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Investigating Pollution, Tainted Groundwater in Buffalo River Watershed

The Buffalo River winds through Northern Arkansas for 150 miles; 135 of which are contained within the Buffalo National River under the care of the National Park Service (NPS) . The iconic river is culturally important to the state and region, and that's part of the reason why United States Geological Survey (USGS) scientists are working hard to determine why 70 miles of the river had algae in it last year. Aquatic biologist Billy G. Justus , of the Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center (LMG WSC), spoke to EM about the studies on the river and the algal issues. “We are officially the USGS Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center,” explains Mr. Justus.

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The UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab: Ocean Acidification Research at Its Finest

As human activity increases carbon dioxide emissions, the oceans absorb more and more carbon as a result. “The ocean can take up an amazing amount of carbon,” says Tessa Hill , Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences, UC Davis , resident at Bodega Marine Laboratory, and Associate Director of the Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute . “But the carbon makes the ocean more acidic, and this has effects on the shell-bearing creatures of the ocean. The acidic water can corrode their shells, or keep them from properly forming shells in the first place.

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Learning With the Student Drifter Program

The mission of the Student Drifter Program, initiated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and now administered by the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation ( GOMLF ), is “to establish scientific partnerships between schools around the region and engage students in activities and communication about ocean climate science.” NOAA oceanographer James P. Manning spoke with EM about the program and how it benefits students and the environment. The drifters, typically made with an aluminum (or bamboo) frame and cloth sails, flow primarily underwater with a transmitter above the waterline to send data on its location via satellite every few hours. They stay active with battery power for several months. During that time, they can be tracked online .

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