So wait, climate change could be good for trees?

Many politicians lacking knowledge about the effects of climate change like to point to the fact that increased CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere will be good for plants and, by default, conclude that climate change is good for humans. But will climate change actually be good for plants? Well maybe. Like all predictions in this world there is quite a bit of uncertainty in the answer to that question; however, quite a few recent studies indicate that due to a longer growing season this may be true at least for some tree species. Trees are extremely important to humans’ and other species’ ability to exist on this planet. We need oxygen and they giveth. Trees also store a lot of carbon, but predicting how this will change in the future is important as we try to prepare for a changing climate.

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What can 100 years of mud tell us?

Turns out 100 years of mud can tell us quite a bit about microbial communities. Capo and colleagues found out how microbial communities are impacted by environmental change. Using an emerging proxy, DNA recovered from lake sediments, they were able to show microbial eukaryotic diversity through time, which revealed interesting trends in response to eutrophication and climate warming.

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Don’t Throw That Out! Turning Dairy Waste into Microalgae Products.

Wastewater produced on dairy farms can be a tough challenge for small and medium sized farms. High-tech treatment methods work for large farms, but smaller farms need a more effective way to treat their wastewater. Discharged without treatment, wastewater can highly endanger aquatic systems, deteriorate water quality, and has cost the US billions annually to clean up. This study’s research shows the potential to turn that waste back into commercial products by growing microalgae. Because wastewater is rich in the nutrients microalgae need to grow, it can be harvested and turned into biofuels, biofertilizers, animal feed, and other products. This provides smaller farms with a method to treat their wastewater and turn it into a usable commercial product.

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Ocean Acidification Steps into the Spotlight

The ocean absorbs nearly a quarter of the carbon dioxide humans emit. Since the Industrial Revolution the ocean has become 30% more acidic. This change in ocean carbon chemistry, or ocean acidification, has the potential to impact many socioeconomic resources. An increased scientific understanding of these risks has illustrated the need for collaboration across many disciplines to develop realistic solutions to mitigate the rising threat to vital marine resources. Transdisciplinary science will be critical in informing policy to protect our economic interests.

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The fate of our waste: nitrogen removal in residential wastewater

Residential wastewater serves as a major source of nitrogen to coastal watersheds. Increased nitrogen loads can harm coastal ecosystems, so advanced onsite wastewater treatment systems have been designed in order to reduce these loads and protect coastal waters.

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Green = Healthy? Think again. Using data on scenic values as an indicator for human health

We usually assume that any greenness is good for our health: grass, trees, pastures, mountains. Researchers from the Warwick Business School set out to challenge this assumption using crowd-sourced data and found that it actually is “scenicness” (think castles, parks, and aqueducts) that is a better predictor for health. They show that this finding not only holds true in the countryside, where we usually assume we’ll find healthier people, but also extends into cities. Now they are using this information to inform policymakers on which areas to protect for improved human well-being.

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Old rain, new data: past climate change in the Southeastern US

What was the weather like in Alabama in 4,000 BCE? A newly published record of ancient rainfall preserved in rocks shows several severe droughts in the region. The study’s authors have produced new data on ancient climate changes and helped us get closer to understanding rapid shifts in climate.

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