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Science on the Spot

The Science on the SPOT original web video series goes behind the scenes at local Bay Area labs, follows breaking discoveries, and gets you special access to obscure science locations and collections, plus much more.

Science on the SPOT: Sound Waves – Listening to Orcas

QUEST | July 20, 2011

Science on the SPOT: Sound Waves – Listening to Orcas

Orcas Educator Guide ( pdf ) A resource for using QUEST video and blogs in the classroom; created by PBS partner station KCTS 9 Retired professor Val Veirs. LIME KILN STATE PARK, ...

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Science on the SPOT: Journey of the San Francisco Bay Trail

QUEST | July 12, 2011

Science on the SPOT: Journey of the San Francisco Bay Trail

A dedicated group of outdoor lovers and trail planners is working to build a 500-mile biking and hiking trail along the entire shoreline of San Francisco and San Pablo bays.  The San Francisco Bay Trail project was started in the 1980s to build a ...

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Science on the SPOT: Lupe the Mammoth Comes to Life

QUEST | June 1, 2011

Science on the SPOT: Lupe the Mammoth Comes to Life

In 2005, a partial skeleton of a juvenile mammoth was discovered along the Guadalupe River near downtown San Jose. A full-scale replica is now featured in a new exhibit at the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose. Learn more with Kaitlin Maguire from the UC Museum of Paleontology about these ...

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Science on the SPOT: Banana Slugs Unpeeled

QUEST | April 13, 2011

Science on the SPOT: Banana Slugs Unpeeled

One of the most beloved and iconic native species within the old growth redwood forests is the Pacific Banana Slug. These slimy friends of the forest are the ultimate recyclers. Feeding on fallen leaves, mushrooms or even dead animals, they play a pivotal role in replenishing the soil. ...

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Science on the SPOT: Secrets of Sourdough

QUEST | March 23, 2011

Science on the SPOT: Secrets of Sourdough

Secrets of Sourdough Educator Guide ( pdf ) A resource for using QUEST video in the classroom. Since the Gold Rush days when prospectors baked loaves in their encampments, sourdough bread has been a beloved favorite of the Bay Area. But what is true sourdough bread? It's more ...

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Science on the SPOT: Fungus Fair

QUEST | March 9, 2011

Science on the SPOT: Fungus Fair

One day each December, Bay Area mushroom lovers fan out and collect fungi of all shapes and colors. They then display their finds at the Mycological Society of San Francisco's annual Fungus Fair. QUEST tags along with fair organizer J.R. Blair and his San Francisco State University students as they ...

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Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Biological Mystery

QUEST | February 24, 2011

Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Biological Mystery

Albino Redwoods Educator Guide ( pdf ) A resource for using QUEST video and audio in the classroom. UC Santa Cruz plant biologist Jarmila Pitterman and her students are studying rare albino redwood trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains to better understand the inner workings of these unusual ...

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Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Cracking the Code

QUEST | February 23, 2011

Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Cracking the Code

Albino Redwoods Educator Guide ( pdf ) A resource for using QUEST video and audio in the classroom. Stanford geneticists Ghia Euskirchen and Barry Starr trek into the Santa Cruz Mountains to uncover the genetic mystery of the rare albino redwood trees. QUEST follows along as they ...

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Science on the SPOT: Peregrine Falcons Up Close

QUEST | February 8, 2011

Science on the SPOT: Peregrine Falcons Up Close

QUEST meets the San Francisco Zoo's resident Peregrine Falcon, "Bella." Not long ago Peregrine Falcons were perched at the edge of extinction. But through the work of conservationists, they have rebounded and have been taken off the endangered species list. "This is a conservation success story." says Noelle Bidegainberry of the ...

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Science on the SPOT: Open Source Creativity – Hackerspaces

QUEST | January 26, 2011

Science on the SPOT: Open Source Creativity – Hackerspaces

Inspired in part by the open source movement, public spaces are emerging where people congregate to share ideas, make cool projects, teach, and brainstorm on everything from coding to cooking. With no leaders, they have one rule: "Be excellent to each other." Take a tour of the hackerspace Noisebridge, located ...

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Science on the SPOT: Restoring San Francisco’s Lost Manzanita

QUEST | January 19, 2011

Science on the SPOT: Restoring San Francisco’s Lost Manzanita

QUEST explores how the San Francisco Botanical Garden is toiling to bring one of the city's rarest native plants, the Franciscana manzanita, back from the brink of extinction.

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Science on the SPOT: Measuring Redwood Giants

QUEST | December 18, 2010

Science on the SPOT: Measuring Redwood Giants

Redwoods and Climate Change Educator Guide ( pdf ) A resource for using QUEST video and audio in the classroom. Forest ecologist Steve Sillett is leading a team of scientists as they climb and measure every branch of some of the last and tallest old growth redwoods in ...

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Science on the SPOT: Watching the Tides

QUEST | December 11, 2010

Science on the SPOT: Watching the Tides

Watching the Tides Educator Guide ( pdf ) A resource for using QUEST video in the classroom. Ocean tides rise and fall twice a day, influenced by the gravitational forces of the sun and moon. Studying tides' rhythmic movements helps us understand both the ocean and the cosmos. ...

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Science on the SPOT: Cal Academy Butterfly Collection

QUEST | November 18, 2010

Science on the SPOT: Cal Academy Butterfly Collection

The California Academy of Sciences has the largest collection of biological reference materials west of the Mississippi. Dating back over 100 years, the collection provides a treasure trove of biological information for scientists and researchers studying the natural world. Norman Penny, collections manager of the entomology department, gives ...

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Science on the SPOT: Fire and Butterflies

QUEST | October 28, 2010

Science on the SPOT: Fire and Butterflies

Fire and Butterflies Educator Guide ( pdf ) A resource for using QUEST video in the classroom. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is teaming up with its partners to study how fire may promote the growth of Silver Leaf Lupine, a native flower that serves as host ...

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Science on the SPOT: Life on the Farallones

QUEST | October 13, 2010

Science on the SPOT: Life on the Farallones

The Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco are a vital home to many birds and marine mammals. While the forbidding and inhospitable nature of the Farallones may be ideal for wildlife, it also makes this a difficult place for scientists to live and work. QUEST ventures ...

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Science on the SPOT: Digging the Devil’s Slide Tunnel

QUEST | October 1, 2010

Science on the SPOT: Digging the Devil’s Slide Tunnel

California Highway One, between Pacifica and Montara, was carved out of the steep coastal cliffs. Plagued by closures due to rockslides and land slippage, this route has earned the nickname "The Devil's Slide." Now two tunnels beneath San Pedro Mountain, each 30-feet wide and 4,200-feet long are being dug to ...

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Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols

QUEST | September 15, 2010

Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols

Color By Nano Educator Guide ( pdf ) A resource for using QUEST video in the classroom. Artist Kate Nichols longed to paint with the iridescent colors of butterfly wings, but no such pigments existed. So she became the first artist-in-residence at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to synthesize ...

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Science on the SPOT: Driverless Cars

QUEST | September 3, 2010

Science on the SPOT: Driverless Cars

Meet Shelley, a car that drives itself. Researchers at Stanford University have developed an autonomous race car and plan on taking it on one of the toughest courses in the country. First, the car is taking them for a test ride at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. ...

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Science on the SPOT: Albino Redwoods, Ghosts of the Forest

QUEST | August 26, 2010

Science on the SPOT: Albino Redwoods, Ghosts of the Forest

Albino Redwoods Educator Guide ( pdf ) A resource for using QUEST video and audio in the classroom. Pale ghosts that hide amid their gigantic siblings, only a few dozen albino redwood trees are known to exist. They are genetic mutants that lack the chlorophyll needed for photosynthesis. ...

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