The 10th annual Run for the Woods Raised Over $1,000!

Run for the Woods - On the Course - Photo Credit-Amanda Sorensen 2

Through the woods. Photo Credit-Amanda Sorensen.

The 10th annual Run for the Woods was held on Saturday May 14. The weather was beautiful, the runners were fast, and the volunteers and organizers did a great job. This 5k trail race was organized by the graduate students of the Ecology and Evolution Graduate Student Association (EcoGSA) to raise funds for restoration and care of local woods at the Rutgers University Ecological Preserve (EcoPreserve) and for their Association. Professor Richard Lathrop, faculty director of the EcoPreserve, has also used donations to fund undergraduate projects such as an ecology course focused on natural resource management. The Run was originally held in Helyar Woods, part of Rutgers Gardens. The location was changed in 2014 and now takes place at the EcoPreserve.

Run for the Woods - Starting Line - Photo Credit-Amanda Sorensen

Starting Line. Photo Credit-Amanda Sorensen.

This year 44 runners and walkers crossed the finish line. The competitors were mostly local runners, and many come out every year.  The fastest male finisher, William Hulbert, crossed the finish line in 18:49 minutes. The fastest female finisher, Amanda Cirillo, finished the run in 25:44 minutes.

Joni Baumgarten, who has headed the organization for 4 years, described the course as a single loop through the EcoPerserve, featuring many spring flowers including spring beauty (claytonia virginica) and Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema Triphyllum).  Obstacles included narrow sections, roots, rocks, and—because of the recent rains—mud!  Despite this last messy challenge, Natalie Howe, one of the runners who also helped [Read more…]

Bed bugs have favorite colors

Do you have favorite colors? So does a bed bug. And a new study shows that, like many humans, bed bugs change their color preferences as they age… Changlu Wang did some of the earlier research showing adult bed bugs prefer red and black. Also an entomologist, he works at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. Wang agrees that getting rid of red or black bedding wouldn’t necessarily help people fight bed bugs.

Read the entire article at Science News for Students »

Scientists create world’s largest coral gene database

Coral reefs…have survived five major extinction events over the last 250 million years. Now, an international team of scientists led by Rutgers faculty has conducted the world’s most comprehensive analysis of coral genes, focusing on how their evolution has allowed corals to interact with and adapt to the environment… "There are a few key genes in corals that allow them to build this house that laid down the foundation for many, many thousands of years of corals," said Debashish Bhattacharya, a professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers. "It couldn’t be any more fundamental to ocean ecosystems." (Also appeared in Science Daily, Science Codex, eScienceNews,, Science Newsline.)

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Maine Voices: At Hiroshima, Obama should begin leading world back from the brink

When President Obama speaks at ground zero in Hiroshima on Friday, he must do more than recall the horrific consequences of the first atomic bombing… In a series of professional journal articles, Rutgers environmental scientist Alan Robock, University of Colorado atmospheric and oceanic scientist Owen Brian Toon and others document that the likely impact of a so-called "limited nuclear war" on climate and global food production would put the world’s population at grave risk of mass starvation.

Read the entire article at The Portland Press Herald »

Bathroom not top priority

Thank you for your editorial "A transgender woman walks into a ladies room. So?" You rightly point out climate change is a "much more pressing" issue than which bathroom a transgender person can use… Arctic sea ice levels are on track to hit new record lows this year. The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on earth. According to the Washington Post, "We’re in record breaking territory no matter how you look at it," says Jennifer Francis, an Arctic specialist at Rutgers University who has published widely on how Arctic changes affect weather in the mid-latitudes.

Read the entire article at York Daily Record »

Students Learn About Marine Science On Cape May Trip

You may not think of the life cycle of an oyster when you see the tasty mollusk on the menu, but East Windsor students recently got to learn not only about the science behind the shellfish, but also the history of the oyster trade and its impact on the Delaware Bay economy… "For a lot of kids, these experiences are eye-openers, even for our local students — they may not be aware of the Delaware Bay and its importance in the local economy and environment," said Jenny Paterno, Program Coordinator II of the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory at Rutgers University.

Read the entire article at Hartford Courant »

Canada wildfires in ‘bullseye’ of warming trends

Experts say climate change is contributing to the wildfires raging across Canada, and the increasing frequency of such fires may overwhelm one of Earth’s most important ecosystems, the boreal forest… "There is almost certainly a connection between the exceedingly warm Arctic, especially so this past winter, and the early fire season in high-latitude land areas, which includes much of Canada," said Jennifer Francis, research professor at Rutgers University.

Read the entire article at The Japanese Times »

Record-Breaking Heat Grips India Amid Rash of Farmer Suicides

Temperatures in India reached a record-breaking 123.8 degrees Fahrenheit Friday, according to the Associated Press, suffocating parts of the country, and drawing further attention to a tragic rash of suicide deaths among the nation’s impoverished farmers, who are battling drought and other environmental conditions that stifle agricultural production… "The heat wave in India is another example that our climate is changing," said Ben Horton, a scientist at the University of Rutgers who focuses on climate change. "We are now experiencing climate extremes that include droughts, wildfires, flood, storms, and tropical cyclones as well."

Read the entire article at WBT 1110 Charlotte »

Are microwave ovens safe & nutritious? Or just convenient?

Over the last several decades, microwave ovens have become a standard kitchen appliance in many American homes. But for some, doubts remain about their safety and impact on the nutritional value of food cooked in them… This week on "Take Care," food scientist Don Schaffner takes us behind the microwave door to explain how microwave ovens work, and the ways this kind of cooking technology interacts with food. Schaffner is an extension specialist in food science and distinguished professor at Rutgers University. He is a world-renowned expert on food safety and protection and is the co-host of a podcast on microbial food safety.

Read the entire article at WRVO Public Media »

Eliminate the TB Scourge

It’s 1 a.m. A young mother approaches me during my hospital shift. She asks if her 2-year-old son will survive the night. He has been given a diagnosis of severe tuberculous meningitis, months after her husband was found to have drug-resistant TB… In terms of curing the disease, in the 1940s the microbiologist Selman Waksman, working with a graduate student, Albert Schatz, at Rutgers University, helped begin the anti-TB drug revolution. Waksman received a Nobel Prize for the discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic effective in treating TB.

Read the entire article at The New York Times »