Friday, August 16, 2013

Carolina in the News

Check out the recent media mentions of sustainability-related programs, practices, and people at UNC: 

Even sharks no match for invasive lionfish 
NBC News 
It was once thought that natural predators, such as sharks and groupers, could curb lionfish populations by eating or out-competing them for food. A new study shows that this is not the case. “Lionfish are here to stay and it appears that the only way to control them is by fishing them,” said John Bruno, professor of biology in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and lead investigator of the study. The research has important implications not just for Caribbean reefs, but for the North Carolina coast, where growing numbers of lionfish now threaten local fish populations. First introduced to the Atlantic Ocean by humans, this invasive species has no real predators in the Atlantic. Authorities from Florida to the Bahamas have started organizing fishing derbies as a way to control the lionfish population. Read more »

Hurricane warning system gets boost from UNC-Chapel Hill computer center 
News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) 
Coastal communities will be better informed during hurricane seasons, thanks to a storm-modeling computer program at UNC-Chapel Hill. The Renaissance Computing Institute, known as RENCI, is offering detailed storm-surge data in a format that allows local emergency managers to create their own customized analysis of incoming hurricanes, nor’easters and other weather events, said Brian Blanton, senior scientist and oceanographer at UNC. The Surge Guidance System uses real-time weather conditions, ocean circulation patterns, and wave height to evaluate storm-surge impacts along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. “The typical way you assess storm surge is to look at a big region, but the true nature of the coastline and tidal inlets can have a big impact on how storm surge is going to develop in a specific location,” says Brian Blanton, senior scientist and oceanographer at UNC. Read more »

Worldwide air pollution deaths per year number over 2 million, new study claims 
The Huffington Post 
A new study estimates that 2.1 million deaths each year are linked with fine particulate matter, tiny particles that can get deep into the lungs and cause health problems. Exposure to particle pollution has been linked to early death from heart and lung disease, including lung cancer. "Air pollution is an important problem. It's probably one of the most important environmental risk factors for health," said Jason West, an assistant professor of environmental science at the University of North Carolina and lead study coauthor. The study also found that 470,000 deaths yearly are linked with human sources of ozone, which forms when pollutants from sources such as cars or factories come together and react. Read more »

UNC documentary nominated for Emmy 
The Herald Sun (Durham, NC) 
UNC’s Powering a Nation journalism project, “100 Gallons: How Water Powers Life,” a multimedia documentary about water conservation, has been nominated for an Emmy Award. Available online, the documentary includes videos of everyday experiences with water. “We wanted to create a universal appeal, where you see people of all ages and all backgrounds interacting with water. That was our hook to get people to think about how critical water is to life,” says Josh Davis, the managing editor and video producer on the project, who graduated from UNC in 2012. Read more »

N.C.’s Southern Cricket Frog populations declining 
Jonathan Micancin, a researcher and visiting lecturer with UNC’s Biology Department, has found that the Southern Cricket Frog has been disappearing from the upper coastal plains of North Carolina. “We don’t know yet why this is happening, but we can expect that it does not bode well for amphibians and other animals that share their habitats, including humans,” Micancin said. Some theories for the decline include development impacts on fragile habitats or the inability to survive drought or winter temperature weather conditions. The decline of the Southern Cricket Frog mirrors a disturbing national trend of amphibians disappearing at alarming rates. Read more »

Thanks to UNC News Services for finding these great stories AND compiling the summaries! You can find more UNC media coverage and stories online at