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In The News

Long-Term Monitoring Aids Scientists Studying Sea Star Wasting Mystery

Scientists working to solve the mystery of Sea Star Wasting Disease—and to learn more about the possible keystone species Pisaster ochraceus , the ochre sea star—are reaping the benefits of long-term monitoring of the species along the West Coast. Dr. Melissa Miner , a UC Santa Cruz researcher in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, spoke with EM about her two decades of work with the Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network and her recent efforts surrounding the ochre sea star. Keeping an eye on intertidal species In 2013, people began to notice that sea stars all along the West Coast were in the grip of a strange disease. The stars exhibited lesions and quickly succumbed, deteriorating and wasting away.

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Simple, Brilliant Water Quality Fixes From Environmental Engineering

If you're from a small town in the US, or even if you've ever taken a drive through rural America, you've almost certainly seen large water storage tanks gracing the skyline. Some have even become landmarks in their own right, with clever decorations that say something about the communities they stand in. In fact, even the largest city in the U.S., New York City, is full of 12,000 to 17,000 municipal water tanks on stilted legs, dotting the city's otherwise modern-looking profile. These water tanks are used by communities around the country, and they store up enough water for municipal drinking use, plus emergencies.

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Study of New York Wastewater Treatment Facilities Offers Nuanced View

In 1972, the Clean Water Act ushered in a new era of wastewater treatment across the United States. In older states like New York, this meant new plants would be connecting to sewer systems and storm drains that were often getting on in years. Over the past decade, as climate patterns have brought more dramatic storms and flooding with them, and the population of urban areas have continued to grow, states like New York are experiencing wastewater treatment failures. However, it's not always clear what the source of these failures are. A direct connection between plant size and performance is often assumed when it comes to wastewater treatment, but was this really the problem plaguing New York's system? Scientists from Cornell University decided to find out.

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