A marine phytoplankton virus affects cloud formation

photo: Emiliana huxleyi. A marine phytoplankton virus affects cloud formation

Photo: the phytoplankton species Emiliana huxleyi, coming soon to a cloud near you.

A species of marine phytoplankton that explodes after contracting a virus may play a role in regulating Earth’s climate, a new study finds.

Emiliania huxleyi is a type of single-celled plant-like organism called a coccolithophore that occurs ubiquitously in the world’s oceans. Under the right conditions, it multiplies rapidly to form giant aggregations, known as blooms, up … [more…]

Drought Forces Hard Choices for Farmers and Ranchers in the Southwest

map: Drought Forces Hard Choices for Farmers and Ranchers in the Southwest

Large reservoirs have buffered urban areas in the Southwest from the worst of the year’s dry conditions, but rural farmers and ranchers are bearing the brunt of water shortages and the economic fallout.

CHESTER, Utah – It’s only the beginning of August – typically the height of the farming season – but the irrigation ponds here in Sanpete County ran dry a month ago. They are now filled with brush … [more…]

Explore the Largest Coastal Restoration Project Completed In Louisiana’s History

map: Explore the Largest Coastal Restoration Project Completed In Louisiana's History

Map: a depiction of Isles Dernieres Barrier Island in 1853 and the chain of islands that now make up Isles Dernieres in 1988 after they detached from the mainland (Credit: CPRA).

To restore Louisiana’s coast, we need a suite of large-scale restoration projects across the coast working together to deliver maximum benefits and reduce land loss, restore ecosystems and maintain habitat.

In this "Restoration Project Highlights" series, we’ll be taking … [more…]

As bouts with killer algae rose, Florida gutted its water quality monitoring

Photo: massive fish deaths and algal blooms. As bouts with killer algae rose, Florida gutted its water quality monitoring network

When Florida Sea Grant director Karl Havens, who is a well-regarded expert on water and has studied pollution all over the world, began hearing about a deepening algae bloom in his own backyard in Lake Okeechobee this summer, he struggled to find information that could tell him what was going on.

State scientists sample water in the lake, but too infrequently to track rapidly evolving algae blooms. Instead, Havens had … [more…]

California Groundwater Law Means Big Changes Above Ground, Too

photo: housing construction in the Central Valley. California Groundwater Law Means Big Changes Above Ground, Too

The state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is likely to result in fallowing thousands of acres of farmland. Local governments are just waking up to the big opportunities, and risks, in how that land gets reused.

New housing construction in California’s San Joaquin Valley poses a threat to some of the best groundwater recharge lands.

California’s new groundwater management law is not a sports car. It moves more like a wagon … [more…]