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We want to make cutting edge research in the environmental sciences accessible to all by highlighting recent studies and explaining how these advances shape the understanding of our world.

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Shining a Light on Water Disinfection: LEDs aren’t just a Television Upgrade

LED TVs are all the rage, but LEDs can do so much more! Learn how these light emitting diodes (LEDs) can improve energy efficiency in water disinfection, and in your home. Researchers at Arizona State University are designing a system that will enable little LEDs to shine light on a much larger area, improving the ability to disinfect water in a more cost-effective and energy-efficient way, without the use of harsh chemicals.

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Hot tree summer: Measuring the effects of the 2017 heat wave on Europe’s forests

Plants are always just trying to live their best life, but sometimes high temperatures and a lack of water get in the way of that. In this study, scientists studied a heat wave that occurred in southern Europe in summer 2017 to see how different plants fared across the region.

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Friend or foe? Invasive earthworms can benefit agriculture but harm forests

Earthworms are welcome guests in the garden, but it’s a different story in the forest. By consuming and removing leaf litter too fast they set in motion complex cascades of ecological changes, with long-term negative effects on soil fertility and biodiversity.

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Is our environment affecting our weight?

When most of us think about gaining or losing weight, we see it as a straightforward equation of calories in vs. calories burned. If it’s really that simple, though, why do so many struggle with weight-loss even while following targeted diet and exercise plans? Recently, scientists have begun to identify “obesogens” – chemicals that boost obesity risk – in our environment. Understanding the role of these chemicals in obesity (in addition to diet, activity, genetics, and other known risk factors) may help us understand why some people have an especially difficult time losing weight.

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Hang on to that tree! Lizards that survived hurricane Maria showed increases in grip strength

The 2019 hurricane season started off with a bang. It’s clear that climate change has affected the frequency and severity of hurricanes. To understand whether species will be able to cope with more frequent severe storms we need more research to see how hurricanes can affect populations of plants and animals. Read on to find out how hurricane Maria in 2017 affected lizards in Dominica.

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Surviving in the age of microplastics: the tale of a curious shrimp

Each year, a tremendous amount of plastic waste enters the marine environment. As plastic ages, it breaks down in to smaller and smaller pieces, called microplastics, but never degrades. These tiny plastic fibers are eaten by numerous organisms and can cause organ damage or even death. But one species is able to rid its stomach of accidentally ingested microplastics. This is the tale of the Atlantic ditch shrimp and how it will survive in the age of microplastics.

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Detective Work in the Nuclear Era: Investigating a Mysterious Radioactive Event

Nuclear alarm bells rang loudly in 2017 when sensors all around Europe detected sudden increases of a potent radioactive substance in the air. There were no known nuclear-related incidents or accidents at the time. This is the story of how a multi-national team worked together to monitor, analyze, and finally pinpoint the source of this still-undeclared release of radioactive material.

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Crowdsourcing Sharks: a citizen science success story

Conserving the environment and its organisms works most effectively when managers and scientists have a lot of environmental information. However, some of the world’s most vulnerable animals, like the sand tiger shark, are also the most secretive. Luckily for these scary looking predators, amateur scientists can be an agent of change.

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Alexa, What’s Your Carbon Footprint?

Artificial intelligence is used to develop algorithms that can process human languages and even respond to you. Behind every voice assistant like Amazon’s Alexa is a network of algorithms that help the voice assistant understand and interact with us. Behind every voice assistant are also hundreds of thousands of pounds of CO2 emissions. Where do these emissions come from and what can we do about it?

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