Endangered species: Move them or lose them?

Contributed by Kat Kerlin

The rapid pace of projected climate change may force people to choose between witnessing extinctions and intentionally relocating threatened species in an effort to protect them, says a new UC Davis-led study published in the August, 2012 issue of the journal Bioscience.

Lead author Mark Schwartz, director of the UC Davis John Muir Institute, headed up the Managed Relocation Working Group, a group of more than 30 scientists, scholars and policymakers who studied the biological, legal and ethical issues surrounding species relocation.

Large Synoptic Survey Telescope passes another milestone

Artist's rendering of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope

Artist's rendering of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope

The National Science Foundation announced today that it will advance the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope or LSST to the design stage. According to a NSF news release, “This action permits the NSF Director to include funds for LSST construction in a future budget request.”

The effort to build the LSST is led by UC Davis physics professor J. Anthony (Tony) Tyson. The 8-meter telescope, to be located on a mountaintop in Chile, will sweep across the sky, completing a survey about twice a week. The vast amount of data it will generate will be used for investigations of dark matter and dark energy, as well as to keep an eye on fast-changing or moving objects like gamma-ray bursts or near-Earth asteroids.

Physicists comment on the Higgs boson

I recently talked to UC Davis physicists who have been involved in the search for the Higgs boson — from the beginnings of the Large Hadron Collider (UC Davis was one of the first U.S. universities to sign on) to what lies over the next horizon. Here are some of their thoughts, recorded on video.

Professor emeritus Richard Lander recalls how UC Davis got involved, back in 1982.

Via Skype from CERN near Geneva, Jack Gunion talks about the hallway buzz at the laboratory.

John Conway talks about what it means for physics, and what might (eventually) come out. Beam me up!

Yak genome shows high-altitude adaptations


Yak (Dennis Jarvis/Wikipedia)

The genome of the yak, a hairy bovine found on the high Tibetan plateau, has been sequenced by an international team led by Chinese scientists and including Harris Lewin, vice chancellor for research at UC Davis. The results were published July 2 in the journal Nature Genetics, and could help improve meat and milk production from the animals.

“The really cool discovery was that the same genes involved in adaptation of humans to high altitude were found to be under strong selection in the yak,” Lewin said.

Higgs boson news roundup

It’s been a big week for physicists since the discovery of the Higgs boson was announced by CERN July 4. We’ll have more on that in a post later this week, but here’s a roundup of some of the news coverage featuring UC Davis physicists.

Professor Jack Gunion, author of the original “Higgs Hunter’s Guide,” was interviewed live by the BBC and also appeared on KCBS radio, CBS-13 Sacramento and in the Los Angeles Times.

Gunion, Robin Erbacher and John Conway were all quoted in this story from the Sacramento Bee.