Right on pitch: How sparrows learn to sing

9, 2007

Just like human children, young songbirds need to hear other birds to develop normal vocalizations. Unlike most sparrows, the diminutive grasshopper sparrow uses two different songs, which it memorizes in different ways. Researchers at Ohio State University’s Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics are working to find out how.

People and animals beat the heat at State Fair

A horse cools off at bath time at the Ohio State Fair.
August 6, 2007

With the heat index pushing 100 degrees in Columbus, the allure of state fair can also be a risky one. Today alone, the fair’s first aid staff has tended to 18 heat-related incidents. Fair participants and visitors are taking extra precautions to keep themselves and their animals safe.

Endangered snake recovers on Lake Erie islands

Kristin Stanford coordinates research on the endangered Lake Erie water snakes. She places a captured snake into a pillow case held by research assistant Max Castorani. They will record information about the snake before releasing it.
August 3, 2007

An endangered snake is reclaiming a place on the shores of the Lake Erie islands. A long term study based at Ohio State University’s Stone Lab on Lake Erie monitors the snake’s numbers and habits, as well as its popularity among the islanders. The researchers’ efforts have brought the snake back from the brink of extinction in less than a decade.

Alien fish bully Lake Erie bass

Round gobies, introduced to Lake Erie in 1993, compete with young smallmouth bass.
August 2, 2007

With millions of tons of cargo moving among the Great Lakes each season, it’s easy for certain small passengers to go unnoticed. One of those was the round goby, a small bug-eyed fish from Eurasia that now swarms the shallow waters of Lake Erie. An ongoing study, based at Ohio State University’s Stone Lab on Gibraltar Island, documents how the gobies jockey for a position in the lake’s changing ecosystem.

Nanotechnology business comes to Columbus

31, 2007

A leading nanotechnology production company is moving to a new facility in Columbus, bringing with it high paying jobs. Texas-based Zyvex Performance Materials, or ZPM, will occupy a former mattress factory on the west side of the Ohio State campus.

Foiled by fractions: Children make more accurate comparisons than adults

30, 2007

Learning fractions in elementary school can be pretty traumatic but for all the gnashing of teeth, it turns out children are intuitively better than adults at comparing fractions. This ability comes from a youthful misperception of how numbers are spaced. In one context the misperception turns out to be helpful.

Ancient village escapes urban sprawl

25, 2007

What was prime real estate 800 years ago– still is today. The ancient remains of early agricultural villages are disappearing beneath Ohio’s strip malls and housing developments. But for one site, the backhoes are on hold. It’s become an outdoor classroom for young archaeologists, and their discoveries reveal new details of the region’s ancient cultures.

CSI Columbus: Students learn forensic science

High school students investigate a staged crime scene at forensics camp.
July 24, 2007

A group of high school students is learning all about crime scene investigation during summer forensics camp. Ballistics, fingerprints, cadaver dogs, crime scene photography, and DNA analysis are among the topics in their action-packed schedule. Forensic camp students investigated a staged crime scene at Ohio State University’s Waterman Farm on Lane Avenue.

Study measures cancer risk from cardiac CT scans

17, 2007

Doctors often order a cardiac CT scan to determine whether patients are at risk for heart attack. While early detection of arterial blockage can save lives, CT scans also expose patients to X-ray radiation. The radiation itself bears some risk of cancer. A new study by doctors at Ohio State University and Mount Sinai Medical Center found a way to measure that risk.