Environmental Protection

Ecosystems


Certain Crops Show Higher Capacity for Carbon Fixation

Salt can have drastic effects on the growth and yield of horticultural crops; studies have estimated that salinity renders an about one-third of the world's irrigated land unsuitable for crop production.

Wireless Sensor Device Rapidly Detects E. coli in Water Samples

Fecal contamination of public beaches caused by sewage overflow is both dangerous for swimmers and costly for state and local economies.

Scientists Propose Thinning Sierra Forests to Enhance Water Runoff

Runoff from the Sierra Nevada, a critical source of California’s water supply, could be enhanced by thinning forests to historical conditions, according to a report from a team of scientists with the University of California, Merced, UC Berkeley and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Tips Tuesday: Green Christmas Trees

It’s that holiday time of year again, now that the nation is full from Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce; many people are shopping for Christmas trees facing a perennial question: which is the greener choice – real or fake?

Rainfall Suspected Culprit in Leaf Disease Transmission

Rainfalls are suspected to trigger the spread of a multitude of foliar (leaf) diseases, which could be devastating for agriculture and forestry. Instead of focusing on the large-scale, ecological impact of this problem, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge and the University of Liege in Belgium are studying the phenomenon from a novel perspective: that of a single rain droplet.

New Method Can Aid Rainforest, Help Loggers

Reduced-impact logging (RIL) in an Amazon rainforest generated profits while emitting a small fraction of carbon compared with total forest clearing, a University at Albany study concludes.

Wind Experts Advise on Revolutionary Wind-powered Skyscraper

The infamous winds that gust through downtown San Francisco streets, overturning kiosks and sometimes toppling pedestrians, will help to power a revolutionary skyscraper set to open next fall -- and could pave the way for a new world market for energy-generating wind turbines in new buildings.

NCAR Wind Forecasts Save Millions of Dollars for Xcel Energy

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has developed a highly detailed wind energy forecasting system with Xcel Energy, enabling the utility to capture energy from turbines far more effectively and at lower cost. The system, which Xcel Energy formally took over last month, saves ratepayers several million dollars yearly.



Kawasaki Disease Linked to Wind Currents

Kawasaki Disease (KD) is a severe childhood disease that many parents, even some doctors, mistake for an inconsequential viral infection. In fact, if not diagnosed or treated in time, it can lead to irreversible heart damage. After 50 years of research, including genetic studies, scientists have been unable to pinpoint the cause of the disease.

Increased Acidity Not an Even Test for Coral Reefs

Coral reefs can both positively and negatively influence the acidity of their surrounding seawater.

An Enzyme in Fish Can Demonstrate Environmental Toxins

The level of the enzyme carbonyl reductase (CBR) is elevated in the livers of fish that have been exposed to cleaned wastewater. Scientists at the University of Gothenburg can show that CBR has properties that may make it suitable to be used as a biomarker, an early warning signal of environmental toxins.

Palms as a Model for Rainforest Evolution

The first complete genus-level dated phylogeny of palms reveals insights into the evolution of rainforests.

EPA Partners with Federal Agencies to Track Japan Tsunami Debris

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies are teaming up to document and track potential marine debris generated by the Japan earthquake and tsunami in March.

Stalled Weather Systems More Frequent in Decades of Warmer Atlantic

Slow-moving winter weather systems that can lead to massive snowfalls are more frequent during the decades when the North Atlantic Ocean is warmer than usual, a new NASA study finds. The study demonstrates that the impacts of such systems, which are often fueled by an atmospheric phenomenon known as atmospheric blocking, go far beyond the atmosphere and can trigger changes in ocean circulation.

Tropical Forests Fertilized By Air Pollution

Scientists braved ticks and a tiger to discover how human activities have perturbed the nitrogen cycle in tropical forests. Studies at two remote Smithsonian Institution Global Earth Observatory sites in Panama and Thailand show the first evidence of long-term effects of nitrogen pollution in tropical trees.

Penn State Research Finds Humans and Climate Contributed to Extinctions of Large Ice-Age Mammals

Both climate change and humans were responsible for the extinction of some large mammals, according to research that is the first of its kind to use genetic, archeological, and climatic data together to infer the population history of large Ice-Age mammals.

feature pet waste

DNA Lab Aims to Reduce Your Pet's Carbon Footprint

There’s an unsuspecting culprit contributing to U.S. water pollution: pet poop.

Protein Plays Role in Helping Plants See Light

Plants do not have eyes or legs, yet they are able to "see" and move toward and away from light. This ability, called phototropism, is controlled by a series of molecular-level signals between proteins inside and between plant cells. In a paper published in The Plant Cell, University of Missouri scientists report for the first time the elusive role a critical protein plays in this molecular signaling pathway that regulates phototropism in plants.

Tips Tuesday: Tips for a Green Autumn Season

As the leaves change and temps drop, the crisp autumn air brings a whole new load of waste possibilities with the new season. As opposed to the scorching summer months coupled with UV rays that dry lawns and surge kilowatts of electricity through homes for cooling, fall brings gutter clutter and leaf waste – not to mention high kilowatt usage in parts of the world prone to freezing temps.

EPA provides over $1.1 million for Sleeping Bear Dunes and Grand Traverse Band Watersheds

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced funding for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects in Northern Michigan totaling $1.1 million.

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