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Conservation

Building a better bat box: Temperature variation in rocket box designs

URBANA, Ill. – Bat box designs vary widely, but many commercial varieties remain untested and risk cooking the animals they’re designed to shelter. Often small and painted dark colors, these boxes may rise to dangerous temperatures on sunny days in summer, putting mom and pup in harm’s way.

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Endangered deer's prion gene could protect it from chronic wasting disease

URBANA, Ill. – China’s Père David’s deer was nearly gone in the late 1800s. Just 18 deer – the very last of their kind – were brought into captivity after the rest had been hunted to extinction. When 11 of the deer reproduced, the species had a chance. Today, after centuries of reintroductions and breeding under human care, the population sits at around 3,000.

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Brawn honored as inaugural Levenick Chair in Sustainability

URBANA, Ill. – In January 2020, professor Jeffrey Brawn was named the inaugural Stuart L. and Nancy J. Levenick Chair in Sustainability, the first endowed chair in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) at the University of Illinois. A pandemic-belated ceremony happened yesterday on the Urbana campus.

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Sending up the bat signal on forest use by endangered species

URBANA, Ill. – Deep in an Indiana forest, a team of scientists skulked atop hillsides after dark. Carrying radios and antennas, they fanned out, positioning themselves on opposite ridges to wait and listen. Their quarry? Endangered Indiana bats and threatened northern long-eared bats.

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Grant funds study of free-living nitrogen fixers in organic systems

URBANA, Ill. – Organic farmers often struggle to meet the nitrogen demands of corn and other crops. Unlike conventional farmers, with their easy access to inexpensive inorganic nitrogen fertilizers, fewer commercial options are available for organic growers.

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Study reconstructs 232-year history of prairie fire in Midwestern US

URBANA, Ill. -- Researchers combed through thousands of historical documents for first-person accounts of fires occurring between 1673 and 1905 in the Midwestern tallgrass prairie. Their study is the first systematic analysis of the timing, causes and consequences of prairie fires in this part of the world. They report their findings in Natural Areas Journal.

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Anglers need tailored messaging to inspire action on invasive species

URBANA, Ill. – Once aquatic invasive species establish, they typically refuse to budge. That’s why it’s critical to prevent invasive quagga mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, and other bad actors from getting established in the first place.

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Team discovers invasive-native crayfish hybrids in Missouri

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — In a study of crayfish in the Current River in southeastern Missouri, researchers discovered – almost by chance – that the virile crayfish, Faxonius virilis, was interbreeding with a native crayfish, potentially altering the native’s genetics, life history and ecology. Reported in the journal Aquatic Invasions, the study highlights the difficulty of detecting some of the consequences of biological invasions, the researchers say.

Read more from the Illinois News Bureau.

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USDA funds ‘agrivoltaics’ project led by iSEE team

Urbana, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced funding for a new project led by iSEE Interim Director Madhu Khanna, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, to optimize design for “agrivoltaic” systems – fields with both crops and solar panels – that will maintain crop production, produce renewable energy, and increase farm profitability.

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Water service fees can help pay for ecosystem preservation in Mexico

URBANA, Ill – The world’s ecosystems quietly keep human beings alive, and we largely do not notice their impacts until they are gone. Take forests, for example, whose services are valued at $4.7 trillion each year. Trees capture and filter water running through the landscape, which maintains aquatic habitat and improves water supplies for drinking and recreation.

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