UA in the News: July 19, 2012
July 19, 2012 - Filed under: UA in the News
UA researchers find marsh healing
Tuscaloosa News – July 19
Nature is healing itself in the Gulf of Mexico. Two years after the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill, one marsh in the Gulf appears free of oil, apparently without any outside help. A team of researchers, including University of Alabama biologists, has been taking sediment samples from the marsh since 2010, when the team received a grant to research environmental cleanup solutions in the Gulf. The highest levels of oil in their study site were detected in June 2010. Since that time, there has been a dramatic decrease in the levels of oil in the marsh. The research, published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE on Wednesday, shows that bacteria naturally found in the marsh ecosystem have been degrading the oil. Oil and natural gas seep or bubble up naturally from the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf bacteria then metabolize the oil and gas. When Deepwater Horizon oil entered the marsh, the bacteria responded by multiplying and degrading the oil. Patricia Sobecky, professor and chair of UA’s biological sciences department and one of the article’s co-authors, said she and her team were encouraged by their findings. Even though they expected to see some type of bacterial response to the spill, they didn’t expect to see a response of this magnitude.
Study conducted by three U.S. universities suggests ways Pentagon can cut billions
Supply Chain Management – July 18
Cutting unneeded bureaucracy could reduce costs by 20 percent, which would save about $20bn each year, according to the study, written by Russell Crook, a UT associate professor of management; David Patterson, executive director of the UT National Defense Business Institute; Dave Ketchen, a Lowder Eminent Scholar at Auburn University; and James Combs, a professor at Alabama. The Department of Defense currently spends $400bn each year acquiring products and services from defense contractors. About $100bn of the money is spent on administrative costs, according to 80 defense executives who were surveyed for the study. The authors found that a lack of trust between the Department of Defense and its contractors is a major driver of red tape. One solution could be “relational contracting,” a concept that has helped private industry dramatically reduce the costs of doing business, Patterson said. Relational contracting requires buyers and suppliers to work together to build trust.
Value of Birmingham area home sales improves in June
Birmingham News – July 18
The value of metro Birmingham home sales increased to $248.9 million in June, up 12 percent from May and up 13 percent from a year ago. At the same time, unit sales totaled 1,313 last month, a 3 percent improvement from May and a 4 percent rise from June 2011. The data is found in the latest report by local real estate analyst Tom Brander, who notes that unit sales fell 11 percent short of the projections he made for the month in conjunction with the Alabama Center for Real Estate at the University of Alabama.
Fox 6 (Birmingham) – July 18
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.