Identifying the Urban Populations in Africa at Risk for Malaria from a New Vector

Malaria continues to ravage many parts of the world, particularly in rural sub-Saharan Africa. A recently detected outbreak of malaria in urban areas has now been traced to an invasive species of mosquito from Asia. This species, A. stephensi, thrives in urban settings and its presence in Africa considerably increases the populations that are now at risk of contracting malaria.

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How to Study Invasive Species from Space

There are certain things on earth, like oceans and even the Great Wall of China, that can be seen in space by the human eye. Did you know that satellites can also take pictures of the Earth and can be potentially useful for real ecological restoration efforts? Researchers at the University of Cincinnati tested it out in their own backyard and found that they could identify a well spread invasive species. Early detection may be key to saving habitats from harmful, non-native organisms.

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It’s Complicated: Plant-pollinator relationships differ from urban to rural areas

Flowers and the butterflies they attract are beautiful additions to any yard, but your garden is serving a greater purpose. Pollinators – including butterflies, moths, bees, and wasps – depend on plants for survival and are essential for plant reproduction. Plant-pollinator relationships are especially important for agriculture and our food supply. Cities pose many challenges for both plants and their pollinators which could strain their relationship. Find out how cities put pressure on plant-pollinator relationships and what you can do to help!

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How to strike harmony between clean energy and nature-based tourism

Iceland is a beautiful country and my vacation there was one of my favorites! However, there is some tension in the country balancing clean energy development and maintaining the pristine natural areas that draw tourists annually. Authors of this paper explore how these two conflicting interests can work together and help to promote renewable energy production.

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Space Invaders? Exotic Bees in the Urban Landscape

One up and coming target for bee conservation has been the urban landscape, as some recent findings have indicated that cities can maintain diverse bee communities. Though on the surface these findings seem promising for bee conservation, many of these studies do not actually address whether this is a positive thing for native bees. One group of scientists decided to delve further into this topic by looking at the effects of urbanization on bee species. Specifically, they wanted to find out whether exotic bees, including the European honeybee, were found more abundantly in cities and other urban areas than in rural communities and how their presence affected native bees.

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From Cropland to Cities: Aerial Transport of Fungi

How connected are our farms to our cities? If you are a flying fungus, they may be very connected! In a new study, researchers from De Paul University found fungi from the soil on the rooftops of Chicago and wondered why. It turns out, small fungal spores can travel from agricultural fields through the air into the cities and form friendships with the city-dwelling plants. Understanding how these spores move from agriculture to cities could help researchers develop new insight of the urban ecosystem.

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Unequal Access to Urban Tree Benefits in the Bronx

Urban trees provide many ecosystem services to residents, but tree cover can be unequally distributed, resulting in fewer benefits for disadvantaged neighborhoods. This is true in the Bronx, where a recent study demonstrates that the distribution of services provided by trees is related to median income as well as population density. Analyzing the inequity of ecosystem services in our cities is the first step towards developing solutions to improve access to ecosystem services and make the distribution of these resources more just.

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Rich bird, poor bird: urban street trees support native birds across a socioeconomic gradient

If you’ve jumped on the bird-watching bandwagon to pass time during the pandemic or tuned in to #BlackBirdersWeek, you might have a new-found awareness of the birds outside your window or in your local park. What you may not have noticed is that urban birding experiences can differ greatly among neighborhoods.

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California Electrification – what buildings, the grid, and the environment need in an age of energy transition and climate change

A team of energy scientists from California tackle the big question of what will electricity demand look like in a changing climate? By analyzing the evolution of the electric grid to supply an increasing demand under the state’s climate action plan AND the increasing demand to make people comfortable in a variable and changing climate, these researchers have given imperative insight into the future of California electrification.

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