Paesta Podcasts



Podcasts from the Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Association. You can find us on the web at


  • How do salmon know where to return to spawn? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 45

    07/08/2017 Duração: 05min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Good morning listeners! This is Matthew Merrone, an undergraduate student at Penn State Brandywine, and I am here today to introduce this new episode of the PAESTA Podcast Series – How do salmon know where to return to spawn? A growing mystery for scientists revolves around the idea of salmon being able to know exactly how to return to their home stream to spawn. Salmon are a very unique type of fish that are born in a stream and eventually venture off into the vast oceans before coming home to give birth. For something that seems so far-fetched, salmon are somehow able to migrate thousands of miles into the open ocean for years at a time, and then they miraculously swim all the way home to the stream they were hatched in.  For years, scientists have speculated many different possible explanations for this odd phenomenon. Now, they may have finally broken the code to understanding how the salmon manage to do such a difficult task. One of the

  • What are the impacts of climate change on water resources? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 44

    07/08/2017 Duração: 03min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hello my name is Nick Malorgio and today I will be answering the question: what are the impacts of climate change on water resources? On earth, ninety-eight percent of our water is salty and two percent is fresh water. Seventy percent of fresh water is snow, and the remaining thirty percent is ground water [1]. Climate change has negatively impacted the sparse amount of fresh water on Earth. It is important to discuss the key factors that contribute to climate change and global warming as we work to preserve the world’s fresh water. Water makes up over three-quarters of Earth so 2% of that sounds like a significant amount of fresh water… So why are we so worried about preserving it? Well, water scarcity is actually a major problem caused by climate change. As of right now 1.6 billion people live with water scarcity and by the year 2025 this is expected to increase to 2.8 billion people. As the earth’s temperature continues to rise it causes

  • How much water does it really take to grow almonds? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 43

    07/08/2017 Duração: 04min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hello, on today’s episode of the PAESTA Podcast Series, we’ll be talking about whether almonds really take too much water to be worth growing, especially during a water shortage. This is a common misconception that we hopefully can clear up. The almond industry brings in an astounding 11 billion dollars annually since the popularity of almonds has gone up over the past couple years because of  almonds’  many health benefits. California supplies about 80% of the United States almonds, and dedicates 10%, or 80 million gallons, of its state’s water to grow the nut. To grow one almond  requires 1.1 gallons of water, and to grow a pound takes 1,900 gal/ lb[1]. The crazy thing about that is that walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, and cashews all use roughly the same amount of water to grow as well, but it is the almond which is in such high demand at this time. Currently, California is in the midst of a 5 year drought that has everyone looking at the nu

  • What are the differences between weather and climate? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 42

    07/08/2017 Duração: 05min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hello, my name is Vipul Kapoor and I will be hosting this podcast. Today, we will discuss the differences between weather and climate. Our main focus will be the primary differences. Then we will go in depth on how each are studied and how they affect the world. To put it simply, the main difference between weather and climate is the measurement of time. [1] Weather affects a given area and contributes to shaping the Earth's features, while climate helps scientists to determine how the Earth will change—and has changed—over a long period of time. [2] Now, as we all know, weather is always changing. A period of time in which we measure weather can be as little as 5 minutes to as long as weeks. Throughout this time, there are many changes in weather. In the span of just 10 days, weather goes through big changes. From thunderstorms to heavy rain to heat waves. [3] These are conditions in the atmosphere at a given time and place; however, they only

  • Why did the water in the Rio Olympics turn green? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 41

    07/08/2017 Duração: 04min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hello my name is Laura Delgadillo, I am a student at Penn State Brandywine and today I’d like to answer the question: Why did the water in the Olympic pools in Rio this past summer turned green? The issue started because [1] a local pool maintenance worker applied hydrogen peroxide to the pool when it already had chlorine. Hydrogen peroxide is good for cleaning pools but not when it is combined with chlorine. It was a chemical misbalance. [2] Hydrogen peroxide was dropped into the pools by the contractor and hydrogen peroxide undoes what chlorine is supposed to do which is kill germs and keep the water clean. Nonetheless, since the water had to be clean for synchronized swimmers to be able to see each other under water, for water polo players, and for divers, the solution was to drain both pools off of all their water and refill them with clean water from the practice pools in time for these events to be able to happen. Now after the public sa

  • What are the mental impacts of weather and climate disasters? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 40

    07/08/2017 Duração: 05min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hello my name is Allysa and I am a student at Penn State Brandywine. Today I will be answering the question “What are the mental impacts of weather and climate disaster?”. First off, weather and climate disasters are like natural disasters. They are major adverse events resulting from a natural process of the earth and can include floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, and natural processes of the earth.  We hear about natural disasters often on the news or weather channels where they try to predict when a storm or something of the sort is coming our way and warn us, the people, to evacuate if they feel it’s going to really bad. Some natural disasters that made big news include The tsunami in Thailand in 2004 and hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans hard in 2005. Natural disasters are something we can’t control but that can come quickly and shake our lives forever. People who are involved have most likely s

  • Wildfire impacts on water quality - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 39

    07/08/2017 Duração: 06min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hi, my name is John Miller, I’m a senior at Penn State Brandywine and I will be your host of this podcast.  Today’s topic is the impacts on water related to wildfire.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, wildfire is another term for forest fire.  Wildfire can have significant effects on water quality, from sediment loads to chemical reactions.  In today’s podcast, we will explore these impacts in detail. Erosion rates dynamically increase as a result of wildfire.  Due to the increased erosion, high sediment loads and turbidity can be observed. [1] Sediment loads, in large amounts increase processing costs of water treatment facilities.  In severe cases, such as Colorado’s Buffalo Creek wildfire, sediment can even shut the facilities down entirely. [1] Sediment containing phosphorus also promotes plant growth when found in high concentrations.  This can reduce the amount of dissolved oxygen in the watershed, impacting the local wildlife. [2]

  • What is hydroelectric power? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 38

    06/08/2017 Duração: 03min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hello, my name is Joseph Longobardi, an undergraduate student at Penn State Brandywine, and today we are going to talk about hydroelectric power.  Many people have heard of hydroelectric power, but what is it and how does it work?  Hydroelectric power is a method of generating electricity using water.  Water flows passed a turbine, which is similar to a fan intended to be spun by water.   The turbine spins a metal shaft connected to a generator which is what actually generates the electricity.  The generator is connected to the electric mains to power homes and businesses in the area.  Think about those old crank flashlights for when the power goes out.  The flashlight doesn’t require batteries because it uses the spinning motion of the crank with a generator to generate electricity.  Hydroelectric power is very similar, it just uses water to turn a turbine on the generator instead of using a person to turn a crank on the generator.  Unfortuna

  • How Did Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee impact Pennsylvania in 2011? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 37

    06/08/2017 Duração: 05min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hello, my name is Andrew Leake, and I’m going to ask you to do something for me. I want you to close your eyes as I take you five years into the past: the year 2011. Media paranoia ensues as a massive storm makes its way up the east coast of the United States like a lion stalking its prey, preparing to pounce. Your family is in a panic as this storm closes the gap to get to you ever so slowly, and precautions are being done to brace for the coming assault. Your home is now a bunker, and outside is unsafe. The storm has arrived, and its power is something no one could have prepared for. Winds strong enough to uproot trees have a never-ending reign, and raindrops hurl towards the planet’s surface like billions of miniature missiles launched a few million at a time. The battle cries of thunder and the explosions of lightning ensure this storm has no sympathy for life. Suddenly, you hear another battle cry, one that is not familiar to you. Media c

  • How do sinkholes form? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 36

    06/08/2017 Duração: 05min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hello, my name is Chrissy and I am a Junior at Penn State Brandywine. I am here today to answer the following question: How do sinkholes form? Many people know what a sinkhole looks like, but not many people know how it actually forms. Sinkholes occur in many places, such as, Canada, the United States, and Europe. It is based on the land and what is underneath. Sinkholes can come in many shapes and sizes and there are actually different types. Some sinkholes get so big that they can swallow up a house or car. Sinkholes occur overtime rather than abruptly. In this podcast I am going to discuss many different characteristics of what a sinkhole is, what shapes and sizes a sinkhole can be, the different types of sinkholes, prone sinkhole areas, and mainly, how a sinkhole is formed. There are a lot of different descriptions about how a sinkhole is characterized. I can start by saying a sinkhole can be summarized as an area where there isn’t any ext

  • Bottled vs. tap water, which is better? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 35

    06/08/2017 Duração: 05min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hi, today I am going to talk to you about water. Many people have asked the question, ‘which is better, tap or bottled water’? I know I have wondered and asked this question many times, and I did some research to find out the answer. Let’s first talk about who regulates what, when it comes to tap and bottled water. The Food and Drug Administration or, FDA is responsible for regulating bottled water. They regulate the bottle water factories, transportation, and protects water sources from bacteria and chemical contaminates. [1] The Environmental Protection Agency or, EPA is responsible for regulating tap water. The Safe Water Drinking Act, which was put into place in 1974, makes sure that tap water is also free of any bacteria and chemical contaminates. [2] Since both bottled and tap water are both regulated and tested for chemicals and bacteria, the only real difference between the two is the taste. Some people say that bottled water tastes be

  • What is a mega-drought? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 34

    06/08/2017 Duração: 05min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Greeting PAESTA podcast listeners! My name is Nick Draves, I am an undergraduate at Penn State Brandywine, and you are listening to “You Asked, We Answered.” This podcast was recorded on Nov. 11th, 2016.   One of the questions you asked is, what is a mega-drought? To better understand what a mega-drought is, I think we have to review what a drought is. To answer this question, we will take a look on how the United States Geological Survey or USGS, defines what a drought is. Though a drought has many definitions depending on the point of view from the person, a drought is a prolonged period when precipitation is less than normal [1]. Another question that needs to be answered is what can cause these extended periods of less than normal rainfall? Climate change is one of these answers. Climate change is a big factor on what can cause a drought. Scientists from the Union of Concerned Scientists noted that with the rise of the temperature over th

  • What is a thunderstorm? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 33

    06/08/2017 Duração: 03min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hi everyone! My name is Alexis and I am an undergrad student at Penn State Brandywine. Today I will be answering a question for you. The question I will be answering for you is “What is a Thunderstorm?” First off here is a basic definition. A thunderstorm is a localized storm that is produced by a cumulonimbus cloud and always contains thunder and lightning. [1] They form in conditionally unstable environments, which means there is a cold, dry air aloft over warm, moist surface air. For a thunderstorm to form there needs to be three key ingredients. [2] First there must be moisture. Moisture must be present in the lower levels of the atmosphere. Next there needs to be cold air. The cold air must be present in the upper atmosphere. And finally there must be a catalyst to push the warm air into the cold air. The catalyst is usually in the form of a front, which is the interface between air masses at different temperatures. Thunderstorms also can

  • How do astronauts on the space station get water? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 32

    06/08/2017 Duração: 03min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Koichi Wakata floats in front of the water recovery system in node 3 of the International Space Station. “Here on board the ISS, we turn yesterday’s coffee into tomorrow’s coffee”, he grins as he sips from a reflective drinking water pouch. [5] Mr. Wakata, like the other astronauts aboard the space station, is a pioneer in humanity’s self-sustainability. Water is one of the most important substances to all life on Earth, without it we would die within just a few days. How then can astronauts survive in the unforgiving conditions of space? Hi I’m Buckley Brown, an IST student here at Penn State Brandywine. Today I will be answering the question: how do astronauts on the space station get water? The answer may surprise you as much as it spoils your appetite. The water recovery system (WRS) is the saving grace for the astronauts aboard ISS. Working in conjunction with the stations oxygen generators, the WRS helps to maintain a habitable environme

  • What is the role of water at a nuclear power plant? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 31

    06/08/2017 Duração: 05min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hello my name is Duane Belgrave, Jr and I am thankful to be a part of the PAESTA Podcast Series. I am also here to answer a very important question: what is the role of water at a nuclear power plant?  When we hear the words ‘nuclear power plant’, our minds tend to automatically think about glowing radioactive elements and dramatic nuclear meltdowns. This is not a wrong thing to think about, as these two things actually do apply--well, hopefully not the nuclear meltdown part. Moving on, many people are unaware of how water plays a large role in the production of nuclear energy--in fact, the process would cease to function apart from the presence of water. Therefore, by the end of this podcast, you will know the role of water in a nuclear power plant. Before understanding the role of water at a nuclear power plant, you need to have a rudimentary knowledge of how nuclear power works--you must know the basics. Most nuclear reactors use an element

  • How do hurricanes form? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 30

    06/08/2017 Duração: 05min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hurricane season hits the Atlantic from June to November every year. Hurricanes that hit the United States form in the Caribbean or the Atlantic Ocean. Many people are familiar with hurricanes and may know them as typhoons or cyclones depending on where they live in the world. Most people know they are bad storms and cause a lot of damage but do they really know how a hurricane is formed? My name is Alyssa Abbonizio and I am a junior at Penn State Brandywine. In this podcast, I will explain how a hurricane is formed, how it’s categorized, and I’ll use examples of the worst hurricanes the United States has seen recently to help you understand how they work. A hurricane is created when a disturbance forms in the atmosphere that becomes an area of low pressure [1]. Winds coming from areas of high pressure make there way to the center of the hurricane. In order for a hurricane to form, the water needs to be warm. The oceans warmth and moisture prov

  • Solar Eclipse - the 2017 event and more - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 29

    29/01/2017 Duração: 08min

    You Asked, We Answered! Take a listen to this conversation between Kevin Toney and Dr. Chris Palma (Astronomy, Penn State University). The discussion addresses the August 2017 solar eclipse and provides a background overview of solar eclipses. To explore resources on the 2017 total solar eclipse, see our collection on the PAESTA website:

  • Can oysters help restore Chesapeake Bay? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 28

    20/12/2016 Duração: 03min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hello listeners! How is everyone today? My name is Elene Mironidis and in this podcast I will be speaking to you about the wonder of our nation’s very own Chesapeake Bay and how oysters can help restore it. A few main points that we will be discussing pertain as to why the Chesapeake Bay is so significant to us citizens and how these oysters can actually help restore this body of water. Foremost the Chesapeake Bay is thought of as the powerhouse that fuels not just the bay but the ocean life around it. Native Americans often referred to them as “the great shellfish” and in scientific terms the oyster is named the Crassostrea virginica. They are also famously known as Chesapeake gold. Two endangered species that also greatly benefit from the Bay are the shortnose sturgeon and the kemp ridley sea turtle. Now, let’s get back to how oysters can help this precious body of water… what do these oysters offer so incredibly much that it is believed they

  • What is a mudslide? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 27

    26/07/2016 Duração: 06min

    You Asked, We Answered! Transcript of the podcast Hello, my name is Noelle Zampino and I will be leading this podcast today. We are going to be talking about mudslides from a broad spectrum. The main focus of the podcast will be to gain a general understanding of how mudslides form, the risk factors involved, how to stay safe during a mudslide, the environmental and societal impacts caused by mudslides, as well as what can be done to decrease the amount of mudslides that occur. So to get started we need to understand what a mudslide is. [1] A mudslide is essentially when the ground becomes so saturated with moisture that it causes the soil and other debris to flow down slopes or hills. So this leads us into discussing risk factors for mudslides. [2] [3] [4] There are many risk factors involved with creating mudslides but some of the most common factors are excessive rainfall, drought followed by rainfall, deforestation, earthquakes, wildfires, and geological landscapes. [4] Excessive rainfall

  • How long can we go without water? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 26

    26/07/2016 Duração: 05min

    You Asked, We Answered! Trasncript of the podcast On Earth, we often take for granted the role that plants play in the oxygen production/carbon dioxide removal process. In space, other methods are used to remove these by-products and to reclaim water and oxygen. Reclaiming means to produce a new supply by combining or breaking down by-products of other processes [1]. National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA, spelled NASA life support system engineers refer to the recycling of water and air as “closing the loop.” The by-products of human metabolism, carbon dioxide (lethal in high concentrations) and water vapor, present a challenge in terms of removing these from the [1]. Reclaiming water is a more complex process than recycling air. Because water on the space shuttle is produced by fossil fuel and then stored, water recycling is not an issue. On the International Space Station or ISS, however, there are no fossil fuel, fossil fuel is important in the reduction of pollution in wate

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