Environment

Ocean Energy

Scientists at UNC Coastal Studies Institute are testing new technologies that would harness the power of the ocean to create new sources of energy. Ongoing studies look at the energy potential and feasibility of generating energy from wind, waves, and currents.

New Fields For Food

Mary-Dell Chilton's DNA discoveries launched the field of genetically modifying plants to ward off pests, use less water, and improve yields. Supporters say it could help feed the world. Opponents say it's not safe, threatening the environment and people in ways that may not be known yet. By discovering the mechanism of DNA transfer, Chilton bestowed that power to humans.

The Library of Plants

Plants have developed new molecules to protect against diseases, sunburn, and other stresses, and humans can use those molecules in new medicines. However, those plants are in danger of being lost to development and changing climates. The NC Arboretum is racing to document and preserve those plants in a special repository before they are lost forever.

Rapid Water Test

The greatest danger for beachgoers may be millions of microbes also swimming in the water. While many are there naturally, stormwater runoff and sewage system failures can overwhelm coastal waters. One percent of NC's beaches were closed for short times in 2012 because of microbial contaminants. A marine biologist has now developed a rapid water test to keep the public safe.

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