Category Archives: Science Journalism

Proof of Life

Tent Circles at Bighorn Canyon

Tipi Rings Outline the Circle of Domestic Life

One of the most ephemeral of archaeological artifacts, the tipi ring, or tent circle, is a rich source of data concerning domestic practices of the Plains Indians, including the Crow peoples, within the boundaries of what is now Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area in southern Montana and northern Wyoming. (read more)

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Keeping the Lead Out

The Endangered California Condor

By Susan E. Swanberg, assistant professor of journalism at the University of Arizona

The California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is an endangered New World vulture and the largest bird in North America. In the 1980s, the entire population of California condors was reduced to 22 birds. With the assistance of captive breeding programs, the condor was brought back from the brink of extinction. Captive-bred birds have been reintroduced to California, Arizona, Utah, and Baja California. There were more than 230 condors in the wild in 2013, but the bird’s recovery has been sluggish. (read more)

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Tree Rings Do Tell Tales

Dendrochronology at Chaco Canyon

By Susan E. Swanberg, assistant professor of journalism at the University of Arizona

Remnants of an Ancestral Culture

The remains of an ancient culture, including ruins of the Great Houses of Chaco Canyon, lie silently in a remote canyon on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern New Mexico. Now part of Chaco Culture National Historical Park, these massive and mysterious communal structures, made primarily of stone interlaced with mud mortar, speak of a long-ago Southwest culture. The great houses, once covered by timbered roofs and ceilings made from thousands of large pine beams, took nearly three centuries to build. (read more)


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Bats Battle Fungus

Bat Cave Microclimates at El Malpais

By Susan E. Swanberg, assistant professor of journalism at the University of Arizona

Imagine a world without bats—a world overrun with biting insects, a world where plants that rely upon bat pollinators might disappear.  Debbie Buecher, a Tucson bat biologist, is trying to prevent that scenario from becoming a reality. Buecher studies bat cave microclimates, examining whether conditions are ripe for the spread of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (formerly known as Geomyces destructans), the fungal pathogen that causes White Nose Syndrome (WNS) in bats. WNS has hit the little brown bats of the genus Myotis, one of the most common bats in North America, particularly hard. (read more)

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