On July 16, 2012, one of several signs posted along Lake Mendota near the Memorial Union Terrace at the University of Wisconsin-Madison warn against swimming during the presence of toxic blue-green algae in the water. Known as cyanobacteria, the algae are photosynthetic bacteria that live in colonies, typically in lakes with excess fertility. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)
On June 7, the summer’s first blue-green algae bloom turned much of Lake Mendota a thick, putrid green color. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Center for Limnology concluded that several factors — including run-off from local farms, multiple days with hot temperatures, and low winds — created near-perfect conditions […]

Zebra mussels in Lake Mendota: the new kid in town


(Video below) One night, Pete Pokrandt, was out walking his dog when he witnessed a meteor streaking through the sky over west Madison. It broke through the atmosphere in a stunning flash of light. When he returned home, he realized there was probably video footage of the event – and […]

Speeding up the sky: Dramatic timelapse video shows weather in ...


As the executive officer of an ice breaking vessel on the Great Lakes for two years, Collin Tuttle learned that he really loved ice. His ship, a 140-foot U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker, kept federal waterways open for shipping and transportation throughout the winter months by keeping routes clear of ice. […]

Melting Arctic sea ice is opening up trade routes



UPDATE: May 24, 2018 Since May 17, when this blog story was posted, the fissures that opened up in the Kilauea volcano’s Eastern Rift Zone have begun spewing rivers – yes, rivers of lava – out of the ground and towards the Pacific Ocean. According to the United States Geological […]

What’s next for the Kilauea volcano?


It’s finally spring – rain is falling, flowers are blooming, and trees are budding. At least, that’s what’s on the mind of someone without seasonal allergies. On the other hand, those with allergies know that the buds and blossoms actually signal the forthcoming itching, sneezing, coughing, runny noses and puffiness […]

April showers bring may flowers (and allergies)


A vacuum tube holds a blood-fed strain of Aedes aegypti mosquito in place under a microscope.
Between 2004 and 2016, the number of people who acquired diseases from mosquitoes, ticks and flea bites tripled in the United States. These include Lyme disease, West Nile and dengue fever. Nine new diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks, including Zika virus, were discovered or appeared here during that time. These statistics were […]

Combating ticks and mosquitoes in the Midwest



A rare bird species, the Kirtland’s warbler, has experienced variability in its population in recent decades. But now, the small yellow-breasted songbirds are branching out into new terrain, with historic success. Sitting comfortably at about 4,000 individuals, the Kirtland’s warblers have started leaving the now-saturated real estate in their native […]

Research on the rebound: Kirtland’s Warblers expanding in central Wisconsin


Memes are hot right now — but where do they come from? Internet memes started with, well, the internet. But memes are a part of evolutionary biology history.

On the Origin of Memes


The following story comes from Adityarup “Rup” Chakravorty, science writer at the UW–Madison Waisman Center: There’s a saying in the autism community: If you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism. That’s because “as the name implies, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exists on a […]

Moving forward in the search for genetic clues to understand ...