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We want to make cutting edge research in the environmental sciences accessible to all by highlighting recent studies and explaining how these advances shape the understanding of our world.

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The environmental impact of the world’s most famous weed killer

Glyphosate is the world’s most heavily used pesticide and arguably one of the most controversial. Questions have been raised on how safe the pesticide is to non-target organisms, like fish, birds, insects and animals, including humans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently released draft reports that address these issues. This post summarizes their findings.

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Mercury rising. How the climate is driving recent increases in the mercury levels of freshwater fishes

Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that is present in many fishes that we eat. Although environmental regulations have cut down on mercury emissions in developed nations, the level of mercury in many top predator fish including large mouth bass has been increasing in recent decades. A complex mix of many different factors including local weather conditions and global climate patterns affect the levels of mercury in fish.

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Will Climate Policies Give Us Cleaner Air?

Clean air is very important to keep people healthy. While most people in the US are fortunate to have reasonably clean air, many people still get sick and die every year from dirty air. Around the world people are worried about the impacts of climate change. There may be a way to reduce the impacts from both air pollution and climate change at once.

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Coming out of a fire, are our forests doing just fine?: Impacts of climate change on forest recovery after wildfires

Climate change is predicted to change the frequency and severity of forest fires, but can it also impact what happens to forests after the fire? This study tries to answer that question by studying how recovery of forests after fires across the Rocky Mountains has changed with our changing climate.

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Can clams help detect microplastic pollution in freshwater?

When plastic trash enters water environments it is often broken down into small pieces of plastic known as microplastics that can harm organisms. While a lot of research has examined the impacts of microplastic pollution in the ocean, little is known about its impact on freshwater environments. The researchers in this study set out to determine if the Asian clam could provide information about microplastic pollution in freshwater environments.

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Watching Grass Grow from Space: NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Satellite Gives Insights into Photosynthesis and Climate Change

The mission of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite is to improve our understanding of the factors that control global carbon dioxide levels. The satellite was designed to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide, but it can also detect a signal of plant photosynthesis — a key carbon sink. NASA scientists are working to use these two pieces of information together to disentangle natural and human influences on the carbon cycle.

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