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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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The Price of Pollution: How Air Pollution Impacts Premature Birth and the Economy

Does man-made outdoor air pollution increase the risk of premature births? Research suggests that it does, and new analyses out of New York University have tried to estimate the burden of premature births and their economic costs that can be attributed to air pollution.

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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?

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Growing Conditions Improve with a Pinch

Salt marshes are full of crustacean inhabitants. In particular, fiddler crabs and purple marsh crabs of New England modify these coastal ecosystems by burrowing beneath the waterlogged soils, chewing up plants, and increasing nutrient exchange rates. But it is uncertain to what extent each species contributes to the modification of a salt marsh. Research by Alexandria Moore found the presence of crabs had a significant effect on multiple aspects of salt marsh health and that the herbivore, purple marsh crab, modifies salt marsh ecosystems beyond eating plants.

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Where the mangrove grows

A 65 meter tall mangrove. Imagine that. A tree growing in saltwater that is 20 stories tall. Considering the only mangroves I have seen look like shrubs, I couldn’t believe that some mangroves could reach such heights. But then I saw some photos on Twitter and talked with a scientist who is using new technology to estimate the enormous amount of carbon stored by these beastly coastal trees. Mind Blown.

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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!

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Using Big Data Analytics to Enhance Conservation Efforts

“Big data” is a term that is on the rise as the amount of data that is being collected increases at an ever growing rate across all fields. The wildlife and conservation biology field is no exception, especially as technology, such as camera trap imagery, is being more widely used. With vast data collection comes the need to analyze it in an effective manner, especially as the growth of data can far surpass the traditional resources available for analysis. Technology has emerged that is able to tackle big data and produce analyses faster than previously possible, providing opportunities to enhance conservation efforts.

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Your resolution to eat healthy is saving the earth (more than you realize)

How much energy went into your last meal? According to a recent study, probably way more than you think. Food is responsible for 20-30% of global carbon emissions, but most people are terrible at judging the environmental cost of what they eat. Why is this? And what can we do?

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Can nanoparticles help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy manure?

Increasing greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to climate change. In the United States, livestock production is one sector contributing to the increase in emissions. This study looked at whether nanoparticles could be used to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from dairy cow manure.

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How Pre-Industrial Charcoal Changed the Soils Under Our Feet

Tragically, when some people look at the soil beneath our feet, they only see ‘dirt’. They are missing the fact that soils contribute so much to nature and our lives. But, what happens when humans alter soils from their natural state? Researchers from Cottbus, Germany, aimed to find out how charcoal production in the Northeastern US during the mid 1800s impacted the soils and ecology of the forests that we see today. Surprisingly, the answer is a little bit below the surface.

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