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Developing sustainable solutions
UC Davis research may start in the laboratory or field, but its impacts are felt around the world. Whether it is national leadership in plug-in hybrid electric vehicle research, real-world demonstrations of new lighting technology or re-calculating livestock contributions to global warming — our research is making a difference and making headlines.
11.1.14 — Hot crops
Researchers at UC Davis and around the world are scrambling to develop new varieties of food and fiber crops that will produce abundant yields despite drought and other effects of climate change. They’re also exploring more water-efficient ways to grow existing crops.
No-till farming, a key conservation agriculture strategy that avoids conventional plowing and otherwise disturbing the soil, may not bring a hoped-for boost in crop yields in much of the world, according to an extensive new meta-analysis by an international team led by UC Davis.
Butterflies in Canadian mountain meadows rebounded after a severe population crash. Why? It’s all about connections, found a study by UC Davis in collaboration with Western University in Ontario, Canada, and other North American institutions.
California’s rugged North Coast lays claim to one of the state’s most valuable commercial fisheries: Dungeness crab. Millions of pounds of this meaty delicacy are pulled in each year from Morro Bay to the California-Oregon border, making for an industry valued at $32 million to $95 million per year. But there’s another catch: Many of the thousands of crab pots set in the sea don’t make their way back. Now, a group of fishermen collaborating with UC Davis are working to remove the lost crabbing gear from the ocean and sell it back to the original owners under what they hope will be an economically sustainable model for future cleanups.
More than $100 trillion in public and private spending could be saved between now and 2050 if the world expands public transportation, walking and cycling in cities, according to a new report released by UC Davis and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Additionally, reductions in carbon dioxide emissions reaching 1,700 megatons per year in 2050 could be achieved if this shift occurs.
As ambulances at a Vacaville hospital speed off to their next patient, an ultrasmart, energy-efficient system is lighting the way. Installed in partnership with UC Davis, the lighting system now illuminates the emergency vehicle routes, parking lots and outdoor walkways of the NorthBay VacaValley Hospital. The system is reducing outdoor lighting energy use at the 24-hour site by 66 percent, saving about 29,000 kilowatt-hours annually -- enough to offset the greenhouse gas emissions of 7.2 tons of waste.
California has allocated five times more surface water than the state actually has, making it hard for regulators to tell whose supplies should be cut during a drought, UC researchers reported.
Lowering a white disk off a boat and into Lake Tahoe’s blue waters was once the most widely used indicator of the lake’s clarity and health. Today, the Secchi disk is still an important tool, but 46 years after UC Davis first began continuous monitoring of Lake Tahoe, an array of new technologies and computer models are helping scientists better understand what has proven to be a complex ecosystem.
A convergence of factors is propelling a market rollout of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, according to a new study from the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis. A key to hydrogen’s potential success is a new smart solution that clusters hydrogen fuel infrastructure in urban or regional networks, limiting initial costs and enabling an early market for the technology before committing to a full national deployment, suggests the study.
A new report from UC Davis shows that California agriculture is weathering its worst drought in decades due to groundwater reserves, but the nation’s produce basket may come up dry in the future if it continues to treat those reserves like an unlimited savings account.
The University of California, Davis, West Village, the nation’s largest planned zero net energy community, racks up an impressive list of achievements in its initial year of review. The first formal analysis of West Village shows that even in its initial phases, it is well on the way to the ultimate goal of operating as a ZNE community.
UC Davis has pledged to reduce lighting energy use by 60 percent by 2015.
A newly completed complex at UC Davis is set to begin operations as the most environmentally sophisticated complex of its kind in the world.
UC Davis is taking a leadership role in spurring the innovations, ideas and dialogue that are needed to help create a clean energy future for Northern California — and beyond.