It All Starts with Science

This Week in EPA Science

By Kacey FitzpatrickResearch Recap graphic identifier

Happy December! Here’s a quick recap of the latest in EPA science.

The Freshwater Cycle in the Marshall Islands
EPA research hydrologist Dr. Bill Shuster recently traveled to the Marshall Islands as an Embassy Science Fellow. He supported the US embassy there on science and technology matters and shared his scientific expertise to improve the island’s freshwater resource management. Learn more about his experience in the blog The Freshwater Cycle in the Marshall Islands.

Aquatic Robotics: Underwater Glider Helps Monitor Great Lakes Water Quality
EPA’s autonomous Slocum glider, the Nokomis, recently returned from a 40-day deployment in which it traveled over 1000 kilometers across Lake Superior collecting water quality data. The glider provides high resolution observations that complement our other Great Lakes science initiatives. Read more about the Nokomis in the blog Aquatic Robotics: Underwater Glider Helps Monitor Great Lakes Water Quality.

EPA Brings a Low-Cost Air Sensor Network to Memphis
As part of the CitySpace Air Sensor Network project, EPA researchers installed and field test a city-wide-network of low-cost sensors to measure air pollution across the greater Memphis, Tennessee area. The goal of the project is to examine the value of using a low-cost air sensor network to estimate the distribution of local air quality conditions. Read more about the project in the blog EPA Brings a Low-Cost Air Sensor Network to Memphis.

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a writer on the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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The Freshwater Cycle in the Marshall Islands

By Christina Burchette

At just three to six feet above sea level and surrounded by the rising tides of the North Pacific, citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) are vulnerable to some of the most impending climate change impacts. They’re threatened by limited freshwater resources, persistent drought conditions, and the rising sea level. The need and desire to safeguard against these impacts is strong, but due to their very isolated location, there aren’t a lot of resources or expertise readily available to help the islanders adapt to their changing environment.

A team of people (an a dog!) pose for a photo

Dr. Bill Shuster (middle row, sitting) and the embassy staff. Photo credit: US Embassy – Majuro

Research hydrologist Dr. Bill Shuster went on detail as an Embassy Science Fellow to the US Embassy on Majuro, the most populous atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, to support the embassy on science and technology matters and share his scientific expertise to improve the island’s freshwater resource management.

The people of Majuro rely on a limited number of freshwater sources: a reservoir fed by runoff from the airport runways, freshwater lenses (freshwater that floats on a saltwater table), tanks that collect runoff from roofs, imported water, and volume from reverse-osmosis units that convert seawater to potable water. Since the islands are low-lying, the reservoirs, lenses, and runoff tanks can become polluted or structurally damaged by over-wash of saltwater during storms. In addition, extreme drought conditions mean that managing and monitoring freshwater gains and losses are all critical to improving the island’s water security and drought resilience.

To help the island take steps toward security and resilience, Dr. Shuster worked through the Embassy with local government agencies, students, and residents to identify gaps in water resources data and barriers to filling these gaps. He also led a team of students and RMI Environmental Protection Authority staff to measure and understand the role that the soils play in the local freshwater cycle.

a sandy beach

A sandy shore on the west side of the Majuro atoll.

What they found is that different areas of the island yielded different results about water quality. For instance, Dr. Shuster and colleagues showed how the freshwater lens located in the urban, east side of Majuro had little freshwater due to a lack of recharge, and any pumping would have drawn sea water in. On the other hand, the more productive freshwater lens on the rural, west side of the island, was situated under deep soils, allowing for freshwater recharge and making the lens a viable freshwater supply. Yet, the viability of this lens was threatened by over-pumping, saltwater intrusion, and pollution leaching in from agricultural development.

After gathering this sort of data, Dr. Shuster worked with staff at the Majuro and Sewer Company to identify gaps in an overall water balance model to plan for drought management and adaptation and develop strategies to manage and close data gaps.

While his trip to the islands was only seven weeks long, Dr. Shuster and his colleagues’ research efforts brought awareness to the island’s water resource issues and will help residents make data-based decisions that contribute to water security and a sustainable future on this remote atoll.

About the Author: Christina Burchette is an Oak Ridge Associated Universities contractor and writer for the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Aquatic Robotics: Underwater Glider Helps Monitor Great Lakes Water Quality

By Tom Hollenhorst and Paul McKinney

four people stand around the glider, preparing to launch it into the water.

Preparing to deploy the Nokomis

It’s always exciting to be on a boat heading out under the Duluth lift bridge towards the middle of Lake Superior, but last month’s trip was especially thrilling. Our mission was to rendezvous with EPA’s autonomous Slocum glider, the Nokomis.

The glider was returning to the Duluth area after a nearly 40-day deployment in which it travelled over 1000 kilometers across Lake Superior. Acquired in 2014, the glider complements the EPA’s Great Lakes science initiatives by providing high resolution observations of temperature and concentrations of chlorophyll-a, colored dissolved organic matter, and suspended matter. These are important measurements because they tell us about the relative health and productivity of the lake.  These types of data are especially useful if they are collected continuously over a period of time across an area of interest, like the data collected by gliders. And even more useful if the measurements are made in conjunction with other monitoring efforts and data (including remote sensing data).  In addition to continuously collecting data every half second, the gliders can also be out in the lake during storms and adverse conditions, when we wouldn’t want to put lives at risk.

Named after Joshua Slocum, the first person to single-handedly sail around the world, the glider propels itself by changing its buoyancy and adjusting the position of its forward battery pack. The buoyancy changes cause it to rise and fall, and its wings turn the vertical motion into forward motion. This method of propulsion is very battery efficient, allowing the glider to perform extraordinarily long missions. In fact, a Slocum Glider piloted by students at Rutgers University crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. That trip took 220 days. As a result of its unique saw-toothed path, our glider, Nokomis completed over 7000 vertical profiles as it made its way back towards Duluth this summer.

a small yellow craft glides along the water, in the foreground a large ship

The Nokomis (yellow) in action.

Throughout its mission, Nokomis regularly sent in snippets of the data it was collecting while receiving updated instructions via the satellite phone in its tail. The regular contact provided our team opportunities to pilot the glider towards areas of interest that we had observed in satellite images of the lake’s surface. By combining the remotely sensed data with the high resolution glider data, we expect to increase our understanding of exchange processes between nearshore and offshore areas of the lake. The work is a collaboration with EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office and is part of its collaborative science monitoring initiative.

 

To learn more about our glider work and the recent post-mission recovery, check out the Duluth News Tribune article Gliders provide in-depth scientific data on Lake Superior.

 

About the Authors:

Tom Hollenhorst is an Ecologist at EPA’s Mid-Continent Ecology Division.  He’s been studying the landscapes and watershed in and around the Great lakes for nearly two decades.  He’s especially interested in understanding watershed-nearshore-offshore connections and the transfer of energy and nutrients between them.

Paul McKinney is a National Research Council (NRC) postdoctoral research associate based at EPA’s Mid-Continent Ecology Division. His research is focused on understanding the processes linking nearshore and offshore areas of the Great Lakes.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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EPA Brings a Low-Cost Air Sensor Network to Memphis

By Michaela Burns

air sensors on top of building overlooking memphis

Sensors installed at the Memphis Area Transit Authority facilities.

Outdoor air quality can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood within the same city. All sorts of things can contribute to this variation, including traffic patterns, local industry, and even the way air moves between buildings.

Communities are increasingly interested in learning more about what pollutants are in the air.  Knowing about the air quality in your community can help you decide what actions to take to protect your health. That is where new air sensors come into play. They are low-cost, highly portable, and offer new ways to measure air quality in and around a community.

However, this new monitoring technology may not be as precise as more traditional technology used by state and federal governments for regulation. How can scientists use data from these sensors, even if they are not as accurate as traditional models?

To help answer this question, EPA is collaborating with the Shelby County Health Department and the Memphis Area Transit Authority to conduct the CitySpace Air Sensor Network project. EPA researchers will install and field test a city-wide-network of low-cost sensors to measure air pollution across the greater Memphis area, which includes counties in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

The goal of the CitySpace project is to examine the value of using a low-cost air sensor network to estimate the distribution of local air quality conditions and how emerging technologies perform in this type of research.

In October and November, researchers installed air sensor pods at locations in the greater Memphis area based on the input of local communities and other local stakeholders.  Sensors are located in neighborhoods, industrial areas, and rural settings. The sensors use emerging technologies that allow environmental data to be measured and instantaneously streamed to a secure EPA website.

All of these sensors will collect data on particulate matter (PM), a common air pollutant, and meteorological conditions such as temperature, humidity, and wind patterns.

Want to know one of the best parts of the study? A majority of the air sensors are 100 percent solar powered and self-sustainable.  They won’t require a lot inspection or maintenance, so scientists can focus on reviewing the data.

Hopefully, the work won’t stop in the Memphis metropolitan area. The success of this study could encourage other cities to use low-cost air sensor networks in evaluating local pollution.  Through air research efforts like this, EPA is helping to fulfill its mission to protect air quality.

Learn more about the City Space project:

Read the press release.

Read our factsheet on the CitySpace project.

About the Author: Michaela Burns is an Oak Ridge Associated Universities contractor and writer for the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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This Week in EPA Science: Thanksgiving Edition

research_recap_GI_thanksgiving-3By Kacey Fitzpatrick

Happy Thanksgiving! For this special edition of Research Recap, I asked a few of my colleagues what they’re thankful for in the field of environmental science.

Here’s what they said:

I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with the most influential environmental health institution in the world. – Thomas A. Burke, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Research and Development

 

I’m grateful for the incredible team of public servants I get to work with each day who ensure that we have the science needed to safeguard our planet and its people.  – Liz Blackburn, Chief of Staff

 

I am thankful to work with talented and motivated scientists who study air pollution measurement technologies (old and new) that help us understand our air quality. —Rachelle Duvall, Research Physical Scientist

 

I am thankful for the people pursuing, supporting, and communicating the science that will get us to a better future, particularly for our children.  – Rebecca Dodder, Physical Scientist

 

I am thankful for living in the environment where air and water are much cleaner than other parts of the world and for the opportunity to contribute my knowledge and efforts to protect our environment. – Quincy Teng, Chemist

 

This Thanksgiving I am thankful that I have the opportunity to improve health and the environment for my family, country, and planet. I am thankful that I interact daily with wonderful people who make me both think and laugh; people who challenge me and make me better. Finally, because I am a nerd, I am thankful for Markov Chain Monte Carlo, the Random Forest algorithm, and all the analytical chemists who make it possible for non-targeted mass spectrometry to literally change the way we see the world. —John Wambaugh, Physical Scientist

 

I am most thankful for life’s “Aha!” moments, “Ahhhh!” moments, and even the “Doh!” moments. They continually inspire me to keep seeking, learning, and being. —Linda Harwell, IT Specialist

 

I am thankful when I look up and see a beautiful, blue, smog-free summer sky.  It reminds me that our work makes a difference.  – Deborah Luecken, Chemical Engineer

 

I am thankful to have a fulfilling job where I am happy to come to the office every day to work with intelligent, energetic, and supportive people that are dedicated to EPA’s mission of protecting public health and the environment. —Maureen Gwinn, Toxicologist

 

I am thankful that I get to work with a great group of people at EPA, friends and colleagues who are diligent and work tirelessly in the interest of protecting public health and the environment. It is inspiring and a reminder of the great and impactful work that we do and one of the reasons why I joined the Agency. –Samantha Jones, Toxicologist

 

I am thankful for family, friends, and colleagues who make me smile and laugh every day. —Blake Schaeffer, Research Ecologist

 

I’m thankful our nation has an Environmental Protection Agency to help protect human health and the environment, and that I have the opportunity to work with smart, dedicated colleagues working on critical research to support the agency mission. —Marc Weber, Geographer

 

I’m thankful for my colleagues’ openness to learning more about the social and behavioral sciences. It’s been fun talking with natural scientists about how social and behavioral insights might contribute to or improve their work. – Elizabeth Corona, Social Scientist

 

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with young science graduates through EPA’s agreements with Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education and Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.   Their research support infuses energy, a range of talents, and transdisciplinary perspectives into our programs. –Laura Jackson, Biologist

 

I’m thankful for the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.  This act is a historic opportunity for the Agency to apply cutting edge scientific research to help folks make better informed chemical use decisions. And I’m ALWAYS thankful for my EPA career.  I’m proud to work here and I’m grateful for the chance to work with people who have dedicated themselves to protecting human health and the environment. —John Cowden, Biologist

 

I’m grateful that environmental science is able to make the world we live in a more sustainable place to live in and enjoy with those around us. I’m grateful that it shows us how we as individuals and communities may protect and restore our most cherished and valuable ecosystems. —Jason Berner, Landscape Architect

 

I’m thankful for my colleagues and their integrity and care for the environment. —Marisa Mazzotta, Natural Resource Economist

 

I’m thankful for the opportunity to inform the protection of ecosystems and all parts of society with colleagues who are passionate, inquiring, brilliant, and affable. —Ken Fritz, Ecologist

 

I am thankful to be part of an agency that puts the needs of future generations before that of our own as it endeavors to protect and preserve our increasingly fragile planet and its many amazing creatures. —Janice Dye, Research Biologist

 

I am thankful for my rolodex – contact list in Outlook.  I like to solve new problems and realize others can help.  A web of contacts can sometimes help me find a solution. —Steve Clark, Environmental Engineer

 

I am thankful for the opportunity to be part of the solution. EPA science is key to helping our communities and addressing our challenges. —Carole Braverman, Regional Science Liaison

 

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a writer on the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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This Week in EPA Science

By Kacey Fitzpatrickresearch_recap_GI_thanksgiving-3

Looking for a pie recipe that will amaze everyone next week at Thanksgiving? Well, you’ve come to the wrong place.

But now that I have you here, why not check out some EPA science? Here’s the latest.

Sustainable Materials Management: At Your Fingertips
This week EPA released the beta version of the Materials Management Wizard web application, or “M-Wiz” for short. M-Wiz helps users navigate EPA-sourced tools and resources designed to support sustainable materials management decisions. Learn more about the tool in the blog Sustainable Materials Management: At Your Fingertips.

Pathfinder Innovation Projects
The Pathfinder Innovation Project (PIP) program encourages EPA scientists to think “outside the box” to solve challenging problems and rewards them with the necessary time and resources to develop their visions into viable solutions. Read the blog Transforming Science and Technology with Pathfinder Innovation Projects to learn more about the program.

Here are two PIP projects we’re highlighting this week.

Harnessing Smart Web Technology for Sustainable Chemicals
EPA’s David E. Meyer and his team are developing an automated application to gather and manage necessary life cycle assessment data –how a product is produced, used, and handled at the end of its life—to quickly evaluate the environmental sustainability of chemicals. Learn more about this project in the blog Pathfinder Innovation Project – Harnessing Smart Web Technology for Sustainable Chemicals.

Using Zebrafish to Screen Air Pollution Sources for Health Impacts
Many studies have shown that particulate matter can affect heart health. These health effects are caused by chemicals within particulate matter, which vary depending on the air pollution source. EPA’s Aimen Farraj and his team are developing an approach using zebrafish to rapidly assess the cardiotoxicity potential of particulate matter from different sources. Learn more about this project in the blog Pathfinder Innovation Project—Using Zebrafish to Quickly Screen Air Pollution Sources for Potential Impact on Heart Health.

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a writer on the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Pathfinder Innovation Project—Using Zebrafish to Quickly Screen Air Pollution Sources for Potential Impact on Heart Health

By Aimen Farraj

Fine particulate matter (PM)—a tiny mass of solid and liquid matter floating in the air—comes from sources that emit air pollution including automobiles, power plants and forest fires, and is also formed by the interaction of other air pollutants.  PM is everywhere and exposure levels are largely determined by how close one is to an emitting air pollution source.

Many studies have shown that PM’s health effects stem largely from its impact on the heart, driving people to the hospital and making diseases like heart failure worse.  These health effects are caused by chemicals within particulate matter, which vary depending on the air pollution source.  No two air sheds are alike, resulting in endless numbers of unique PM samples with little information on their potential to affect health. Traditional methods for assessment are just too slow and impractical.

In 2013, our team applied for a Pathfinder Innovation Project (PIP) to develop an approach to rapidly assess the cardiotoxicity potential of PM from different sources. The PIP program is an internal competition for EPA scientists to receive time to explore their biggest ideas in environmental research. The goal of this work is to identify PM sources and PM components that cause cardiovascular effects on a larger scale to expedite risk determinations associated with exposure to different air sheds.

an illustration of a zebrafish

Two day-old wild type zebrafish used for heart rate determinations

To do this, we developed a zebrafish model to assess cardiotoxicity of PM from different sources.  Zebrafish are tropical freshwater fish that have uncanny similarities in cardiac function with humans and their small size makes them ideal for rapid testing.  The zebrafish model we developed is based on measurement of a simple health metric, i.e. heart rate, in hundreds of fish in a 96-well plate. Since the early days of the project, we have demonstrated that this model can be used to quickly assess cardiac impacts of PM exposure.

Now the team is working to refine all aspects of the model, including increased automation to permit rapid heart rate determinations and to expand the number of PM sources assessed.  If successful, this effort may accelerate the pace at which PM toxicity information is acquired, link health effects to specific air pollution sources, and inform strategies to target and reduce PM sources linked to highest potency components.

 

Pathfinder Innovation Project Team: Aimen Farraj, Stephanie Padilla, Alan Tennant, Rory Conolly, David DeMarini, Ian Gilmour, Mike Hays, Najwa Haykal-Coates, Wayne Cascio, Mehdi Hazari, and Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education student Kyle Martin

 

About the Author: Dr. Aimen K. Farraj is in his eleventh year as EPA’s Principal Investigator in the Environmental Public Health Division.  His research interests include the study of the adverse cardiovascular effects of air pollution and development of better predictive tools for risk assessment.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Sustainable Materials Management: At Your Fingertips

By Mike Nye, Ph.D.

Piles of colorful plastic compressed for recycling

MWiz is an interactive web application that connects communities to EPA Materials Management tools and resources.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Those three simple tenants capture a whole world of improving our environment. But, of course, there are a host of often complex, far-reaching decisions to be made in moving those three steps into practice. What are the best ways to handle each step?  Where can individuals, businesses, communities, and States turn to find the answers?

For decades, EPA researchers and their colleagues have explored those questions to find answers and develop best practices. Together, they have been so successful that it can be a daunting challenge to hone that information for any particular need.

That is, until now.

Today, I’m thrilled to announce the release of the beta version of EPA’s Materials Management Wizard web application (or “M-Wiz,” for short)—that puts that wealth of knowledge at your fingertips in a guided, easy-to-use format you can tailor to your specific needs and goals.

From an individual homeowner looking for tips on composting to site managers needing to handle tons of construction and demolition materials, users can use M-Wiz to find just the information they need to make plans and take action. M-Wiz taps a rich repository of EPA-sourced tools and resources designed to support sustainable materials management decisions by communities, stakeholders, educators, and others.

Anyone who has ever spent a few hours with some of the popular tax return software that is now widely available will recognize the easy-to-use, guided format of M-Wiz. By first checking off a few boxes and then responding to questions about the type of information you seek, you are quickly presented with key information and resources to handle materials recovery and advance sustainability.

EPA developed M-Wiz as part of the Agency’s goal to make visible differences in improving communities across the nation.

I invite you to explore M-Wiz for yourself to see how EPA can help you and your community to take “reduce, reuse, and recycle” to a whole new level, right from your computer.

Take a look at: www.epa.gov/sustainability/mwiz.

About the Author: Michael Nye, Ph.D., is a social scientist who studies natural risk, socio-demographic change and sustainable behavior.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Pathfinder Innovation Project – Harnessing Smart Web Technology for Sustainable Chemicals

By David E. Meyer, Ph.D.

graphic: a man and woman hold up beakers under the sentence"pathfinder innovation presents: meet the innovatorsHave you ever stopped to think how your smartphone can find a nearby place to eat or reroute you to avoid a traffic jam down the road? It’s because your phone is able to simultaneously locate and retrieve relevant linked open data streams based on what you’ve told it, understand what the data means based on how it is stored, and ultimately help you with your decision. If EPA and other federal data sources were stored in a similar way, a computer could better manage the large amounts of data needed to evaluate the sustainability of chemicals.

four profile pictures of the team members

Pictured: David E. Meyer (top left), Wesley Ingwersen (top right), Michael Gonzalez (bottom left) and Jane Bare (bottom right)

In 2014, our team (pictured left) applied for a Pathfinder Innovation Project (PIP) to study the use of smart web technology and data mining to improve the process of evaluating chemical sustainability. The PIP program encourages EPA scientists to think “outside the box” to solve challenging problems and rewards them with the necessary time and resources to develop their visions into viable solutions. The goal of this work is to develop an automated application to gather and manage necessary life cycle assessment (LCA) data –how a product is produced, used, and handled at the end of its life—to evaluate the environmental sustainability of chemicals.

To do this, we first identified EPA data sources and developed a method to apply the data for use in LCA. We described what the data means through the creation of an LCA ontology. An ontology is a vocabulary that describes data within a conceptual model and enables a computer to understand why and how the data are needed. The resulting method has been peer-reviewed and holds the potential to identify and generate LCA data much faster and cheaper than what has typically been done. The PIP program has supported this work every step of the way based on its importance in advancing the way EPA applies LCA research to other environmental challenges. Private companies that are required to report this kind of data will also benefit from this faster approach by reducing the time they spend processing data requests.

We are now finishing the development of a prototype that automates the discovery and use of EPA data for LCA. Continuing work will focus on expanding the data discovery tool into a full life cycle data modeling system that is capable of automatically gathering data from a variety of sources, harmonizing (or matching) the data to be consistent with existing chemical life cycle models, applying the data to evaluate chemical sustainability, and sharing the data with anyone who needs it in the future.

Read the blog Transforming Science and Technology with Pathfinder Innovation Projects to learn more about the program.

 

About the Author: David E. Meyer, Ph.D., is a chemical engineer in EPA’s Sustainable Technology Division and Life Cycle Assessment Center of Excellence. David and the LCA team generate data, methods, and tools to support the widespread use of LCA in EPA. The LCA team supports decision makers in various Program and Regional Offices to develop custom LCA approaches for implementing EPA’s policies for sustainability.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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This Week in EPA Science

By Kacey Fitzpatrick

baseball field recapStill tired from waiting 108 years, plus extra innings and a 17-minute rain delay, for a World Series championship? While you rest up here’s a quick recap of the latest in EPA research—it’s a hit!

Ecosystem Markets Added to EPA’s EnviroAtlas
Ecosystem markets provide an innovative way to safeguard the goods and services people get from ecosystems, and EPA is thrilled to announce that maps of such markets are the latest major addition to our EnviroAtlas web tool. Read more in the blog Mapping Ecosystem Markets in EnviroAtlas: Providing Innovative Data and Tools to Inform Decision-Making.

EPA Lab Celebrates 50 Years of Research
EPA’s Western Ecology Division in Corvallis, Oregon recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the building. To commemorate the anniversary, the division opened the cornerstone and unsealed the time capsule to reflect on 50 years of research. Read more about the celebration in the blog EPA’s Western Ecology Division Reflects on 50 Years of Research.

Healthy Environments: A Shared Goal for Healthy Communities
This week at the 2016 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting, EPA’s Dr. Tom Burke and APHA Executive Director Dr. Georges Benjamin signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) and APHA. Learn about the partnership in the blog Healthy Environments: A Shared Goal for Healthy Communities.

Pathfinder Innovation Project
The Pathfinder Innovation Project program is an internal competition for EPA scientists to receive time to explore their biggest ideas in environmental research. EPA’s Tamara Tal applied for the program to better understand whether the toxicity of environmental chemicals is modified by gut microbes. Learn about her team’s research project in the blog Pathfinder Innovation Project – Does the Microbiome Influence More than Just our Gut?

Scientists of the Corn
EPA is at the Oregon State University Vegetable Research Farm studying how nitrate moves from crops like corn into groundwater. The study will help explain how we can protect drinking water by planting crops between corn rows to keep the nitrogen in the field. Learn more about the study in the blog Scientists of the Corn.

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a writer on the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.