Australian Bushfires/Wildfires Biodiversity Climate Change Environment 

Extreme Wildfires’ Effects on Australian Forests

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Australia began 2020 facing the losses and catastrophic effects of the early fire season that began in September 2019. As of this writing, 33 people have died, and more than 2,200 homes have been lost—numbers that may increase, as some fires are still burning in the country, even after heavy rains have helped put out others. According to scientists, more than one billion animals have died in the wildfires, while more than 46 million acres of land have burned. Experts are saying that the Australian environment…

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The water bear or moss piglet is a tiny invertebrate that's been around on Earth for more than half a billion years. This is a giant model at the AMNH's "Life at the Limits" exhibit. Photo courtesy of Eden, Janine, and Jim(CC BY 2.0) Animals Biology Climate Change Environment 

Even the Resilient Tardigrade Has an Achilles Heel

By Shelby Nilsen (@shellbeegrace) Climate change is already affecting many habitats and ecosystems. As a result, scientists are working to understand how the rising temperatures we face might affect extant animals—that is, those species that are still surviving—including tardigrades, some of the toughest organisms around, which are well known for their ability to adapt to extreme environments.  In the face of certain environmental cues, tardigrades enter cryptobiosis, a state in which all metabolic processes stop until the organism’s surroundings become favorable again. This remarkable survival tactic allows tardigrades to withstand…

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hydropower dam Engineering Environment 

Are Hydropower Dams the Future of Energy?

By Emily Folk @EmilySFolk Growing concerns about fossil fuels—especially their potential contributions to pollution and global warming—have individuals and governments around the globe looking for alternative sources of power. Hydropower is one of the oldest sources of electricity, already responsible for generating around 52 percent of the United States’ renewable electricity generation according to the National Hydropower Association. Hydroelectric dams are seen as some of the best options available. However, there are challenges that hydropower will need to overcome—otherwise, they may prevent the energy source’s widespread adoption. Current state of…

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Bush Fires across Woy Woy Bay in New South Wales, Australia, Photo by Martin Snicer (CC BY-ND 2.0) Climate Change Ecology Environment 

Australian Bushfires vs Amazon Rain Forest Fires

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Year 2019 faced many climatic emergencies and devastating scenarios. The Amazon rainforest in Brazil was consumed by a number of fires that burned around 17.5 million acres of land, and Australia was ravaged by massive bushfires that have spread uncontrollably into 2020. There are many questions about the differences between these two events. From a large distance, they might look alike, but they actually present a lot of dissimilarities, making any comparison unfair. The evident and shocking number of deaths in Australia—both human and animal—already shows…

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