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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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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Permafrost soils and carbon cycling

Permafrost soils make up 15 % of the global land cover and store more than 822 petagrams of carbon in their upper most three centimetres alone (the weight of 182,000,000,000 adult elephants). When comparing this with the annual carbon dioxide emissions of an average German citizen of approx. 2.4 tons C per year1 it becomes clear that we need to prevent these soil from breaking the masses of carbon within these soils. Warming of permafrost leads to the release of carbon, making them a source of the greenhouse gasses carbon dioxide and methane.

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O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree. How Christmas tree farms affect bird communities.

Grasslands, such as hay meadows, have been increasingly replaced with Christmas tree farms across Europe as the Christmas tree industry expands. A recent study documented higher bird abundance and more bird species in Christmas tree farms than in grasslands that had low shrub and bush (i.e. hedges) abundance. Grasslands with a large amount of hedges had similar amounts of birds compared to Christmas tree farms. As Christmas tree farms take up more and more grasslands, there is a need for more research to determine the quality of bird habitats within Christmas tree farms.

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