Earth & Environment

Neuron-less knowledge processing in forests

Dr Aviv Segev, Professor at the University of South Alabama, is researching the knowledge-related activity of forests. While trees do not have neurons, they can build a communication network, and Dr Segev analyses their use of the resources needed for survival. This study demonstrates that neuron-like relations occur in a forest knowledge-processing system. Results demonstrate that trees use mechanisms analogous […]

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Earth & Environment

Museums and climate change: From passive bystander to agent of change

Museums have traditionally been institutions that maintain the stories of the past, implicitly supporting the Western ideological status quo. However, this role is rarely congruent with contemporary issues in our communities, such as climate change and social justice. With her critical paper, Dr Julie Decker, the CEO of the Anchorage Museum in Alaska, looks at how museums can become an […]

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Earth & Environment

Food security in an insecure world: Modelling self-sufficiency

When global food prices spiked in 2008, many governments embarked on programmes to improve their country’s food self-sufficiency – but have they been successful? At Setsunan University, Japan, Dr Tetsuji Tanaka and Dr Jin Guo are quantitatively assessing the effectiveness of a number of self-sufficiency policies. They have studied regional and global volatility in beef and wheat prices, and used […]

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Earth & Environment

The attraction of New Zealand: Gravity anomalies of the Taupō Volcanic Zone

New Zealand’s Taupō Volcanic Zone (TVZ) is characterised by faulting, subsidence, voluminous volcanism, and geothermal activity. The gravity anomalies this activity produces have been mapped for more than 70 years. Through a new programme of collection and analysis of these data, Dr Vaughan Stagpoole, Dr Craig Miller and colleagues of GNS Science have revealed known collapse calderas in greater detail […]

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Earth & Environment

The ultimate veg patch: Can phytotechnology save cultivated peatlands?

Intact, water-logged peatlands are a stable store of the world’s carbon, but if drained they can become near perfect (organic) soils for growing high-cost vegetables. It was thought that you couldn’t cultivate a peatland without ruining it and releasing its carbon into the atmosphere. Dr Jacynthe Dessureault-Rompré, with her team at Laval University in Québec, Canada, has been investigating whether […]

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Earth & Environment

Measuring ecosystem’s response to climate change through sun induced fluorescence (SIF) in the Caatinga bioregion

Climate change is increasing global temperatures and the regularity and severity of droughts. Researchers are continually looking for innovative ways of measuring these effects on global ecosystems. The detection of chlorophyll fluorescence is one way of examining plants’ responses to environmental changes. Dr Edgard Bontempo and his team of researchers from FUNCATE and INPE aim to detect fluorescence through remote […]

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Earth & Environment

Conveyor belts of the Atlantic Ocean: Moving particles, organisms and litter around the globe

Ocean currents are a conveyor belt spanning the entire globe; they are transporting minerals, nutrients, organisms and other particles across vast distances. However, the full extent of the roles played by these flows is still poorly understood. Dr Rui Caldeira, Director of the Oceanic Observatory of Madeira in Portugal, and his collaborators Dr Iria Sala, Cláudio Cardoso and Maria João […]

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Earth & Environment

Engineering nature: Innovative streambed restoration in Seattle

River degradation is a widespread consequence of human development. In Seattle, Paul Bakke, founder of The Science of Rivers, along with a leading channel-design engineer and an aquatic ecologist, have implemented an innovative urban stream restoration project. A traditional stream restoration approach was transformed by adding an engineered streambed designed to restore and enhance the hyporheic zone. The project has […]

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Earth & Environment

A new practice for ameliorating dense clay subsoils

Certain types of subsoil make it particularly difficult for farmers to grow high-yielding crops. Peter Sale and his team at La Trobe University, Melbourne, have developed a new practice known as ‘subsoil manuring’ that could be able to change this. Sale is an agronomist who is interested in plant-soil interactions. He has spent the last 30 years in research and […]

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Earth & Environment

Understanding water resources in Latin America and the Caribbean region using environmental tracers

With approximately 660 million inhabitants, Latin America and the Caribbean region finds itself vulnerable to decreasing water availability in a changing climate. Increasing temperatures and abrupt land use changes, if not addressed, will continue the decline in surface water quality and quantity, thereby forcing greater dependence on groundwater extraction. Advancing studies into the availability, replenishment rates and quality of (ground) […]

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