All Science

Japanese knotweeds strange superpowers

Science Middle School

Japanese Knotweed's Invasive Superpowers

Life Science Ecology Plants

Even beautiful plants can sometimes be detrimental to the environment. This public radio story takes place in Michigan where the sale of Japanese knotweed has been outlawed following unchecked growth of the large ornamental plant. Japanese knotweed is fast-growing, aggressive and hard to control. It can destroy pavement and even houses and it is unlikely to be eradicated any time soon.

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Quieting the ocean

Science Middle School

Noises in the Ocean Threaten Marine Animals

Life Science Earth and Space Science Environment Ecosystems Human Impacts Oceans Sound

Oceans have become very loud because of humans. In this public radio story you'll hear some of the things that make the ocean so noisy. Scientists are worried all that noise is hurting marine life. They want to find ways to quiet down the ocean and study what the noise means for marine mammals.

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Sea slug animal or plant

Science Middle School

Sea Slug: Animal or Plant?

Life Science Genetics Ecosystems Oceans DNA Ecology

The little green sea slug is a puzzle to scientist because it can live in fresh water. Scientists discover the sea slug uses photosynthesis like a plant and has the DNA of a slug and algae.This audio story raises the question of whether the sea slug is an animal or a plant.

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Fungi

Science Middle School

Fungi Sustains Ecosystems

Life Science Ecosystems Nutrition Plants

Fungi play a crucial role in decomposition. This audio story emphasizes the destructive power of molds, as well as their vital importance in sustaining ecosystems. You'll be transported to a forest to learn how and why fungi is all around us.

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Losing linnaeus

Science Middle School

DNA Changes the Linnaean Classification System

Life Science Ecosystems Ecology Plants

The naming of every living thing has it's place because of a Swedish biologist. This public radio story is about the system we use to organize life called Linnean system, named after Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. But now new DNA technology is changing the way to think about the classification system.

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Mice morphing at warp speed

Science Middle School

Mice Evolving at Warp Speed

Life Science Animals Genetics Evolution

Changes to a neighborhood park in Illinois have affected the Northern White-Footed mice who live in the forest nearby. In this audio story, you'll hear from a scientist who is studying living mice today and comparing them to museum samples of dead mice to understand how they've changed and why. What they are finding is that the mice are growing much faster than their ancestors. Listen to learn more about their fascinating story.

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Mimicking a beetle

Science Middle School

Biomimicry and a Desert Beetle

Life Science Earth and Space Science Engineering Physical Science Ecology

Copying the way a desert beetle gets water, scientists have designed a membrane that can extract water from the air. Since all air contains water, even in the desert, this could provide a very inexpensive way to supply drinking water. This audio story describes an application of the idea of “biomimicry,” or using ideas from nature to solve technological problems. Listen to learn how this idea can help solve the problem of scarce drinking water.

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Ocean acidification

Science Middle School

Shellfish on your Dinner Plate Threatened by Ocean Acidification

Environment Ecosystems Oceans chemistry

The increasing acidity of the oceans could eventually affect your dinner plate. This public radio story begins in a factory where workers are shucking shellfish. It looks at a shellfish producer and how the company has had a hard time producing juvenile oysters or “seed” because of the increase of CO2 in the ocean. The story examines the impact of ocean acidification on the seafood we eat.

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Rare earth elements

Science Middle School

Low

China Owns Most Rare Earth Elements Used in Electronics

Technology Environment Physical Science Geology Energy

Rare earth minerals are very important to today's electronics. Your iPod, laptop, and television use them. They make electronics light so they don't need much power. But the Chinese have a lock on the production of rare earth elements and this could become a problem for the US.

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Somethings in the water hole

Science Middle School

Low

Microbes in the Water Hole

Life Science Environment Ecosystems Human Impacts Ecology

While popular swimming holes are commonly tested for bacteria, few are tested for protozoans. This audio story discusses the problem of protozoan-caused illnesses for swimmers in rivers, lakes and ponds. The story distinguishes between different types of microbes, and is an excellent introduction to classification of microorganisms and/or classification in general.

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Giant squid eyes

Science Middle School

Giant Squid Eyes

Life Science Animals Ecosystems Oceans

Scientists have wondered why giant squid and colossal squid have such enormous eyes. Their eyes are the size of basketballs. Their thinking about this question has been hampered by the rarity of these animals and the difficulty of preserving eye specimens. Using some clever techniques and luck, researchers have been able to measure the size of giant squid eyes. This has led to an interesting hypothesis about why their eyes are so enormous.

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Design inspiration from nature

Science Middle School

Low

Design Inspiration from Nature Makes Oyster Glue

Life Science Arts Oceans chemistry

What can nature teach us? A lot. Biomimicry is the design and production of materials based on nature. In this public radio story you learn about how shellfish can stick so stubbornly to rocks underwater. You also hear from a scientist who has devoted his life to trying to figure out the secret of why oyster glue is so strong.

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Dinoflagellates

Science Middle School

Microscopic Marine Organisms Can be Beautiful and Deadly

Life Science Earth and Space Science Ecosystems

Dinoflagellates (tiny marine microbes) are extremely common and important for aquatic ecosystems. This public radio story introduces the world of dinoflagellates in a very creative way – through song and a show production! You will learn that dioflagellates can be beautiful if they are involved in bio luminescence but they can also be deadly, when they are involved in red tide.

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Energy in the future

Science Middle School

Low

Improving Battery Storage

Technology Engineering Physical Science Energy Electricity

How is energy produced? This public radio story explores the relationships between energy and power. It looks at how energy is stored in batteries. Scientists are still working on how to best contain energy to store for later.

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Corals and climate change

Science Middle School

Corals and Climate Change

Life Science Environment Climate Change Weather and Climate Human Impacts Oceans

What makes up a coral? This audio story takes you to an underwater observatory where a scientist is studying coral reefs. The scientist has found that CO2 in the ocean is making the ocean warmer and dissolving the coral reef system. But the scientist also discusses how coral reefs can recover. Listen to this story to hear the factors that threaten coral reefs and how they can recover.

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Fish sounds

Science Middle School

Fish Sounds Indicate Behavior

Life Science Earth and Space Science Ecosystems Oceans

Marine biologists are studying the sounds that fish make. They believe that sounds are key to understanding fish behavior. This audio story explores how listening to fish may also be a way to help protect them. By studying the sounds that fish make when trying to attract mates and when breeding, biologists may be able to stay clear of them during those times to help them reproduce more productively.

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A delicious solution to our energy problem

Science Middle School

A Delicious Solution to Our Energy Problems

Earth and Space Science Environment Energy Electricity chemistry

A new source of energy is being developed by using Michigan's industrial food waste. Using existing technology for converting manure into electricity, these anaerobic digesters are doing their work on pudding packs and canned peaches, among other delicacies. Listen to learn how they are turning waste into electricity.

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