Father and Daughter Linked by Passion for Clean Water
Steve and Lauren Wargo are uniquely linked, not only are they father and daughter, but they both have a passion for clear water. Steve is a marathon open water swimmer from Cleveland, OH and Lauren is the Riverkeeper for the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation in New Bern, NC.
This summer, Steve completed an epic marathon swim of 24.3 miles across Lake Erie from Long Point, Ontario in Canada to North East, PA in U.S. Steve became the sixteenth person to complete the swim and set the record for being the first Ohioan and eldest person at age 55.
“I logged many hours swimming in Lake Erie preparing for this swim, so the water quality is of great importance to me,” said Steve. The bacteria alerts caused by E. coli create some of the worst conditions nationwide along the Lake Erie shoreline. In August, there were 24 days where Headlands Beach State Park in Northeastern Ohio posted a contamination advisory when E. coil samples were greater than 235 parts per million. It's not uncommon for an advisory to be posted after a significant rainfall as the old sewer system overflows and dumps raw sewage into the lake.
Lauren embarked on a new position as the Neuse Riverkeeper this summer after graduating from Miami University with an environmental science and botany degree. Lauren is responsible for advocacy for the entire Neuse River Basin. She works to develop programs that foster and sustain stewardship and conservation in one the nation’s most unique ecosystems.
“Growing up along the shores of Lake Erie was eye opening to me when it came to learning about water and natural resources," said Lauren. "Lake Erie is arguably the most threatened Great Lake because of its relatively small water volume. I've always felt an instinctive bond between my spirit and the natural world around me. Like dad, I grew up loving the water, particularly it's recreational and aesthetic value. Water conditions can make or break the state of an ecosystem, and also have far reaching effects seen in local economies. Clean water is purifying, cleansing and pertinent for thriving ecosystems and communities.”
While in college, Lauren spent two summers mapping invasive species in the waters adjacent to Lake Erie.
Bacteria in recent years has caused significant fish kills as far south as New Bern.
“I am so proud of Lauren and the work that she is doing. Lauren possesses a combination of passion for the environment and skill set to influence groups impacting the river. I know Lauren along with the committed members of the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation are going to make a difference for the future of the river,” Steve said.
Father and Daughter agree that our fresh water is not an invulnerable resource. Public and private entities need to work together to protect and clean up our waterways.
Visit EcoWatch’s WATER page for more related news on this topic.
The ghoulishly named ogre-faced spider can "hear" with its legs and use that ability to catch insects flying behind it, the study published in Current Biology Thursday concluded.
"Spiders are sensitive to airborne sound," Cornell professor emeritus Dr. Charles Walcott, who was not involved with the study, told the Cornell Chronicle. "That's the big message really."
The net-casting, ogre-faced spider (Deinopis spinosa) has a unique hunting strategy, as study coauthor Cornell University postdoctoral researcher Jay Stafstrom explained in a video.
They hunt only at night using a special kind of web: an A-shaped frame made from non-sticky silk that supports a fuzzy rectangle that they hold with their front forelegs and use to trap prey.
They do this in two ways. In a maneuver called a "forward strike," they pounce down on prey moving beneath them on the ground. This is enabled by their large eyes — the biggest of any spider. These eyes give them 2,000 times the night vision that we have, Science explained.
But the spiders can also perform a move called the "backward strike," Stafstrom explained, in which they reach their legs behind them and catch insects flying through the air.
"So here comes a flying bug and somehow the spider gets information on the sound direction and its distance. The spiders time the 200-millisecond leap if the fly is within its capture zone – much like an over-the-shoulder catch. The spider gets its prey. They're accurate," coauthor Ronald Hoy, the D & D Joslovitz Merksamer Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences, told the Cornell Chronicle.
What the researchers wanted to understand was how the spiders could tell what was moving behind them when they have no ears.
It isn't a question of peripheral vision. In a 2016 study, the same team blindfolded the spiders and sent them out to hunt, Science explained. This prevented the spiders from making their forward strikes, but they were still able to catch prey using the backwards strike. The researchers thought the spiders were "hearing" their prey with the sensors on the tips of their legs. All spiders have these sensors, but scientists had previously thought they were only able to detect vibrations through surfaces, not sounds in the air.
To test how well the ogre-faced spiders could actually hear, the researchers conducted a two-part experiment.
First, they inserted electrodes into removed spider legs and into the brains of intact spiders. They put the spiders and the legs into a vibration-proof booth and played sounds from two meters (approximately 6.5 feet) away. The spiders and the legs responded to sounds from 100 hertz to 10,000 hertz.
Next, they played the five sounds that had triggered the biggest response to 25 spiders in the wild and 51 spiders in the lab. More than half the spiders did the "backward strike" move when they heard sounds that have a lower frequency similar to insect wing beats. When the higher frequency sounds were played, the spiders did not move. This suggests the higher frequencies may mimic the sounds of predators like birds.
University of Cincinnati spider behavioral ecologist George Uetz told Science that the results were a "surprise" that indicated science has much to learn about spiders as a whole. Because all spiders have these receptors on their legs, it is possible that all spiders can hear. This theory was first put forward by Walcott 60 years ago, but was dismissed at the time, according to the Cornell Chronicle. But studies of other spiders have turned up further evidence since. A 2016 study found that a kind of jumping spider can pick up sonic vibrations in the air.
"We don't know diddly about spiders," Uetz told Science. "They are much more complex than people ever thought they were."
Learning more provides scientists with an opportunity to study their sensory abilities in order to improve technology like bio-sensors, directional microphones and visual processing algorithms, Stafstrom told CNN.
"The point is any understudied, underappreciated group has fascinating lives, even a yucky spider, and we can learn something from it," he told CNN.
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In 'Road Map for a More Sustainable Future,' NY Regulator Tells Banks to Consider Climate Risks in Planning
By Brett Wilkins
Regulators in New York state announced Thursday that banks and other financial services companies are expected to plan and prepare for risks posed by the climate crisis.
There are many different CBD oil brands in today's market. But, figuring out which brand is the best and which brand has the strongest oil might feel challenging and confusing. Our simple guide to the strongest CBD oils will point you in the right direction.
A NASA spacecraft has successfully collected a sample from the Bennu asteroid more than 200 million miles away from Earth. The samples were safely stored and will be preserved for scientists to study after the spacecraft drops them over the Utah desert in 2023, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Exxon Mobil will lay off an estimated 14,000 workers, about 15% of its global workforce, including 1,900 workers in the U.S., the company announced Thursday.
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