Under the Microscope

September 24, 2009


Welcome to Under the Microscope, KBIA’s weekly look at science, health and technology. I’m Elle Moxley.

This week we’ll visit a local agency helping senior citizens combat depression.

We’ll also take a look at coal energy consumption on the University of Missouri campus.

But first, an update on a little critter giving state conservation officials a big headache.

Chinese mystery snails first appeared in the Niangua River in August, but despite their elusive name, there’s little mystery as to how they arrived.

Missouri Department of Conservation agent Eric Smith says the snails are probably the result of illegal dumping of aquarium waste and bait.

Now Smith and other conservationists are worried the Chinese mystery snail will disrupt the ecological balance of Missouri waters.

“When a species comes to the state that is not native and does not have a natural predator, they seem to populate and populate without control… and therein lies the problem.

Chinese mystery snails can get to be pretty big — about the size of a golf ball — and ridding local waters of the pest could be difficult to accomplish without disrupting native species.

So far the snails haven’t moved up the tributary and into the Lake of the Ozarks, but conservation officials aren’t taking any chances. The department of conservation has placed the Chinese mystery snail on the prohibited species list, which makes it illegal for anyone to buy, sell or possess the critters.

Conservationists are also urging those who use the Lake of the Ozarks region not to dump anything foreign into the water.

Members of the Sierra Club Student Coalition rallied on the University of Missouri campus last week to raise awareness about clean energy alternatives.

The university is trying to reduce its coal energy consumption, but as KBIA’s Brandon Smith reports, for some students, it’s not moving fast enough.

A new program could help Missouri seniors who are struggling with age-related depression and isolation.

If adopted, the program — called Healthy IDEAS — would help state agencies treat depression.

Representatives from a number of Missouri agencies gathered recently to learn more about the program and how to implement it locally.

KBIA’s Julie Black reports.

Thanks for listening to Under the Microscope.

I’m Elle Moxley.

Remember, podcasts of this and all our shows are available online at

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