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4.29.14 — UC summit: Learning to live with drought
As a mocking rain drizzled atop the Capitol’s roof last Friday (April 25), hundreds of university scientists and state water experts gathered inside for the UC Drought Summit, organized by the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences.
Experts from across University of California campuses today, April 25, will explore with policymakers how to lessen the effects of the California drought, one of the worst on record.
More than a decade ago, Ruihong Zhang, a professor of biological and agricultural engineering at UC Davis, started working on a problem: How to turn as much organic waste as possible into as much renewable energy as possible. Today, on Earth Day, the university and Sacramento-based technology partner CleanWorld are officially unveiling the UC Davis Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ) at the campus’ former landfill.
4.17.14 — UC Davis takes action: California Drought website, UC Drought Summit April 25, and new campus plan
Even before the worst drought in California’s recorded history pushed the issue of dwindling water resources sharply to attention this year, UC Davis was already taking aggressive measures to reduce its water use. Methods such as drought-tolerant landscaping, low-flow fixtures in student housing, and a reverse osmosis system for campus boilers has kept campus water use nearly constant since the 1970s.
In August 2011, thousands of dead red abalone washed up on the beaches of Sonoma County in Northern California. At the time, the cause was unknown, but scientists, including a biologist from UC Davis, learned that a harmful algal bloom was to blame: the causative agent Yessotoxin.
4.9.14 — Reef fish arrived in two waves
The world's reefs are hotbeds of biological diversity, including over 4,500 species of fish. A new study shows that the ancestors of these fish colonized reefs in two distinct waves, before and after the mass extinction event about 66 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Laboratory chamber walls have been stealing vapors, causing researchers to underestimate the formation of secondary organic aerosol in the atmosphere. A study published April 7 in PNAS Online Early Edition describes how a team of scientists, including researchers from UC Davis showed that vapor losses to the walls of laboratory chambers can suppress the formation of secondary organic aerosol, which in turn has contributed to the underprediction of SOA in climate and air quality models.
For the first time, a field test has demonstrated that elevated levels of carbon dioxide inhibit plants’ assimilation of nitrate into proteins, indicating that the nutritional quality of food crops is at risk as climate change intensifies.
The new World Food Center at UC Davis is sponsoring a free public seminar this Friday, April 11, on climate change and food production. “Technologies and Priorities for Adaptation to Climate Change: From California to Global Food Security” is scheduled from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union’s King Lounge (second floor), on the Davis campus.