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.

Read more

Chagas Disease Eradication in Guatemala: An Example of Successful Cooperative Vector Control

Large-scale cooperation from anyone for anything often seems out of reach. Large-scale cooperation from multiple government entities to control a disease vector and actually bring about a decline in the disease in one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere is a truly difficult goal. That is what’s happening in Guatemala in an attempt to control Chagas disease. Has any real progress been made?

Read more

Are your car’s windshield wipers helping your town’s stormwater management?

You decide to go out and run some errands on your day off, even though there is a chance of rain in the forecast. You are just starting your 30-minute walk back to your house and get caught in a torrential downpour. You are now forced to call a ride-share because you know the stream next to the path on your way back will likely flood and you would have to take the long way home. Once in the car, you are happy you do not have to walk in the rain. Little do you know, the car you are in may actually help improve rainfall maps and with that urban stormwater management. How? The car’s windshield wipers are turned on!

Read more

Fantastic felines and how to be a responsible pet owner

Cats are fascinating creatures that allow us to live in proximity to them from time to time. Many cat owners let their furry companions to roam around the neighborhood. Because of that, these fantastic predators can have large impacts on other animals. A new study shows what farmland felines eat when they roam farms.

Read more

Evidence from the sediment: Lake Baikal diatom community changes in response to shifting environmental conditions

Located in Siberia, Russia, Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world (Figure 1). Similar to other waterbodies around the world, both big and small, Lake Baikal is exhibiting changes in the community composition of its primary producers in response to climate change induced changes in surface temperatures and nutrient inputs. In this study, scientists examine community composition shifts in a group of primary producers known as diatoms and examine the influence of climate change on this shift.

Read more

Is there space for nature in man-made jungle?

We humans are responsible for not just shaping existing environments, but for creating new ones as well. Urban and industrial areas can sometimes be seen as “unnatural” but new research has shown that a ton of new species want to be neighbors. On top of that- they’re thriving. Read on to learn more!

Read more

Alaskan Megathrust Earthquakes: Sedimentary records provide new data and a look 2000 years into the past

In 1964, a historically unprecedented magnitude 9.2 earthquake struck the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. The earthquake prompted scientists to figure out that the Aleutians lie along a unique form of fault, now known as a “megathrust” fault. During a megathrust earthquake, large swaths of land suddenly rise or sink, depending on their location relative to the fault rupture. Over long periods of time, as tectonic plates slide under one another, compression causes the top plate to buckle and rise up along the coast. When enough energy is accumulated, a slip eventually occurs. In places that were being uplifted, the land suddenly falls a few meters as the strain is released, otherwise known as an earthquake. It has been thought that areas of uplift and subsidence remain constant, always rising or falling in exactly the same place with every earthquake. However, a recent study suggests that these areas are not constant, further complicating our understanding of how “megathrust” earthquakes occur.

Read more

Certified coffee farmers are environmentally friendly and compensated for their efforts: Imagination or reality?

Do you go to the grocery store and look for the Fair Trade™ or Rainforest Alliance™ certified coffee? Many consumers prefer to buy certified coffee because they believe there is an economic benefit to the farmer, environmental benefits, or both. However, do these certifications actually improve farmer income and/or protect important environmental services? A recent study conducted in Uganda suggests that farms that are double or triple certified for coffee production suffer trade-offs between economic and environmental benefits.

Read more

津波: The Story of the Wave

If you’re lucky, there are five minutes between when a tsunami alarm sounds and when the wave hits. Too often those five minutes are not enough, and the fate of a coastline is at the tsunami’s mercy. Understanding tsunami cause and occurrence is vital for coastal communities. Read on to learn more about tsunami records and how they play a role in shaping natural disaster planning.

Read more