Science

University of Wyoming Geological Museum

The University of Wyoming Geological Museum and Coe Library are teaming up to digitize more than 5,000 specimens from the museum’s rare fossil mammal collection. The project was made possible by a $100,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Chris DuRoss USGS

Scientists this week closed up a large trench they built to study the Teton Fault, a 40-mile geological feature along the east side of the Teton Range.

The research team affiliated with the U.S. Geological Survey, the Forest Service, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and many other groups will now take data they collected in the trench and try to evaluate how often large earthquakes hit the Teton Fault.

Copyright by Dennis Kunzel and James T. Staley

Cutting edge science is discovering that billions of species of microscopic bacteria live everywhere... on our bodies and in nature.

Now, the National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Wyoming $20 million to learn more about those microbes. Scientists plan to sample and catalog microscopic life in the extreme ecosystems of Wyoming: from glaciers to oil pads to the bison rangelands of the Wind River Reservation.

UW Molecular Biology Professor Naomi Ward said the study will add greatly to human understanding of the role of microbes in nature.

The Modern West 27: Dark Side Of The Moon

Sep 19, 2017
GreatAmericanEclipse.com

August’s total solar eclipse drew hundreds of thousands of people to Wyoming for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Melodie Edwards

Jill Tarter is a woman who struggled her entire career with a double whammy.

Not only she one of just a handful of women in her scientific field, but that field was the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), something most people consider the stuff of comic books.

Tarter’s daughter works for the National Outdoor Leadership School or NOLS in Lander and, while she was visiting her, she spoke to a sold out audience at the Lander high school the night before the solar eclipse. Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards sat down with her.

Maggie Mullen

People have been making preparations for years to travel hundreds of miles to see the 2017 total solar eclipse. In Casper, where thousands of people showed up, skies were clear and views under the path of totality were once in a lifetime.

The day before the eclipse, and downtown Casper was hard to recognize. Second Street had been closed off to traffic and hundreds of pedestrians were checking out the food vendors and the many different kinds of eclipse swag on display. Resident and vendor Brooke Hopkins said the most coveted item was going fast.

SETI Institute

An award-winning astronomer famous for her search for extraterrestrial intelligence spoke to a sold out audience at the Lander high school the night before the eclipse. Author Carl Sagan based the central character of his novel Contact on Jill Tarter, and the book was also made into a movie with Jodie Foster. Tarter is a fellow at the SETI Institute (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence). 

Site overlooking Fort Laramie B & B
Cooper McKim

During the eclipse, the Fort Laramie B & B saw a bigger crowd than they have ever seen. The four-bedroom lodge saw more than a hundred camped out. The crowd was comprised of a family reunion, researchers, and tourists all gathered together. A group from the University of Montana was there thanks to a space grant from NASA. 

One student, Loren Spencer, took advantage of the clear sky the night before the eclipse to set up his telescope. With several gathered around, he pointed to a long streak that he identified as the Milky Way. 

Maggie Mullen

Thousands of years ago in northern Wyoming, countless animals fell to their death at the bottom of an 85-foot cave. Natural Trap Cave has long been closed to recreation, but scientists have spent the last four summers unearthing the remains of many now-extinct animals. Excavations will soon come to an end.

 

Melodie Edwards

Dubois author and wilderness outfitter Tory Taylor has released a new book called On The Trail Of The Mountain Shoshone Sheep Eaters: A High Altitude Archaeological Odyssey. The book is a gripping read about Taylor’s personal role in the discoveries of how this prehistoric tribe thrived in Wyoming’s highest elevations, and on how Taylor experimented with a Mountain Shoshone lifestyle.

Wyoming Department of Education

The Wyoming Department of Education reported Thursday that student scores on statewide assessments have seen some improvements. The Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students — known as PAWS — tests students in grades 3-8 in reading and math, and grades 4-8 in science.

courtesy of Randy Haas

A summer hike up to a 13,000-foot alpine meadow can be exhilarating. But what if you decided to stay up there for the rest of your life? The lack of oxygen, frigid temperatures, and sparse vegetation would make it tough. Archaeologists know hunter-gatherers traversed highland areas thousands of years ago, but presumed they also had to spend time in lowland areas in order to survive.

That idea is now being challenged by a team of researchers at the University of Wyoming who have made a rare discovery.

Arturo de Frias Marques / WITH USE UNDER CC BY-SA 4.0

The U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wyoming have published a new study showing that polar bears are having to expend more energy to keep up with faster drifting sea ice.

The study, titled "Increased Arctic sea ice drift alters polar bear movements and energetics," came out in the June 5 issue of Global Change Biology.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A University of Wyoming professor and her students assisted in the discovery of a new, very hot exoplanet. It’s known as KELT-9b and clocks in at more than 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit, just 2,000 degrees cooler than our sun. It is one of, if not the, hottest planets ever discovered, and orbits very closely to its sun.

Willow Belden

Last year, a mysterious collection of stuffed birds was found at the Laramie high school. It was a discovery that was perplexing at the time, but that would end up being a goldmine for scientists at the University of Wyoming.

It all started last summer, when a biology teacher was packing up her classroom to move to a new building. In the process, she came across some boxes of stuffed birds.

Nobody at the school knew anything about them, and none of the teachers wanted them. So they offered them to the University of Wyoming.

University of Wyoming

A University of Wyoming astronomy professor is part of an international team of over 1000 scientists working to develop a telescope with an image up to 20 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.

Michael Pierce specializes in understanding the evolution of galaxies. He said the 30-meter telescope, as it’s called, will help do that.

The Modern West 22: Climate Change In A Fossil-Fuel State

Apr 20, 2017
Ken Koschnitzki

Wyoming’s economy revolves around energy production. But climate change raises questions about what role fossil fuels will play in the state’s future.

Caravan to March for Science-Laramie

Communities across Wyoming are joining the National March for Science next Saturday to recognize the field’s contributions to the public.

Joan Anzelmo, one of the organizers of the Jackson march, said she hopes to demonstrate that science is universally important to people’s lives.

JRProbert via Wikimedia Commons

 

  

Dr. Ali Abdullahi  knew that he wanted to work with wildlife when he visited the Masai Mara reserve in his home country of Kenya. He earned a PHd from the University of Wyoming's ecology department, and embarked on an effort to save the hirola - the world's most endangered antelope. Wyoming Public Radio's Alanna Elder spoke with Dr. Ali about his work. 

Hagerty Ryan, USFWS

In 2014, Wyoming's science standards hadn't been updated in ten years and it was time to adopt new ones. Like most other states at the time, Wyoming was poised to pass the Next Generation Science Standards. Laramie Senator Chris Rothfuss was a big fan of Next Generation, but he remembered a lot of grumbling from his fellow lawmakers.

“There’s generally been a concern with national standards that the feds are trying to tell us what to learn,” Rothfuss said. “And so there was a general backlash I think towards that.”

thebeardedladyproject.com

A University of Wyoming scientist has created a documentary to celebrate women in paleontology.

Ellen Currano said she and a friend, filmmaker Lexi Jameison Marsh, conceived of the project after a hard day in their separate fields. Both women had felt like outsiders who were not taken as seriously as their male colleagues.

Dr. Lawrence Todd

Climate change is revealing Wyoming artifacts hidden by ice for 10,000 years. Scientists are flocking to the melting snow and ice fields. And the world is watching.

The Prince of Monaco, among others, is giving a lot of money to support a science emerging in the mountains of Wyoming.

Prince Albert II talked about climate change, and his foundation’s support of scientific research on climate change when he came to Cody in 2013.

Wyoming Citizen Science Conference

The University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute will host the first Wyoming Citizen Science Conference in Lander December 1.

Citizen Science programs give regular people the chance to work alongside trained scientists on larger research projects in their own natural areas. Conference organizer Brenna Marsicek said biology and astronomy are especially good fits for citizen scientists, since they can easily gather data by simply looking around their own environment

Melodie Edwards

The Journey In

It’s a hard 23 mile hike into the Wind River Range to one of the state’s largest glaciers. It’s called Dinwoody, and every step is a study in the powerful impact this glacier has had on these mountains in the last 1.5 million years.

Caroline Ballard

It’s a dark and damp Sunday morning in Laramie, and University of Wyoming Raccoon Project team members are climbing out of a big truck on the south end of town. 

Undergraduate student Emily Davis puts on a headlamp and speaks into a video camera to document the day’s work.

“It’s 5:40 on August 21st and we’re trapping Davis Trap One.”

Wallpaperslot.com

A parasitic amoeba that can cause fatal brain infections has been found in Grand Teton National Park. On Monday, the park announced the presence of the parasite in their recent water samplings taken from some of the park’s geothermal features and run-off streams.

Spokeswoman Denise Germann says the infection risk for humans is low, but the amoeba Naegleria Fowleri can be fatal. The amoeba enters humans through the nose and then uses the brain as a food source. For that reason, the park is discouraging activities like diving and swimming in the infected waters.

Rick Edwards (AMNH)

Wyoming looked pretty different 50 million years ago. It was tropical, with lots of trees and wet, humid conditions. Scientists know this because of the many fossils found from this time period in the Green River Formation in Southwest Wyoming.

Bob Beck

 

Most moose herds in Wyoming are in decline, but the Snowy Range Moose herd appears to be an exception. After a moose re-introduction in northern Colorado, they started showing up in the Snowy Range Mountains west of Laramie in the 1980s.

They’re commonly spotted throughout southeast Wyoming, but there is little data concerning their exact numbers. Now a joint research project by the University of Wyoming and Wyoming Game and Fish is trying to change that.   

Melodie Edwards

We trek through knee-deep snow along the banks of the Gros Ventre River near Jackson until we come to a heap of bones and grass. It's what remains of an elk calf.

“Here you go,” he says. “This is what it looks like. And I can tell you on Friday, we were standing in a foot of snow. I tracked the whole attack.”

Mark Elbroch is a Wildlife Researcher with Panthera's Puma Project. He tells the story with pride. He’s known this mountain lion, F61, since she was a kitten.

Jeremy Wilburn via Flickr Creative Commons

A state committee made up of parents, teachers and community members has proposed a new set of science standards for Wyoming.

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