Friday, March 25, 2016

Episode 309 (3-28-16): A Pondside Temperature Tale


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:20)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-25-16.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 28, 2016.

SOUND - ~ 4 sec

This week, the sound of boiling water opens a special episode for Virginia’s K-12 science students on temperature, and on two fundamental ways that different animals respond to temperature.  To start, have a listen for about 10 seconds to sounds around a Virginia pond on the morning of March 22, 2016, when the temperature was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and see if you can tell what animals were active then.

SOUND – ~ 12 sec

That morning’s sounds included Mallard Ducks diving for food and Red-winged Blackbirds singing out nesting territories.  A day later at the pond, but in the afternoon when the temperature was about 70 degrees, there were again active ducks and other birds, along with lots of people enjoying the water scenes.  But also active that afternoon was another winged creature that had been absent the previous morning:

SOUND – ~ 5 sec

At a sunny 70 degrees, bees were busy visiting cherry tree blossoms, and a few other early spring insects were also moving.  How come the birds you heard were active at 40 degrees, but the bees weren’t?  Birds, as well as mammals, are called endotherms, meaning they can generate body heat and regulate it with insulation, behavior, and blood circulation.   Endotherms are also sometimes referred to as warm-blooded, but that term isn’t really accurate, because not all of their blood is always warm.  Endothermic animals keep their core body temperature within a relatively narrow range, depending on species and their natural habitat; that allows the animals’ cells and tissues to continue to carry out temperature-dependent biochemical reactions.  Other animals—including reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects generally, and many others—are called ectotherms (also sometimes referred to as cold-blooded, again not really accurately because their blood isn’t always cold).  Ectotherms also need a certain range of temperature to carry out biochemical reactions, but their core body temperature changes along with the temperature of their environment.

Within this basic distinction between endotherms and ectotherms, however, many variations and adaptations exist.  For example, the body temperature of some hibernating mammals can fall almost to the outside temperature; and some insects use heat generated by their wings to keep parts of their body warm.

We close with two more set of sounds, of frogs, birds, and insects.  See if you can identify the ectotherms and endotherms.  You’ll find the answers in the online show notes for this episode.

SOUNDS - ~ 13 sec
1) March 9, 2014, Wood Frog and Spring Peepers (both ectotherms).
2) August 9, 2015, American Crow (endotherm) and cicadas (ectotherm).


For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show.   In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

All sounds in this episode were recorded by Virginia Water Radio in Montgomery County, Va.

PHOTOS

 
Male (right) and female Mallard ducks at the Virginia Tech Duck Pond in Blacksburg on the morning of March 22, 2016 (temperature about 40 degrees F).
 

Ornamental cherry tree attracting bees at the Virginia Tech Duck Pond in Blacksurg, on the afternoon of March 23, 2016 (temperature about 70 degrees F).

SOURCES

Used in Audio

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and American Ornithologists’ Union, “Birds of North America/Red-winged Blackbird,” online at http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/184/articles/introduction.

Richard W. Hill et al., Animal Physiology, Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, Mass., 2004.

For More Information about Different Animal Groups in Virginia

AMPHIBIANS, REPTILES, and MAMMALS
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), “Virginia is for Frogs” Web site, online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/virginia-is-for-frogs/.

BIRDS
Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “All About Birds,” online at http://www.allaboutbirds.org; and “Birds of North America Online” Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and American Ornithologists’ Union, online at http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna (subscription required for the latter).

VDGIF, “Wildlife Information/Species Information” Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/ (amphibians, reptiles, and mammals).

FISH
Virginia Tech Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, “EFish—The Virtual Aquarium,” online at http://web1.cnre.vt.edu/efish/. Has sections for each fish family. At each family section, has species numbers, distribution, uses, photos, etc

Freshwater Fishes of Virginia, by Robert E. Jenkins and Noel M. Burkhead (Bethesda, Md.: American Fisheries Society), 1994.

“Virginia Fishes” [freshwater game species], Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/fish/.

“Virginia Saltwater Angler’s Guide/Fish Identification Guide,” Virginia Marine Resources Commission (2006), online at http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/vswft/Angler_Guide/; includes links to different PDFs on Virginia marine fish species, etc.

INSECTS
Iowa State University Department of Entomology, “BugGuide,” online at http://bugguide.net/node/view/15740.

Vincent H. Resh and Ring T. Cardé, eds., Encyclopedia of Insects, 2nd Ed., Elsevier Academic Press, Burlington, Mass., 2009.

Virginia Tech Insect ID Lab, online at https://www.insectid.ento.vt.edu/.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html). For episodes related to temperature and other physical characteristics, please see the “Science” category.

SOLS INFORMATION FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS
This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):

Grades K-6 Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change Theme
3.8 – basic patterns and cycles in nature.

Grades K-6 Life Processes Theme
3.4 - behavioral and physiological adaptations.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
4.5 - ecosystem interactions and human influences on ecosystem, including animal adaptations.

Life Science Course
LS.9 - adaptations for particular ecosystems’ biotic and abiotic factors, including characteristics of land, marine, and freshwater environments.

LS. 10 - changes over time in ecosystems, communities, and populations, and factors affecting those changes; particularly item a: phototropism, hibernation, and dormancy.

Biology Course
BIO.4 - life functions, including metabolism and homeostasis.

BIO.8 - dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems, particularly item a: interactions, including carrying capacity, limiting factors, and growth curves.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Episode 308 (3-21-16): Treating Spring Fever with Water, Featuring "Until the Summer Comes" by The Steel Wheels


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:00)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-18-16.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 21, 2016.

MUSIC – ~ 12 sec

This week, music from the Harrisonburg, Va.-based band, The Steel Wheels, captures some of the “fever” of spring, which begins astronomically in Virginia this week. Have a listen for about 40 more seconds.

Music – ~ 42 sec

You’ve been listening to part of “Until the Summer Comes,” from The Steel Wheels’ 2013 album, “No More Rain.” Water is part of spring’s feverish pull for this song’s narrator and for many non-humans, like Spring Peepers and American Toads [SOUND ~ 3 sec] seeking temporary ponds for breeding; Red-winged Blackbirds [SOUND ~ 1 sec] nesting in wetlands; and—to humans’ dismay—mosquitoes [SOUND ~ 1 sec] seeking all kinds of standing water for egg-laying.

As of March 18, 2016—just before Virginia’s spring equinox on March 20—water was relatively abundant in the Commonwealth, with no current signs of drought, according to the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, and stream flows over the previous 28 days at normal levels or above, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Let’s hope that water adequacy holds true well beyond when summer begins astronomically on June 20, for the sake of kids in creeks, frogs in ponds, birds in wetlands, water supplies in reservoirs, plants in the ground, and countless other aquatic connections—including water images in music.

Thanks to Freesound.org for the mosquito sound, and thanks to The Steel Wheels for permission to use this week’s music. Here’s to spring...

MUSIC – ~ 23 sec

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463. Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show. In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

“Until the Summer Comes,” by The Steel Wheels, is from the 2013 album “No More Rain,” used with permission. More information about The Steel Wheels is available online at http://www.thesteelwheels.com/.

The mosquito sound was recorded by user Zywx and made available for public use on Freesound.org, online at https://www.freesound.org/people/Zywx/sounds/188708/, under Creative Commons License 0 (public domain). For more information on Creative Commons licenses, please see http://creativecommons.org/. [Used previously in Episode 259, 3-30-15.]

IMAGES

Two early spring views of shimmering ponds in Blacksburg, Va.: upper photo - a temporary pool and and adjacent wetlands where several kinds of frogs breed and Red-winged Blackbirds are common, April 4, 2015; lower photo - part of Virginia Tech's Duck Pond, March 21, 2016.

Virginia drought indicator map as of 3/18/16, from the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, accessed online at
http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx, 3/18/16.

SOURCES USED IN AUDIO AND FOR MORE INFORMATION

Deborah Byrd, “Everything you need to know: Vernal equinox 2016,” EarthSky, 3/16/16, online at http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-vernal-or-spring-equinox.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “Meteorological Versus Astronomical Seasons,” online at https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/meteorological-versus-astronomical-seasons.

National Weather Service/Climate Prediction Center, “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook for March 17—June 30, 2016” (released March 17), online at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/sdo_summary.php.

U.S. Geological Survey, “Water Watch,” Virginia 28-day streamflow map, online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa28d&r=va&w=map on 3/18/16.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “U.S. Drought Monitor,” online at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/.

U.S. Naval Observatory, “Earth’s Seasons—Equinoxes and Solstices—2015-2025,” online (as PDF) at http://www.weather.gov/media/ind/seasons.pdf.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries/Virginia Fish and Wildlife Information Service, “Taxonomy Chapter for Red-winged Blackbird,” online at http://vafwis.org/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040346&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=16878.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Virginia is for Frogs” Web site, online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/virginia-is-for-frogs/.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Wildlife Information/Species Information/Amphibians,” online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/?t=1.

Va. Drought Monitoring Task Force, “Current Drought Conditions in Virginia,” online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx, accessed 3/18/16.

Virginia Water Resources Research Center, “Mosquitoes and Water,” Virginia Water Central, June 2009 (pages 6-15), online at http://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/49357.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).

Previous episodes on spring or on the organisms mentioned in this episode include the following (listed from oldest to most recent):
Mosquitoes, Episode 78 (9-5-11);
Spring Peepers, Episode 105 (4-2-12);
Summertime Birds around Water (including Red-winged Blackbird), Episode 118 (7-9-12);
Frog Medley, Episode 148 (2-11-13);
Spring Serenade (of frogs, birds, and a mammal), Episode 206 (3-24-14);
Spring Signals for Fish and Those Who Would Catch Them, Episode 208 (4-7-14);
Red-winged Blackbird Research, Episode 259 (3-30-15).

SOLS INFORMATION FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS

This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):

Grades K-6 Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change Theme
2.7 – Weather and seasonal changes affecting plants and animals.
3.8 – Basic patterns and cycles in nature.

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems Theme
6.6 – organization and interactions of the solar system (including gravity, moon phases, earth tilt, tides, and history of space exploration).

Grades K-6 Life Processes Theme
2.4 - life cycles.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; and water monitoring.

Earth Science Course
ES.3 – characteristics of Earth and the solar system (including sun-Earth-moon relationships, tides, and history of space exploration).

Biology Course
BIO.8 - dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.



Friday, March 11, 2016

Episode 307 (3-14-16): Fix a Leak Week Aims to Stop Water Drips and Drops


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:42)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-11-16.

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO 


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 14, 2016.

SOUND – ~5 sec


This week, the sound of water going down the drain sets the stage for examining how lost drips and drops can waste the equivalent of a deluge. Have a listen for about 20 seconds to three mystery sounds, and see if you can guess what aquatic disappearing act is happening in all three.

SOUNDS - ~ 18 sec

If you guessed leaking water, you’re right! You heard a leaky and continuously re-filling toilet tank, a garden hose with a worn-out connection, and a dripping faucet. Those and other common leaks in U.S. households waste as much as one trillion gallons of water annually, the equivalent of the water used by 11 million households, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. It’s hard to imagine a trillion gallons! So imagine, instead, that your house has a faucet dripping 10 times a minute – that’s over 14,000 drips per day, equal to about one gallon. Multiply that by 365 days per year, and you’ve wasted about four days’ worth of an average U.S. resident’s water use. That kind of drain on water, the energy used to process water, and homeowners’ pocketbooks is the reason for the annual Fix a Leak Week, organized by the EPA’s WaterSense Program and running this year from March 14th to 20th. The effort encourages citizens to fix easily correctable household leaks, like worn toilet flappers, worn faucet washers, and dripping shower heads. Your local government or water utility may be participating this year in Fix a Leak Week—Charlottesville, for example, is having a “Fix a Leak 5K Run” on March 20. But all year long, many utilities offer information to help customers repair leaks and find other ways to conserve water.

We close with a little bit of music that’s just right for Fix a Leak Week, courtesy of three water scientists who formerly studied at Virginia Tech.

MUSIC - ~14 seconds

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463. Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show. In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This week’s music was taken from a November 22, 2013, video recording made by J.P. Gannon and Kris Brown, Virginia Tech graduate students at the time, and Paolo Benettin, a Virginia Tech visiting scholar at the time; used with permission. This music was featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 198, 1-27-14. The lyrics were written by Dr. Gannon and Dr. Benettin. The music is an adaptation of “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?),” a 2013 single track and video by the Norwegian duo Ylvis; more information about Ylvis is available online at http://ylvis.com/.

IMAGE

Fix a Leak Week poster from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense Program, accessed online at http://www3.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/fix_a_leak.html, 3/11/16.

EXTRA FACTS HOW WATER USE AND CONSERVATION

Following is the U.S. EPA/WaterSense Web site’s “The Facts on Leaks,” accessed online at https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/pubs/fixleak.html, 3/11/16.

●The average household's leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry.
●Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons annually nationwide. That's equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes.
●Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
●Common types of leaks found in the home include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves. All are easily correctable.
●Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills.
●Keep your home leak-free by repairing dripping faucets, toilet flappers, and showerheads. In most cases, fixture replacement parts don't require a major investment.
●Most common leaks can be eliminated after retrofitting a household with new WaterSense labeled fixtures and other high-efficiency appliances.


Following is the Virginia Department of Health’s “Top Ten Water Wasters at Home and What You Can Do About Them,” accessed online at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/drinking-water/office-of-drinking-water/water-conservation-tips/, 3/2/17.
Check your home plumbing for leaks. A leaky faucet or toilet can waste thousands of gallons per year.
Install water-saving showerheads and faucet aerators, available at your hardware store, if you don’t already have them in place. A shower can use up to 7 gallons of water per minute. Don’t let the shower run too long while waiting for it to warm up or while soaping up.
Sweep, don’t wash, sidewalks and driveways. Instead of using a hose, use a broom or leaf blower, and save 3-5 gallons of water per minute.
If you need to water your lawn, do it every other day in the early morning hours. This will minimize evaporation and increase water penetration.
When you have to replace a water-using appliance, be sure to install a water-efficient model.
Landscape with plants that require little water and mulch around ornamental plantings to conserve moisture.
Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. You probably only need the water in three short bursts – to rinse your toothbrush initially, to rinse it after use, and to rinse your mouth.
Flush only when needed. Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket.
Install a shut-off nozzle at the end of your hose. Use only the water needed for outdoor tasks, such as washing your car.
Only use dishwashers and washing machines when you have a full load. Water-saving models will allow you to adjust the washer’s water level.

SOURCES

Used in Audio


Arlington County, Va., Water and Utilities, “Resolve High Bills,” online at http://water.arlingtonva.us/customer-service/resolve-high-bills/.

Michael Freeze, “5 Steps on How to Fix a Leaky Faucet, Popular Mechanic, 3/24/15, online at http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to/a3095/5-steps-to-fix-a-leaky-faucet-15470175/.

Loudoun Water (Loudoun County, Va.), “Check for Leaks,” online at https://www.loudounwater.org/community/check-leaks.

Chris Mooney, The incredibly stupid way that Americans waste 1 trillion gallons of water each year, Washington Post, 3/17/15.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Fix a Leak Week,” online at http://www3.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/fix_a_leak.html.

U.S. EPA “Fix a Leak Week Events Map,” online at https://www.facebook.com/EPAWatersense/app/137541772984354/.

U.S. EPA, “WaterSense,” online at http://www3.epa.gov/watersense/.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), “Water Science School/Drip Caluclator,” online at http://water.usgs.gov/edu/activity-drip.html.

USGS, “Water Science School/Rainfall calculator,” online at http://water.usgs.gov/edu/activity-howmuchrain.html.

USGS, “Water Science School/Water Questions & Answers: How much water does the average person use at home per day?”online at http://water.usgs.gov/edu/qa-home-percapita.html.

For More Information Water Use and Conservation

Southwest Florida Water Management District, “Water Use Calculator,” online at http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/conservation/thepowerof10/.

UN-Water, “World Water Day 22 March 2016—Better Water, Better Jobs,” online at http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday.

U.S. EPA, “Calculate Your Water Savings,” online at http://www3.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/start_saving.html#tabs-3 – an online calculator to estimate how much water, energy, and money one could save by installing WaterSense-labeled products in a residence.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).

The following episodes focus on water supply or drinking water.
Water supply planning, Episode 261, 4/13/15.
Worldwide water needs, Episode 122, 8/6/12.

SOLS INFORMATION FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS

This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course
LS.11 - relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.6 – renewable vs. non-renewable resources (including energy resources).
ES.8 - influences by geologic processes and the activities of humans on freshwater resources, including identification of groundwater and major watershed systems in Virginia.

Biology Course
BIO.8 - dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2008 Social Studies SOLs:

Civics and Economics Course
CE.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.7 - types and significance of natural, human, and capital resources.
WG.10 - cooperation among political jurisdictions to solve problems and settle disputes.

Government Course
GOVT.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.