A look at the future through frogs
Research on dwindling amphibian numbers by SF State Assistant Professor of Biology Vance Vredenburg was featured in a story on CNN. His research examines the question of whether Earth is experiencing its sixth mass extinction and suggests that amphibians, as a case study for terrestrial life, provide a clear answer. A new infectious disease has put nearly 200 species of amphibians at risk of extinction. Vredenburg said the situation could serve as a warning to the Earth's future. "There could be compounding effects we don't even see right now," he said.
Telling undocumented stories
An Aug. 15 San Francisco Chronicle story featured "Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives," a new book by Associate Professor of Creative Writing Peter Orner. With the help of students from SF State, Orner collected stories from more than undocumented workers before whittling them down to 24 in the book. He said the subjects in the book were eager to share their stories. "We didn't have too many people who didn't want to talk," Orner said. "No one had asked before. They were excited to be part of the series, which aims to expose human rights issues. Still, we were careful to not speak for them."
Tracking bees with citizen scientists
The Great Sunflower Project, run by Associate Professor of Biology Gretchen LeBuhn was featured in the August issue of American Scientist. The project seeks help from "citizen scientists" across the country to plant sunflowers in order to monitor and map bee populations. So far, LeBuhn has nearly 30 to 35,000 participants nationwide who are beginning to return data. "People can take their cup of coffee out in the morning," she says, "and if they see five bees in five minutes, they're done. If they see none in 30 minutes, they're still done, and they have the most important data."
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