Smoke & Water

Living With Fire Podcast

Sep 13 2022 • 21 mins

Wildfire smoke can seriously impact humans' health, but scientists have discovered that it can also affect the health of ecosystems. On the Living With Fire Podcast, Professor Sudeep Chandra, director of the Global Water Center at the University of Nevada, Reno, talks about how scientists have been working to understand these impacts on Lake Tahoe's aquatic ecosystem.

Stakeholders in the Tahoe Basin have been working for decades to “Keep Tahoe Blue,” and have been trying to control algae growth in the lake. Chandra explains that one direct effect wildfire smoke can potentially have on the lake is stimulating algae growth.

"So just like Miracle-Gro has a nice combination of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to grow our garden plants, it turns out smoke has a ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus. Sometimes it's optimal, and sometimes it's not," explains Chandra.

In addition to providing nutrients for fertilizing algae, Chandra explains that smoke can also affect the amount of light hitting the lake, potentially reducing the amount of ultraviolet light, which kills algae cells.

With wildfires occurring more frequently and becoming more intense, Assistant Professor Christina Restaino, director of the Living With Fire program, explained what it's like for scientists working in fire right now.

"We're entering this new era of no analog experiences, where these ecosystems are experiencing this smoke every single year or fire every single year. We don't have an analog from the past to understand that. So yeah, it's exciting, and it's really unknown."

To learn more, check out the resources below:


You Might Like

Hidden Brain
Hidden Brain
Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam
Radiolab
Radiolab
WNYC Studios
Science Friday
Science Friday
Science Friday and WNYC Studios
StarTalk Radio
StarTalk Radio
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Sasquatch Chronicles
Sasquatch Chronicles
Sasquatch Chronicles - Bigfoot Encounters
Something You Should Know
Something You Should Know
Mike Carruthers | OmniCast Media | Cumulus Podcast Network
This Podcast Will Kill You
This Podcast Will Kill You
Exactly Right Media – the original true crime comedy network
Tooth & Claw: True Stories of Animal Attacks
Tooth & Claw: True Stories of Animal Attacks
Wes Larson, Jeff Larson, Mike Smith | QCODE
Paranormal Mysteries Podcast
Paranormal Mysteries Podcast
Paranormal Mysteries | Unexplained Supernatural Stories
Science Vs
Science Vs
Spotify Studios
The Confessionals
The Confessionals
Merkel Media
Blurry Creatures
Blurry Creatures
Blurry Creatures
Real Ghost Stories Online
Real Ghost Stories Online
Real Ghost Stories Online | Paranormal, Supernatural & Horror Radio