This blog is an update to Alex's previous blog post. Check out how he's grown the Sidewalk Science Center!
Protein-rich diets can be detrimental to the locust species Oedaleus asiaticus, according to researchers working in northeast China. As a consequence, swarms of these locusts are more likely to occur where vegetation contains low levels of nitrogen—a primary protein source for the insects.
Unfortunately for many farmers, erosion and heavy grazing by livestock contribute to desertification—a significant problem in China—but also reduce the amount of nitrogen in crops, thereby increasing the chances of a locust swarm on overgrazed land.
Students in introductory chemistry classes often start off with learning how to balance chemical equations. The educational message, according to Carnegie Mellon University chemistry professor David Yaron, seems to be, “if you take in this stuff that’s not very interesting, you may get to use it later.”