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UA Journalism Reptile Day

BY MIKE McKISSON

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A Nose for Wildlife Conservation

Q&A with wildlife ecologist and conservationist Jonathan Derbridge

BY ANGELO LAVO

Jonathan Derbridge
Now a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona, Jonathan Derbridge earned his master’s degree at the University of Montana. (Photograph courtesy of Jonathan Derbridge)

“When it comes to sniffing out wolf scats and hairs in the wild, I’m the guy to call,” said University of Arizona doctoral candidate Jonathan Derbridge. As a master of science candidate and Boone and Crockett Fellow at the University of Montana, Derbridge spent the 2007 and 2008 summer seasons studying poop and tissue samples from 12 Montana wolf packs. He sought to uncover the impact that their diets have on prey populations, an effort grounded in conservation principles. In general, he found that wolves ate more moose than anticipated, but wolf packs across the territory had diverse consumption habits. This study developed a valuable method for game managers to implement in population management. Continue reading “A Nose for Wildlife Conservation”

The Third Desert Tortoise

BY MICHAELA WEBB

An interview with Taylor Edwards about Gopherus evgoodei

Dr. Taylor Edwards holds a Sonoran-type tortoise (Gopherus morafkai), which is a sister species to G. evgoodei. (Photograph courtesy of Taylor Edwards)
Dr. Taylor Edwards holds a Sonoran-type tortoise (Gopherus morafkai), which is a sister species to G. evgoodei. (Photograph courtesy of Taylor Edwards)

While some scientists spend their days in labs under the glare of fluorescent lights, Dr. Taylor Edwards spends many of his days searching for tortoises. Between 2006 and 2012, he and his team encountered Africanized bees and scorching summer temperatures as they collected genetic and morphological data on tortoises. Their research project resulted in the designation of a third species of desert tortoise, Gopherus evgoodei, in northern Mexico. A paper published in February 2016 in ZooKeys describes their findings. Continue reading “The Third Desert Tortoise”

More for Olive Us: Are olives Arizona’s new cash crop?

BY RACHEL WEHR

Olive branches blow in the wind at Mission Gardens in Tucson, Arizona, on Saturday, April 16th, 2016. The small, light green spheres are young fruits on trees which were planted just two years ago with a permit from Pima County. Photograph by Rachel Wehr
Olive branches blow in the wind at Mission Gardens in Tucson, Arizona. The small green spheres are young fruits on trees planted just two years ago with a permit from Pima County. (Photograph by Rachel Wehr)

If you’re from Pima County, Arizona, you may not be familiar with the tree that produces the much-loved oil that garnishes your caprese salad, hummus or artisanal pizza. And there’s a reason why. Continue reading “More for Olive Us: Are olives Arizona’s new cash crop?”

INFOGRAPHIC: Olive Oil Production

BY RACHEL WEHR

wehr_infographic

A Growing Community

BY NOHELY REYES

A tomato grows in the University of Arizona Community Garden (UACG) during a workday on Sunday, April 17th, 2016 in Tucson, Arizona. Aside from tomatoes, other veggies like lettuce and carrots are grown at UACG. (Photograph by Nohely Reyes)
A tomato grows in the University of Arizona Community Garden. (Photograph by Nohely Reyes)

The soil feels moist as it slips between your fingers as you loosen it up. You find the perfect spot to plant your tomato seeds. You let them drop. Their tough skin touches the welcoming soil.

And so the gardening cycle begins. Continue reading “A Growing Community”

INFOGRAPHIC: University of Arizona Community Garden

BY NOHELY REYES

reyes_infographic

From Fruit to Loot: Turning food waste into rich compost

BY HANNAH HARD

At the compost cats farm, piles like this illustrate the progression of compost as the food is decomposed. Shown at right is a long line of crates of food waste ready to be added to the pile on Friday. Photo by Hanna Hard
At the Compost Cats farm south of Tucson, boxes full of food waste are added to piles of compost. (Photograph by Hanna Hard)

A truck beeps as it slowly backs toward what looks like a heaping pile of garbage at the Compost Cats composting farm on the San Xavier Mission grounds, located in the Tohono O’odham Nation just south of Tucson. Upon closer examination, one might notice that the garbage pile is missing something. Absent are the plastic, glass, aluminum and rubber usually found in a dumpster. Instead, this pile is composed of fruits, vegetables and plants from Tucson’s restaurants, sporting venues and businesses. Some food waste even comes from the University of Arizona Student Union. Continue reading “From Fruit to Loot: Turning food waste into rich compost”

Seeing My Future Through a Rotting Squash

BY CONNOR D. OSGOOD

Photograph by Connor Osgood
A fascination with plants began by growing a flawlessly round and colossal pumpkin. (Photograph courtesy of Connor D. Osgood)

As a kid I had loved Halloween for as long as I could remember. It was less of a single day and more of a season that began just weeks after August ended. I enjoyed all the typical dark imagery of bats, skeletons and haunted houses, but what excited me the most were pumpkins. Continue reading “Seeing My Future Through a Rotting Squash”

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