Scientists rushed to save lab specimens as California’s PG&E cuts power

José Cerca left his lab on the University of California, Berkeley campus Wednesday evening, the fateful day Pacific Gas and Electric began intentionally cutting power to wide swathes of Northern California. Cerca, an evolutionary biologist working at school’s Evolab, thought his workday was finished. 

But then Cerca ran into his distressed boss who said, ominously, “We have to move everything.”

The news came that PG&E’s intentional blackouts — a new disaster strategy to limit catastrophic, climate change-enhanced fires during the state’s notoriously windy fall season — would cause Berkeley’s research laboratories to soon lose power. That’s terrible news for biologists, many of whom freeze collections of specimens, cells, and genetic material. Read more…

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