CHANCE Newswire Archives

6 February 2019
Antarctic glacier cavity
Dingoes Could Help Solve Australia’s Extinction Crisis — If Only People Would Let Them
The continent of Australia has the world’s highest extinction rate; dozens of animal species are critically endangered, and hundreds more are declining. A primary culprit is predation by historically non-native cats and foxes, and killing those animals is central to conservation efforts — but there’s another solution: allowing dingoes, the continent’s apex predator, to fulfill their ecological role.
Read Anthropocene artlicle »

1 February 2019
Antarctic glacier cavity
Gigantic Hole Two-thirds the Size of Manhattan Discovered in Antarctic Glacier
A massive cavity two-thirds the size of Manhattan has been discovered growing in an Antarctic glacier, signaling rapid ice decay that has shocked scientists.
Review CNNreport »

28 January 2019
polar bear approaching
As Polar Bear Attacks Increase in Warming Arctic, a Search for Solutions
With sea ice reduced, polar bears in the Artic are spending more time on land, leading to increased attacks on people. Concerned Inuit communities want to increase hunting quotas, but researchers are testing new technologies they hope will reduce these often deadly confrontations.
Read Yale Environment 360 article »

9 January 2019
comparison of arctic ice
Antarctic Ice Sheet Could Suffer a One-two Climate Punch
Scientists have long speculated that our planet's climate system is intimately linked to the Earth's celestial motions. The pacing of the most recent ice ages, for example, is attributable to changes in the shape of our planet's orbit around the sun as well as to cyclic changes in the...
Read SCIENMAG full story »

9 January 2019
large plastic sheet floating in the sea
How a Seaweed-Eating Microbe Could Help Fight Plastic Pollution
Around 8 million metric tons of plastic are estimated to enter the oceans every year. But the oceans could provide a solution to this plastic pollution problem. In a new study published in Bioresource Technology, scientists report that certain salt-loving microorganisms could eat seaweed and produce biodegradable plastics in a sustainable fashion.
Read Anthropocene article »

27 December 2018
A computer simulation of carbon dioxide movement in the atmosphere
Can Artificial Intelligence Help Build Better, Smarter Climate Models
Researchers have been frustrated by the variability of computer models in predicting the earth's climate future. Now, some scientists are trying to utilize the latest advances in artificial intelligence to focus in on clouds and other factors that may provide a clear view.
Read Yale Environment 360 article »

21 December 2018
Jellyfish are not an Ecological Dead End
Except when we’re marveling at their otherworldly beauty, jellyfish are either ignored or considered a symptom of ecological collapse. Yet they might play a valuable, unappreciated role in oceanic food webs.
Read Anthropocene More »

6 December 2018
chart showing global fossil fuel emissions from 1960 to the present
ESSD - Global Carbon Budget 2018
Accurate assessment of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO 2) emissions and their redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and terrestrial biosphere – the “global carbon budget” – is important to better understand the global carbon cycle, support the development of climate policies, and.....
Review Earth Systems Science Data and Global Climate Budget 2018 »

28 November 2018
red outdoor spigot
We Could Feed Billions More People if We Used Water More Sustainably
Investing in sustainable irrigation systems across the world's croplands could boost food production by one-third--whilst safeguarding the planet's water sources, too.
Read Anthropocene article »

24 November 2018
chart showing how the climate has changed
Impact of Climate Change is Growing, and the U.S. Must Act, Federal Report Warns
The 4th National Climate Assessment takes the temperature of climate change across the United States. The message? Adapt.
Read National Geographic story »
Read Fourth National Climate Assessment »

31 October 2018
Republican elephant and Democratic donkey shaking hands with images of solar cells and a wind turbine behind them.
Why Republicans and Democrats Can Meet in the Middle
for Green Energy

The key word is self-sufficiency. Voters on both sides of the aisle agree that rooftop solar panels and energy conservation are a financially wise move and a step towards being able to take care of yourself.
Read Anthropocene article »

13 September 2018

photo of caribou in Greenland

As Greenland Warms, Nature’s Seasonal Clock Is Thrown

For millennia, ecosystems in Greenland and throughout the Arctic have been regulated by seasonal changes that govern the greening of vegetation and the migration and reproduction of animals. But a rapidly warming climate and disappearing sea ice are upending that finely tuned balance.

Read Yale Environment 360 article »

20 July 2018
Deciduous trees with sunlight
Forests Respond to Atmospheric Pollution
How forests respond to elevated nitrogen levels from atmospheric pollution is not always the same. While a forest is filtering nitrogen as expected, a higher percentage than previously seen is leaving the system again as the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, say researchers.
Read Penn State Mainstream »

17 October 2018
mountain lion emerging from a tunnel
America's Cat is on the Comeback
Mountain lions were extirpated in the eastern and miswestern United States after Europeans settled those areas, but now they are returning. Where will they go?
Read American Scientist article »

10 October 2018
eagle attacking a drone in the air
Will Smart Machines Be Kind to Animals?
With a few decades, autonomous and semi-autonomous machines will be found throughout Earth’s environments, from homes and gardens to parks and farms and so-called working landscapes — everywhere, really, that humans are found, and perhaps even places we’re not. And while much attention is given to how those machines will interact with people, far less is paid to their impacts on animals.
Read Anthropocene article »

19 September 2018
camel in the Sahara desert
Wind and Solar Farms Could Turn the Sahara Green for the First Time in Over 4,500 Years
Covering even part of the Sahara’s nine million square kilometers with solar panels and wind turbines could produce more than enough power for the entire world. It would also bring rain to the Sahara and make parts of it green.
Read Anthropocene article »

10 July 2018
Footprint in cement
Ditching Cement to Reduce Concrete’s Carbon Footprint
The world is becoming increasingly urban. With buildings rising rapidly into city skies, concrete has become the planet’s most-used manmade material. Sadly, it has a carbon footprint to match. Producing cement, the main ingredient in concrete, creates 5 percent of global carbon emissions. But now engineers at Rice University have made a new material that could take the place of Portland cement in concrete.
Read Anthropocene article »

06 July 2018
Dolphin jumping at sunset
Do dolphins grieve? Rethinking conservation in the Anthropocene
Its’s a fluke of historical circumstance that modern ideas about nature and the environment took shape at a time when science mostly ignored the minds of animals. That blind spot is now being filled, as contemporary ethology and comparative cognition illuminate the inner lives of others — including whales and dolphins, some of the most beloved creatures around, who are often observed attending to dead companions with something that looks like bereavement.
Read Anthropocene article »

14 June 2018

Figure 1: Cumulative Antarctic Ice Sheet mass change.
Mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1992 - 2017
The Antarctic Ice Sheet is an important indicator of climate change and driver of sea-level rise. Reseachers combine satellite observations of its changing volume, flow and gravitational attraction with modelling of its surface mass balance to show that it lost 2,720 ± 1,390 billion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, which corresponds to an increase in mean sea level of 7.6 ± 3.9 millimetres (errors are one standard deviation).
Read Nature article »

14 June 2018

A small boat floats in Antarctica

Photo credit: A small boat floats in Neko Harbour, Antarctica ALEXANDRE MENEGHINI / REUTERS

After Decades of Ice Loss, Antarctica Is Now Hemorrhaging Mass

Climate change has not been kind to Antarctica. According to a comprehensive new study, global warming has already bled the frigid continent, which is larger than Europe, of about 2.7 billion tons of ice. This enormous amount of ice has already raised global sea levels by as much as a centimeter.

Read The Atlantic article »

30 May 2018

Small fish swimming in seagrass

Without seagrass We’d Lose One-fifth of Our Biggest Fisheries

Seagrass–the aquatic plant that forms lush, flowering, undersea meadows–underpins the survival of the 25 most-fished species on our planet, a new study finds. Writing in Conservation Letters, a team of researchers says that if these fragile ecosystems succumb to the multiple threats they face, it would lead to certain decline in fish stocks that could threaten global food security.

Read Anthropocene article »

14 August 2018

Bird footprints in the desert sand

Climate Change is Emptying the Desert of Birds

Wildfires north of the Arctic Circle, a “fire tornado” in California, and heat records busted across wide swaths of the globe: the extremes of 2018 have given rise to headlines proclaiming that climate change has arrived. But for birds living in the Mojave Desert of southern California and Nevada, climate change has already been here for decades, and has cut bird diversity at many local spots by nearly half.

Read Anthropocene article »

03 August 2018
CHANCE participants working with turtles
A CHANCE of a Lifetime
The recent CHANCE Australia field course is featured on the Penn State University website. Read this thoughtful article about our program, our founding director, and our commitment to sharing the importance of conservation biology.
Read Penn State article »

11 May 2018

Cell images from Science magazine article

A Bacterium that Degrades and Assimilates Poly(ethylene terephthalate) or PLASTIC

Bacteria isolated from outside a bottle-recycling facility can break down and metabolize plastic. The proliferation of plastics in consumer products, from bottles to clothing, has resulted in the release of countless tons of plastics into the environment. Yoshida et al. show how the biodegradation of plastics by specialized bacteria could be a viable bioremediation strategy (see the Perspective by Bornscheuer). The new species, Ideonella sakaiensis, breaks down the plastic by using two enzymes to hydrolyze PET and a primary reaction intermediate, eventually yielding basic building blocks for growth. Visit and become a member to read this article and to keep up with the latest scientific publications.

Read a copy of the Science article »

03 May 2018

Air pollution in a city

How a ‘Toxic Cocktail’ Is Posing a Troubling Health Risk in China’s Cities

A recent study in Chinese cities found a potential link between a hazardous mix of air pollutants and death rates. These findings point to the need for a new approach to assessing the dangers of urban smog in fast-industrializing parts of the developing world.

Read Yale Environmental 360 article »

01 May 2018

Rain garden in Philadelphia

With a Green Makeover, Philadelphia Is Tackling Its Stormwater Problem

In a major initiative, Philadelphia is building an extensive network of rain gardens, green roofs, wetlands, and other infrastructure to capture stormwater. The goal is to prevent runoff from overwhelming sewers and polluting waterways and to help green America’s fifth-largest city.

Read Yale Environmental 360 article »

06 April 2018

Artists rendering of a shoreline

Image: Hewe Duan

Connection of Sea Level and Groundwater Missing Link in Climate Response

About 250 million years ago, when the Earth had no ice caps and the water around the equator was too hot for reptiles, sea level still rose and fell over time. Now, an international team of researchers has developed a way to track sea level rise and fall and to tease out what caused the changes in the absence of ice sheets.

Read Penn State Today »

04 April 2018


The Delicate Dance of Temperature and Ice in the Arctic Should Be on Everyone’s Radar

If global average temperature stabilizes at 2.0 °C above pre-industrial levels, summer sea-ice will be absent from the Arctic every 3 to 5 years. At 1.5 °C of warming, ice-free conditions happen only every 40 years or so.

Read Anthropocene Article »

25 March 2018

Nano wood

This is Nano Wood—an Ecofriendly Alternative to Styrofoam Insulation

A lightweight, strong material derived from wood works better than the heat-insulating materials used today. The new insulator is easy and cheap to make, biodegradable, and could slash the carbon footprint of homes and office buildings.

Read Anthropocene Article »

13 March 2018

Cape Town Spring Water

People wait to collect water from a natural spring in the Cape Town suburb of St. James in January 2018. RODGER BOSCH/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Awaiting Day Zero: Cape Town Faces an Uncertain Water Future

South Africa’s second-largest city has pushed back the day when its taps are expected to run dry. But with its population growing and the climate warming, Cape Town, like many cities in semi-arid regions, must take decisive measures to meet its future water needs.

Read Yale Environment 360 article »

10 March 2018

Women cheering

Notching Wins and Making Gains - Women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are Improving their Lives while Protecting Nature

With longstanding and critical funding from USAID and other partners, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) works to empower Congolese women by teaching them sustainable farming techniques, offering literacy classes, building leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and ensuring their representation in decision-making bodies. Three women— Victorine, Marthe, and Mayala—have already adopted new leadership roles in their villages.

Read their stories »

19 February 2018

Cargo ship

The Tradeoff Between Cleaner Ship Fuels and Global Warming

Cleaner low-sulfur shipping fuels should reduce air pollution-related deaths around the world by around a third, and childhood asthma cases in children by more than half. But this carries a climate tradeoff: the higher-sulfur fuels help cool the planet.

Read Anthropocene article »

30 January 2018

Plastic bag in coral

Plastic waste is sickening corals. PHOTO: RICHARD WHITCOMBE/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Corals Wrapped in Plastic

Plastic waste is sickening corals. Coral reefs provide vital fisheries and coastal defense, and they urgently need protection from the damaging effects of plastic waste. Lamb et al. surveyed 159 coral reefs in the Asia-Pacific region. Billions of plastic items were entangled in the reefs. The more spikey the coral species, the more likely they were to snag plastic. Disease likelihood increased 20-fold once a coral was draped in plastic. Plastic debris stresses coral through light deprivation, toxin release, and anoxia, giving pathogens a foothold for invasion.

Read Science article »

19 January 2018

Plants under large lamps

Fast-tracking Crop Growth to Feed the World

An experimental NASA technology that saturates plants with light could trick them into growing faster--and vitally, producing more food. In a recent Nature Plants paper, the Australian and United Kingdom research team explain how their technique, called ‘speed-breeding’, artificially exposes plants to long periods of daylight, boosting photosynthesis to coax them into growing faster and producing more food. So far, the technique has succeeded in tripling the production of staple crops like wheat, barley, and chickpeas.

Read Anthropocene article »

04 January 2018

Ice covered lighthouse

Linking Extreme Weather to Climate Change Could Help Curb Carbon Emissions

There’s evidence that extreme weather and long-term changes in the local climate can increase people’s concerns about climate change. Media coverage of distant extreme weather events can also raise awareness and concern.

Read Anthropocene article »

07 December 2017

Dust storm

A dust storm approaches Phoenix. ALAN STARK/FLICKR

Climate Connection: Unraveling the Surprising Ecology of Dust

As droughts intensify and development expands, the amount of dust blowing around the earth is increasing, affecting everything from mountain snowmelt to the spread of disease. Scientists are just beginning to understand the complex dynamics of dust in a warming world.

Read Yale Environment 360 article »

07 December 2017


As Oceans Warm, the World’s Kelp Forests Begin to Disappear

Kelp forests — luxuriant coastal ecosystems that are home to a wide variety of marine biodiversity — are being wiped out from Tasmania to California, replaced by sea urchin barrens that are nearly devoid of life.

Read Yale Environment 360 article »

06 November 2017

Close up of dove

The Overlooked Potential of Second-Growth Tropical Forest

An unexpected surfeit of species credits might be found in second-growth tropical forests — the scrubby, fragmented successors of once-intact forests. Cut down and left to regrow, they now account for up to half of all remaining tropical forests. They’re “one of the most common habitats in the region,” says conservationist Steven Latta of the National Aviary, yet they’re “seldom studied and perhaps never monitored over the long term.”

Read Anthropocene article »

12 October 2017

Chart of ice edge

The blue curves represent the ice edge.

Hole the Size of Maine Opens in Antarctica Ice

A mysterious hole as big as the state of Maine has been spotted in Antarctica’s winter sea ice cover. The hole was discovered by researchers about a month ago. The team, comprised of scientists from the University of Toronto and the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) project, was monitoring the area with satellite technology after a similar hole opened last year.

Read National Geographic article »

11 October 2017

Water evaporation over beaker

Water Evaporation Could Power Much of the US

Harvesting the energy from natural water evaporation using special evaporation-driven engines could generate enough power for most of the United States.

Read Anthropocene article »

02 October 2017

Person walking through floodwaters

Is this a good time to talk about climate change?

A new study finds that people who had recently experienced more extreme weather events were more likely to support climate change adaptation in general, as well as to support specific adaptation measures.

Read Anthropocene article »

18 September 2017

CHANCE participants in Cuba

Penn State Students Study Fragile Ecosystems in Cuba

CHANCE participants conducted biological and ecological research alongside field scientists this summer.

Read Penn State News »

17 September 2017

Satellite images of hurricanes

6 Questions About Hurricane Irma, Climate Change and Harvey

A third of the way into the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA looked at the ocean and air temperatures and issued an ominous new forecast: the region would likely experience "an above normal hurricane season" that "could be extremely active," with more named storms than previously expected—14 to 19 this season—and two to five major hurricanes.

Read ICN article »

13 September 2017

Sale tag on water

Putting a Price Tag on the Flood-reducing Value of Wetlands

With every big coastal storm, attention turns to the role of wetlands in reducing their destructiveness. Quantifying that service, however, is a difficult thing to do. Now a team of ecologists, engineers and risk modelers have provided two such price tags: $625 million in damage prevented by wetlands during Hurricane Sandy, and — in a New Jersey county broadly emblematic of the Atlantic coast — a 16 percent reduction in flood losses every single year.

Read Anthropocene article »

05 September 2017

Graphic abstract of ocean warming

What happens to the Antarctic ocean with 1 degrees celsius of warming?

Scientists have discovered “massive impacts” on marine life in the Antarctic Ocean when waters are warmed by 1 degree Celsius, including a doubling in growth of some species and a drop in overall biodiversity, according to a new study in the journal Current Biology.

Read Yale Environment 360 article »

14 August 2017

Monarch butterfly

Can the monarch highway help save a butterfly under siege?

The population of North American monarch butterflies has plummeted from 1 billion to 33 million in just two decades. Now, a project is underway to revive the monarch by making an interstate highway the backbone of efforts to restore its dwindling habitat.

Read Yale Environment 360 article »

27 July 2017

Graph of plastic disposal

People Have Thrown Away 6.3 Billion Metric Tons of Plastic since 1950

A trio of researchers – Roland Geyer of the University of California, Santa Barbara; Jenna R. Jambeck of the University of Georgia; and Kara Lavender Law of the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts – undertook the first-ever effort to estimate the total amount of plastics ever produced and comprehensively trace their fate.

Read Anthropocene article »

20 July 2017

Image of Larsen C ice shelf

New Satellite Images Show Massive Antarctica Iceberg Slowly Drifting Out to Sea

One of the largest icebergs ever recorded broke free in Antarctica, and scientists are saying another collapse might have catastrophic consequences.

Read USA Today article »

20 July 2017

Satellite image of the Sundarbans coastal forest in Bangladesh, which is habitat for the endangered Bengal tiger. NASA

Energy Choices: What Should We Do About America's Energy Future?

High-resolution earth imagery has provided ecologists and conservationists with a dynamic new tool that is enabling everything from more accurate counting of wildlife populations to rapid detection of deforestation, illegal mining, and other changes in the landscape.

Read Yale Environment 360 article »

29 June 2017

Shady city street with pedestrians

Designing Cities to Minimize the Urban Heat Island Effect

The world as a whole is getting hotter, and the cities where an ever-growing fraction of the global population lives are getting hotter still due to the urban heat island effect—the tendency for cities to be warmer than surrounding rural areas because building materials like concrete and asphalt trap heat.

Read Anthropocene article »

News From 2017

25 June 2017

Student researching in rainforest

Schuylkill Campus Trio Conduct Environmental Research in Costa Rica

A few students from Penn State Schuylkill joined the Penn State CHANCE (Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences) team in Costa Rica, conducting research and gathering some incredible images along the way.

Read Penn State Newswire »

21 June 2017

Mangrove Roots

Intact Mangroves Worth Twice as Much as Rice Paddies

In India's Bhitarkanika mangrove, researchers have made a surprising discovery: locals there can generate almost double the income from protecting the mangrove instead of converting it to rice paddies.

Read Anthropocene article »

13 June 2017

Tigers caged in a zoo at the Kings Romans casino complex in Laos.

Tigers caged in a zoo at the Kings Romans casino complex in Laos.

Credit: Adam Dean for The New York Times

Asia’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Makes Tigers a Farm-to-Table Meal

"...farmed tigers now far outnumber total wild populations." This is an eye-opening article.

Read New York Times article »

06 June 2017

Aerial view of ocean and reef

A Call for a Hippocratic Oath on Protecting the World’s Oceans

In a Yale Environment 360 interview, scientist Nathan Bennett explains why he and other marine experts are calling for a a code of conduct for ocean conservation to ensure that local communities benefit from newly created marine reserves.

Read Yale Environment 360 »

06 June 2017

Marine Policy cover

An Appeal for a Code of Conduct for Marine Conservation

Marine conservation actions are promoted to conserve natural values and support human wellbeing. Yet the quality of governance processes and the social consequences of some marine conservation initiatives have been the subject of critique and even human rights complaints. These types of governance and social issues may jeopardize the legitimacy of, support for and long-term effectiveness of marine conservation.

Read Marine Policy article »

01 June 2017

Regional Map of the Antarctic Peninsula Showing Moss Bank Sites and Meteorological Records of Recent Mean Annual Temperature

Widespread Biological Response to Rapid Warming on the Antarctic Peninsula

Researchers used moss bank cores from a 600-km transect from Green Island (65.3°S) to Elephant Island (61.1°S) as paleoclimate archives sensitive to regional temperature change, moderated by water availability and surface microclimate. Mosses grow slowly, but cold temperatures minimize decomposition, facilitating multi-proxy analysis of preserved peat. Analyzing multi-proxy analyses in five cores at three sites over 150 years reveals increased biological activity over the past ca. 50 years, in response to climate change. Researchers identified significant changepoints in all sites and proxies, suggesting fundamental and widespread changes in the terrestrial biosphere. The regional sensitivity of moss growth to past temperature rises suggests that terrestrial ecosystems will alter rapidly under future warming, leading to major changes in the biology and landscape of this iconic region—an Antarctic greening to parallel well-established observations in the Arctic.

Read Current Biology Article

01 June 2017

Moss on Green Island

Thanks to Global Warming, Antarctica is Beginning to Turn Green

Researchers in Antarctica have discovered rapidly growing banks of mosses on the ice continent’s northern peninsula, providing striking evidence of climate change in the coldest and most remote parts of the planet.

Read Washington Post »

23 May 2017

Lady Justice holding scales

Countries are Steadily Building the Legal Framework for Climate Progress

Around the world, countries have passed 14 new laws and enacted 33 executive policies related to climate change since the Paris climate summit in December 2015, according to a report released earlier this month. The report, written by researchers at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, also finds that climate legislation worldwide has increased twenty-fold since the Kyoto Protocol was passed. There were only about 60 climate laws on the books in 1997, compared to more than 1,200 today.

Read Anthropocene »

01 May 2017

Landscape photo from Yosemite National Park

Photo credit: Edward Stojakovic

Effects of Protected Area Downsizing on Habitat Fragmentation in Yosemite National Park (USA), 1864 – 2014

Protected area downgrading, downsizing, and degazettement (PADDD) has been documented worldwide, but its impacts on biodiversity are poorly understood. To fill this knowledge gap, we reviewed historical documents to identify legal changes that altered the boundaries of Yosemite National Park.

Read Ecology and Society »

28 April 2017

State Capitol

Eleven Penn State Students to Present Research to PA Legislators on April 25

Undergraduate students representing seven of Penn State’s campuses will present their research to legislators at the 15th annual Undergraduate Research at the Capitol–Pennsylvania (URC-PA) conference, taking place at the Capitol Complex in Harrisburg on April 25. The Penn State participants will join with other undergraduate students from across the Commonwealth to network with peers and engage with members of the Pennsylvania Senate, House of Representatives, and their staff.

Read Penn State News »

26 April 2017

Hurricane Patricia, 2015, from NASA

Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Flickr

Fingerprints of Climate Change are Detectable in Wild Weather Around the Globe

Storms, droughts, heat waves: everyone wants to know if these extreme weather events are evidence of climate change. A new analysis finds that the answer is, increasingly, yes.

Read Anthropocene »

21 April 2017

An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm

An world-wide plan (Global Deal for Narure) to protect of 50% of the terrestrial biosphere to address the species-extinction crisis and conserve a global ecological heritage for future generations is presented. Using a map of Earth's 846 terrestrial ecoregions, the authors show that 98 ecoregions (12%) exceed Half Protected; 313 ecoregions (37%) fall short of Half Protected but have sufficient unaltered habitat remaining to reach the target; and 207 ecoregions (24%) are in peril, where an average of only 4% of natural habitat remains.

Read BioScience article »

15 Apr 2017

Turning an Ocean of Plastic into Fuel

Sailboat captain James E. Holm and polymer scientist Swaminathan Ramesh are developing a mobile reactor that could transform plastic into diesel fuel. The technology could reduce plastic waste on land and in the ocean, and generate a cleaner, potentially cheaper fuel.

Read Anthropocene article »

09 Apr 2017

Great American Cleanup logo

Great American Cleanup of PA

CHANCE is joining the conservation efforts in Pennsylvania to cleanup roadside garbage. Our cleanup event will be held April 22, from 9am-12pm. Our goal is to tidy up a small stretch of Route 309 in Center Valley, PA. Registration required to participate.

More Info »

04 Apr 2017

Timber being trucked through the northern Laos province of Louang Namtha on its way to the Chinese border.


The Dark Legacy of China’s Drive for Global Resources

As China pursues a startling array of energy, mining, logging, agricultural, and infrastructure projects on virtually every continent, it is having an unprecedented environmental impact on the planet.

Read Yale Environment 360 »

22 March 2017

Graph of global average temperature anomaly from 1850 to 2017

Climate Breaks Multiple Records in 2016, with Global Impacts

The year 2016 made history, with a record global temperature, exceptionally low sea ice, and unabated sea level rise and ocean heat, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Extreme weather and climate conditions have continued into 2017.

Read WHO Press Release »

22 March 2017

Macaya Breast-Spot Frog on small branch. Credit Robin Moore

U.N. Expert: Biodiversity is Essential To Human Rights

For the first time, a United Nations report has recognized biodiversity and healthy ecosystems as essential to human rights. The report, authored by U.N. Special Rapporteur John Knox, a human rights expert and professor of international law at Wake Forest University, comes amid a biodiversity crisis that many scientists have pegged as the beginning of Earth’s sixth mass extinction.

Read article »

28 February 2017

Map of Coral alert sites tracked by NOAA.


Ecologists Steel for Even More Coral Bleaching on Great Barrier Reef

Just when you thought the situation couldn’t get much worse for the Great Barrier Reef comes news that devastating coral bleaching will almost certainly increase significantly — again — in the coming months.

Read article »

23 February 2017

A giant rift in the Larsen C ice shelf is expected to reach the ocean soon.

Photo credit: John Sonntag NASA

Giant Antarctic Ice Shelf Crack Threatens to Become a Massive Iceberg

Rift through Larsen C ice shelf has grown to 175 kilometers, and collapse of nearby ice shelves could offer a glimpse of its future.

Read Scientific American article »

23 February 2017

Small shark in a plastic bag

The invisible Boundaries of Ocean Refuges Protect Even Wide-roaming Creatures

A new study tracked both sharks and fishing vessels in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and found that Marine Protected Areas might hold unexpected promise.

Read Anthropocene article »

07 February 2017

Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef

Photo Credit: Michael Amendolia/Greenpeace

How Natural World Heritage Sites Are Being Spoiled

When a place is designated a Natural World Heritage Site, it is a recognition that it has “outstanding universal value” and must be protected. But a new study shows many of these sites are being severely damaged by human activity and are deteriorating rapidly.

Read Yale 360 article »

30 January 2017

Illustration of bacteria with electrical currents

From the Swamps of the Potomac, New Hope for Green Electronics

Protein filaments called "nanowires" that are produced by certain species of bacteria could be a key to environmentally friendly electronics manufacturing.

Read Anthroprocene Article »

26 January 2017

Lehigh Valley professor receives esteemed Jefferson Science Fellowship

Jacqueline McLaughlin, associate professor of biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley, has been appointed to serve in the 2017 Jefferson Science Fellowship program by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Penn State President Eric Barron nominated McLaughlin for the Jefferson Science Fellowship.

Read more »

17 January 2017

Arctic Sea Ice Extent graph

11 Ways to See How Climate Change Is Imperiling the Arctic

The latest data is sobering. These visualizations show just how perilous the situation is.

Read National Geographic article »

05 January 2017

Broken egg and yolk next to an egg beater

A New Map of Earth’s Ecology-scrambling Climate Patterns

Temperature and precipitation patterns shifted an average of 3.7 kilometers per decade during the 20th century, and 3.4% of Earth’s surface has entered a novel climate regime.

Read Anthropocene article »

27 December 2016

Hand of cards

It’s Time to Double Down on Humankind’s Methane Emissions

Climate change mitigation efforts have focused mainly on carbon dioxide until now. And those efforts might be paying off: carbon dioxide emissions have tapered off in recent years, mostly due to a switch from coal to natural gas. Now there’s more reason than ever to turn our attention to a more potent greenhouse gas: methane.

Read Anthropocene article »

22 December 2016

People riding bicycles past Tiananmen Gate wearing masks

Photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Lee

Smog Engulfs Cities in Northern China for Fourth Day

China declared a "war on pollution" in 2014 amid concern its heavy industrial past was tarnishing its global reputation and holding back its future development. But it has struggled to reverse the damage done by decades of breakneck economic growth, much of it based on the coal-burning power sector.

Read Reuters article »

22 December 2016

Klingon newt

'Klingon Newt' and 'Ziggy Stardust' Snake: New Species Found in Asia

On Dec. 19, the WWF issued a report outlining the new finds — 14 reptiles, 11 fish, three mammals, nine amphibians and 126 plants in the Greater Mekong — a region that encompasses Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. However, the region's biodiversity is increasingly threatened by destructive human activity, which the WWF described as steadily encroaching on wild places worldwide since the mid-20th century.

Read Reuters article »

30 November 2016

Sick Turtle receiving care

A health care revolution … for wildlife?

In recent years, a debilitating cancer found in sea turtles has spread to every major ocean. What if leading-edge medical techniques developed for humans were used to help animals, too?

Read article from Anthropocene (formerly Conservation) »

29 November 2016

Illustration of hand holding test tube with DNA strands flowing out of top.

How Warming is Threatening the Genetic Diversity of Species

Research on stoneflies in Glacier National Park indicates that global warming is reducing the genetic diversity of some species, compromising their ability to evolve as conditions change. These findings have major implications for how biodiversity will be affected by climate change.

Read environment360 article »

07 November 2016

Ecologist surveying dying coastal trees in Florida.

Ghost Forests: How Rising Seas Are Killing Southern U.S. Woodlands

A steady increase in sea levels is pushing saltwater into U.S. wetlands, killing trees from Florida to as far north as New Jersey. But with sea level projected to rise by as much as six feet this century, the destruction of coastal forests is expected to become a worsening problem worldwide.

Read environment 360 article »

24 October 2016

Antarctica Is Practically Defined By Ice. What Happens When It Melts?

The Palmer Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTER), centered on the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Palmer Station, was established on the West Antarctic Peninsula with NSF funding in 1990. It focuses on the ways that changing sea ice extent influences marine ecology and the multilayered food webs of the coastal, nearshore, and continental slope ecosystems. The McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER, established in 1992, explores the ecology of the terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems of Antarctica's Dry Valleys—an ice-free polar desert where glacial meltwater exerts a profound influence on connectivity and nutrient inputs.

Three papers in the October issue of BioScience explore how atmospheric conditions and resulting changes in sea ice thickness impacted ocean food webs, how rapid melting of glaciers impacted microbial communities in lakes, and the long-term ecological implications of rising lake levels.

Read the Special Section of BioScience »

18 October 2016

United Nations Seeks to Protect High-Seas Biodiversity

The high seas are critical to life on Earth. They constitute over 50 percent of the planet's area and over 90 percent of the habitable volume, with depths of 200 meters or more. Researchers continue to discover amazing life forms in the deep sea. But this rich biota faces a host of threats, from climate-change-related ocean acidification to pollution, deep-water trawling, and overfishing. Recently, scientists added to the list declining oxygen levels. Researchers are hopeful that ongoing discussions aimed at adding a supplemental “biodiversity” treaty to the 1982 United Nations (UN) Convention on the Law of the Sea may provide an opening for protecting species and habitats in this critical area.

Read BioScience article »

29 September 2016

A photo collage of climate change scenarios

August Marks Ongoing Trend of Record-breaking Heat for the Globe

Put away your party hats: August marks a not-so-sweet 16 months of record warmth for the globe, the longest such streak in 137 years.

Read NOAA news »

09 September 2016

A toxic algae bloom along the shore of Lake Erie.


20 States Suffer From Toxic Algae, And We’re Doing Little To Stop It

Thick, massive cakes of smelly green toxic algae bubbled up along beaches and rivers in South Florida’s coastal communities this summer. It was so serious, authorities declared a state of emergency.

Read Huffington Post article »

06 September 2016

Illustration of Ocean Conveyor Belt

How Climate Change Could Jam The World's Ocean Circulation

Scientists are closely monitoring a key current in the North Atlantic to see if rising sea temperatures and increased freshwater from melting ice are altering the “ocean conveyor belt” — a vast oceanic stream that plays a major role in the global climate system.

Read environment360 article »

06 September 2016


Photo Credit: Getty Images

How did China save the giant panda?

The giant panda, a global icon has just been taken off the endangered list, largely due to Chinese conservation efforts. But how exactly did they do it?

Read BBC article »

02 September 2016

Obama Creating World's Largest Protected Area off Hawaii Coast

President Barack Obama is expanding a national monument off the coast of his native Hawaii, establishing the largest protected marine sanctuary in the world, the White House announced Friday.

Read CNN article »

02 September 2016

Aerial photo of herd of elephants

African Elephant Population Declines by 30%

A comprehensive census of African elephants has found that the population decreased by nearly a third between 2007 and 2014.

Read NPR article »

31 August 2016

Changing Opinions on Climate Change, from a CNN Meteorologist

Although climate change is thought of as simply a political football, it has been a heated topic among meteorologists for years. Read how Chad Myers, CNN meteorologist, has changed his mind on global climate change.

Read CNN article »

24 August 2016



Tiger Land

China's first national parks include a refuge for the world's largest cat. What scientists from Beijing Normal University (BNU) have learned has helped convince the central government to create a 15,000-squarekilo-meter national park—60% larger than Yellowstone—that could save the Siberian tiger from extinction.

Read Science article »

13 August 2016


Photo credit:YUSUKE SUDO

Okinawa mozuku: The Treasure Under the Sea

Mozuku is a unique Okinawan seaweed. Scientifically known as Cladosiphon okamuranus, this alga is popular in Japanese cuisine, and it has been farmed for more than 35 years. The cultivation of this seaweed is a key element in the economy of Okinawa: In 2006, the Japanese Cabinet Office estimated a 20,000 ton production, with an economic value of billions of Yen. 99% of this seaweed is produced in Okinawa, almost entirely farmed by humans. When in 2015 the production dropped for causes related with the higher temperature of the ocean, political institutions and research centres started to coordinate in order to develop a strategy to preserve this Okinawan treasure.

Read AAAS article »

13 August 2016

Greenland Shark

Greenland Shark Revealed to Have Longest Life Expectancy of all Vertebrates

An international team of scientists led by the University of Copenhagen and including the University of Oxford has found that the Greenland shark has a life expectancy of at least 272 years. This discovery shows it is the longest living vertebrate known to science, exceeding even bowhead whales, turtles and tortoises. The findings are published in latest issue of the journal, Science.

Read University of Oxford News & Events »

01 August 2016

Student collecting litter along a waterway in China

Thinking Beyond the Classroom

Students engage in conservation efforts through CHANCE China program.

Read Penn State News »

13 July 2016

Beijing’s South China Sea Claims Rejected by Hague Tribunal

The New York Times

The panel delivered a sweeping rebuke on Tuesday of China’s behavior, deciding that its expansive claim to sovereignty over the waters had no legal basis.

Read the full story »

29 June 2016

Cover for symposium program

International Conference "Exploring Field Spaces as Learning Spaces"

CHANCE Founding Director to deliver keynote address on Teaching Conservation Through Experience at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia on June 30, 2016.

Learn more »

News From 2016

17 June 2016

What Would a Global Warming Increase of 1.5 Degrees Be Like?

The Paris climate conference set the ambitious goal of finding ways to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than the previous threshold of 2 degrees. But what would be the difference between a 1.5 and 2 degree world? And how realistic is such a target?

Read environment360 article »

06 June 2016

Insect Outbreaks Help Forests Survive Wildfires

When it comes to forest management, conventional knowledge holds that insect outbreaks increase the risk of and damage from wildfires. The logic is that these insects increase the amount of fuel for a fire because they kill so many trees. The 2014 US Farm Bill even designated $200 million each year for wildfire prevention measures...

Read Conservation article »

21 May 2016

Glaciers and floating ice

Photo Credit: Christopher Michel/Flickr

Abrupt Sea Level Rise Looms As Increasingly Realistic Threat

Ninety-nine percent of the planet's freshwater ice is locked up in the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. Now, a growing number of studies are raising the possibility that as those ice sheets melt, sea levels could rise by six feet this century, and far higher in the next, flooding many of the world's populated coastal areas.

Read environment360 article by Nicola Jones »

20 May 2016

Water droplet and ripples

The World’s Water in the Balance

The World Bank has warned countries that one of climate change’s most significant impacts will be on a precious resource that many people, particularly in advanced nations, take for granted: water.

Read editorial »

16 May 2016

Porpoise swimming at waters surface

Experts: Mexico's Vaquita Porpoise Headed Toward Extinction

The population of Mexico's endangered vaquita marina, the world's smallest porpoise, has fallen to alarmingly low levels and is heading toward extinction soon if drastic measures aren't taken, scientists warned Friday.

Read New York Times article »

07 April 2016

Dr. McLaughlin standing next to poster at research event

CHANCE Director Helps Organize Undergraduate Research Event at State Capitol

The Pennsylvania Capitol was bustling with undergraduate students eager to share their research with the public and state legislators at the Undergraduate Research at the Capitol Conference on April 5.

Read more »

18 March 2016

Moving Beyond the Autobahn: Germany's New Bike Highways

With the recent opening of a “bike highway,” Germany is taking the lead in Europe by starting to build a network of wide, dedicated bicycle thoroughfares designed to lure increasing numbers of commuters out of their cars and onto two wheels.

Read environment360 Report »

18 March 2016

In Mexico, Fish Poachers Push Endangered Porpoises to Brink

China’s lucrative black market for fish parts is threatening the vaquita, the world’s most endangered marine mammal. The porpoises, who live only in the Gulf of California, are getting caught up as bycatch in illegal gill nets and killed.

Read environment360 Report »

18 March 2016

Water droplet and ripples

Surprising Facts From The ‘Value Of Water' Poll

You may have seen the recent poll results announced by the Value of Water Coalition indicating near universal agreement (95 percent) on the need for reliable water systems, along with the somewhat surprising fact that a majority (60%) would agree to higher water bills to support them. The real surprise, however, is who is willing to pay the most.

Read Water Online article by Kevin Westerling »

22 February 2016

Why Planting Wildflowers Could Help Feed the World

Many studies have shown that planting strips of wildflowers amidst croplands can help replace some of the biodiversity that is lost in the quest to feed a growing, global population. More recently, studies have demonstrated that the increased biodiversity found in these strips includes species of insects and birds that act as an all-natural pest control, reducing or eliminating the need for pesticides.

Read Conservation Magazine article »

09 February 2016

Two students in front of a poster promoting sustainable takeout containers

Keirstan Kure, left, and Emily Newman pose in front of a poster promoting the sustainable takeout container program they helped to create at Penn State.

Plant Science Major Helps Create Sustainable Takeout Containers

With the help of Keirstan Kure, Penn State Food Services created the Green2Go container, a reusable takeout box that replaces the need for Styrofoam cartons in campus dining halls.

Read Penn State news story »

04 February 2016

The Best Places to Pick Up Ocean Plastic Aren’t the Big Garbage Patches

Cleanup efforts for ocean plastics should be concentrated close to shore, at the source of the problem, rather than in areas of open ocean where plastic tends to accumulate, according to a study recently published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Ideally, if plastic collectors were placed offshore near coastal population centers, they could remove nearly one-third of plastic in the ocean over the next 10 years.

Read Conservation Magazine article »

22 January 2016

Fuel from Grasses Could Reduce Carbon Emissions with Little Impact on Food Supply

Biofuels made from perennial grasses and other cellulosic biomass could meet US renewable fuel goals with little impact on food production...

Read Conservation Magazine article »

11 January 2016

Coral reef in the Mariana Islands.

Photo Credit: NOAA/David Burdick.

CORAL Mission to Raise Reef Studies to New Level

A new three-year NASA field expedition gets underway this year that will use advanced instruments on airplanes and in the water to survey more of the world’s coral reefs, and in far greater detail, than ever before. The COral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL) will measure the condition of these threatened ecosystems and create a unique database of uniform scale and quality.

Read NASA newswire »

11 January 2016

Examining the Global Impacts of the 2015 El Niño

People the world over are feeling, or will soon feel, the effects of the strongest El Niño event since 1997-98, currently unfolding in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.New NASA satellite observations are beginning to show scientists its impact on the distribution of rain, tropospheric ozone and wildfires around the globe.

Read NASA newswire »

11 January 2016

Seagulls flying around a landfill

Unnatural Balance: How Food Waste Impacts World’s Wildlife

New research indicates that the food discarded in landfills and at sea is having a profound effect on wildlife populations and fisheries. But removing that food waste creates its own ecological challenges.
By richard conniff

Read environment360 article »

31 December 2015

Degraded habitat alters frog microbiomes

Human-caused changes in the environment are linked to differences in the microbiome – the community of bacteria and other microbes that normally inhabit the skin – of a threatened species of frog, according to a new study. Since the skin microbiome is essentially a major component of a frog’s immune system, the findings suggest that...

Read Conservation Magazine article »

02 December 2015

Extinction is More Likely on the Edge

The world is losing its biodiversity, but it’s not losing it in a particularly uniform way. Some places are losing it faster, and some places are losing it slower. North America, for example, has had only one native mammal go extinct since European colonization: the sea mink. Certain parts of the tropics are losing their wildlife a lot faster. It turns out that one of the patterns that drives the speed of extinction is geometry.

Read more »

09 November 2015

Hill sides in Costa Rica

Photo credit: Carter Hunt

Researchers Collaborate on Sustainability Initiatives in Costa Rica

Carter Hunt, assistant professor of recreation, park and tourism management at Penn State, working with researchers at Stanford University, studies the factors associated with delayed development in certain regions of Costa Rica in order to identify solutions for local residents who face poverty, wealth disparity and environmental degradation. Results of their recent work were published in the fall 2015 issue of “Human Organization” by the Society for Applied Anthropology.

Read Penn State News article »

15 October 2015

WWF Logo

Hundreds of New Species Discovered in the Fragile Eastern Himalayan Region

A sneezing monkey, a walking fish and a jewel-like snake are just some of a biological treasure trove of over 200 new species discovered in the Eastern Himalayas in recent years, according to a new report by WWF. The report, Hidden Himalayas: Asia’s Wonderland released on World Habitat Day maps out scores of new species found by scientists from various organizations including 133 plants, 39 invertebrates, 26 fish, 10 amphibians, one reptile, one bird and one mammal.

Read WWF article and report »

15 October 2015

WWF Logo

Almost a third of all Natural World Heritage Sites Under Threat of Oil, Gas and mining Exploration

Natural World Heritage Sites (WHS) are places of outstanding natural value, such as the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania. A new assessment - in a report called Safeguarding Outstanding Natural Value, produced by WWF, Aviva Investors and Investec Asset Management, puts the global risk of WHS at higher level than previously thought. The report also brings to light the risk to investors of involvement with extractives companies working, or intending to work, in or near these special places.

Read WWF article and report »

11 September 2015

Gasland: HBO Documentary Key Driver of Opposition to Fracking

An Oscar-nominated HBO documentary that showed American homeowners near hydraulic fracturing sites setting fire to their tap water may have been the main trigger for a surge in public opposition to the oil and gas production technique, according to a study to be published next month.

Read article »

23 July 2015

Street trees really do make people healthier

It’s easy enough to claim that being in nature makes people feel better. It certainly feels like it’s true. A weekend in the mountains, or even a few hours in a park after a long day at work, truly feels like it is somehow restorative. There are some good reasons to believe that green space...

Read more »

07 July 2015

Oil spill on waterway

Algae Spill their Secrets to Aid Oil Cleanup

Oil and water famously don't mix, and yet it's very difficult to extricate the former from the latter. When light crude oil spills at sea, it rapidly spreads out into a thin sheen that is notoriously tough to clean up, especially when spills happen in remote areas. But the trick to doing so in an...

Read Conservation article»

News from 2015

23 June 2015

Turtle hatchlings emerge from sand

CHANCE field course participant provides first hand account

New this year! Sarah Ann, one of the Costa Rica and Panama field course participants, is blogging about her experiences. She has been sharing photos, stories, and insight while on location.

Follow the adventure »

06 May 2015

Accelerating Extinction Risk from Climate Change

In a study published Thursday in the journal Science, Mark Urban, an ecologist at the University of Connecticut, also found that as the planet warms in the future, species will disappear at an accelerating rate.

Read New York Times article »

14 April 2015

image of woods with sun streaming down

Can the World Really Set Aside Half of the Planet for Wildlife?

The eminent evolutionary biologist, E.O.Wilson, has an audacious vision for saving Earth from a cataclysmic extinction event.

Read Smithsonian article »

29 March 2015

Osa Peninsula

The Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. Image: Carter Hunt

Researchers Study Tourism-Poverty Nexus in Central America

Central American economies are experiencing an ongoing boom in tourism, and in certain regions this often comes with real estate speculation in support of a trend toward all-inclusive resorts, large hotels and vacation homes. A study conducted by researchers at Penn State and partnering institutions, however, challenges the notion...

Read Penn State newswire »

05 March 2015

Documentary on Air Pollution Grips China

On Youku, a popular Chinese video-sharing site, "Under the Dome" had been played more than 14 million times by Sunday afternoon on March , 2015. The Paper, a Chinese news website, estimated that by Saturday night, the documentary had been opened more than 35 million times across various websites.

Watch video and read story »

23 February 2015

USGS and ESRI logos

The Most Detailed Ecological Land Units Map in the World

The US Geological Survey (USGS) and Esri are pleased to announce the publication of the most detailed global ecological land units map in the world. This exciting new global data set provides a science platform for better understanding and accounting of the world's resources. Scientists, land managers, conservationists, developers, and the public will use this map to improve regional, national, and global resource management, planning, and decision making.

See the custom map and learn more »

10 February 2015

Climate Change Divide is About Group Identity, Not Politics

Ninety-seven percent of scientific papers about climate change agree that it is human in origin. Yet the proportion of the US public that shares that belief is staggeringly low. According to one survey, it's less than half. We were reminded just this past week that while some so-called "deniers" have come around to face the...

Read Conservation Magazine article »

10 February 2015

Senate Rejects Human Role in Climate Change

The Senate on Thursday again voted to reject two measures related to the Keystone XL pipeline that declared that humans are a cause of climate change — the second set of votes on the issue in two days.

Read New York Times article »

25 January 2015


Greenland plays important role in polar ice research

Melting of glacial ice will probably raise the sea level around the globe, but how fast this melting will happen is uncertain. Greenland is especially pivotal in the study of melting ice sheets and rising sea levels because it experiences 50 percent more warming than the global average. In the case of the Greenland Ice Sheet, the more temperatures increase, the faster the ice will melt, according to computer model experiments by Penn State geoscientists.

Read full story »

18 January 2015

NASA research aircraft

Image: NASA / Dennis Rieke and Mark Russell

NASA Awards $30M Grant to Penn State to Help Answer Climate Questions

Penn State will lead a five-year, $30 million mission to improve quantification of present-day carbon-related greenhouse gas sources and sinks. An improved understanding of these gases will advance our ability to predict and manage future climate change.

Read Penn State News article »

28 December 2014

Howler monkey with baby

Photo Credit: Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate Change

The second-growth forests of Costa Rica, covering roughly 14 percent of the land area of the country, show what may be possible if the world gets more ambitious about tackling global warming by reforestation. There are still problems that must be dealt with, but organizations like the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), La Selva Biological Station will not give up the fight.

Read New York Times article »

15 December 2014

Kemps Ridley Turtle

After Steep Decline, Signs of Hope for World's Sea Turtles

Nearly all sea turtle species have been classified as endangered, with precipitous declines in many populations in recent decades. But new protections, particularly in the U.S. and Central America, are demonstrating that dramatic recovery for these remarkable reptiles is possible.

Read environment360 article »

17 November 2014

National Geographic logo

Book Talk: E. O. Wilson's Bold Vision for Saving the World

When we see how badly we're destabilizing the world, Wilson says, we'll turn to reason.

Read National Geographic Interview »

08 October 2014

CHANCE: Protecting Endangered Species

Penn State undergraduates bring biology to life in Central America as they help to restore native sea turtle populations through conservation and research.

Penn State feature article and video »

14 September 2014


More Than Half Of U.S. Bird Species Threatened By Climate Change

The report looked at more than 40 years of climate data and records from bird censuses conducted by the Audubon and the U.S. Geological Survey. Researchers compared changes in bird migration patterns to changes in climate to predict the fate of 588 bird species now found in the U.S. and Canada.

Listen to NPR story »

10 September 2014

Slow Nesting Season for Sea Turtles

The sluggish nesting season for the giant loggerhead sea turtle wrapped up over the Labor Day weekend. And preliminary numbers show volunteers in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina counted far fewer loggerhead nests in 2014 than in recent years.

Read Associated Press article »

12 August 2014

Girl Scouts doing various activities

Photo credit: Girl Scouts of America

CHANCE and the Girl Scouts

Dr. Jacqueline McLaughlin, Founding Director of CHANCE and Associate Professor of Biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley, will be the keynote speaker for the Girl Scouts of Orange County's August Kick-off at the University of California, Irvine on Saturday, August 16. Dr. McLaughlin will share her insights into how volunteers can create fun STEM experiences for girls to help develop their ingenuity, creativity, and critical thinking skills in her address: STEM. The program is titled "Build Her Future".

Open Flyer »

News from 2014

26 July 2014

Science AAAS logo

Study: Earth in the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction

The loss and decline of biodiversity around the world — caused by habitat loss and global climate disruption — means we're in the midst of a sixth "mass extinction" of life on Earth, according a study published in the journal Science.

Read Science article »

08 July 2014

Video Report: Americans on the Front Lines of Climate Change

A fire chief in Colorado whose department talks about battling increasingly intense blazes in the American West. A rancher in Texas shares his experiences of a prolonged drought that has taken a heavy toll on ranchers and farmers. Fifth-generation oyster farmers reveal how they are now coping with a major threat from ocean acidification, which impedes the ability of oyster larvae to form shells.

Watch Yale 360 videos »

13 June 2014

Coral Species

Scientists at Penn State study endangered coral species' relationship with algae

New research reveals that Caribbean corals and the algae that inhabit them form a remarkably stable relationship -- new knowledge that can serve as an important tool in preserving and restoring vital reef-building corals.

A scientific paper describing these new findings by a team of marine biologists at Penn State was published as a cover article in Molecular Ecology on June 10.

Penn State Newswire »

31 May 2014

The Remote Wind PSU team

Penn State comes out on top at inaugural DOE Collegiate Wind Competition

A team of Penn State students, including 2013 CHANCE Fellow Bridget Dougherty, nabbed first place at the inaugural U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Collegiate Wind Competition May 5 to 7 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The event was held in conjunction with the American Wind Energy Association's annual WINDPOWER conference.

Penn State newswire »

19 April 2014

Scientists Discover How to Generate Solar Power in the Dark

The next big thing in solar energy could be microscopic. Scientists at MIT and Harvard University have devised a way to store solar energy in molecules that can then be tapped to heat homes, water or used for cooking. The best part: The molecules can store the heat forever and be endlessly re-used while emitting absolutely no greenhouse gases.

Read more in Atlantic Magazine »

16 February 2014

Floridian Natural Legacy: The Story Behind CHANCE's Founding Director

By working with scientists and science educators in the field, Jackie McLaughlin is working to create a generation of eager and enthusiastic scientists.

Read e-Bella Magazine article »

31 January 2014


Abington Senior Reflects on College Years, Life-altering CHANCEs

Penn State Abington student, Colleen Kesley, studied the biodiversity of coral reefs in Bocas del Toro, Panama, this summer at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute through the Penn State Lehigh Valley CHANCE program.

Read her story »

01 January 2014

World Wildlife Day logo

UN General Assembly Proclaims March 3rd as World Wildlife Day

Now it's official ! Last Friday the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 3rd, the day of the adoption of CITES, as World Wildlife Day, to revel over, and raise awareness of, the world's wild fauna and flora. World Wildlife Day will be celebrated around the world each year.

Read more details »

4 December 2013

Taylor working in science lab

Lehigh Valley Campus Biology Students Accepted into Prestigious Research Course

Three Penn State Lehigh Valley biology undergraduates have been accepted to participate in a National Institutes of Health sponsored training course normally reserved for faculty and advanced postdoctoral fellows.

Read Penn State Newswire »

21 October 2013

China Smog Emergency Shuts City of 11 Million People

Choking smog all but shut down one of northeastern China's largest cities on Monday, forcing schools to suspended classes, snarling traffic and closing the airport, in the country's first major air pollution crisis of the winter. An index measuring PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), reached a reading of 1,000 in some parts of Harbin, the gritty capital of northeastern Heilongjiang province and home to some 11 million people.

Read Reuter's article »

15 October 2013

Carbon map of panama

Panama has First High-fidelity Nationwide Carbon Map

A team of scientists piloted a gadget-laden plane over every terrestrial ecosystem in Panama, firing 400,000 light pulses per second at the landscape with airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology. Countless terabytes of crunched data later, researchers unveiled the most high-fidelity carbon map of any nation to date. Their work injects new levels of confidence into carbon stocktaking and the findings have the potential to revolutionize nation-level carbon trading.

Learn more about this research »

30 September 2013

Colleen holds a birdStudents or Scientists? Both!

Undergraduates and professors conduct global climate change research in Panama as part of Penn State Lehigh Valley's award-winning CHANCE program.

Read Penn State article »

30 September 2013

Arctic Sea-Ice Loss Has Widespread Effects on Wildlife

With sea ice at its lowest point in 1,500 years, how might ecological communities in the Arctic be affected by its continued and even accelerated melting over the next decades? In a review article in the journal Science, published 2 August 2013, Eric Post, a Penn State University professor of biology, and an international team of scientists tackle this question by examining relationships among algae, plankton, whales, and terrestrial animals such as caribou, arctic foxes, and walrus; as well as the effects of human exploration of previously inaccessible parts of the region.

Read more »

28 September 2013

IPCC Climate Report: Humans 'Dominant Cause' of Warming

A landmark report says scientists are 95% certain that humans are the "dominant cause" of global warming since the 1950s.

Watch BBC Video and read news report »

21 September 2013

Channelized Ice Melting in the Ocean Boundary Layer Beneath Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica

Ice shelves play a key role in the mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheets by buttressing their seaward flowing outlet glaciers; however, they are exposed to the underlying ocean and may weaken if ocean thermal forcing increases. An expedition by Stanton et al. (2013) to the ice shelf of the remote Pine Island Glacier, a major outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet that has rapidly thinned and accelerated in recent decades, has been completed.

Read Science article »

16 September 2013

Remote Antarctic Trek Reveals A Glacier Melting From Below

Scientists watching Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier from space have noticed with some alarm that it has been surging toward the sea. Scientists from The Naval Postgraduate School team are deploying ocean monitoring instruments through a bore hole into the ocean cavity below to measure the currents flowing right under the ice sheet. As it turns our, the river that is flowing beneath the ice they are monitoring is moving rapidly toward the open ocean, and cutting into the ice above it as it flows.

Listen to NPR Report »

14 August 2013

With Tar Sands Development, Growing Concern on Water Use

Environmental questions about Canada's massive tar sands development have long centered on greenhouse gas emissions. Now there are mounting concerns about the huge volumes of water used by the oil industry and the impact on the vast Mackenzie River Basin.

Read Yale360 article by Ed Struzik »

03 August 2013

CHANCE article published in German Newspaper "MZ" (Mitteldeutsche Zeitung)

Graduate student, Daniela Schmidt, and instructor of science education, Dr. Anne-Kathrin Lindau, recently joined the 2013 CHANCE field expedition in Panama for professional development purposes and to work with CHANCE Director, Dr. Jacqueline McLaughlin, to explore a partnership with Penn State CHANCE and the Institut für Geowissenschaften und Geografie der Universität Halle.

Read story »

03 August 2013


State of the Tropics: Early Insights Reports Released

Key institutions from across the world have joined forces to assess and report on the critical questions facing one of the world's most important and fastest growing regions. The State of the Tropics Report is being developed to answer a very simple question: "Is life in the tropics getting better?" The report will analyze a range of environmental, social, and economic indicators to answer this question. The analysis will provide a foundation for policy makers, geopolitical analysts, and other stakeholders to examine in greater detail the tropics and the major issues affecting it. The full State of the Tropics Report is expected to be published later this year and will shine a light on the critical importance of the people and issues of the tropical world, and contribute to efforts to improve the lives of the peoples of the Tropics and their environment.

Available Early Insight Reports »

News from 2013

24 July 2013

Two students standing in front of a Smithsonian sign in Panama

Lehigh Valley Conservation Researchers take on Global Climate Change in Panama

Eighteen undergraduates and four professors conducted global climate change research in the wilds of Panama as part of the Penn State Lehigh Valley CHANCE program's (Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences) 2013 field course. Their journey began June 28 and continued through July 14.

Read Penn State News »

17 July 2013

Connecting with Nature Boosts Creativity and Health

Richard Louv explains how society can overcome nature-deficit disorder.

Read National Geographic Interview »

01 July 2013

Dr. Richard Alley

Nobel Laureate to Speak on Climate Change as part of CHANCE Panama Program

Richard B. Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, will be presenting Energy, Environment, and our Future: An Optimistic View to the 2013 CHANCE Panama crew and STRI researchers and staff live via SKYPE on July 3, 2013 in Gamboa, Panama. Alley is one of several Penn State earth scientists who are contributors to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Prize with Al Gore

23 June 2013

E.O. Wilson's Advice for Future Scientists

In his new book, Letters to a Young Scientist, biologist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson aims to inspire a new generation of scientists. Among his observations and advice: Geniuses don't make the best scientists, and don't worry if you aren't good at math.

Listen to NPR News story »

23 June 2013

Nicaragua Fast-Tracking Bill to Authorize Chinese Company's Canal to Compete with Panama

The government of Nicaragua is fast-tracking a bill that would authorize a company from China to build a new canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The dream of a Nicaraguan canal dates back more than a century. Nicaragua's president, Daniel Ortega, argues the project would bring prosperity to one of the poorest nations on Earth. Critics say there are serious questions about the project's feasibility and environmental impact.

Listen to radio broadcast »

14 June 2013

Giving the World a CHANCE

When the CHANCE Program, Connecting Humans and Nature Through Conservation Experiences, was founded in 2004, its mission already emphasized a global view of environmental sustainability. Now entering into its ninth year, CHANCE has evolved beyond Pennsylvania's borders to reach across the United States and across the globe with its mission of transforming the teaching and learning of environmental science by using research as the catalyst.

Read Penn State Lehigh Valley Tradition article »

25 May 2013

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon Pacing 88% Higher than Last Year's Rate

Satellite analysis by a Brazil-based NGO indicates that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon continues to pace well ahead of last year, when the government passed a weakened version of its law governing use of forest lands.

Read more »

01 May 2013

PSU Student

Lehigh Valley student selected for three-year NSF research program

Chibuzo Anojulu, a sophomore at Penn State Lehigh Valley, has been selected to participate in the Society for Developmental Biology's (SDB) Choose Development program. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Choose Development pairs undergraduate students from across the United States with leading researchers in developmental biology for a long-term professional development and research training project.

Read article »

April 2013

Symposium Regional Winners

Lehigh Valley students take top honors at regional research event

Students from Penn State Lehigh Valley swept the top spots for the second year in a row at the Penn State Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium held this year at Penn State Hazleton on Apr. 16. Karim M. Badre took first place in the humanities category with his project, "Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia Costs – Post Obamacare." Students Patrick D. Hullihen, Digisha R. Patel, Jessica A. Raad, and Anthony J. Toczek took first place in the STEM category with their project, "Gamma Globin Expression in Human K562 Leukemic Cell Line."

Read article »

April 23 2013

Bio students

Five Lehigh Valley students chosen for Faces of Penn State campaign

Five Lehigh Valley campus students have joined the roughly 60 "faces" already named as part of the University's Faces of Penn State campaign. Mandy Marquardt, Patrick Hullihen, Digisha Patel, Jessica Raad and Anthony Toczek have contributed to improving the world through their inspiring research and worldwide reach.

Read article »

23 March 2013

What is Pristine?

Like a detective on a cold case, Aaron O'Dea, a paleobiologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), drills down hundreds of years into the seabed in search of clues to present day changes in marine ecosystems of the Caribbean. Coral fossils are emissaries of the ocean's past. Highly sensitive to environmental changes, they serve as indicators of ocean health. Though warming seas, acidification, pollution and overfishing are generally held responsible for the decline of coral reef communities, precisely when and why their deterioration began is unknown.

Read article and watch video »

27 February 2013

Global Land Restoration Proposed

The United Nations aims to restore 150 million hectares of degraded land world-wide by 2020 - but restoration ecologists at The University of Western Australia warn this will prove to be a significant challenge unless people understand it will take more than simply planting trees.

Read article »

03 January 2013

A NEW GENERATION OF ENVIRONMENTALISTS: Fighting global warming by reconnecting people to Nature

by Richard Louv is Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Children and Nature Network

Read article »

26 November 2012

Panama leads Latin America in Ecosystem Services Science

In a review of ecosystem services (ES) science in ten Latin American countries published online in Ecosystem Services, Panama trails only Mexico by total number of publications. With over 200 ES articles each and more than double any of the remaining countries, it is clear that Panama is a leader in this research field.

Read article »

29 Sep 2012

Upcoming Event

Dr. McLaughlin will be presenting at the 2012 National Outreach Scholarship Conference on October 2. Her topic is "Taking a CHANCE: Empowering Science Education Through Outreach, Technology, and Globalization."

Read more »

29 Sep 2012

Sustainability at Penn State

Watch the video »

15 Sep 2012

China and Sustainability: Connecting the Dots between Economy and Ecology

Read The Guardian article »

10 Sep 2012

CHANCE Director Awarded National Science Foundation Grant

Read more »

22 Aug 2012

CHANCE Montana State University Collaborator, Eric Boyd, Shares His Quest to Understand the Evolution of Life on Earth....and Maybe Mars

Read article »

20 Aug 2012

Students and faculty from East Pocono Mountain High School

2009 CHANCE IDOL Winners Break Ground!!

Students and faculty from East Pocono Mountain High School have finally broken ground for their outdoor theater and community garden at Mountain View Park in Tannersville (permits now secured!). This photo is from day three of construction. The prize of $2,000 was awarded to Carrie Strunk and Clare Kelly for their video:

"The Three R's" View photos of the progress »

News from 2012

21 July 2012

Students in Panama

CHANCE Delivers School Supply Donations to the Panamanian Students at Escuela Omar Torrijos in Paraiso, Panama.

Donations from Southern Lehigh Middle School, Center Valley, PA were delivered during the CHANCE field course in Panama, Global Climate Change - Sustainability of Select Tropical Ecosystems, on July 20, 2012.

14 July 2012

Dead Reefs Can Come Back To Life

Listen to the news report from NPR »

14 July 2012

Are Chinese Willing to Pay for Blue Skies in Beijing?

Read surprizing results in an environmental publication by CHANCE Faculty member and Penn State Professor of Agriculture, Dr. Dave Abler.

Visit Abstract »

6 July 2012

ENSO Drove 2500-Year Collapse of Eastern Pacific Coral Reefs

This study, just published in the journal Science, shows how natural climatic shifts 4000 years ago stopped reef growth off the coast of Panama for centuries; and, how global climate change is probably driving eastern Pacific reefs toward another regional collapse in today's world.

Read article »

17 June 2012

Giant Mushroom Cloud In Beijing

Read Huffington Post article »

1 July 2012

Is it Possible to Sustain Healthy Whale Populations?

Dr. Juan Mate, STRI's Scientific Advisor for Marine and Coastal Affairs and CHANCE Field Instructor advocates to create a haven for migrating humpback whales from both the Southern and Northern hemispheres.

Read more »

29 June 2012

Alley named to U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame

CHANCE is proud of Dr. Alley's voice in environmental education and research, and his collaborations with CHANCE.

Read more »

21 June 2012

Dr. Brennan Featured on Penn State's website

It takes the mind of an engineer to imagine how to build a living, breathing machine to remove contaminants from our water supply. Last summer, Dr. Brennan's research team built the newest Penn State Eco-machine--constructed of duckweed, plants, and fungi.

Watch it on YouTube »

01 June 2012

Professor from Pennsylvania State University Teaching in Jiangnan

Dr. McLaughlin's visit to and two-week course at Jiangnan University was recently recognized by Jiangnan University's online news.

Read more »

31 May 2012

CHANCE congratulated in NABT's News and Views

Read article »

19 May 2012

Pennsylvania Students

CHANCE accepts school donations from Southern Lehigh Middle School, Center Valley, PA.

Donations will be delivered to Panamanian elementary school by teachers and Penn State students traveling to Panama this summer as part of the CHANCE field course, Global Climate Change - Sustainability of Select Tropical Ecosystems.

14 May 2012

Just Published in EDUCAUSE e-book: The CHANCE Program in China: Transforming Students into "Global-minded" Scientific Investigators and Citizens.

Read e-book case study »

26 April 2012

Penn State joins Dow Sustainability Innovation Challenge Award program

Read More »

16 April 2012

CHANCE program wins 2012 Community Engagement and Scholarship Award

Read more »

You've reached the end!