Science

Sinkhole Cost in Florida
7:00 am
Thu March 14, 2013

What Florida Homeowners Should Know About Sinkholes

The Florida sinkhole situation is getting a lot of attention.
Credit Richard Elzey / Flickr Creative Commons

The recent spate of sinkhole activity in Southwest Florida -- including a fatal sinkhole in Tampa earlier this month -- has shed light on the state's geologic anomaly. But how do sinkholes impact state economic factors like property insurance and home sales?   

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Climate Change
6:32 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Maps: How Sea Level Rise Could Impact Miami-Dade County

A map of the current sea level in south Florida.
Credit Marco A. Ruiz / Miami Herald

Miami-Dade County is grappling with how to repair and replace parts of its aging sewage system, under pressure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Water and Sewer Department has drawn up a $1.5 billion plan.

However, the clean-water advocacy group Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper says the plan doesn’t take into account the potential for sea level rise at its three coastal treatment plants on Virginia Key and in North Miami and South Miami-Dade.

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Climate Change and Coral Reefs
7:01 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Climate Change Could Ruin Snorkeling And Fishing In Florida

Ocean warming and acidification are causing a decline in Florida's coral reefs, which are popular with fish and humans alike.
Credit NOAA / Flickr Creative Commons

The future of some of Florida's smallest and most seldom seen inhabitants is under threat from climate change, and that could spell big trouble further up the food chain, scientists say. South Florida's coral and algae populations are declining as ocean temperatures rise and there's an economic factor to consider, according to researchers who study the coastal underwater ecosystems. 

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South Florida Science Museum
1:00 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

U.S. Lags In Science & Tech Education, While Science Fairs Boom In Palm Beach County

The engineering competition at the South Florida Science Museum aims to get kids interested in science and tech jobs.
Credit Courtesy photo

At the recent WLRN/Miami Herald-sponsored Town Hall on Session 2013 panelist Sen. Jack Latvala mentioned the need to focus on science and technology education to better prepare Florida's kids for a tech-centric global job market. It's a point echoed by Lew Crampton who serves as president and chief executive officer for the South Florida Science Museum.

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Science
7:02 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Tragic Sinkhole In Tampa Sheds Light On Florida's Geological Predicament

Sinkholes can cause substantial property damage and threaten water supplies.
Credit Southwest Florida Water Management District

The news last week of a Hillsborough County man who disappeared into a sinkhole that opened up beneath his bedroom has sparked a renewed national interest in the Florida sinkhole phenomenon.

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Humidity and Worker Productivity
7:31 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Humidity Will Worsen With Climate Change And With It, Worker Productivity

As temperatures around the country rise, worker productivity will take a dive.
Credit couchlearner / Flickr Creative Commons

Anyone who has tried to tend a garden or walk the dog in the height of a South Florida summer understands the energy-zapping qualities of a heat and humidity combo. A recently released study reports that climate change will mean an increase in those sticky, sweaty days.

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Tegu Invasive Species
8:01 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Meet The Tegu: An Intelligent And Athletic Invasive Threatening Florida's Wildlife

This domesticated tegu, Draco, is an education animal for the Zoological Society of Florida.
Credit Tricia Woolfenden

As Mike Perez mingled with visitors at the recent Python Challenge awards event in Miami, his left arm supported the weight of a black-and-white lizard with a body as thick as a linebacker's bicep. Gazing through heavily hooded eyes, the lizard rarely moved, save for sticking out its forked tongue for an occasional sniff . 

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Miami Sea Level Rise
8:01 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Miami Among "Most At Risk" For Sea Level Rise, Federal Climate Change Report Says

Coastal flooding will worsen in Miami if climate change patterns continue, according to a federal draft report.
Credit maxstrz / Flickr Creative Commons

Florida -- and Miami in particular -- should prepare for habitat destruction, loss of cropland, increased salt-water intrusion, worsening coastal flooding, and a host of related disasters if climate change and sea level rise patterns continue, according to findings in a federal "draft climate report."

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Sea Turtles & Beach Erosion
8:00 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Hurricane Sandy Erosion Will Impact Florida's Sea Turtle Nesting Season

Sea turtles -- like the green sea turtle hatchling seen here -- may need an extra hand during this year's nesting season.
Credit USFWS/Southeast / Flickr Creative Commons

South Florida's beaches in late spring through much of the fall resemble something of a crime scene, or rather, dozens of miniature crime scenes. Brightly colored caution tape and wooden stakes can be found scattered throughout the sand, sectioning off areas where sea turtles have left the water to build nests.

That tableau could look a bit different this year, says marine conservationist Dr. Kirt Rusenko, who is based at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton. 

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Annual Shark Migration
8:00 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Thousands Of Sharks Make Annual Migration Along South Florida's Coast

Blacktip sharks are among the most common sharks found inshore off the coast of Florida.
Credit Ross Elliott / Flickr Creative Commons

Discovery Channel's Shark Week isn't until August, but South Florida is in the midst of its own shark celebration of sorts. Now through the end of April, the inshore waters off the coasts of Palm Beach County to Miami-Dade County will teem with shark activity.

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Pythons in Everglades
4:00 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Python Challenge Hunter: "It's Eerily Quiet In The Everglades"

A young Burmese python at the Python Challenge awards ceremony.
Credit Tricia Woolfenden

Tom Rahill knows the Everglades. He has been camping, hiking, clearing trails, and "hanging out" in Florida's River of Grass for an estimated 35 years. When he sweats, Rahill says he "even smells like the Everglades." A participant in the recently-wrapped and much-maligned Python Challenge, Rahill recognizes that much of the press and public appear unimpressed with the contest's final tally of 68 snakes.  

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Science
5:00 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

The Python Challenge Final Tally: 50 Dead Snakes And A Whole Lot Of Unanswered Questions

The Python Challenge: a bust or a boon? Depends on how you look at it.
Credit USFWS:Southeast / Flickr Creative Commons

The wacky challenge that grabbed national headlines -- and perhaps more than its fair share of derision -- will come to a head Saturday morning, when the 2013 Python Challenge awards are presented in Miami.

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Great Backyard Bird Count
4:00 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

This Weekend's Great Backyard Bird Count Allows South Florida Birders To Shape Science

The painted bunting is just one of many species a South Florida birder might tally in the Great Backyard Bird Count.
Credit rarvesen / Flickr Creative Commons

Dust off those binoculars and brush up on your birding skills. The 2013 Great Backyard Bird Count is on and South Florida is a historical hotbed of action.

The four-day count -- a joint effort by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada -- is a large-scale citizen-science project with participants from around the globe. There's no cost to join and it's open to birders of all levels, from the casual feeder watcher to hardcore "listers." 

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Sea Level Rise Maps
2:00 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Interactive Maps Paint A Picture Of Sea Level Rise In Florida

This map, from 1917, shows Florida before the issue of sea level rise was on the mind of many a coastal resident.
Credit perpetualplum / Flickr Creative Commons

 A new study from a German research institute identifies urban areas most threatened by sea level rise and indicates that although sea level rise has been occurring for more than a century, it's not happening at a steady rate around the globe. This is due to regional variances in temperature, circulation, and ocean density.

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Florida Grasshopper Sparrow
10:00 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Biologists Ask: Why Won't The Feds Fund Protection Of Florida's Nearly Extinct Grasshopper Sparrow?

The Florida grasshopper sparrow is facing extinction.
Credit MyFWC.com / Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

One of Florida's endemic species, the Florida grasshopper sparrow, is on the path to extinction. The bird lives only in the dry prairies south of Orlando and it's believed that less than 200 of the highly-specialized sparrows remain in the wild, though funding doesn't exist to adequately track the population. Part of the problem has been drumming up the public support -- and money -- necessary to study what has happened to the subspecies.   

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