research

Learning About The Mountain Lions Among Us

Aug 4, 2017
Audubon Canyon Ranch

In the wilder, open uplands of the North Bay, mountain lions remain a steady, if elusive presence. But just how many are out there? A current study of the big cats is trying to find that out, and learn much more about them.

Carbon Farming Taking Root in California

Aug 1, 2017
Marin Carbon Project

Carbon is essential to all living things—even dirt. Which is why concentrated efforts to get more carbon out of the air and into the soil is an accelerating trend in California agriculture.

Even as research is continuing into the methods and merits of carbon farming practices in differing areas and types of agriculture throughout California, carbon farming consultant Calla Rose Ostrander notes that funds to support implementation of those measures will soon be forthcoming.

Sonoma Vineyard Doubles as Renewable Energy Laboratory

Jul 3, 2017
Steve Mencher, KRCB

Micro-grids are scaled-down versions of the giant network that delivers electricity across huge distances to thousands of customers. They hold great promise for both utilizing renewable power and serving remote or isolated populations. And an important testing ground for this emerging technology is a local vineyard.

Stone Edge Farm is part of a group of related businesses that are each exploring ways to adapt renewable energy technologies to their operations. Ryan Stoltenberg runs through the various applications.

Discovering a Coastal Rock’s Prehistoric Legacy

Jun 3, 2017
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Smooth surface areas on some large rocks on the Sonoma Coast might be a remnant of prehistoric animals rubbing against them, but definitive evidence to justify the popular name given to these Mammoth Rocks” has been elusive.

Since he began looking into this issue, the now-retired archeologist has found several other similarly polished rock surfaces not too far from his first discovery. And after a paper Parkman wrote about his explorations was published, he heard about still more such locations in other states.

The Role of Generic Strains in the Cannabis Market

May 9, 2017

Genetic analysis of varying cannabis strains may aid in the development of narrowly targeted pharmaceutical products. But using the same tool to protect generic strains could help hold prices down.

Unraveling the Genetics of Cannabis

May 8, 2017
Phylos Bioscience

Cannabis has been cultivated and used by humankind for centuries. Now the industry’s challenge is understanding and applying that history.

Cannabis arrived in North America from at least two different directions, but how that evolved into the plants that grow here today is not yet clear, says Phylos Biosciences’ Mowgli Holmes.

As his team has collected and analyzed samples from hundreds of cannabis plants and products, Holmes says one unexpected finding has emerged.

The Inner Workings of Wikipedia

Jan 24, 2017

Fifteen years ago, the idea of a free, digital encyclopedia, compiled and edited almost entirely by volunteers, and available at no cost to everyone, seemed like an idealistic fantasy. Today, Wikipedia offers millions of articles in hundreds of languages, and continues to grow every day. And it is easier than you might think to contribute to that growth.

Although tens of thousands of editors have added to Wikipedia, some are far more prolific than others. By his own reckoning, Winsdor’s John Broughton is among the more active contributors.

Latinos Lag in Mental Health Literacy

Jan 4, 2017

According to a recent study, Latinos trail other segments of the California population in understanding mental illnesses and how they can be treated. But the gap closes as they become acculturated.

Naranjo’s study interviewed 100 subjects, statewide, during the summer of 2014. She explains that her survey asked a series of questions to gauge each person’s awareness and understanding of mental illnesses and their symptoms and treatments.

Local Climate Efforts Lauded by White House

Oct 1, 2016
Lauren Zelin, World Resources Institute

For years now, Sonoma County agencies and NGOs have been working together to understand and prepare for the impacts of climate change. Now that work has been honored and promoted at the national level.

Audible Evidence of Climate Change

Sep 14, 2016
Kat Krause

  Audio ecologist Bernie Krause has been capturing the sounds of the natural world for decades. But the changes he hears in those recordings now carry a clear and worrisome message.

  The Animal Orchestra exhibit at the Parisian Fondation Cartier museum is an immersive experience that occupies the entire facility, marvels Bernie Krause, as he offers a partial description of it.

The entire enterprise has been an unexpected success, Krause says, both for him personally and for the museum.

Making Local History Entertaining

Sep 11, 2016

 A well-known quote from Luther Burbank provides the title for “Santa Rosa: The Chosen Spot of all the Earth.” And most of the rest of the concise new video history of the city is locally sourced as well.

The process of making this film has also had a ripple effect benefiting the local history collections for area libraries and museums, explains Don Silverek.

Better Prospects for the 2016 Dungeness Crab Season

Sep 1, 2016
NOAA

As a weak salmon season follows the closure of much of last year’s crab season, the beleaguered north coast fishing fleet is hoping for better conditions this winter. And they’re not the only ones who are being cautiously optimistic.

Filmmakers Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele examine the state  of the Pacific coast crab fishery in their short documentary, High Hopes:  The Future of the Dungeness Crab, winner of this year's Yale Environment 360 video contest.  Watch it here:

How Ocean Acidification Imperils the Lowly Sea Snail

Aug 20, 2016
Garbiel Ng

  Increasing acidity in the world’s oceans is affecting far more than coral reefs. A local researcher is studying how changing pH in seawater may alter the balance of life in tide pools along the North Coast.

Environmental Stewardship in Ancient Sonoma County

May 9, 2016

  When the end of the ice age brought climate change to northern California, thousands of years ago, the indigenous tribes here adjusted through changes in their diet, lifestyle and social structure. 

  One of the most effective tools for that native peoples in Northern California used for managing the environment was fire, explains researcher Benjamin Benson.

Students’ Engineering Creativity on Display at SSU

May 4, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Sonoma State is primarily a teaching campus, but many students also engage in research projects, including some innovative inventions, that were on display yesterday in the University's newly combined “Symposium of Research and Creativity."

 The possible applications of a mobile solar-powered generator are almost limitless, says co-developer Jarrett Baglietto, especially since their designed their unit with enough storage to drive even some big, power-hungry equipment.

The Sonoma County Authors’ Project

Apr 26, 2016

  From Jack London to a present day London biographer, Sonoma County has a rich literary tradition, one that a local librarian is busily compiling.

While Sonoma County enjoys an abundance of active writers today, as well as a impressive list of past authors with local ties, that's not really all that unusual, notes librarian David Dodd.

One other thing the Sonoma County Authors' Project is out to do, says Dodd, is foster a sense of community among the many writers, through public events and other means.

Jobs, Housing and Inter-State Migration Assessed

Apr 3, 2016

   California is creating new jobs at all income levels, but lower wage workers are leaving the state as housing costs soar.  A new report examines these interlocking trends.

Check out the entire interactive Compare 50 database here.

Alternative Approaches to Vineyard Frost Protection

Mar 28, 2016

Recent warm weather has triggered the onset of bud break in the vineyards, yet the lingering threat of cold nights carries enormous risk. But some new research suggests there are chemical and botanical measures that can deflect the danger of freezing, without requiring the use of large amounts of water or electricity. We get details from reporter Valerie Kim in Hopland.

Health Benefits Discovered in Wine Waste

Feb 29, 2016

If red wine is good for your heart, that’s mostly due to a compound called resveratrol, which is found in the skins of red grape varietals.  But new research suggests that powdered white grape skins may be even more beneficial.

Torey Arvick, chief scientist for WholeVine is persuaded that their testing has verified the superior health benefits of chardonnay grape flour over red varietals.

Anti-aging Drug Development is an Uncertain Path

Feb 22, 2016

  A new biotechnology that targets certain cells apparently associated with aging holds promise for drugs that could increase human “health-spans.” But the Marin-based start-up that is out to pursue that approach faces long odds for success.

  Beyond their initial focus on osteoarthritis, Unity Biotechnology co-founder Judith Campisi anticipates that their approach of selectively eliminating senescent cells can eventually be applied to a broad array of maladies associated with aging.

   

 

Cells May Hold a Key to Aging

Feb 21, 2016

 

Researchers in Novato and elsewhere may have found a way to slow aging in human tissues. The concept is so promising that a new biotech start-up has been launched to put it into practice.

Once the senescent cells are dead, explains Campisi, the body has natural mechanisms to dispose of them.

Tick Borne Diseases

Feb 9, 2016

  

  Rain means Tick season in Northern CA, which brings the risk of Lyme disease... and more. Researchers in Hopland have recently identified two new tick-borne diseases, bringing the total found there to eight. Reporter Valerie Kim has details.

Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences

Apr 23, 2015

  ACEs—Adverse Childhood Experiences—have been identified as a frequent root cause of poor health and bad behaviors. Now, efforts to lessen their long-term consequences are beginning to take hold.

   Recently, Jane Stevens has applied her journalism skills and background to the creation of a pair of online resources about ACES. The website Aces Too High, she explains, is intended for the general public, while ACES Connection is meant for social service and other professionals.

Kaiser Announces Large-scale Autism Study

Apr 13, 2015

Kaiser Permanente is launching a large-scale genetic study of children on the autism spectrum and their parents, in hopes of unraveling the factors causing the disorder, and recent increases in the rate of diagnoses. 

   The new study, getting underway this summer, will collect genetic information from approximately 5000 individuals with autism, plus both their parents, Lead researcher, Dr. Lisa Croen, says the scale of this effort will enable them to seek correlations among the patient population being studied.

The California King Tide Project

Jan 19, 2015
Jeff Poskanzer

  The highest tides of the winter are rolling up on the Pacific Coast today, and the California King Tides Project is watching them with an eye toward the future.

There will be another, slightly lower series of King tides next month, on Feb. 17th  & 18th.  Information about uploading pictures to the California King Tides Project is posted on their website. There's a further explanation of the project in the video below.

Brain Health Registry

Dec 22, 2014

  A new online registry allows participants to monitor their own cognitive abilities, while also becoming part of a pool of people who might be part of future research projects studying human brain health.

Living with Migrant Farmworkers

Dec 2, 2014

  To learn about the harsh realities of a migrant farm worker’s life, researcher Seth Holmes took a first-person approach, living and working alongside them for a season.

The group of farmworkers he joined were willing enough to allow him to work and travel with them, Holmes recounts, but gaining their trust took more than five months.

Addressing Latinos’ Mental Health Needs

Oct 17, 2014

  The overall health needs of California’s Latino population are widely underserved. That shortfall is even greater when it comes to mental health services.

Mental illnesses are not exactly contagious, noted Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at UC Davis, but within families they can be readily shared, especially between parents and children.

Police Tactics and Public Protests

Aug 26, 2014

What determines whether or not a public protest will remain peaceful or veer into violent confrontations? A new study underway at UC Berkeley suggests that police actions often make the difference.

Counting California's White Shark Population

Aug 18, 2014

  How many white sharks are swimming in California’s coastal waters? A new survey debunks an earlier claim that the marine predators’ numbers are declining, and that the species as a whole is endangered.

  Sharks are generally solitary creatures, says George Burgess, but they can be found in sizable groups at locations where their preferred food sources are abundant.

The Sonoma and Marin coast is dotted with such “aggregation” sites for the Whites, Burgess adds, such as Goat Rock Beach near Jenner, and around the mouth of Tomales Bay.

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