Climate change, wine industry, apples and more.....
- By Richard A. Watts
Species ability to adapt to a warming climate has significant implications for future ecological systems. A study led by researchers at Yale University examined grasshopper populations in Vermont and Connecticut finding that species in regions where temperature drastically varied throughout the year would more successfully acclimate to changing conditions.
Underscoring Vermont’s opioid addiction issues, an investigation conducted by the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found that opioid companies and their allies donated $75,425 to state candidates and political parties between 2006 and 2015. See the Washington Times article and the Burlington Free Press for more on the trail of Vermont’s campaign cash.
Vermonters are expected to vote overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton and Patrick Leahy in the upcoming presidential and Senate elections, a New York Times poll showed. Both candidates are said to have a 99% chance of winning.
A new exhibit, “Freaks, Radicals, and Hippies: Counterculture in 1970s Vermont,” opens at the Vermont Heritage Galleries in Barre this week. Based on the results of a two-year research project conducted by the Vermont Historical Society and curator Jackie Calder, the exhibit focuses on the waves of counter-culture immigrants into Vermont in the 1970s.
ENERGY & THE ENVIRONMENT
A recent UVM study debunked the long-held theory that the act of flushing pharmaceuticals significantly contributes to pharmaceutical pollution. Rubenstein professor Christine Vatovec and her students discovered that less than 1% of individuals surveyed reported flushing drugs in the past year. The water, despite traces of pharmaceuticals, is reportedly still safe to consume.
The Vermont start-up business Packetized Energy has proposed a new way of saving energy by converting water heaters into battery-like appliances that could utilize solar energy and turn off when sufficiently recharged. While the common water heater presently works by turning on and off at preprogrammed times, instead by absorbing available renewable energy throughout the day it could ultimately save power later during prime energy consumption time.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has asked hunters not to hunt the black bears included in their study regarding wind energy’s impact on bear activity. The report examines concerns that the implementation of the Deerfield Wind Energy Project could reduce the population of American beechnuts and therefore alter foraging patterns.
Vermont orchards are expecting smaller apples this fall due to the dry summer weather, particularly from farms without irrigation systems. The number of fruit harvested, however, is similar to that of last year; it’s estimated that 4,000 bushels will be picked over the next several weeks.
Research on Vermont’s burgeoning wine industry examines the issues in growing a hardier variety of grapes, less susceptible to the state’s cold winters. The winegrape cultivars, mostly derived from Minnesota and Cornell, also have a greater immunity to disease and are resistant to insects, according to the research by UVM’s Lorraine P. Berkett.
While there are studies suggesting that probiotic prophylaxis is successful in preventing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in preterm infants, researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have found otherwise. A survey and evidence based review of very low birth weight infants in the Vermont Oxford Network indicates that probiotic use is increasing, but there is no safety or efficacy in 90% of the probiotics used in U.S. NICUs.
Post-doctoral UVM research associate Laura Sonter has led a team in studying the value of nature in Vermont’s tourism by quantifying the geotags applied to protected public lands. Sonter estimates that visits to these areas contributed $1.8 billion to Vermont’s tourist economy between 2007 and 2014.
Examining past climate changes can often help scientists design global models that give insight into future climate patterns. In his 2016 thesis, Middlebury graduate Andrew Gorin examined the climate of Weybridge, Vermont and conducted a paleoclimate reconstruction of a speleothem from Weybridge Cave.
While Vermont has more cheesemakers per capita than any other state in the U.S., the success of these small-scale producers greatly relies on out-of-state markets. In a recent thesis, UVM graduate Rachel DiStefano examines the role of retailers in building social networks between producers and consumers in the Vermont artisan cheese industry.
In her new book I am Compassionate Creativity: 111 Stories from Preschool to Providence, Vermont native, Kali Quinn, tells personal stories--set both in and out of Vermont--of what happens when art and the human condition are combined. Quinn will be sharing her music and stories at Everyone’s Books in Brattleboro on September 30th at 6pm. See the Brattleboro Reformer’s book review for more information.
The first history of Vermont was written by the Rev. Sam Williams in 1794, a scholar and the founder of the Rutland Herald. Tyler Resch, Co-editor of the Walloomsack Review, reviews this book, examining its contribution to the early understanding of Vermont.
In her new book The Black Leather Satchel, Vermonter Paula Czech tells the powerful story of her childhood on Ben Davis Farm in Jericho, where she was abused by her stepfather and protected by the farm landlord, whom she dubs one of her “Angels.” The Black Leather Satchel highlights the pain of child abuse and Czech’s own healing journey.
The Vermont Research News is a bi-monthly curated collection of Vermont research -- focused on research in the Vermont "laboratory" -- research that provides original knowledge to the world and research that adds to understanding of the state's social, economic, cultural and physical environment.
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Funding provided by the Lintilhac Foundation, the Humanities Center and the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Vermont.