Arizona Science Desk

Reporting on science, technology and innovation in Arizona and the Southwest through a collaboration from Arizona NPR member stations. This project is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Additional stories from the Arizona Science Desk are posted at our collaborating station, KJZZ: http://kjzz.org/science

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How Biologists Plan To Save Endangered Sonoran Pronghorn

Jul 29, 2015
Arizona Game and Fish Department

Pronghorn once roamed North America by the millions, but human activity fragmented the species into four distinctive types, one of which makes its home in the desert Southwest.

The Sonoran pronghorn is light, fast and adapted for life in the desert, but just over a decade ago they were all but wiped out due to a severe drought. Now, efforts to help the endangered animal make a comeback are proving successful.

Amanda Solliday-KAWC

Engineers classified I-10 bridge that washed out in California Sunday as “functionally obsolete.” But what does that really mean?

The Federal Highway Administration defines functionally obsolete as “does not meet current design standards (for criteria such as lane width), either because the volume of traffic carried by the bridge exceeds the level anticipated when the bridge was constructed and/or the relevant design standards have been revised.”

Invasive Palm Weevil Spotted In Arizona

Jul 20, 2015
Pest and Diseases Image Library, Bugwood.org

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced the first confirmed sighting in Arizona of an insect pest that can damage and kill palms.

Amateur Astronomers Key To Mapping Kuiper Belt

Jul 18, 2015
Amanda Solliday-KAWC

As the New Horizons spacecraft moves beyond Pluto and scientists begin to sift through the data of the historic flyby on Tuesday, a group of citizen scientists is also taking a look at the solar system’s frontier. 

Coordinated by one of the New Horizons team members, amateur astronomers are focused on the Kuiper Belt, a band of frozen objects on the very outskirts of the solar system.

Wilting Disease Threatens Arizona's Lettuce Crop

Jul 17, 2015
Michael Matheron, University of Arizona

Growers in Arizona and around the world are concerned with the spread of a wilting disease present in soil that can damage lettuce.

In response, researchers and lettuce farmers are gathering in Yuma this fall to brainstorm ways to protect one of the region’s important crops.

Lettuce wilt looks as you might imagine — the fungus makes plants look dry and brown. The disease can kill the plant, too, if infected early — causing whole fields to be destroyed.

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