If that mockingbird won’t sing, could lead be the problem?
Tulane University researcher Renata Ribeiro wants to find out by setting up bird feeders around homes throughout New Orleans as part of a yearlong project funded by the Morris Animal Foundation.
Research has shown that older New Orleans neighborhoods have high levels of lead in their soil that can cause health problems, including neurological damage that is especially acute for children.
To the average person, names like Faure, Kastner, Hitchon, Brantley and Wedepohl probably don’t mean much. To Karen Johannesson, a geochemistry professor at Tulane University, the names represent the best in her field, a virtual who’s who of geochemists from around the world.
A research team lead by Tulane University biologist John J. Schenk has discovered a previously unknown flowering plant in a remote corner of the Grand Canyon.
“Sea-level rise will become our biggest enemy,” in terms of flooding in coastal areas, says Torbjörn Törnqvist, professor and chair of earth and environmental sciences at Tulane University.
More than eight years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, a team of Tulane University ecologists, sociologists and geographers is joining forces with other national experts to better understand how rebuilding after a disaster can effect human and ecological well-being.
This spring marks the 40th year that Tulane University will offer the Grand Canyon Colloquium, a course that directly explores the majesty of one of America’s great landscapes.
As the effects of the continuing government shutdown are being felt across the country, it’s easy to think that a private university would be somewhat immune to such public-sector woes. However, impact of the shutdown is reaching members of the Tulane University research community as well.
For some Tulane University students, a bird in the hand is … well, the most interesting way to learn about conservation.
A group of eight Tulane students traveled to the mountains of Ecuador for two weeks in August to participate in a Tropical Field Biology and Conservation course led by biologists Jordan Karubian and Renata Duraes.
When researchers from Tulane and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette began a study of blue crabs in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, they expected a big kill-off. However, their investigations have not indicated any obvious or dramatic mortality rates.
Tulane University scientist Kyle Straub has been recognized with a national award for his work in sedimentary geology.
An assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Straub won the James Lee Wilson Award at the annual meeting of the Society for Sedimentary Geology in Pittsburgh.
In the February issue of New Phytologist, Tulane University biologists examine why leaf-cutting ants target some plants and avoid others, concluding that high levels of friendly fungi in the leaves of some plants protect them from destruction by ants.
Some courses are suited to a classroom environment, while others are best out in the field, where hands can be dirtied and theories put into practice. Jordan Karubian, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Tulane University, tends to subscribe to the latter school. He will be taking a group of students to Ecuador for an intensive field course this summer.
The Water Institute of the Gulf has hired veteran researcher and Tulane University alumnus Ernst Peebles as director of coastal systems ecology. Peebles has studied coastal ecology and estuaries in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean for more than 30 years.
Carrie Manore, a postdoctoral fellow in the in the Center for Computational Science and Department of Mathematics, at Tulane University, is making waves as a promising early career scientist.
On the coast of Ecuador, along the Pacific Ocean, on the western side of the Andes Mountains, lies the Choco rain forest. Here, Jordan Karubian, his students and local residents, whom he’s enlisted as “environmental ambassadors,” study an endangered species of bird — the long-wattled umbrellabird.
Tiny poison dart frogs living wild in Panama may provide clues about relatively rapid biodiversification, says Tulane University evolutionary biologist Corinne “Cori” Richards-Zawacki. Her team of students has spent most of the summer at two field sites on an archipelago studying natural selection.
The full impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has yet to reveal itself, say researchers in the Tulane Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. The largest-ever accidental release of oil into marine waters could impact earth’s ecosystems for years to come — and not just along the 650 miles of the northern Gulf of Mexico coastline directly affected by the spill.
Noise, whether from the city or nature, may be enough of a nuisance to convince birds to change their tune over time, according to a new study co-authored by a Tulane University evolutionary ecologist.
Inadequate knowledge about the effects of deep-water oil well blowouts such as the Deepwater Horizon event of 2010 constrains scientists’ ability to help manage and assess comparable events in future, according to an article that Tulane University scientists and colleagues will publish in the May issue of BioScience.
Jerrycans — 20-liter plastic containers ubiquitous in third-world countries — are a favorite for relief organizations because they’re so versatile for storing water or fuel and easily transportable. What if they could be adapted to work double-duty as a cheap disinfection device in areas with scant access to clean water? A medical student and a graduate student at Tulane University have a novel idea.
The rate of sea level rise along the U.S. Gulf Coast has increased dramatically this past century compared to that of the preindustrial millennium (600-1600 A.D.). This sobering news for residents from the Florida panhandle to east Texas is just one part of the findings by Tulane University researchers in a study published March 30 in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
Fish biologists have named a newly identified genus of fossil anglerfishes after Tulane ichthyologist John H. Caruso. “It’s a tremendous honor having a taxon named after you, especially a genus,” says Caruso. “It’s one of the top honors one can get in systematic biology.”
On WGNO’s News With a Twist, graduate student Bhan Sunkara, explains how composite particles are made from Louisiana sugarcane and crawfish shells. These particles absorb chemicals in contaminated groundwater and naturally degrade reducing clean-up time from decades to months.
Henry “Hank” Bart Jr. is an expert in astacology, the study of crawfishes. Thanks to Bart, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Tulane, a group of alumni is now well informed about astacology. He was guest speaker at a gathering celebrating crawfish that was hosted by Alumni Affairs on Thursday (Jan. 19).
The lure of waterfront property goes back a long way in human history, according to researchers. Ardipithecus ramidus, one of the earliest known ancestors of modern humans, preferred to live close to the water’s edge rather than in the interior regions of East Africa where previous research suggested the ancient hominins resided.
The functioning of tropical rain forests, particularly the vast Amazonian forest, is a crucial factor for global climate, and accurately calculating deforestation is important for understanding relationships between the forest and trends in climate. Tulane ecologists monitoring tree losses in Amazonia rely on spectral images taken by Landsat satellites orbiting overhead.
A consortium of research institutions led by Tulane University is slated to receive a $10.34 million grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to help develop new dispersants that more favorably balance effectiveness and toxicity in combating deep-sea drilling accidents.
Tulane EENS Professor Karen Johannesson’s arsenic research contributes to understanding the origins of groundwater arsenic contamination in South Asia.
A major river event occurred this past spring: The Mississippi and Atchafalaya became the two largest rivers on earth. It was an extraordinary time to be a scientist who is interested in what rivers do to oceans, says Alex Kolker.
Tiny female wrens commonly found in gardens of Papua New Guinea are the subjects of intense scientific interest. Jenny Hazlehurst, a doctoral student in the Tulane Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, has received a National Geographic Young Explorer grant to study a specific species of fairy wren.
Here's one way that old-fashioned newsprint beat the Internet: Tulane University scientists have discovered a novel bacterial strain, dubbed "TU-103," that uses paper to produce butanol, a biofuel that serves as a substitute for gasoline. The researchers are currently experimenting with old editions of The Times-Picayune newspaper with great success.
What does a dead space alien really look like? When the Green Lantern movie crew, filming in New Orleans, needed to know if their special-effects creations were believable, they turned to Tulane biologist and longtime science fiction fan Bruce Fleury for advice.
While he was in Kenya doing fish biology research, professor Hank Bart visited the Kogelo village of Sarah Obama, grandmother of President Barack Obama, with a group of students and colleagues from Tulane and the University of Nairobi.
A team of Tulane engineers is addressing the problem of groundwater pollution through the formation of NanoFex — a company with an innovative method to curb contaminants in groundwater.
Engineers from Tulane and Louisiana State universities teamed up to draft an article that explores key issues related to last year’s Gulf of Mexico Macondo well oil spill and proposes the need for predictive modeling tools to forecast and manage the next spill.
Tungsten is all around us. Widely used in manufacturing and industry, tungsten wire has glowed in countless light bulbs, and tungsten carbide hardens the steel used for drill bits and cutting tools. Until recently this heavy, dense metal was considered non-toxic and environmentally friendly. But is it? That’s what Tulane biogeochemist Karen Johannesson wants to know.
If there has been one overarching and unanswered question hanging over New Orleans and southeast Louisiana since their populations were dispersed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it is this: How many people are now living here? Data from the 2010 census finally answers that question with only a few surprises, says Tulane geographer and author Richard Campanella.
“Within hours, at a cost of about $100 per child, exterior play areas at childcare centers can be transformed from lead-contaminated to lead-safe with a margin of safety,” says Tulane professor Howard Mielke, who has led a study in alleviating lead issues for young children.
Every fall, millions of tree swallows arrive in Louisiana to begin their winter roosting period. The pint-sized creatures roost in the protective shelter of the sugarcane fields until they are forced to relocate at harvest time. What researcher Caz Taylor wants to know is, where do they go?
In the rivers of Kenya, new species of fish are waiting to be discovered — or at least, to be properly named. Hank Bart, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and a taxonomist, traveled to Kenya with four students from Tulane and Xavier University last summer...
Undergraduates in the Tulane University biomedical engineering program have won a prize for a technology design that could detect malaria in the millions of people worldwide who are at risk for the disease.
Did the melting of ancient ice sheets after the last Ice Age cause sudden sea-level rises? What can be learned from this distant history that could send cautionary messages to modern populations living at the ocean’s edge? Tulane researcher Torbjörn Törnqvist is drilling into coastal soils in search of answers.
The benefits of long-term research, mixed with a little serendipity. That’s how David Heins, professor and chair of the Tulane Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, sees a fish mystery in the wild waters of Alaska that led to a new area of research.
Beyond the immediate BP oil disaster, the long-term history of impacts to Louisiana’s coastal zone is “turning out to be the more important story,” says Alex Kolker, an adjunct professor and research scientist in the Tulane Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
The National Science Foundation has awarded Tulane University a grant of nearly $200,000 to enhance an important online resource marine scientists use to study the impact of the BP oil spill.
Tulane University scientists are among more than 150 recipients of National Science Foundation Rapid Response Research grants to study the impact of oil that spewed from the Macondo oil field into the Gulf of Mexico after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.
A group of academics, government scientists and industry representatives met in Rogers Memorial Chapel on the Tulane uptown campus on Thursday (Sept. 2) for the third in a series of “listening sessions” organized by the Unified Command of the Deepwater BP Oil Spill. The session focused on strategies for measuring oil and dispersant still in the Gulf of Mexico.
Louisiana and Texas scientists gathered on the Tulane University campus Thursday to comment on a proposed sampling plan aimed at answering lingering questions about how much oil and dispersant remains in the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent shoreline from the BP Macondo blowout.
During the months following Hurricane Katrina, Tulane geologist Stephen Nelson extensively researched the New Orleans-area levee failures. In November 2005, Nelson began offering field trips to the breach sites, calling the trips, “Hurricane Katrina — What Happened?”
When rivers are contained by dams, what happens to the river-native species of fish trapped inside? How will a fish that has evolved for the conditions of a fast-flowing river current fare in the still waters of a reservoir? Tulane scientists have found one species of river fish that morphs into a new shape in response to a lake-like environment.
Much has been made recently about the rift between Louisiana officials and scientists over the prudency of building coastal sand berms as a defensive measure against the Gulf oil spill. Among members of the science community there is no such division, says Torbjörn Törnqvist, professor of earth and environmental sciences.
Tulane University researcher Howard Mielke and his colleagues have observed an unforeseen positive result of flooding in New Orleans following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita — post-flood decreases in lead contamination in some neighborhoods and corresponding decreases in blood lead levels in young children.
A single, violent storm that swept across the whole Amazon forest in 2005 killed half a billion trees, according to a new study by Tulane University researchers. While storms have long been recognized as a cause of Amazon tree loss, this study is the first to produce an actual body count. The losses are much greater than originally suspected, suggesting that storms may play a larger role in the dynamics of Amazon forests than previously recognized.
Undergraduates from New York, Tennessee and Louisiana are getting hands-on research experience in the Tulane School of Science and Engineering laboratories through the Louis Stokes Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation. The 10-week summer program is funded by the National Science Foundation and Louisiana Board of Regents.
Since the oil crisis began, concerns have mounted about the toxic crude's possible impact on marine life in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as coastal estuaries and marshes. While studying spawning habits of blue crabs recently, researchers from Tulane University and the University of Southern Mississippi stumbled upon something very troubling.
Earth was just coming out of an ice age 9,300 years ago when a cataclysmic event occurred that plunged the planet into a cold “snap” that lasted for centuries. Scientists have suspected that water melted from snow and ice introduced into the North Atlantic Ocean was the cause — but the source and volume were a mystery. A new study led by Tulane researcher Shiyong Yu pinpoints the source.
Following the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in April that has created the largest oil spill in U.S. history, scientists and pundits have speculated on the “worst-case scenario” for the Louisiana wetlands and the Gulf Coast in general. As bad as the current situation appears, it could get worse, according to one Tulane professor.
Last week Michael Blum, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, took MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show on a tour of Barataria Bay to demonstrate how Louisiana’s protective barrier islands are in danger of disappearing as oil chokes oxygen from plant life.
Louisiana’s coastal birds face an uncertain future as oil continues to seep into the marshes where they live. Tulane University ecologist and conservation biologist Thomas Sherry explains that the birds will endure long-term effects as a result of the oil arriving during their peak breeding season.
On Friday (April 29), the National Guard was mobilized to help deal with an oil slick that began lapping onto the barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana. Those first oily waves mark the landfall of a massive oil leak that could cause the largest ecological disaster in the United States, eclipsing the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989.
Kimberly Roe, a doctoral student in earth and environmental sciences, embarked to Antarctica earlier this semester as part of an expedition funded by the National Science Foundation.
Chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Vijay John was honored during a ceremony at the Lavin-Bernick Center as this year's School of Science and Engineering Outstanding Researcher on April 8.
Since 2008, the Tulane School of Science and Engineering and the A. B. Freeman School of Business have been collaborating on research into next-generation fuels for clean power, including butanol from sugar cane waste products, but more research is needed, says Geoff Parker, director of the Tulane Energy Institute.
When children are playing at childcare centers, it's expected that minor injuries such as a skinned knee or a bump on the head will occur. What is not expected are the kinds of long-term disabilities that can occur from environmental poisons. Tulane researcher Howard Mielke is not only shining light on the problem of toxins in play yards, but also is trying to mitigate their effect on children.
Brad Rosenheim, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at Tulane, is pursuing two studies funded by the National Science Foundation using advanced carbon-dating techniques. One study uses radiocarbon records stored in corals and sponges from several sites in the tropical North Atlantic to look backward at how ocean currents have changed over time.
For eons, sailors have told tales of frighteningly freakish, humongous waves emerging out of the blue. They have described completely calm ocean waters seconds before a “rogue” wave suddenly rises steeply at a height six or more times greater than usual waves.
Two decades ago, the government in West Bangal, India, encouraged people to drink groundwater instead of contaminated surface water. Over time, the groundwater drinkers began to show signs of arsenic poisoning, including discoloration of their hands and feet and higher than normal rates of certain cancers.
Hormones from plastics, pesticides and even common prescription drugs are seeping into waterways and having unintended consequences on wildlife, says environmental studies professor John McLachlan.
The Tulane Museum of Natural History received a grant of nearly $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation to redesign a leading computer program it developed to help researchers around the world catalog natural history collections. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)
"Daytime or nighttime, rain or shine, the river is always rushing through the front door of our city, and it's something that can be part of our energy security and energy independence," says Doug Meffert, project director of RiverSphere. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)
Staff members from the Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research look at a potential site for a new environmental laboratory. They are, from left, Douglas Meffert, Giselle McKinney, Yannis Vassilopoulos and Charles Allen. (Photo by Yannis Vassilopoulos)
Seepage caused by underground flow of water is the likely cause of the network of channels scouring the levees along the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal, a Tulane scientist says. (Photos from Kyle M. Straub)
Mark Fox, a graduate student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane, studies plant stress and diversity of insect life in Bayou Sauvage. (Photo by Sally Asher)
With rising sea levels and diminishing wetlands, new ways of thinking are crucial to preserving New Orleans and Louisiana, say Torbjörn E. Törnqvist and Douglas J. Meffert of Tulane. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)
Törnqvist, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences and director of the National Institute for Climatic Change Research Coastal Center at Tulane, is studying subsidence of the Mississippi River Delta. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)
A study led by Jeffrey Chambers, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, examines the relations between global warming and damage to forests caused by intensifying weather systems. (Photo by George Long)
Tulane researchers recently published findings that may explain why continued use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers reduces agricultural crop yields. (Photo by Getty Images)
Just how many people could live above sea level in New Orleans?
Professor Thomas Sherry examines Katrina's impact on birds at study-sites.
Tulane University has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science as the host university for its new National Institute for Climatic Change Research Coastal Center. The center, established through a nearly $1.7 million per year cooperative agreement with the Department of Energy, will solicit, review and make recommendations to the department regarding funding research projects.
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