Health, Science, Environment

Bats - White-Nose Syndrome
12:16 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Bat disease confirmed in Missouri, likely to spread

A little brown bat showing symptoms of white-nose syndrome in Greeley Mine, Vermont (April, 2009).
(Marvin Moriarity/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Updated at 3:00 p.m. to clarify and expand description of white-nose syndrome.

A disease that has killed millions of bats across the eastern U.S. has been confirmed in Missouri for the first time.

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Weather - Insects
6:25 am
Mon April 2, 2012

Warm weather means more bugs, right? Maybe, maybe not.

Local experts say this year’s mild winter and early spring won’t necessarily mean more insect pests like ticks and mosquitoes. The lone star tick (pictured) is the most common of several disease-carrying ticks in Missouri.
(U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

This year’s mild winter and early spring has plants flowering and putting out leaves about three weeks sooner than usual. Ticks and mosquitoes have also been spotted early.

So with all this warm weather, we can expect a particularly bad bug season, right?

Missouri Department of Conservation natural history biologist Mike Arduser says not necessarily. “I hate to use the phrase “old wives’ tale,” but…”

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Severe Weather
5:20 pm
Sun April 1, 2012

New, ramped-up tornado warnings to start Monday

Joplin residents look through the remains of their house on May 24, 2011, two days after an EF-5 tornado devastated the city.
(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

As of Monday, the National Weather Service will be issuing a new kind of tornado warning in Missouri and Kansas.

The new, more forceful and explicit messages are designed to get attention and drive people to take shelter during dangerous storms.

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Record Heat
2:54 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

March was warmest on record in St. Louis - Illinois, too.

(via Flickr/Jack W. Reid)

March’s average temperature in St. Louis this year is almost 15 degrees above normal. If the forecast holds true tomorrow, St. Louis’s unusually high temperatures will make this the warmest March on record.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Mark Britt says the average temperature this month will be almost 61 degrees.

“The previous record of 1910 was only about 57.5 so that’s a considerable breaking of the record,” he said.  

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Conservation - Endangered Species
2:38 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

MOBOT scientists help rediscover two tree species thought to be extinct

The fruit and seeds of Erythrina schliebenii, a highly endangered East African coral tree.
(Frank Mbago/Missouri Botanical Garden)

Scientists at the Missouri Botanical Garden have confirmed the discovery of two tree species that were thought to be extinct.

Last year botanists from the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania set out to look for the trees. They discovered small populations of both species in a remote forest in southeastern Tanzania, along Africa’s eastern coast.

Missouri Botanical Garden botanist Roy Gereau worked with British scientist Phil Clarke to confirm the identity of the trees.

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The Salt
11:47 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Feds to decide on banning BPA from food and other products

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Environmental groups say a ban would protect consumers from the health effects of BPA that leaches from products including some soup cans.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 4:26 pm

UPDATE 4:23 p.m.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has denied a call to ban the plastic additive BPA from food packaging. The action comes after government scientists found little reason to think people are being harmed by the chemical.

The FDA was responding to a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council, which called for the ban on BPA, also known as bisphenol A, from any use where it comes in contact with food.

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Agriculture - Seed Patents
10:43 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Organic farmers file appeal in lawsuit against Monsanto

A field of soybeans grown with Monsanto's genetically-modified Roundup Ready seeds.
(via Monsanto)

A coalition of organic farmers and grower organizations has filed an appeal in its lawsuit challenging Monsanto seed patents.

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Cancer Prevention
6:25 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Preventing cancer: a conversation with Siteman Cancer Center's Graham Colditz

An x-ray image of a chest. Both sides of the lungs are visible with a growth on the left side of the lung, which could possibly be lung cancer.
(National Cancer Institute)

More than half of cancer cases in the United States could be prevented.

That’s according to a new article published this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine by researchers at the Siteman Cancer Center and Washington University.

St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra spoke with lead author Dr. Graham Colditz about what we know about cancer — and why more isn’t being done to prevent it.

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Saint Louis Zoo
12:30 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

2 lion cubs survive, 2 die at Saint Louis Zoo

Lion cubs Mtai and Serafina at two weeks old. The cubs are being hand-raised because their mother was unable to produce milk.
(photo by Rachael Macy/Saint Louis Zoo)

Two newborn lion cubs are being raised by staff at the Saint Louis Zoo more than a month after their birth, but two other cubs in the litter have died.

The African lion cubs were born Feb. 14 to the 6-year-old lioness Cabara. The zoo said Tuesday that two did not survive because Cabara couldn't produce enough milk to feed them. Zoo officials say it is not uncommon for lion mothers in the wild to rear fewer than 50 percent of the cubs born in a litter.

Conservation - Endangered Species
3:46 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Endangered beetle to return to Missouri

A female American burying beetle.
(Dan Kirk/Saint Louis Zoo)

An endangered beetle could be making its way back to Missouri, with some help from the Saint Louis Zoo and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

If all goes well, the zoo plans to reintroduce the American burying beetle to Wah’ kon-tah Prairie in southwestern Missouri in early June.

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