Earth & Environment

Tuna on the move: How climate change impacts Pacific Island economies

Climate change affects the spatial distribution of commercially important tuna species in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Predicted shifts of tuna outside the jurisdictions of Pacific Island countries and territories could have a significant impact on the revenue they receive from tuna fishing, threatening their economic stability during climate change. Dr Johann Bell from Conservation International and the University of Wollongong, […]

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Earth & Environment

Australia’s approach to seed biosecurity

Globalised food production requires a heavy investment in biosecurity to prevent the spread and establishment of crop pests from imported seeds. Many countries already test incoming seeds for the absence of regulated pathogens, but with differing standards. In Australia, analyses by Dr David Dall from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, and Dr Fiona Constable from […]

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Earth & Environment

Korea’s clean energy shift: Drivers, obstacles, and outcomes

In the wake of the UN’s COP 26 Climate Change Conference, the devastating economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the global energy crisis, governments of varying political persuasions are hoping for a green-led economic recovery – investment in renewable and clean technologies to both create jobs and address climate change. For a case study they should consider South Korea. […]

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Earth & Environment

Permafrost’s photosynthetic microorganisms thrive in the Arctic

Permafrost is found across the Arctic and Antarctic – perennially frozen landscapes that can harbour microscopic life. Researchers Dr Tatiana Vishnivetskaya from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Dr Elizaveta Rivkina from the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, Pushchino, have collected permafrost sediment samples from polar regions to study the photosynthetic microorganisms within. The results of […]

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Earth & Environment

Linking Icelandic silica sinters to life on Mars

Piecing together the picture of the origins of life on Earth and throughout our solar system is a driving force for scientific research. Icelandic silica sinters provide clues about microbial communities that are adapted to living in extreme conditions. Dr J Javier Álvaro at the Instituto de Geociencias (CSIC-UCM), Madrid, is investigating the biomarkers and microbial textures left behind by […]

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Earth & Environment

Monitoring toxic pollutants for better air quality

Air quality is imperative for our and the environment’s health. Research around air quality has been focusing on the monitoring, testing, and investigation of toxic pollutants, such as heavy metals, polychlorinated and polycyclic aromatic compounds, or particulate matter (PM2.5). Professor Guo-Ping Chang-Chien, director of the Super Micro Mass Research and Technology Center at Cheng Shiu University of Science and Technology […]

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Earth & Environment

Dousing the flames: A model approach to fire management

Fire management is complex, and strategies that work in one geographic area are unlikely to work in another owing to the unique geographical, ecological, and socioeconomic conditions. Professor Trent Penman at the University of Melbourne, Australia, is using Bayesian decision networks to model cost-effective wildfire management options (ie, types of prescribed burning). The model shows that no single cost-effective solution […]

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Earth & Environment

Detecting microplastics on aquatic vegetation in the Great Lakes

It is well known that natural surface waters have become contaminated with microplastics. However, it is not yet understood how these pollutants impact aquatic organisms. Professor Julie Peller at Valparaiso University, Indiana, has investigated the distribution of microplastics in the North American Great Lakes and found that synthetic microfibres are, on average, a thousand times more abundant on aquatic vegetation […]

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Earth & Environment

The effects of climatic trends on agriculture in Western Uzbekistan

Temperature plays a vital role in plant development. Extreme hot and cold temperatures can perturb and even stop plant growth, dramatically affecting crop yields. Independent researcher Julian Schlubach looks at climate trends in an agro-region in Western Uzbekistan. He analysed local meteorological data and IPCC future climate projections to determine how the primary crops there have been and will be […]

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Earth & Environment

The biodegrading functions of microbial communities in polluted freshwaters

Pollution is a selective pressure that enriches microorganisms at polluted freshwater sites. Some microbial species can adapt to the levels of pollution in water streams, displaying metabolic capacities that allow them to degrade the contaminants. Dr Ayixon Sánchez-Reyes and Dr Luz Bretón-Deval, from the Institute of Biotechnology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, study the microbial biodiversity landscapes of […]

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