You call this spring?

first_imgAfter a harsh winter and an April reluctant to warm, New Englanders are keeping their eyes peeled for signs of a lasting spring. Among them is Elizabeth Wolkovich, a Harvard assistant professor of organismic and evolutionary biology who observes changes in trees and other plants with more than casual interest.Wolkovich, appointed in January and based at the Arnold Arboretum and the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, is an authority on plant phenology, or the timing of natural life cycle events, and how those may be affected by climate change. The Gazette spoke with her to get an insider’s view of this slow-blooming spring and how it fits into the puzzle of past and future climate change.GAZETTE: What is phenology, and how does your research relate to it?WOLKOVICH: Phenology is the timing of recurring life history events. That could be the day that a bird starts its migration. It could be the day that a larva comes out of its cocoon and becomes a butterfly.I study plant phenology, such as the day we see leaves coming out on a tree each spring or the day of flowering. It also includes things like the day of leaf coloring in the fall or the day leaves come off a tree or that an herbaceous species senesces.I work on global estimates of how phenology has shifted with climate change. In particular, I’m interested in understanding how diverse species have responded to climate change, as opposed to simple average estimates. And I’m also interested in the indirect effects. How do different communities respond to climate change? What does it mean if one species is shifting when it leafs or flowers a lot and another species isn’t? Or are different species interacting because the timing has shifted so dramatically for some but not others?GAZETTE: And what has your research told us about this phenomenon?WOLKOVICH: One of the first things I did with a group of great collaborators when I started working on phenology is try to pull together a better set of data on how plants have responded to climate change over the last 30 to 150 years.Up until five to 10 years ago, our global estimates of how plants responded to temperature and climate change mainly came from Europe. Europeans have phenomenal, incredible phenology records. They love to collect phenology data. They have been collecting it from before the time of temperature [data collection]. It is their version of the thermometer. It is nature’s version of the thermometer.They had amassed this tremendous data set, millions of observations, hundreds of thousands of time-series data, but it’s very Europe-focused. Europe has a certain climate, and because of the way these data were collected, it covered a small number of species, about 150.What I wanted to do was draw in other data sets. These were often not collected by scientific organizations, as they were in Europe. They were very species-rich because we had people who had gone out and collected data on every species in the community, 100 to 500 different species.We pulled all those together and from them we found that there is a very, very consistent average estimate for changes in Northern Hemisphere plant species in response to temperature. They advance four to six days per degree Celsius of warming.Boston, which has climate change from the effects of greenhouse gases, and also an urban heat-island effect because there are much lower levels of vegetation here than in the surrounding countryside, has warmed significantly, about 2.4 degrees C. That means an advance of around 10 to 15 days in the start of spring in the area.It’s actually more than that, though, because our estimate includes a diverse set of species across the growing season. We know that early season species tend to be the most sensitive to warming, and those are the species in which we see the greatest advances due to climate change.That’s why usually the average estimate for changes in the start of spring around Boston is an advance of three or more weeks over the last 100 years.GAZETTE: What does that mean to people looking out their windows?WOLKOVICH: There’s [annual] variability, and that’s one of the things we all have to accept about climate.Understanding climate change doesn’t mean we know the weather next week very well. We also can’t predict the climate next year, but we can give you a good estimate of what climate will look like in 50 years compared with today.An example of what we’re seeing is the fact that we’ve had two or three of the earliest spring leaf-out events on record in the last three to five years.  Yes, some years have long, hard winters like this year. I don’t believe leaf-out is dramatically early this year compared to the long-term mean.But what you are seeing is the rare, very, very early springs showing up more and more frequently. And I think that’s a very good indicator that, yes, there’s variability — some years are very late, some years are very early — but we’re consistently seeing very early years in most recent decades.GAZETTE: Can we draw lessons from a winter like this, on the difference between climate and weather and how, due to variability, you’re always going to get years like this?WOLKOVICH: Certainly, weather refers to the short-term effects and climate to the large-scale spatial and temporal patterns that we see in the Earth’s system.We know that the weather here is generally going to be different from 30 miles away. What we have seen over time with temperature is the variability is the same. There’s a mix of early and late winters and harsh winters and more mild winters. For the last 11,000 years winters probably have been relatively similar to this in New England. But we’re seeing more often that winters are ending earlier.GAZETTE: You mentioned shifting seasons here in Boston. How does that fit into the global picture of seasonal change? Does that fit into the patterns we see around the world, or are there some places that are different?WOLKOVICH: We predicted that the place that will experience the largest amount of climate change is the Arctic. Over the next 80 years, we’re predicting most terrestrial areas to increase at least 2 degrees Celsius over to what they have already warmed. In the Arctic, those projections are 5 to 6 degrees Celsius. And we’re already seeing that warming has been much greater in the Arctic.It has been projected that the Arctic will get more warming and that urban areas will get more warming. Because the climate system is quite complicated, there are also places that are experiencing cooling, certain small sections of Antarctica.Then there are other places that are going to experience bigger shifts in precipitation than in temperature. It’s harder to predict shifts in precipitation because our models aren’t quite as robust as the ones for temperature.The West is the place where we expect the dominant change to be precipitation. So this year it seemed like a very late and cold winter in New England, kind of like the good old days. But out West, we had one of the more dramatic droughts on record.last_img read more

Burger Kings Of The Future Revealed

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image courtesy: Burger KingMIAMI – Burger King is making plans to adapt in the Coronavirus age.Image courtesy: Burger KingThey are building triple drive-through, burger pick up lockers and take out counters.The chain revealed their two new restaurant designs last week.It plans to build prototypes in Miami, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Burger King has been working on new restaurant designs for a few years.Although the pandemic has accelerated certain trends, like online ordering, and made to-go orders.last_img read more

Breeding resilience

first_imgCorn, wheat, rice and other modern cereals have been bred over the past centuries to produce as much grain as possible. However, to feed a growing population, plant breeders may have to coax out the raw survival traits of older and locally adapted plant varieties. University of Georgia geneticists Scott Jackson, director of the UGA Center of Applied Genetic Technologies, and John Burke, professor of plant biology and director of the UGA Plant Center, have coauthored an editorial in the July 4 edition of Nature explaining the need to revive old varieties for breeding programs. “We have major challenges that we’re facing globally, be it coping with climate change or feeding a growing population,” said Jackson, a professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “We know that there are genes out there that can help protect or improve crop yields. We need to find ways to tap into those traits more effectively.” Jackson, Burke and other organizers of the Crop Wild Relative Genomics meeting held in California in late 2012 wrote the commentary with lead author and Cornell University professor Susan McCouch. “Why does plant breeding need a boost,” questioned McCouch, a genetic researcher and plant breeder who studies rice. “Since the mid 1990s, progress in conventional plant breeding slowed, despite the phenomenal yield gains of the past. Part of the reason is that only the tip of the biodiversity iceberg has been explored and used.” The meeting brought together plant breeders from across the country to discuss ways in which the wild and locally adapted ancestors of today’s corn, rice, wheat and soybean could be bred with modern plants to make them more drought-hardy, disease resistant and able to grow on marginal farmlands. For decades, crop scientists from around the world have built seed repositories to preserve ancient, heirloom and wild varieties of the plants relied on today for food and fiber. However, not much is known about how the genomes of the myriad plant varieties safe housed in these repositories. The genomes of these older and locally adapted varieties hold the key to develop crop varieties that can meet the challenges of agriculture in the 21st century, Jackson said. He and the other authors are calling for a concerted, global effort to catalogue the varieties in these repositories and the genetic traits that they exhibit. Geneticists in Jackson’s lab are currently working with wild varieties of rice, soybean and common bean to identify traits that can be bred into modern crop varieties to make them more resilient. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation are funding Jackson’s breeding program in hopes the wild ancestors of today’s crops can help make soybean and rice production more sustainable and robust. Burke’s lab in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, which is likewise funded by the USDA and NSF as well as an industry consortium, is working on similar projects in the sunflower family. In collaboration with geneticists in France and Canada, they also are sequencing the sunflower genome. The primary goal of their work is to uncover the genetic basis of traits that will improve crop performance, especially when grown under stressful conditions, ultimately providing breeders with tools to incorporate these traits into cultivated varieties. “Because they’re well-adapted to growth under extreme environmental conditions, the wild relatives of our preferred crops have the potential to fuel ongoing plant breeding efforts,” Burke said. The full text of the commentary is available online at ### Across the globe, humans rely on fewer than a dozen plants to feed themselves and their families. last_img read more

Orsted, Northland Power win big in first Taiwan offshore wind auction

first_imgOrsted, Northland Power win big in first Taiwan offshore wind auction FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Global pacesetter Orsted emerged as the big winner in Taiwan’s first offshore wind auction, winning 920 MW in a competitive process that awarded 1.66 GW and followed May’s allocation by the country of an initial 3.84 GW. Orsted said its winning price across the two projects in the Changhua region was TWD2,548/MWh, equivalent to about €72.3/MWh ($84.20).The other winner was Canada’s Northland Power, which secured 744 MW for its Hai Long 2 & 3 projects, according to a statement by Taiwan’s energy ministry.The average price across all four projects was TWD2,224/MWh, equivalent to about $73.5/MWh, according to the ministry. That is significantly lower than expected–less than half the TWD5,850 projects can receive if they signed a deal this year under the existing feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme.The first allocation round in May was awarded on the basis of FITs, but the latest round was auction driven. The result is an average price that beats Taiwan’s average wholesale power cost, currently around TWD2,600.The Orsted projects–which subject to environmental permits will be built by 2025–add to the 900 MW Orsted secured in the May allocation, bringing its total pipeline off the Asian island nation to 1.82 GW–all in Changhua. The Danish group said the second award will allow it to make maximum use of transmission assets off Changhua and serve the projects from a common hub.Northland is developing Hai Long 2&3 with local partner Yushan Energy, which holds a 40% stake. Northland had already been allocated 300MW under the earlier FIT-based allocation process. The projects are also due for grid-connection by 2025.More: Orsted and Northland share 1.66GW in second Taiwan roundlast_img read more

Mercury rising in Hants barometer

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Corporate deal of the year

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Variety of topics discussed at legislative update

first_imgGreensburg, IN—The Greensburg Decatur County Chamber of Commerce played host along with Decatur County REMC to a legislative update on Saturday.  Representatives Randy Frye and Cindy Ziemke along with State Senators Jean Leising and Chip Perfect were in attendance and each spoke on the work they have been doing in the 2020 legislative session. Sen. Perfect spoke to us about a bill he is working to get passed in regard to minors and employment laws.  The bill would allow children age 16-18 to work 40 hours a week instead of at the current law of 30 hours per week during the school year.  If passed it would also change how late children 14-18 years old would be allowed to work during the school year and in the summer. Sen. Leising stated she feels health care topics will be a priority today in session.  Leising stated she was surprised that no one asked questions in regards to “surprise billing” or billing transparency when it comes to health care.  She and others in both the House and Senate have both passed versions of this and will review for final voted to become a bill.  Leising also has questions on the iLearn test in the Indiana schools. She is concerned that no one can really answer whether the iLearn test is a bad test, or if Indiana youth truly are struggling with development with a score of 37% overall.  Today is the last day to hear bills in their 3rd reading and be passed before they move to the House and Senate, depending on where they started.last_img read more

Leinster give Cardiff the Blues

first_img O’Driscoll and Sam Warburton – two men who missed the Lions’ series-clinching win over Australia for contrasting reasons – made their seasonal bows in this round four clash. It was a veritable Lions reunion as seven of the 2013 tour squad were involved, with Jamie Heaslip, another third Test absentee, returning to captain Leinster. Brian O’Driscoll began his final season of rugby on a winning note as he helped Leinster claim a bonus point 34-20 win against Cardiff Blues at the RDS. Matthew Rees’ hacking on of a loose ball led to a foot race between Harry Robinson and Fergus McFadden with the latter forced to concede a five-metre scrum. Cardiff kept up the pressure and a subsequent infringement allowed Halfpenny to split the posts for a second time. Although Cardiff had some decent territory, Leinster showed more cutting edge and penetration when building their attacks and should have added to their tally before the break. A late O’Driscoll surge through the middle, which delighted the home crowd, created an opening but Rob Kearney was crowded out on the left wing. Leinster beat a path to the Cardiff line on the resumption, thanks to muscular carries from Heaslip and Martin Moore, and Blues lock Paulo paid the price for a needless dive over the top of a ruck. His sin-binning left Cardiff under pressure defending a five-metre scrum and worse followed as they collapsed an advancing Leinster set piece, leading referee Marius Mitrea to award a penalty try which Madigan converted. The Blues hit back with an early contender for try of the season. Bustling winger Cuthbert beat Rob Kearney on the outside and evaded the grasp of four more defenders from 40 metres out. Halfpenny’s conversion cut the gap to 20-13 before Leinster had a near miss, McFadden being held up in the right corner. Entering the final quarter, Leinster’s lead was far from comfortable and Robinson almost finished off a smashing counter from the Blues backs – Cuthbert’s final pass was ruled forward. Leinster turned down a kickable penalty – Devin Toner was held back after blocking a Lloyd Williams kick – and it proved the right decision as flanker Ryan crashed over on the end of a maul. Madigan converted and then bagged the bonus point for his side, stepping through a gap and barging through Halfpenny’s last-ditch challenge to touch down. Cardiff did manage a late consolation try with replacement Cory Allen intercepting a Jack McGrath pass to score, with Patchell drop-kicking the conversion. O’Driscoll created the first half’s only try for Sean Cronin, Leinster building a 13-6 interval lead with Ian Madigan and Leigh Halfpenny kicking two penalties apiece. Filo Paulo’s 47th-minute yellow card preceded a penalty try for Leinster, however a tremendous solo effort from Alex Cuthbert kept the Welsh side in the hunt. But Matt O’Connor’s men made certain of their first home victory of the campaign thanks to further tries from Dominic Ryan and man-of-the-match Madigan – who finished with 19 points. The visitors were smarting from a surprise home defeat to Zebre and made the early headway in Dublin, with Owen Williams and Cuthbert threatening out wide. Halfpenny was unable to land a tricky opening kick but his sixth minute penalty – awarded for a shoulder charge by Heaslip on his opposite number Andries Pretorius – had the Blues deservedly ahead. Rhys Patchell’s fine one-handed feed released Williams once more, but Leinster quickly turned defence into attack as their first serious raid downfield produced a try. Cardiff did well initially to haul down Rob Kearney, only for O’Driscoll’s superbly timed flat pass to send hooker Cronin slaloming through for a 13th minute score. Madigan supplied the conversion. Isaac Boss knocked on near the posts as the province probed for a quick second try, but the scoreline was beefed up by two well-struck penalties from Madigan, a player keen to impress in the number 10 jersey given newcomer Jimmy Gopperth’s strong start to the season. Press Associationlast_img read more

Andrea Bombace’s walk-off hit propels Syracuse to 5-4 win over North Carolina State

first_img Published on April 16, 2016 at 9:16 pm Contact Matthew: | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+ With one out and the winning run 60 feet from home plate, it was Andrea Bombace with a chance — her second of the game — to drive in the winning run.She was 0-for-4 when she dug in to the batter’s box in the bottom of the tenth inning. She had already left four runners on base in the game and, down in the count 0-2, was on the verge of leaving another stranded. Corinne Ozanne, the winning run, stood just 60 feet away at third base.But on the 0-2 pitch, Bombace took an inside-out swing that punched an inner-half fastball up the middle. Her soft liner landed just beyond second base and scored Ozanne to give Syracuse (22-18, 7-9 Atlantic Coast) a 5-4 walk-off win over North Carolina State (20-25, 4-10) in game two of a doubleheader Saturday at SU Softball Stadium. In the first game, an NC State win, the score was also 5-4.“What I was thinking is just stay relaxed,” Bombace said. “That’s my thing, relax and stay calm.”Bombace’s walk-off hit was the first of the freshman’s career and SU’s second of the year. The first, a Sydney O’Hara double against Georgia Tech two weeks ago, gave the Orange an 8-7 win in the 13th inning. Saturday’s 10th inning walk-off was SU’s fifth extra-inning win of the season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOzanne led off the tenth inning on Saturday by drilling a knee-high pitch into right-center field. She had worked the count to 3-2 before sending the rocket whizzing over the second baseman’s head.“To see her go (opposite field) like that, I think it makes her special,” SU assistant coach Alisa Goler said. “When I saw where the ball was pitched and she put that swing on it, that’s her bread and butter right there, that right-center gap. It was a beautiful swing.”With Ozanne representing the winning run at second base and no outs in the inning, O’Hara was due up. But SU assistant coach Alisa Goler called Hailey Archuleta to pinch hit for O’Hara, who wasn’t feeling well. Syracuse head coach Mike Bosch was ejected for arguing a call at the plate in the first inning, so Goler was the one who sent Archuleta to the plate to try to get Ozanne over to third base.After failing to get a bunt down on her first try, Archuleta laid one down to advance Ozanne, setting up Bombace’s walk-off.“I think she still has a little bit of the jitters sometimes when she gets in there,” SU assistant coach Kristyn Sandberg said of Bombace. “But she’s one that you constantly talk to and keep her relaxed.”Bombace’s first opportunity to drive in runs came in the bottom of the first inning. N.C. State had just scored four runs in the top half, but Syracuse had runners on first and second base. Bombace hit a short dribbler to end the inning.In the fourth, Bombace reached on a fielder’s choice and then scored on a Hannah Dossett single. In the seventh, after O’Hara tied the game at four with an infield single, Bombace had a chance to drive in Ozanne from second base. Bombace fell behind 1-2 and flew out to right field.But she took good swings in the at-bat, fouling two pitches almost straight back and just missing the ball she flew out on, Goler said.In the 10th inning, she got a second chance. Ozanne was on base representing the winning run again, just as she was three innings prior.This time, Bombace delivered. Commentslast_img read more

Syracuse lacrosse opponent preview: What to know about Binghamton

first_imgNo. 8 Syracuse (7-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) will host Binghamton (4-7, 2-2 America East) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Carrier Dome in its final game before the ACC tournament.SU beat then-No. 11 North Carolina, 13-7, on Saturday to bounce back from a stretch of four losses in five games including three blown fourth-quarter leads.Binghamton is coming off a 12-8 loss to No. 6 Albany on Saturday. The Bearcats clawed within two goals at the beginning of the third and fourth quarters before Albany finally pulled away.Syracuse will face No. 13 UNC in the semifinal of the ACC tournament on April 29 in Kennesaw, Georgia, as either the second or fourth seed.All-time series: Syracuse leads 4-0AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLast time they played: The then-No. 7 Orange beat Binghamton, 10-8, on April 2, 2014, in the Carrier Dome. SU was coming off its first ACC win against then-No. 7 Notre Dame, 11-10, four days earlier and nearly suffered a letdown loss to the Bearcats on a Wednesday night.Syracuse trailed Binghamton by one goal at the end of the first quarter and went into halftime with only a one-goal lead. But three straight goals in the third quarter pushed SU’s lead to three heading into the final frame. The Bearcats climbed back to within one with 7:22 left in the game only for a Kevin Rice tally to ice the game just 38 seconds remaining.Binghamton held the advantage at the faceoff X, 12-10, and had eight different players each score at least a goal. Rice led Syracuse with two goals and two assists. Derek Maltz, Dylan Donahue, Randy Staats and Nicky Galasso had two points each. The Binghamton report: The Bearcats started its season with four straight losses, to Colgate, Marist, Hobart and Delaware, losing by an average of four goals per game. Since then, Binghamton improved from the rocky start, but is still winless in six away games this season while going 4-1 at home.Senior midfielder Zach Scaduto leads the Bearcats offense with 23 goals and 33 points — both career highs. He’s scored at least three goals and taken at least seven shots in each of the team’s last three games. Scaduto is in a starting role for the first time in his career and had previously started just one game over the last three seasons. He picked up three groundballs and had one caused turnover when Syracuse and Binghamton played in 2014.Defensively, Garrett Waldron leads the way with 10 caused turnovers. The defender and Syracuse native played at West Genesee (New York) High School with Syracuse players Tim Barber, Dylan Donahue and Nick Mellen.Tanner Cosens starts in goal for the Bearcats, saving 44.2 percent of shots and letting in 11.5 goals per game. Dan Mazurek is the team’s primary option at the faceoff X and is winning 53.8 percent of draws.Binghamton’s best weapon is its ability to clear the ball. The Bearcats rank 12th in the nation with an 89.2 percent success rate on clears. It ranks in the bottom half of the America East in nearly every other statistical category.How Binghamton beats Syracuse: It’ll take a nearly perfect game from the Bearcats to take down the Orange. It’ll have to keep turnovers to a minimum, win the majority groundballs and capitalize on every opportunity. Binghamton played close with Albany, outshooting the Great Danes and nearly matching them in groundballs and turnovers, but failed on two clears in the fourth quarter on the way to the loss. The margin of error will be even smaller for the Bearcats on Wednesday though, with Syracuse faceoff specialist Ben Williams likely to control the X.Numbers to know:89.2 – Binghamton clears the ball with an 89.2 percent success rate, which is 12th best in the country.6 – The Bearcats have six losses in six games on the road this season. Their trip up Interstate 81 will mark the fifth time they face Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.55-24 – Syracuse has outscored Binghamton 55-24 in the four games between the two squads.Player to watch: Zach ScadutoScaduto is Binghamton’s biggest offensive threat. He scores the most goals and only one player on the team has more assists. Scaduto is in the best stretch of his career, averaging 3.8 points per game over the last four games. The Bearcats are 3-2 when he scores at least three goals, but just 1-5 when he’s held to less than that. Comments Published on April 19, 2016 at 10:48 pm Contact Jon: | @jmettuscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more