Brown water, bats and streetlights, plant methane
17 July 2012
This week in the Planet Earth Podcast: how browner drinking water presents problems for the water companies; the effect of street lighting on bats and their commuter routes; and how ultraviolet light makes plants emit methane.
Scientists have recently discovered that river water in some countries in Europe and parts of North America has been getting browner and browner over the last 20 or 30 years. They think this may be a direct result of less acid rain falling on soils. Healthier soils mean microbes can break down organic matter, leading to organic carbon making its way to our rivers.
But the resulting brown water is posing a problem for water companies. Sue Nelson talks to professor of biogeochemistry, Susan Waldron from the University of Glasgow, to find out how her research is helping to solve the problem.
Later, Richard Hollingham talks to conservation biologist Emma Stone from the University of Bristol to find out how a whole range of different types of street lighting are having an adverse effect on our protected bats.
Click the play button above to listen now.
A full text transcript is available.
Finally, Sue Nelson meets Andy McLeod from the University of Edinburgh to get the latest on his research into the effects of ultraviolet light on plants, and how his work led him to the Martian atmosphere.
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