Air pollution is destroying the fragrance of flowers, scents that act as trails that pollinating insects follow to their source. Jose Fuentes (University of Virginia) says this could explain why bees and butterflies are dying off in some parts of the world, with potentially dire effects for our food supply.
Also: Scientists are learning that nano-particles may be speeding the spread of pollutants in rivers. Michael Hochella (Virginia Tech) has discovered how the tiny molecules can allow polluting metals to hitch a ride.
And: David Schmale (Virginia Tech) is using remote controlled aircraft to study the diversity and function of microorganisms in the atmosphere. He’s finding a tremendous diversity of bacteria and fungi tens to hundreds of meters above the ground in the Virginia.