under the microscope

Sarah Kellogg / KBIA

  It’s a clear Wednesday night, and visitors on top of the University of Missouri’s Physics Building are playing the waiting game. A solar flare is about to appear in the night sky and everyone’s heads are craned upwards. Suddenly, a satellite moves across the sky, becoming brighter and causing spectators to cheer. Although there isn’t always a satellite passing by, visitors can take advantage of the Laws Observatory’s rooftop view and telescope every Wednesday night from 8 to 10 p.m.

Missouri Department of Conservation

Researchers from the University of Missouri are working with the Missouri Department of Conservation on a five-year study of white-tailed deer in the state. The study's goal is to find the survival differences of deer living in north east counties compared to south central counties.

The team of researchers are tracking the movements of deer using GPS collars in Nodaway, Gentry, Andrew, DeKalb, Wright, Texas, Douglas and Howell counties. Once the study is over, the Department of Conservation will use the data to reevaluate deer population management through strategies like hunting.

KBIA's Michaela Tucker spoke with Jon McRoberts, the project coordinator and wildlife researcher at the University of Missouri, about the progress of the study as it approaches the end of its first year.

Under the Microscope: Record-Breaking Spring Storms could be the New Normal

Jul 2, 2015
Abby Wendle / Harvest Public Media

 Driving down a two-lane highway in rural Missouri, Matt Plenge squinted at a patch of gray clouds hanging low over his farm fields in the distance.

“Does it look hazy up there?” he asked. “We only had a 20 percent chance today. We shouldn't get any rain.”

Plenge, like most farmers, always keeps one eye on the weather. But this spring, it’s been his primary and constant concern.


Emily Guerin / Inside Energy

Ethanol is one of the most important industries in the Midwest, and it’s an industry about to change. The U.S. EPA says that by June 1 it will propose new targets for the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, which dictates the amount of ethanol the oil industry has to blend into our gasoline.


Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

As the number of farms hit with avian flu grows over 100 nationwide, regulators are implementing containment plans meant to stop the virus’ spread, spare millions of at-risk birds and thousands of poultry farms.

Farms in many states, including Iowa, Missouri and Kansas, are struggling to contain an active outbreak.



Under the Microscope: Missouri Researchers Push for Beetle Rollout

May 7, 2015
Jacob Grace

Wearing latex gloves and digging through a sloppy patch of cow poop on his farm in central Missouri, farmer Ralph Voss spotted his target.

“Okay, here we go!” he said excitedly, plucking out a shiny insect the size of a sunflower seed – a dung beetle.

Despite their disgusting homes, dung beetles are worth searching for – it has been estimated that they save U.S. farmers hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Some researchers suggest that they could be worth even more, and are searching for new species meant to maximize that value.


Kristofor Husted / KBIA/Harvest Public Media

linked to the destruction of bee colonies may not be as effective against corn and soybean pests as many once thought, according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report.

University of Missouri Health Care

  When cleaning your house do you ever wish a robot was there to do it for you? Well, the University of Missouri health care system has that luxury. 

U.S. farmers are bringing in what’s expected to be a record-breaking harvest for both corn and soybeans. But all that productivity has a big financial downside: plunging prices that have many Midwest farmers hoping to merely break-even on this year’s crop.

Flickr / Natalie Maynor

The Farm Bill was passed in February. But now, piece by piece, it’s taking effect. We’re beginning to see how parts of the farm bill are doing more to help farmers go small.

Heather Cescent / Flickr

A federal district court upheld a California law Friday that requires all eggs sold in the state to come from hens housed in more spacious cages.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Voters in Colorado will decide whether or not they want the state to require labels on foods containing genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs. The 2014 ballot measure highlights a much larger national conversation about the safety and prevalence of genetically modified foods.

Big Stock Image

Jennifer Brdar’s dream job was to be a meat inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, watching out for unwary consumers and making sure the meat on their dinner tables was clean and disease-free.

Creative Commons / Flickr

  On this week's Under the Microscope, we take a look at Smart 911, an emergency service allowing 911 operators to obtain vital information for callers, and Missouri's plans to make old railways into trails. 

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Late summer in the Midwest is tomato season. And whether you’re shopping at the grocery store, a discount chain or your local farmer’s market, you’ll find the price varies for a plump, juicy tomato. 

tractor on farmland

Coming up we’ll take a look and how big data and agriculture are finding themselves intertwined with questions about privacy.

Carol Ward / University of Missouri

Our hand, the one we use to scroll down this page, is a feature that helps distinguishes us as a species. Carol Ward, professor at the MU Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, puts it this way:

“What we can do with our hands, the way we manipulate objects and use tools and technology, shape all of who we are as a species and how we adapt to the world.”

woodleywonderworks / Flickr

This week on the show, we explore gender differences in math achievement and performance.

Jill Utrup / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

This week on the show, we hear about salamanders, energy-saving techniques, and the strange, secret world of mushroom hunters.

Hosted by Kyle Deas.

This week, we look at a bill that could take some of the uncertainty out of end-of-life decisions. Plus, will funding woes doom agricultural research?

Hosted by Kyle Deas

This week, we look at a video-game accessory that could prevent injuries among the elderly. Plus, Columbia College is getting a new science building.

Hosted by Kyle Deas.

Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

This week, we hear from a Washington University virologist whose made it his mission to combat bio-terrorism. Plus: robots!

Hosted by Kyle Deas.