Science & Tech

Study shows chemical weathering causes CO2 consumption in glacier-fed freshwater systems.

19
August
2019

Glacier-fed rivers in Northern Canada may be consuming significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to new research by University of Alberta biologists. 

The researchers examined the Lake Hazen watershed in Quttinirpaaq National Park on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut to study the impact of melting glaciers on freshwater systems. 

“We observed that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the rivers were much lower than in the atmosphere, meaning that rivers are actively consuming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” explained Kyra St. Pierre, who conducted the study as a PhD student under the supervision of professor Vincent St. Louis.

RELATED: Why even a small change in Earth’s carbon dioxide makes a big difference

The researchers attribute the difference in CO2 levels to a process called chemical weath...

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22
August
2019
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

U of A researcher using AI to get a step ahead of wildfires

New tools could map out complex weather data to help firefighters predict where forest fires are likely to break out.

Weather and fuel—two leading wildfire culprits—are now in the crosshairs of a University of Alberta researcher hoping to use machine learning against them. By leveraging artificial intelligence
21
August
2019
| 17:00 America/Tegucigalpa

First-person memories stay sharper longer, research suggests

Our ability to edit our memories allows us to grow and change how we perceive ourselves and our experiences, says U of A psychology researcher.

The perspective through we which recall our memories—seeing them through our own eyes as a participant or seeing ourselves in them as a third-party observer—can affect the vividness and potency of
16
August
2019
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Seismic lines helped butterflies survive Fort McMurray wildfire, study shows

Cleared corridors used to locate oil reserves were mostly undamaged and provided refuge for plants and insects as surrounding forest burned, U of A researcher finds.

Even as Alberta’s fierce wildfire raged in and around Fort McMurray in 2016, plants and butterflies were surviving in narrow strips of forest that remained green and undamaged. Seismic lines, used
15
August
2019
| 18:30 America/Tegucigalpa

First global open-source database for spinal cord injury research will be a ‘game-changer,’ say experts

U of A research team receives $3.3 million to create data-sharing platform including results from both published and unpublished research.

Experts from the University of Alberta and two universities of California are teaming up to launch the world’s first open-source database for spinal cord injury research. The Open Data Commons for
13
August
2019
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Why plastic bags are so hard to get rid of

Easy to make and convenient to use, petroleum-based plastics have no obvious alternative—but that’s slowly changing, say researchers.

In June, Canada joined a growing list of countries frustrated with the inability of market forces to shrink our plastics dependency and announced a plan to ban single-use plastics as early as
12
August
2019
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Why even a small change in Earth’s carbon dioxide makes a big difference

“Just because it's a small percentage of the atmosphere, that in no way means it's unimportant,” explains U of A climatology researcher.

In July 2015, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthy was being grilled by lawmakers over President Obama’s Clean Power Plan requiring states to limit carbon emissions, when she was
09
August
2019
| 19:44 America/Tegucigalpa

Researchers creating AI-powered chatbot to help families living with neurodevelopmental disabilities

Smart program will scour the internet to connect families with good information and resources that can be hard to access.

A research team at the University of Alberta is using artificial intelligence to build a chatbot—a computer program that can simulate a human conversation through text or voice—to help families
08
August
2019
| 13:50 America/Tegucigalpa

Researchers aim to create AI companion for lonely seniors

U of A computing scientists are working toward a digital chatbot that can carry a conversation—and express emotion in its responses.

Computing scientists at the University of Alberta are taking the first steps toward chatbots that can express and respond to emotion during a conversation—including artificially intelligent
07
August
2019
| 19:29 America/Tegucigalpa

New research on garden-variety snake sheds light on how reptiles evolved

U of A undergraduate student leads research providing first-ever detailed look at development of garter snake skulls.

New research on a garden-variety snake in Alberta provides an unprecedented look at how their skulls develop—and may offer new clues into how reptiles evolved. “Prior to this research, no one had
07
August
2019
| 18:25 America/Tegucigalpa

Pine trees send chemical warning to each other when pine beetles attack

New U of A research first to show that lodgepole pines release chemicals to warn related trees of threat and help them boost defences.

Lodgepole pines attacked by mountain pine beetles release volatile chemical compounds to warn related trees of the incoming threat, according to a new University of Alberta study. The study,
07
August
2019
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Tiny snapping worms make one of the loudest noises in the ocean, study shows

Sea-dwelling worms with muscular mouths produce loud snaps to protect their homes, researchers find.

When marine biologist Richard Palmer saw a video of sea-dwelling worms snapping at each other and making one of the loudest sounds ever measured in aquatic animals, he couldn’t believe his