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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Ohio Ag Campus Digs Out From Tornado
24 September 2010 6:05 pm
More than a week after a tornado blew through the Wooster campus of Ohio State University, researchers were finally invited back today en masse to figure out the next steps for returning to work. On 16 September, 209-kilometer-per-hour winds tore through the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center late in the afternoon, damaging or destroying a dozen greenhouses, three buildings, and 800 trees in a research arboretum. Home for 75 faculty and about 80 graduate students doing agricultural, environmental sciences, and bioproducts research, the campus is still officially closed.
For plant molecular biologist Esther van der Knaap, a flattened greenhouse means a setback of many weeks, or perhaps even a year, for her lab's research on the genetics of fruit shape and development in tomatoes. Power losses caused growth chambers to deviate from their set temperature and humidity, so plants died. "I have a big National Science Foundation grant", she says, and no plants to collect data from. The community has offered greenhouse space, but because of specific environmental requirements for her tomatoes, she's not sure she can use it. Instead, she's hoping for the quick erection of temporary greenhouses. "We're going to start sowing our first seeds in the lab on Monday and just hope the greenhouses are ready" when they sprout, she says. She is one of many on campus scrambling to pick up the pieces.
Soybean pathologist Anne Dorrance was less worried about plants in the greenhouse than DNA and related materials in her department's freezers. The department had installed backup generators on the most critical freezers but was unable to turn those on at first because of a gas leak. Fortunately, the dairy on campus willingly provided ample supplies of dry ice, she says, so essential material was saved.
According to center Director Steven Slack, damages are still being assessed. But given that the back half of the agricultural engineering building was ripped off and a new greenhouse was destroyed, he expects repairs will cost millions of dollars. Already much cleanup has been done. Even though the campus is not yet safe for the public, "it looks 10,000 percent better than a week ago," says Larry Madden, a plant pathologist. And the news was good at today's town hall meeting. "We're pretty sure we'll have fairly routine business on Monday," he predicts.