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Location, Location, Location – Planting Milkweed for Monarch Conservation

Monarch butterfly populations have severely decreased, largely because of the loss of the only plant they lay eggs on: milkweed. While planting more milkweed may seem like the easy answer, the location and size of a milkweed patch may affect the number of monarch eggs and caterpillars that survive.

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Snow: More Than Just the Backdrop for your Favorite Winter Olympic Sport

Even if you don’t live anywhere near mountains, it is very possible that the water that comes out of your tap originated as snow in the mountains. Many places rely on melting snow from the mountains to supply water downstream for cities, agriculture, and ecosystems. However, melting is not the only thing that can happen to mountain snowpack and scientists are trying to figure out where else it goes and how that could change in the future.

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Sweet Science: Artificial sweeteners can help track septic effluent

Some homes treat waste onsite using what is called a septic system. These systems release treated water (effluent) into the ground where it eventually combines with natural groundwater. Septic effluent is a concern because it could contaminate groundwater that is used as drinking water. As a result, researchers have been searching for ways to track septic effluent in groundwater. The scientists in this study examined whether artificial sweeteners could do the trick.

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Reversing the loss of biological diversity: Money talks

The planet is losing biological diversity at alarmingly high rates. As a result, ecosystems are compromised, and so is their ability to support humans. Scientists, environmentalists and other concerned groups have been pointing out the urgent need to stop or reverse the loss of biodiversity. That action often requires substantial investments, which raises the question of whether the benefits we obtain from nature can outweigh the cost of conservation. In this study, a group of scientists and representatives of international NGOs make a case that the benefits of reversing biodiversity loss outweigh the costs.

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Climate change altering wine-making: from landscape to conservation

Our changing climate (Marcott et al., 2013) is at the forefront of global politics and economic planning decisions. There is growing evidence that climate change will affect most fields of study and many professions from agriculture to zoning. One such field that is gaining attention is viticulture, or wine production. A study published in PNAS led by Dr. Hannah and colleagues (2013) looked at how changes in temperature and precipitation will affect global wine production. In addition, the researchers explored how the locations of wine-making regions may shift due to climate stress, and how this might affect conservation.

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Will the Eurasian tench (Tinca tinca) be the newest invader to wreak havoc in the Great Lakes?

The Great Lakes are a hot bed for invasions, and aquatic invasive species (AIS) from the world-over have ‘hitchhiked’ on shipping vessels, or have accidentally been released into the lakes over many years. AIS can severely affect the water quality, food-webs, nutrient cycling, and fish productivity of invaded waters. Notable examples in the Great Lakes basin include zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and Asian carp (which actually consists of four species from the family Cyprinidae). In fact, up to now the Great Lakes have been invaded by at least 188 AIS, out of which 28 are fishes. In this paper Avlijaš and colleagues (2018) identify and review threats posed by the Eurasian tench (Tinca tinca), as they appear to be the most likely invader to expand into the basin next.

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Can seaweed farming help fight climate change?

Seaweed farming is the fastest growing sector of food production and provides healthy, nutritious sea vegetables. Farming seaweed can also have positive benefits by decreasing wave action, taking up carbon dioxide, and locally reducing the effects of ocean acidification. Spatial planning, market analyses, and infrastructure development are needed to facilitate the expansion of seaweed aquaculture.

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