Could We “Dilute” Disease by Protecting Biodiversity?

So you are a passionate conservation activist distracted in the time of global pandemic- perhaps you haven’t had the mental space to prioritize biodiversity protection in your ever growing laundry list of pressing societal issues. What if I told you that the preservation of biodiversity could have the potential to check off a few items on that list- including disease impact? Read on to hear how science has worked tirelessly to determine if diversity can actually “dilute” disease in a variety of organisms, ending with a new comprehensive study that looks at this effect in plants.

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Pollutants spread too: Contaminants in mountain coal mining runoff transfer to terrestrial systems

Just as the spread of disease can be hard to control, pollutants can transfer between ecosystems, exposing new populations to environmental risks. A collaborative team of environmental scientists are seeking to understand the nature and consequences of the spread of mining pollutants between water- and land-based ecosystems.

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Turtle Hatch Rates Skyrocket after Incubation

Sea turtles are often seen as a “poster-child” animal for conservation efforts in coastal areas. Beaches are covered with signs, and local groups search every night for mothers’ nests so they can put up protective barriers and increase the hatching success. However, for other species of turtles, like the freshwater spiny softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera), simple protection of the nests are not currently an effective way to increase hatching success. Instead, researchers have found incubating the eggs of spiny softshell turtles more than doubled the hatching success rate, which may help save this endangered population in Québec, Canada.

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To bugs in streams, fine sediment is not so fine

Clearing land for agriculture often leads to decreased flow velocities and in increase in fine sediment additions in nearby streams. While many stream bugs rely on small fine sediments, too much of it can detrimentally affect them. Changes to flow velocities and inputs of fine sediment in affected streams are not always equal in magnitude, so an experiment was run to see the responses of aquatic macroinvertebrates to various combinations of flow and sediment conditions. The scientists found fine sediments negatively impacted almost all stream bugs and that low flows exacerbated the problem.

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As Oceans Change, HABs Invade

Global ocean temperatures are currently rising and have been for decades. Scientists are working to discover how this changing climate affects species around the world, from the very large to the very small. This includes phytoplankton, the microscopic marine algae that live in most bodies of water around the globe and produce half the world’s oxygen. But some of these species are toxic, and can cause harm to human and wildlife alike if they are able to grow out of control. Though a number of studies have been undertaken to try and understand more about these harmful algal blooms, much is still unknown about their growth. A group of scientists were interested in how changing ocean temperatures affected the geographic ranges of harmful algal blooms over time in order to better predict blooms in the future.

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Coral reefs are in hot water: Could upwelling save the day?

Coral reefs do best in warm water, but when the water gets too hot, they bleach. Upwelling, which brings cooler water from the deeper parts of the ocean, occurs worldwide, including where coral reefs can be found. With climate change, ocean temperatures are increasing and coral bleaching events are happening more frequently. Could upwelling help protect coral reefs from hot water?

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Mislabeling Mayhem: Traces of Endangered Shark Species Found in Pet Food and Make-up

There’s power behind every purchase we make. Companies make and sell products based on consumer demand, and we as consumers have a right to know what we are putting our dollars behind. Recently, a study has identified trace levels of threatened shark species in various pet food and cosmetic brands. While this alone is troubling, what’s more concerning is that these products have failed to include shark products on the ingredient label.

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