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Ecology / Conservation posts

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  • September 27, 2016
  • 05:50 PM
  • 22 views

The unintended consequences of almond milk on California

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study using aerial imagery across the state of California has found that converting land to grow almonds between 2007 and 2014 has led to a 27% annual increase in irrigation demands—despite the state's historic drought. The expansion of almonds has also consumed 16,000 acres of wetlands and will likely put additional pressure on already stressed honeybee populations.

... Read more »

WATKINS, Larissa, WATSON, Kelly, & HUFFMAN, F. Tyler. (2016) MONITORING CHANGE IN AGRICULTURAL LAND AND WATER USAGE IN CALIFORNIA’S CENTRAL VALLEY USING GEOSPATIAL TECHNIQUES. Geological Society of America. info:/10.1130/abs/2016AM-285205

  • September 27, 2016
  • 03:09 PM
  • 23 views

Sex changes in nature

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

We might think of animal mating being as simple as 1 male and 1 female, like on Noah's Ark. But many types of fish undergo sex changes throughout their lives. My goal is to open people's eyes to the diversity among sex in animals.... Read more »

  • September 27, 2016
  • 08:32 AM
  • 44 views

Do you really see plants? Humans and their plant blindness

by Alice Breda in la-Plumeria

What do you see in the picture? An elephant, right?
Some will say that they see an African elephant, or perhaps an elephant in the savannah protecting from the sun in the shade of a tree. But who sees an elephant and a majestic flowering baobab surrounded by savannah shrubs in a dry grass meadow?
If your answer is the latter, congratulations, you are a quite unique case. If in the picture you just see “an elephant” then you are just like most of the people around you.

This pheno........ Read more »

Wandersee, J., & Schussler, E. (1999) Preventing Plant Blindness. The American Biology Teacher, 61(2), 82-86. DOI: 10.2307/4450624  

  • September 23, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 96 views

Friday Fellow: Rosy Crust

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll If you are walking through a forest in Europe you may find the bark of some trees covered by a thin rosy or orange crust. Commonly known as rosy crust, its scientific name is Peniophora incarnata. As … Continue reading →... Read more »

Suay, I., Arenal, F,, Asensio, F. J., Basilio, A., Cabello, M. A., Díez, M. T., García, J. B., González del Val, A., Gorrochategui, J., Hernández, P.... (2000) Screening of basidiomycetes for antimicrobial activities. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, 78(2), 129-140. DOI: 10.1023/A:1026552024021  

  • September 20, 2016
  • 04:31 PM
  • 124 views

Potentially harmful chemicals widespread in household dust

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Household dust exposes people to a wide range of toxic chemicals from everyday products, according to a new study. A multi-institutional team conducted a first-of-a-kind meta-analysis, compiling data from dust samples collected throughout the United States to identify the top ten toxic chemicals commonly found in dust.

... Read more »

  • September 18, 2016
  • 07:03 AM
  • 142 views

5 Things We Learned This Week | Open-Access Science | Week 37, 2016

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

New theories in ocean circulation and acidification, shorter sea ice season in polar bear habitats, and new tools to track bird migrations and hair protein analysis in forensic IDs. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »

Stern, H., & Laidre, K. (2016) Sea-ice indicators of polar bear habitat. The Cryosphere, 10(5), 2027-2041. DOI: 10.5194/tc-10-2027-2016  

Shamoun-Baranes, J., Farnsworth, A., Aelterman, B., Alves, J., Azijn, K., Bernstein, G., Branco, S., Desmet, P., Dokter, A., Horton, K.... (2016) Innovative Visualizations Shed Light on Avian Nocturnal Migration. PLOS ONE, 11(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0160106  

Parker, G., Leppert, T., Anex, D., Hilmer, J., Matsunami, N., Baird, L., Stevens, J., Parsawar, K., Durbin-Johnson, B., Rocke, D.... (2016) Demonstration of Protein-Based Human Identification Using the Hair Shaft Proteome. PLOS ONE, 11(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0160653  

  • September 17, 2016
  • 01:50 PM
  • 146 views

Largest-ever study reveals environmental impact of genetically modified crops

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

According to new research, widespread adoption of genetically modified crops has decreased the use of insecticides, but increased the use of weed-killing herbicides as weeds become more resistant. This is the largest study of genetically modified crops and pesticide use to date. The team of economists studied annual data from more than 5,000 soybean and 5,000 maize farmers in the U.S. from 1998 to 2011, far exceeding previous studies that have been limited to one or two years of data.

... Read more »

  • September 16, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 134 views

Friday Fellow: Samambaiaçu

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll It’s more than time to bring a fern as a Friday Fellow, and I decided to start with one of my favorites, the Neotropical tree fern Dicksonia sellowiana, known in Brazil as Samambaiaçu or Xaxim. The samambaiaçu … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 14, 2016
  • 03:48 PM
  • 169 views

Food waste could store solar and wind energy, or there's the obvious...

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Saving up excess solar and wind energy for times when the sun is down or the air is still requires a storage device. Batteries get the most attention as a promising solution although pumped hydroelectric storage is currently used most often. Now researchers are advancing another potential approach using sugar alcohols—an abundant waste product of the food industry—mixed with carbon nanotubes.

... Read more »

  • September 9, 2016
  • 09:55 AM
  • 162 views

The deep history of barley breeding

by Luigi in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

A recent paper reported on the discovery of a bit of the barley genome where an allele from the wild relative, when homozygous, confers a 30% yield advantage over a popular German variety under saline conditions.1 That of course is very interesting in its own right, but I want here to delve a bit into the methods, rather than the results.... Read more »

  • September 9, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 170 views

Friday Fellow: Helicopter Damselfly

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Damselflies are usually delicate versions of dragonflies, but some species challenge their place among the odonates. The most extreme example comes from the moist forests of Central and South America and is known as Megaloprepus caerulatus or … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 8, 2016
  • 12:00 PM
  • 193 views

Fertility Campaigns: It’s A Kid-a-strophe!

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

Are fertility campaigns the right way to face an ageing population?... Read more »

Jos G.J. Olivier, Greet Janssens-Maenhout, Jeroen A.H.W. Peters, & Julian Wilson. (2011) Long-term trend in global CO2 emissions: 2011 report. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, . info:other/978-90-78645-68-9

Bloom DE, Chatterji S, Kowal P, Lloyd-Sherlock P, McKee M, Rechel B, Rosenberg L, & Smith JP. (2015) Macroeconomic implications of population ageing and selected policy responses. Lancet (London, England), 385(9968), 649-57. PMID: 25468167  

  • September 7, 2016
  • 06:17 PM
  • 175 views

Girls only, literally: global warming and sea turtle sex ratios

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

The sex of sea turtle offspring is largely dependent on temperature, and global warming could lead to problems where populations are mostly/all female. However, sea turtles have a trick up their sleeve (in their shells?) that may make them more resilient to the effects of global warming than previously thought.... Read more »

  • September 7, 2016
  • 02:15 PM
  • 187 views

Antimicrobial chemicals found with antibiotic-resistance genes in indoor dust

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have found links between the levels of antimicrobial chemicals and antibiotic-resistance genes in the dust of an aging building used for athletics and academics. One of the antimicrobials seen in the study is triclosan, a commonly used antibacterial ingredient in many personal care products.

... Read more »

Hartmann, E., Hickey, R., Hsu, T., Betancourt Román, C., Chen, J., Schwager, R., Kline, J., Brown, G., Halden, R., Huttenhower, C.... (2016) Antimicrobial Chemicals Are Associated with Elevated Antibiotic Resistance Genes in the Indoor Dust Microbiome. Environmental Science . DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b00262  

  • September 7, 2016
  • 03:16 AM
  • 107 views

The recent history of summer squashes

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

So you’re telling me that sixteenth century Italian gardeners selected long, thin squashes from among those brought back to Europe from the Americas (actually two different places in the Americas) in conscious imitation of the bottle gourds they had used for centuries? And somehow kept them separate from other cucurbits so that they bred true? […]... Read more »

  • September 6, 2016
  • 01:26 PM
  • 198 views

Body heat as a power source

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Electronics integrated into textiles are gaining in popularity: Systems like smartphone displays in a sleeve or sensors to detect physical performance in athletic wear have already been produced. The main problem with these systems tends to be the lack of a comfortable, equally wearable source of power. Chinese scientists are now aiming to obtain the necessary energy from body heat by introducing a flexible, wearable thermocell based on two different gel electrolytes.

... Read more »

Yang, P., Liu, K., Chen, Q., Mo, X., Zhou, Y., Li, S., Feng, G., & Zhou, J. (2016) Wearable Thermocells Based on Gel Electrolytes for the Utilization of Body Heat. Angewandte Chemie International Edition. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201606314  

  • September 6, 2016
  • 03:30 AM
  • 89 views

Home is where conservation begins

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

Thanks to Jade Philips (see her on fieldwork below) and Åsmund Asdal, two of the authors, for contributing this post on their recent paper on the conservation of crop wild relatives in Norway. Norway may be an unlikely spot in which to look for agrobiodiversity, but seek and ye shall find. A recent paper discusses […]... Read more »

Phillips, J., Asdal, A., Magos Brehm, J., Rasmussen, M., & Maxted, N. (2016) In situ and ex situ diversity analysis of priority crop wild relatives in Norway. Diversity and Distributions. DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12470  

  • September 5, 2016
  • 02:34 PM
  • 170 views

Drugs in the water? Don't blame the students

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

With nearly sixty percent of American adults now taking prescription medications--from antidepressants to cholesterol treatments--there is growing concern about how many drugs are flowing through wastewater treatment facilities and into rivers and lakes. Research confirms that pharmaceutical pollution can cause damage to fish and other ecological problems--and may pose risks to human health too.

... Read more »

  • September 3, 2016
  • 03:04 PM
  • 240 views

The Genesis Project: New life on exoplanets

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Can life be brought to celestial bodies outside our solar system, which are not permanently inhabitable? A new essay that has been published is trying to deal with this question. Over the last several years, the search for exoplanets has shown that very different types exist leading to new questions and a variety of possible answers.

... Read more »

Claudius Gros. (2016) Developing Ecospheres on Transiently Habitable Planets: The Genesis Project. Astrophysics and Space Science. arXiv: 1608.06087v2

  • September 2, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 210 views

Friday Fellow: Gold-and-Brown Rove Beetle

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll It’s time for our next beetle. Today the fellow I chose is Ontholestes cingulatus or gold-and-brown rove beetle. Rove beetles are the second most numerous family of beetles after weevils. Their more remarkable feature is that their … Continue reading →... Read more »

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