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Locally Sourced Science

LSS98: Effect of Urbanization on Evolution of Squirrel Coat Color; Science Communication Workshops


In today’s show, we speak with Dr. Brad Cosentino, Associate Professor of Biology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York.

He is the lead researcher on a grant from the National Science Foundation to study how urbanization may affect the evolution of coat color in the Eastern Gray Squirrel.

Listeners can learn more about the grant by visiting this link:

Citizen scientists (yes, that’s you) can take part in the study by visiting


Jason Chang and attendees of ComSciCon-SciWri2019
(photo courtesy of Jason Chang)

In the second part of the show, Candice Limper covers a recent virtual science writing conference held specifically for graduate students and post doctoral fellows who would like to learn more about science communication. She spoke with Jason Chang, a graduate student in the Cornell Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, about the event, called ComSciCon-SciWri2020.

To learn more about the Com Sci Con, the Communicating Science workshop for Graduate Students, visit:


Show Producer: Esther Racoosin

Host: Jeff Pea

Interview of Dr. Brad Cosentino: Esther Racoosin

Interview of Jason Chang: Candice Limper

Music: Joe Lewis; Blue Dot Sessions

LSS 97: Plant Responses to Water Deficits; Harmful Algal Blooms

In this episode of Locally Sourced Science, we explore two phenomena related to climate change that may have significant effects on our local environment.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, ( Tompkins County and much of the Finger Lakes have been experiencing moderate drought conditions. Our first segment focuses on the ways that plants respond to drought. Esther Racoosin speaks with Dr. Taryn Bauerle, Associate Professor in the Cornell School of Integrative Plant Science, about her studies on how plants respond to stresses from water deficits.

Water body with algal bloom (photo courtesy of Dr. Katie Fiorella)

In our second segment, we hear about the environmental implications of climate-related increases of harmful algal blooms in different ecosystems. Janani Hariharan talks to Dr. Katie Fiorella from Cornell University. Dr. Fiorella was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant to study the economic and health effects of algal blooms on human communities in Kenya. We also hear about local algal blooms in the Finger Lakes area, and what they mean for our ecosystem. 

In our last segment of the show, Candice Limper provides a short history of the Nobel Prize ( and a quick glimpse into this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, shared for the first time by two female scientists, Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna.


Show Producer: Liz Mahood

Associate Producer and interview of Dr. Taryn Bauerle: Esther Racoosin

Interview of Dr. Katie Fiorella: Janani Harihanan

History of Nobel Prize: Candice Limper

Music: Joe Lewis; Blue Dot Sessions

LSS 96: Juno Reveals Lightning Flashes in Jupiter’s Atmosphere; Third Grade Students Build Engineering Projects

Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt.jpg

In today’s episode, we feature an interview about research on Jupiter’s atmosphere. 

Candice Limper speaks with Yury Aglyamov, a graduate student in the Cornell Department of Astronomy. He discusses his analysis of data from the NASA Juno spacecraft that reveal lightning flashes in the atmosphere of the planet Jupiter. Aglyamov is an author on a paper recently published in Nature, “Small Lightning Flashes From Shallow Electrical Storms on Jupiter”.

Depiction of a simple bridge design and build engineering project (photo courtesy of “DSC06025” by Barrett.Discovery is licensed with Creative Commons BY 2.0)
Spencer Hill, 3rd Grade Teacher at Cayuga Heights Elementary School in Ithaca, NY (photo courtesy of S. Hill)

Later in the show, Esther Racoosin speaks with Spencer Hill. He is a 3rd grade teacher at Cayuga Heights Elementary in the Ithaca City School District.

After schools closed in mid-March of this year due to COVID-19, Hill and his colleagues, Kim Snow and Emily Graber, decided to continue to instruct their students to practice simple design and build projects.

Hill applied for a Red and Gold grant from the Ithaca Public Education Initiative to provide funding for the supplies for the projects. In this episode, he speaks about what it was like to instruct the kids to do these projects at home with their families instead of with their peers at school. To learn more about the Ithaca Public Education Initiatives, and their teacher grants, go to

Producer: Esther Racoosin

Interview of Yuri Aglyamov: Candice Limper

Music: Joe Lewis; Blue Dot Sessions

LSS 95: Exploring Asteroid Bennu and “Shelter In Space” at Home

In this episode, you’ll hear an interview of three Ithaca College students, Antara Sen, Robert Melikyan and Salvatore Ferrone, who are studying the asteroid 101955 Bennu. Their advisor, Professor Beth Ellen Clark Joseph, is a scientist working on NASA mission OSIRIS-REx that will be touching down on the asteroid on October 20, in order to collect samples from the 500 meter diameter object.

To learn more about the mission, visit:

Zoe Learner Ponterio (photo courtesy of Esther Racoosin)

Later in the show, you’ll hear Liz Mahood’s interview of Zoe Learner Ponterio, manager of the Spacecraft Planetary Imaging Facility at Cornell, also known as SPIF. The facility is closed to the public right now, due to COVID-19. But SPIF is offering an exciting remote learning program called “Shelter in Space” that students can explore at home. Visit to learn more.

Today’s show starts off with an update about “2020 Migration Celebration”. The program usually is held on one day in September at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, but this year you can learn about bird migration during a two-week series of virtual presentations. To learn more, go to:

Producer: Esther Racoosin

Interview of Ithaca College Students: Esther Racoosin

Interview of Zoe Learner Ponterio: Liz Mahood

Overview of Cornell Lab of O Migration Celebration: Candice Limper

Music: Joe Lewis; Blue Dot Sessions