Earth & Environment

Moving toward climate-resilient crops and sustainable agriculture

Forage crops like alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) comprise a fundamental component of the agricultural industry. The consumption of forage species by livestock is far from energy-efficient, resulting in implications for livestock health and the health of the environment through the release of greenhouse gases. Additionally, the prevalent force of climate change challenges crop resilience and sustainability. Research scientist Dr Stacy […]

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Earth & Environment

Magma differentiation: The complex processes behind active volcanism

Active volcanism is prevalent across much of the Earth’s surface, yet the deep mantle and crustal processes that drive it are still being understood by geologists. Untangling the complex chemical relationships that arise from magma differentiation offer some clues as to the relationships between melting of mantle rock and crystallisation of molten magma to igneous rocks. Professor Vander Auwera at […]

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Earth & Environment

Coastline evolution: The rise and fall of sea level through time

Changes in global sea level have been ongoing throughout the Earth’s geological history, driven by the growth and decay of ice sheets. The Last Glacial Maximum – when ice sheets were at their greatest extent – occurred as early human communities were developing, often focused in coastal areas such as the Mediterranean Basin. Dr Emanuele Lodolo of the National Institute […]

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Earth & Environment

Save Frankincense: Overharvesting of a precious commodity and approaches to ensure sustainability

In Somaliland, a northern area of Somalia that operates as an independent country, many of the population rely on frankincense for income. Frankincense is a resin derived from the Boswellia tree. However, the trees are being overharvested, and locals have found themselves in a poverty trap. Despite a huge increase in the price of frankincense on the global market, harvesters […]

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Earth & Environment

Archaeology from space: Using Earth Observation data to unearth our past

Archaeologists have discovered many relics of our ancestors across the Earth’s surface, but much more remains buried beneath the soil. Archaeological prospection plays an important role in both the identification of these special sites and their protection. Dr Athos Agapiou of the Cyprus University of Technology, at the Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics and the Eratosthenes Research Centre, develops […]

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Earth & Environment

Quantum theory for sustainability transformations

Agriculture significantly contributes to environmental issues and requires deep and urgent transformations in order to be sustainable. Agroecological transition is not only technical but involves the evolution of farmers’ ways of seeing and interpreting the world. Dr Cyrille Rigolot at the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE), explores the potential of quantum theory as a […]

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Earth & Environment

Adaptation to climate change and increasing CO2 in rice

Improving yield response in rice under increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations will help this crop adapt to the changing climate. Dr Toshihiro Hasegawa, a plant physiologist at Tohoku Agricultural Research Center in Japan, studies the effects of climate change on rice yield and quality. The FACE (free-air CO2 enrichment) platform provides experimental facilities under open-field conditions for modelling how […]

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Earth & Environment

Microplastics pollution in the Pantanal

By now, we all recognise microplastics as a huge problem in our oceans. This awareness peaked when the threat became direct to humans, through the consumption of contaminated marine produce. Unfortunately, the situation is even bleaker than we realised. Dr Pierre Girard from the Federal University of Mato Grosso has discovered microplastics in the remote Brazilian Pantanal, a huge and […]

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Earth & Environment

Earthquake forecasting: Small earthquakes show when big ones are more likely

Accurate earthquake forecasting is still a major challenge for geophysicists. The sudden and intense shaking of major earthquakes can cause severe damage to infrastructure and loss of life. Dr David Rhoades and Dr Annemarie Christophersen at GNS Science in New Zealand have developed a forecasting model using the seismicity patterns of earthquake precursors. They hope to make earthquake forecasts more […]

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