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Environment

Why are muskies the fish of 10,000 casts? Illinois study explains

URBANA, Ill. – For anglers, landing a muskellunge, or muskie, is a big deal. The “fish of 10,000 casts” is notoriously elusive, making the massive fish an even bigger prize when one finally strikes a lure.

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New paper offers best practices for LGBTQ+ field scientists and mentors

URBANA, Ill. – People from marginalized gender and sexual identities can have safer experiences participating in ecological field research when leaders incorporate better field safety protocols and advocate for systemic changes, according to a new paper authored by scientists from Earlham College, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and other institutions.

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NCSA supercomputers and ACES researchers fight climate change

A team of researchers at the Agroecosystem Sustainability Center (ASC) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been working to make it easier to calculate carbon credits for farmers.

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All in the planning: State policies working to fix Gulf nutrient pollution

URBANA, Ill. – Tackling nutrient pollution in the Gulf of Mexico is a big job, requiring coordination between dozens of states whose waters flow into the Mississippi. Although a 2011 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency memo set a framework for each state to reduce its nutrient load, it was up to the states to set their own policies in motion.

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Emerging technology allows solar panels and agriculture to coexist, legal hurdles remain

URBANA, Ill. – Renewable energy technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels are gaining traction, but are sometimes met with local resistance because they take up valuable space that could otherwise be used for agricultural production. Agrivoltaics provides a way of creating dual land usage, combining solar panels with crops or grazing animals in the same field. But this emerging technology faces regulatory headwind because the land will no longer be classified as agricultural.

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Study: Canada geese beat humans in longstanding territory battle

URBANA, Ill. – Canada geese collide with aircraft, intimidate unassuming joggers, and leave lawns and sidewalks spattered with prodigious piles of poop. They’re widely considered nuisance birds, and municipalities invest considerable time and money harassing geese to relocate the feisty flocks. But new University of Illinois research shows standard goose harassment efforts aren’t effective, especially in winter when birds should be most susceptible to scare tactics.

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Sweet corn sweltering in summer heat spells uncertainty for corn lovers

URBANA, Ill. – Few things say summer in America more than buttery corn on the cob, but as summer temperatures climb to unprecedented levels, the future of sweet corn may not be so sweet. New University of Illinois research shows sweet corn yields drop significantly with extreme heat during flowering, especially in rainfed fields in the Midwest.

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Gully erosion prediction tools can lead to better land management

URBANA, Ill. – ­Soil erosion is a significant problem for agricultural production, impacting soil quality and causing pollutants to enter waterways. Among all stages of soil erosion, gully erosion is the most severe phase, where large channels are carved through the field. Once gullies develop, they are challenging to manage through tiling; they require a more comprehensive approach along the impacted area. 

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CABBI team adds powerful new dimension to phenotyping next-gen bioenergy crop

Miscanthus is one of the most promising perennial crops for bioenergy production since it is able to produce high yields with a small environmental footprint. This versatile grass has great potential to perform even better, as much less effort has been put into improving it through breeding relative to established commodity crops such as maize or soybean.

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Illinois report says native fish overlooked as invaders in U.S. waters

URBANA, Ill. – Rivers split across mountaintops and other geographic barriers may flow only a few miles from one another, but to the aquatic creatures in those waters, the separation could represent millions of years of evolutionary time. So, when an angler or a curious child moves a fish from one side of the mountain or one side of the country to the other, it’s a very big deal to the fish. Some may discover a competitive advantage in a new stream, potentially disrupting eons-old ecological hierarchies.

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