Stephen Morreale contributes to Research to save Sea Turtles

Stephen Morreale, a Cornell senior research associate and member of the Department of Natural Resources, recently co-authored a study tracking Leatherback turtles throughout the Pacific Ocean. These turtles frequently fall victim to the the fishing hooks used in the Pacific. The information about turtles’ movements obtained from this work can be used to help minimize conflict between turtles and the fishing industry. Researchers hope that by identifying the areas in which turtles are active, fishing can be prevented in those regions.

More information on this topic can be read here!

Project in China Helps to Restore Arid Soils

In Ningxia, China, the average annual rainfall in only about 6 inches. Associate professor Rebecca Schneider, along with professor James Lassoie, senior research associates Stephen Morreale and Ruth Sherman, and Crop and Soil Science professor Harold van Es, have made several trips to Ningxia in the past two years to help improve the dry, sandy soils in China. They have developed a method to sequester water and add components into the upper soil layer to maximize the use of limited rainfall to contribute to soil fertility and carbon sequestration.

A research plot in China

Last August, the researchers prepared a test field using compost materials from the white poplar tree (Populous alba). They will now look at alternative soil types to improve plant growth. In addition to the research effort, the project has been expanded into an extension site for policymakers and the public. Eventually, it will be brought into a Chinese “harmonious village,” where residents relocated from rural areas can learn how to apply the soil enhancement technique in their own gardens.

This project is located at the Ningxia Forestry Institute’s State Key Laboratory of Seedling Bioengineering, working with Li Changxiao, a professor at the Southwest University in Chongqing, China, and a former Humphrey fellow at Cornell, in a three-year collaborative project between the Chinese government and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Rebecca Schneider

As part of a two-year INTEL science internship program, Steven Kalayam worked with Schneider to develop his own small-scale project testing the efficiency of organic matter amendments in reducing water run-off. Kalayam used a native species of aspen similar to the poplar grown in Ningxia so his results are relevant to the evidence Schneider is collecting to present to the local people.

Check out these articles to read more about the project:

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/March13/AridChina.html

http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/blogs/news/posts/compost-helps-restore-soil-in-arid-region-of-china

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/2013-04/09/content_16386342.htm

Leatherback Turtle Migration Study Identifies Pacific Danger Zones for Endangered Species

DNR Professor Stephen Morreale has joined together with several scientists and specialists across the country to study the Leatherback turtle migration in the Pacific Ocean. These long-lived creatures can migrate across entire ocean basins and are vulnerable to being caught on shorelines by fishing gear. According to the Science Daily article on the study, the turtles were tracked by combining “oceanographic satellite data provided by NOAA, NASA, and a number of international partner space agencies” to cover the long distances the endangered species travels. The goal of this project is to see where the Leatherback turtles are most at risk for being caught.

Read the full article here.