Ecology Geology 

Exploring the Science of Mountain Biodiversity

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Mountain systems are hotspots of biodiversity, which means that they host many different species of many taxonomic groups in condensed spatial scales. Much has been studied about mountains and their diversity, but the biological and geological processes that maintain their great number of species remain elusive. In a recent review in Nature Geoscience, Alexandre Antonelli and colleagues have accounted for many different aspects of mountains and their diversity, trying to fill in the many gaps in this field of study by quantifying the relative importance of…

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Craft beer aisles in a grocery store. Each aisle is labeled with the name of a different country. Environment 

Globalization and Its Environmental Impact

By Megan Nichols (@nicholsrmegan) Broadly speaking, globalization refers to the increased interdependence of nations and the way people from different cultures and geographic locations can receive goods or communicate with each other thanks to free trade and information technology, among other things. But it’s a much more complex phenomenon than that, and it’s necessary to have an all-encompassing understanding of what it entails. Here, we’ll examine how globalization affects the environment in both positive and negative ways, and what changes could be made to ease its adverse effects in a…

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Deforestation Environment Science Policy 

Commodity-Driven Deforestation Threatens Forests

By Megan Nichols (@nicholsrmegan) The global economy is at the mercy of its consumers, whose needs often have a negative impact on the environment. A recently published study explores the impact of commodity-driven deforestation on forests around the world. What is the difference between deforestation and temporary forest loss? What sort of impact is this commodity-driven deforestation having on global ecosystems? Zero-deforestation agreements The commodity-driven economy is contributing to the decimation of forests across the globe. Projections by the NASA Earth Observatory estimate that if it continues at its current…

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Environment 

When Aquatic Invasive Species Take Over

By Natasha Parkinson @schrodicatsci The weather is hot, and everyone is trying to cool off any way they can. Everyone with a boat is out on the water, tubing, waterskiing, fishing, or cruising around. Anyone that has been around boats knows about boat safety: wear a life jacket, and don’t operate watercraft under the influence. But one aspect that is less discussed is preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species while you are on the water. Aquatic invasive species So what is an aquatic invasive species? Well, it is either a…

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Fire Management in California's Chaparal: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District conducted a controlled burn of central marine chaparral at Fort Ord, Calif., Oct. 15, to expose unexploded ordnance at the formerly utilized defense site. The burn, carefully coordinated with local agencies, lasted less than two hours and was timed so that prevailing winds would help blow the smoke away from population centers. The controlled burns are part of a comprehensive ordnance removal program at Fort Ord, which closed in 1994 under recommendation from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. (U.S. Army photo/Released) Animals Biology Environment 

Fire Management in California’s Chaparral Harms Birds

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore California suffered its largest and most destructive wildfires in 2017. Victims included hundreds of wild animals. When the blazing fires were finally extinguished, the surviving animals—including birds—were forced to find new homes. Now, for the first time, researchers investigating the effect of fire management practices on birds in California’s chaparral have found that one practice known as mastication, which consists of mechanically crushing vegetation to remove fuel, threatens bird communities. “The best available science tells us that managing chaparral imperils wildlife and increases fire risk,” says…

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Bats, Cuba Animals Videos 

Shelf Life Video: Into the Island of Bats

The island of Cuba is a key piece of the puzzle for two researchers who are studying bats and trying to understand biodiversity in the Caribbean. Find out why on an expedition with mammalogists J. Angelo Soto-Centeno and Gilberto Silva Taboada, joined by Ana Luz Porzecanski, director of the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation.   Shelf Life videos are shared by agreement with the American Museum of Natural History. GotScience Magazine kindly reminds you to not touch wild bats. Learn more about bat-human virus transmission. “We have evidence at a…

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Robust Rice Varieties Cut Costs and Pollution Biology Environment Health 

Robust Rice Varieties Cut Costs and Pollution

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Climate change coupled with our growing population is putting tremendous pressure on world food production, especially in developing countries. We need crops that use resources more efficiently. Scientists from China and Canada have identified “superstar” rice varieties that can reduce pollution and also save money spent by farmers on nitrogen fertilizers. “Anything we can do to reduce demand for nitrogen, both environmentally and for farmers in the developing world struggling to pay for it, is a significant contribution,” says Herbert Kronzucker,  distinguished professor at the University…

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Pharmaceutical waste Environment 

Pharmaceutical Waste Damages Aquatic Ecosystems

By Shayna Keyles, @shaynakeyles In a society where nearly 70 percent take at least one prescription drug and the pharmaceutical and biochemical industries spend billions of dollars each year to create new products, it is no surprise that a large amount of pharmaceutical wastewater is produced each year. But what happens to this waste, and what impact does it have on our environment? In early 2014, researchers with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) surveyed 59 headstreams in the US Piedmont ecoregion to answer just those questions. These streams were…

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A stranded humpback whale carcass in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Humpback whales were among the Alaska marine mammals that showed exposure to algal toxins, according to new research. Photo credit: Kathy Burek-Huntington, Alaska Veterinary and Pathology Services. Animals Biology Environment 

Algal Toxins Found in Alaskan Marine Mammals

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Harmful algal blooms produce toxins that can be deadly to marine mammals. In the US, such toxins—unheard of 20 years ago—have caused almost half of all unusual marine mammal deaths in the last two decades, particularly among California sea lions. Now, for the first time scientists have discovered algal toxins farther north in Alaskan marine mammals; the mammals’ health can be jeopardized by these toxins. “What really surprised us was finding these toxins so widespread in Alaska, far north of where they have been previously documented…

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Meltwater rivers gushing on top of the ice layers in Greenland Environment Uncategorized 

Greenland Ice Sheets Losing Ability to Absorb Meltwater

By Neha Jain Greenland Ice Sheets Losing Ability to Absorb Meltwater Sea-rise levels caused by a warmer Earth may be higher than predicted, according to a new study. Meltwater from ice sheets at the poles is often blamed for rising sea levels. Now, scientists have discovered some more grim news: Ice sheets in Greenland are losing their ability to retain meltwater, resulting in faster runoff of meltwater into the ocean. Meltwater from ice sheets does not always run off into the ocean. During summer when melting occurs, some of the…

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