access to much local, on-the-ground observation, which is the sort of information that’s necessary to more accurately measure glacial mass loss.

But now a team of scientists, including CIRES’ Mike Willis, have put a series of GPS systems in place that give them the kind of data they need. Using that information, they find that previous estimates of mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet—already known to be shrinking—may be underestimates. Their study is out today in Science Advances.

Willis, who’s also a glaciologist with the University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Geological Sciences, has spent decades studying the Earth’s ice sheets, including Greenland’s. Over the past two decades, the Greenland Ice Sheet has lost mass as glaciers around the edge flow faster into the ocean and melting in the interior increases in area and duration.

Probiotic treatment protects endangered Colorado toads from lethal fungal infection

A probiotic treatment has been shown to effectively inoculate endangered Colorado toads and protect them from a virulent fungus that has ravaged the population in recent decades, according to the results of new University of Colorado Boulder research.

The study found that restoring the environmental bacterium Janthinobacterium lividum (J. lividum) to boreal toads raised in captivity resulted in a 40 percent increase in survival when the toads were subsequently exposed to the fungus.

Professor receives grant to showcase physics education research in Brazil

Noah Finkelstein, who co-directs the Center for STEM Learning at CU Boulder and is a principal investigator for the Physics Education Research group, plans to showcase CU Boulder research at Brazilian universities in November after being awarded a grant from a prestigious lectureship program for physicists.

Finkelstein says his initial trip to Brazil will last two weeks and include lectures and presentations to physics faculty and students at the Universidade Federal Flumineses, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Much of Finkelstein’s Brazilian lectures will be about Finkelstein’s and other CU Boulder research on best approaches for teaching physics.



An adult boreal toad. Photo: Jordan Kueneman

Noah Finkelstein

Noah Finkelstein, CU Boulder professor and co-director the Center for STEM Learning