Finding fish using their DNA

Traditionally the size of fish populations is estimated by towing nets off boats (trawling). Unfortunately trawling is expensive, time consuming, and only catches certain species. In this study Phillip Thomsen and his colleagues determine whether a new method known as environmental DNA (eDNA) can supplement or replace the use of trawling for fish surveys.

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Can nanoparticles help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy manure?

Increasing greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to climate change. In the United States, livestock production is one sector contributing to the increase in emissions. This study looked at whether nanoparticles could be used to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from dairy cow manure.

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Autonomous vehicle helps measure gases in coastal ecosystems

Coastal ecosystems play an important role in the cycling of carbon, an element essential for life. However, coastal ecosystems are complex making it difficult to determine their exact contribution to carbon cycling with single point measurements. In the study highlighted here, David Nicholson and his colleagues introduce an autonomous (driver-less) surface vehicle that will allow for a better understanding of carbon cycling in coastal ecosystems.

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Flame retardant sharks?

Flame retardants are found everywhere from your house to your car. Unfortunately, these chemicals can accumulate in the environment, including the ocean. Once in the ocean, flame retardants can make their way into marine organisms. The researchers in this study wanted to determine if flame retardants are transferred from mothers to offspring in sharks.

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Can soil help remove antibiotics from wastewater effluent?

Antibiotics are finding their way into surface waters via wastewater effluent where they pose a threat to the environment and organisms including humans. Many wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove antibiotics. This study explores the use of soil to reduce the amount of antibiotics that enter the environment.

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Microplastics may be hitching a ride from water to land in mosquitos

Microplastics are now found all over, even in freshwater environments such as ponds, rivers and lakes. Young mosquitos live in these freshwater environments and move to land as they mature. Scientists in this study wanted to find out if young mosquitos ingest microplastics found in freshwater environments and carry the microplastics with them to air and land as adults.

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Possible link between oil spill clean ups and harmful algal blooms

Oil spills are damaging the marine environment. One method for cleanup is applying dispersants to break up oil slicks on the water surface, making oil easier to decompose. Unfortunately, researchers started to observe harmful algal blooms after the application of these dispersants. The scientists in this study wanted to understand what was causing these blooms.

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Bacteria can eat plastic?

Plastic can now be found everywhere, from your kitchen to the ocean. Recently a group of scientists discovered a bacteria that can grow on one of the most abundant types of plastic: PET. Researchers in this study explored the mechanism behind this bacteria’s ability to survive on plastic. Read on to learn more about how these microbes might help us solve our plastic pollution problem.

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