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Latest Duke University Stories

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2011-05-10 13:05:00

A report released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday reveals that a controversial natural gas production technique, which is key to a century of U.S. domestic supply, is causing contamination of drinking water. Scientists from Duke University collected 68 drinking water samples that showed potentially harmful levels of methane in drinking water near drilling sites in Pennsylvania and New York. "In aquifers overlying the Marcellus and Utica shale formations...

2011-05-09 21:42:13

A study by Duke University researchers has found high levels of leaked methane in well water collected near shale-gas drilling and hydrofracking sites. The scientists collected and analyzed water samples from 68 private groundwater wells across five counties in northeastern Pennsylvania and New York. "At least some of the homeowners who claim that their wells were contaminated by shale-gas extraction appear to be right," says Robert B. Jackson, Nicholas Professor of Global Environmental...

2011-05-02 23:39:17

Lichen, those drab, fuzzy growths found on rocks and trees, aren't as cuddly and charismatic as kangaroos or intriguing as opossums, but they could be a fungal equivalent, at least evolutionarily. A Duke research team has found that lichen that seem identical in all outward appearances and produce the same internal chemicals are in fact two different species, one living in North America and one in Australia. They're an example of "convergent evolution," in which two species evolve separately...

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2011-04-29 06:35:48

Scientists have observed a "super-aggregation" of more than 300 humpback whales gorging on the largest swarm of Antarctic krill seen in more than 20 years in bays along the Western Antarctic Peninsula. The sightings, made in waters still largely ice-free deep into austral autumn, suggest the previously little-studied bays are important late-season foraging grounds for the endangered whales. But they also highlight how rapid climate change is affecting the region. The Duke University-led team...

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2011-04-28 07:35:00

Researchers have found a new clue as to why bariatric surgery is more effective for controlling glucose levels in diabetics than dietary remedies alone, helping to explain why diabetes often disappears after the surgery, even before much weight is lost. Researchers from Duke University Medical Center and St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University, say that facts collected from previous studies provide even more evidence that branched-chain amino acids are biomarkers that...

2011-04-20 12:53:37

Deforestation in parts of the Peruvian Amazon has increased six-fold in recent years as small-scale miners, driven by record gold prices, blast and clear more of the lowland rainforest, according to a new Duke University-led study. The study, published today in the online journal PLoS ONE, combined NASA satellite imagery spanning six years with economic analyses of gold prices and mercury imports to document the forces responsible for deforestation in Peru's biologically diverse Madre de Dios...

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2011-04-20 09:48:16

Earth has 657 more barrier islands than previously thought, according to a new global survey by researchers from Duke University and Meredith College. The researchers identified a total of 2,149 barrier islands worldwide using satellite images, topographical maps and navigational charts. The new total is significantly higher than the 1,492 islands identified in a 2001 survey conducted without the aid of publicly available satellite imagery. All told, the 2,149 barrier islands measure 20,783...

2011-04-19 09:00:00

DURHAM, N.C., April 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Lend Lease, through its legacy Bovis Lend Lease business, has been awarded Duke University's West Campus Steam Plant Renewal and Conversion project. The original West Campus Steam Plant was constructed in 1929, and has undergone various modifications. This project consists of removal of three existing coal-fired boilers and replacing with new boilers that will allow Duke to burn either natural gas or oil, along with controls, electrical and...

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2011-04-15 07:41:45

Using eyes made of a calcium carbonate crystal, a simple mollusk may have evolved enough vision to spot potential predators, scientists say. The three-inch-long mollusks, called chitons, have hundreds of eye-like structures with lenses made of aragonite, a type of rock. It's the first time scientists have found an animal that makes eye lenses from aragonite and not the rock's close cousin, calcite. "It's surprising how these creatures make their eyes from rocks," said Duke biologist...

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2011-04-04 23:07:47

The number of endangered leatherback sea turtle nests at 68 beaches in Florida has increased by 10.2 percent a year since 1979, according to a new Duke University-led study published in the current issue of the journal Ecological Applications.Some beaches posted annual increases of more than 16 percent, others as low as 3.1 percent.The population boom of turtle nests in the Sunshine State mirrors trends observed for other Atlantic leatherback sea turtle populations and is "very encouraging...