Aired: May 4, 2013

Rainbows On Demand

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Michael Jones McKean (Virginia Commonwealth University) is an artist whose work is a simple, but phenomenal visual event: he creates rainbows that can arc up to 400 feet in height. For over two weeks last summer, his rainbows in downtown Omaha, Nebraska could be seen from a thousand feet away. Also featured: If you’ve ever watched a bee dance near a flower patch, you’ve probably seen an element of “bee democracy.” Christian Gromoll (University of Virginia) says from collecting nectar to choosing a new home, bees follow an intelligent set of rules that keep the colony in tact. And: Salmonella is usually linked to our food supply, but David Buckalew (Longwood University) has found high levels in rivers and streams too. Plus: Female tree frogs use complex information processing when listening to the mating calls of male frogs to select their mates. Kit Murphy (James Madison University) is discovering how females make their choices and may be close to answering the age-old question, “Why is she with him?” Between 33 and 50 percent of the world’s frog species are disappearing from seemingly pristine areas, and a deadly fungus is getting part of the blame.  Reid Harris and Kevin Minbiole (James Madison University) are conducting pioneering research on naturally occurring protective bacteria on the skin of frogs that may repel the fungus.

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