Heather Goldstone

Science Editor and Host of Living Lab

Heather Goldstone is science editor at WCAI and host of Living Lab on The Point, a weekly show exploring how science gets done and makes its way into our daily lives. Goldstone holds a Ph.D. in ocean science from M.I.T. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and spent a decade as researcher before leaving the lab to pursue journalism. She has reported extensively on Woods Hole’s unique scientific community and key environmental issues on Cape Cod. Her stories have appeared in outlets ranging from Cape Cod Times and Commercial Fishery News to NPR and PBS News Hour. Most recently, Goldstone hosted Climatide.org, an NPR-sponsored blog exploring present-day impacts of climate change on coastal life.

Ways to Connect

An aptly named fishing boat in New Bedford Harbor.
animaltourism.com / flickr

There’s nothing new about tension between New England’s fishermen and the scientists and regulators who oversee their industry. But the situation has reached fever pitch in the past two years, in large part due to a federally mandated deadline to end overfishing and the introduction of a new management scheme, known as catch shares, in which a total catch limit is set and the catch is divvied up among eligible fishermen.

WCAI's new look
Heather Goldstone / WCAI

2012 was an exciting year here at 3 Water Street. As the year draws to a close, we're looking back at some of the most memorable moments. From favorite commentaries to new shows, and even a new building, here are our picks for the Top 12 of 2012. 

  1. WCAI gets a facelift - WCAI is proud to call the historic Davis House in Woods Hole home. But this old house was in desperate need of some updating, both inside and out. Over the past year, we've restored the original wood clapboard siding, added a front porch, and made the first two floors of the building handicap-accessible. It's been a long process, but we're prouder than ever. You're always welcome to stop by and see the results for yourself. Otherwise, you can WATCH THE SLIDESHOW >>

An unnamed mushroom found in South Carolina and posted on mushroomobserver.org.
Patrick R. Smith / Encyclopedia of Life

I feel like I'm becoming a broken record. Each week, my guests wow me with just how little we know about their chosen field. Today, it was the diversity of life on Earth. Earlier this year, Encyclopedia of Life (EOL.org) passed the one million page mark. While that's impressive, it's nowhere close to the project's goal of one page for every species on Earth. In fact, Nathan Wilson, technical director for EOL.org and a curator on the site, says we don't even have a good handle on how many species there are on Earth.

You can train a dog, but what about its owner?
Carlos Smith / Flickr

You don't expect your dog to speak English or use a toilet. So you make accommodations. But Melissa Berryman, author of People Training for Good Dogs, says there are a lot of common misconceptions that lead to unreasonable expectations of human behavior from dogs. The results can be frustrating or even dangerous, and that's why Berryman recommends training for dog owners, as well as their pets.

At least ninety percent of household dust contains chemicals that pose a health risk.
Heather Goldstone / WCAI

Dust is unsightly, a sign of poor housekeeping, perhaps. But toxic? Unfortunately, yes.

In 2003, researchers from Massachusetts-based Silent Spring Institute sampled dust from 120 homes on Cape Cod looking for hormone-like chemicals known as endocrine disruptors. They followed that up with a study of 50 homes in California. In both cases, they found what they were looking for.

One of the chemicals they found in high levels was a banned flame retardant called PBDE. So they went back, again, to look for other flame retardants in those California homes. And, again, they found what they were looking for in abundance. One class of flame retardants, known as chlorinated Tris compounds, made up as much as 0.1% of dust. That's a lot for a single chemical.

An eruption of an underwater volcano in the Mariana Arc, 2006.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Oceans cover three quarters of the Earth’s surface, so it’s no surprise that three quarters of volcanic activity happens on the sea floor. Understanding those volcanoes has ramifications for everything from climate science to the evolution of life. But studying volcanoes covered, in some cases, by miles of water is no mean feat. So it’s also no surprise that there are still plenty of discoveries yet to be made and questions remaining to be answered.

Factory-farmed beef has one of the highest carbon footprints of any food.
Rick Harrison / Flickr

While conversations about climate change typically focus on cars or power plants, the food we eat is a major factor that often flies under the radar. Food - it's production, processing, and transport - accounts for nearly a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The irony is that putting a dent in that portion of our carbon footprint could be fairly simple. If everyone in the U.S. avoided meat and dairy one day a week for a year, it would be the carbon-cutting equivalent of taking 7.6 million cars off the road. On the other hand, since transportation actually accounts for just 2% of food-related emissions, eating locally may not be the climate panacea some have made out.

Artist Cornelia Kavanagh visited WHOI biologist Gareth Lawson’s lab in November 2011 to show him some of the pteropod sculptures on which she was working.
Tom Kleindinst / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Audio Pending...

You've no doubt heard of the butterfly effect. Well, Gareth Lawson of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has his own version: the sea butterfly effect.

Ari Daniel Shapiro interviews renowned ecologist E. O. Wilson.
Tracy Barbaro / Encyclopedia of Life

Ari Daniel Shapiro is a scientist-turned-radio producer. He earned a PhD from the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Biological Oceanography. Rather than continue his research on killer whale behavior, though, he became a radio producer.

A 2.5 foot storm surge brought modest coastal flooding at high tide in Woods Hole as Hurricane Sandy approached the Jersey Shore Monday morning.
Heather Goldstone / WCAI

Hurricane Sandy. It’s been called Frankenstorm and it’s causing flashbacks to the Perfect Storm of 1991, when a Halloween Nor’Easter absorbed Hurricane Grace and caused millions of dollars in damage. Hurricane Sandy is an enormous category one hurricane – more than one thousand miles in diameter - due to hit the eastern seaboard later today. The Cape, Islands and South Coast are bracing for the worst but hoping for a glancing blow.

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