July 8: UF in the News, 07/06/21-07/08/21

Crystal meth in waterways is turning trout into drug addicts — The Telegraph, 07/06/21
Crystal meth is turning brown trout into drug addicts, a study has found. The drug, also known as methamphetamine, is increasingly polluting waterways and researchers are investigating the impact it has on marine life.

A separate study recently found antidepressants are putting crayfish at increased risk by predators by making them more brazen. The crustaceans were found to spend more time searching for food – thereby putting themselves in danger – when water was polluted by Prozac.

“Crayfish exposed to the antidepressant came out into the open, emerging from their shelter more quickly than crayfish not exposed to the antidepressant," said Dr Lindsey Reisinger, a co-author of the study from UF.

Florida braces for hurricanes, with Surfside on its mind — The Hill, 07/06/21
Florida is bracing for what is expected to be a furious hurricane season, even as the state deals with the fallout from the trauma of the condominium collapse in the Miami suburb of Surfside.

“If there’s more energy available to be extracted out of the climate system by these storms, then they could intensify and/or grow larger in size as they make use of that energy,” said Corene Matyas, a geography professor specializing in tropical climatology at UF.

Delta variant spreading quickly in Florida, now dominant coronavirus strain in the U.S. — Tampa Bay Times, 07/07/21

The highly contagious delta variant is spreading rapidly in Florida and is the dominant strain of the COVID-19 virus in the country, according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We shouldn’t be surprised at how quickly the delta variant is spreading here,” said Derek Cummins, an epidemiologist at UF, “given what we saw elsewhere in the world where it took over.”

Tuff stuff ah-ha mountain hydrangea offers exquisite beauty — The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 07/07/21
Tuff Stuff Ah-Ah is a mountain hydrangea known botanically as Hydrangea serrata. It is from the higher coastal elevations of Japan, Korea and China. This might lead you to think you really need elevation to succeed, but trials with UF has shown they are quite adaptable to even central Florida.

New Laws Let Americans With Disabilities Vote Online. They’ve Also Resurrected The Debate About Voting Access vs. Election Security — FiveThirtyEight, 07/07/21

Since the dawn of the internet, someone has inevitably raised this question every election cycle: Why can’t we vote online? (The question was particularly apt in 2020, when states had to grapple with how to run an election during a pandemic.) And every time, election security experts dutifully answer that there is currently no technological way to guarantee a secure online ballot. 

“There is a conflict typically between accessibility and security,” said UF's Juan Gilbert, who chairs the computer, information science and engineering department there and studies accessible voting systems. “If you think about it, the most secure thing in the world, whatever it is, is going to be the most inaccessible thing, just by definition.”

Rubio hauls in $4M for 2022 Senate reelection in the past three months — FOX News, 07/08/21
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida brought in $4 million during the April-June second quarter of fundraising, his campaign reports.

"Both parties are going to invest heavily in Florida," UF political science professor Michael McDonald told Fox News recently. "It could be one of the most expensive U.S. Senate races in history given the trajectory that we’ve seen in increasing amount of money flowing into elections."

Another study finds people are more likely to have health complications if they have had a severe case of COVID-19 — CNN, 07/08/21
People who were severely ill with Covid-19 are twice as likely to need to go back to the hospital for a Covid-19-related complication in the future compared to patients who had mild or moderate symptoms, according to a new study from UF.

The researchers examined patient records for nearly 11,000 people treated in their health system. Of those patients, 114 had severe Covid-19 and needed to be hospitalized. Another 211 had mild or moderate Covid-19.