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News from the Media

Caterpillars of winter moths threaten region’s trees, says UMass entomologist
May 27, 2015

It’s the annual attack of the tiny, very hungry winter moth caterpillars. Over the past few days, the green inchworm caterpillars have begun ballooning down out of trees by the thousands, dangling on a wisp of thread and leaving behind a tattered, frayed canopy of leaves.

“There’s a tattering of the leaves. A lot of this comes from the caterpillars feeding on the buds before they open,” said Joseph Elkinton, a professor of entomology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who has for a decade been releasing a parasitic fly that has begun to have success in controlling the population of hungry caterpillars. (5/27/15 Globe)

UMass Amherst Food Scientist Wins International Award for Rapid Pathogen Detection in Food
May 27, 2015

AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Amherst food science researcher Sam Nugen is one of two winners of the 2015 Future Leaders Award from the International Life Sciences Institute’s (ILSI) North America division, for developing methods of engineering viruses to rapidly detect and separate microbial contaminants from food. (5/27/15 UMass Press Release)

Editorial: Buzz Surrounding Pollinators in Peril: UMass Researchers Referenced
May 26, 2015

There’s a growing threat across the agricultural spectrum that has the area’s farmers, orchardists, beekeepers, scientists and researchers at such places like the University of Massachusetts Amherst worried: The loss of pollinators, like the honey bee. (5/23/15 Recorder, Hampshire Gazette 5/23/15)

Complex roles of dietary fats and oils in health and innovation explored by Eric Decker, UMass, Professor
May 20, 2015

Are dietary fats and oils really good for us after all? And if so, what types and how much should we consume to achieve a health benefit? How realistic is the dietary advice about fats and oils? These questions and more are discussed in a scientific supplement published in the peer-reviewed journal, Advances in Nutrition. (5/18/15 Medical News Today)

Lone star tick the new pest in town, UMass microbiologist discovers
May 18, 2015

BARNSTABLE — Imagine a tick that travels three times as fast as the black-legged deer tick, has excellent vision and hatches in stinging swarms that can put fire ants to shame. The arthropod in question is the lone star tick, which scientists say has meandered northward and established a foothold at Sandy Neck Beach Park in Barnstable and Cuttyhunk in the Elizabeth Islands chain.

“It’s pretty clear that the lone star ticks are established (at Sandy Neck) now,” said Stephen Rich, a microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who is finishing a year’s sabbatical on the Cape. (5/8/15 Cape Cod Times)

Massachusetts students join the fight to save the planet
May 18, 2015

BELCHERTOWN – A cloudless sky, light breeze and the distinctive “teacher, teacher, teacher” song of the ovenbird welcomed some 260 students from 31 high schools across the state to Quabbin Reservoir last Friday morning for the 2015 Massachusetts Envirothon.
The picture perfect day for the environmental competition in no way diminished the fervor with which teams from Springfield to Sandwich tackled this year’s current issue: climate change, its impact on local cities and towns, and measures to counter it.
In opening remarks, Will Snyder, UMass Extension and chairman of the Mass. Envirothon Steering Committee, cited climate change as the greatest environmental challenge ever to face humanity, and one where results are measured a step at a time rather than an overall solution. 5/18/15 Worcester Telegram)

Massachusetts Envirothon Takes on Issue of Climate Change
May 13, 2015

Some 250 high school students from across the state will gather at the Quabbin Reservoir Thursday, May 14, to participate in a unique competition that will test their environmental knowledge, field work, problem-solving abilities and communication skills, as they take part in the 28th annual Massachusetts Envirothon. (Hampshire Gazette 5/13/15)

Massachusetts Dedicates No Money to Lyme Disease Prevention, UMass Laboratory Director Comments
May 13, 2015

The predawn rumble of pesticide-spraying trucks is a rite of spring in almost 200 Massachusetts communities. Some $11 million is spent in the state each year controlling and counting the pests and educating residents about how to avoid contracting mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus.

Yet no state funds are dedicated to tick-borne diseases, one of which, Lyme, infects at least 5,500 residents a year in Massachusetts and likely many more. (NECN 5/11/15)
 

UMass Amherst study shows ‘hydropeaking’ can reduce downstream river flows
March 31, 2015

AMHERST, Mass. – In the first-of-its-kind study of the environmental effects of hydropeaking, that is releasing water at hydropower dams to meet peak daily electricity demand, two University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers say their unexpected findings suggest that about 10 percent of released water may be permanently lost, making that water unavailable to downstream users and wildlife. Hydrogeologist Brian Yellen says, “The most interesting thing we found is something we weren’t looking for. That is, in this 13-mile stretch of the river, about 10 percent of water released from the dam every day gets pushed into the aquifer and is lost permanently.” (3/31/15 UMass Press Release)

UMass Amherst students win ice cream flavor contest with 'Cherry Bomb'
April 30, 2015

Forget the No. 2 pencil, UMass students took this final exam with a spoon -- mouthful after mouthful of delicious ice cream. Welcome to the University of Massachusetts Amherst's "scooperbowl", where teams of food sciences majors, mostly seniors set to graduate in a few weeks, submit the flavors they have developed all semester as part of assistant professor Sam Nugen's food science class to a panel of experts and to an assembled throng of hungry students. (April 30, 2015, MassLive)

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