Uncool beans: The future of coffee under climate change

A lot of people would say that a hot cup of coffee is a morning necessity, but a hotter future under climate change could mean trouble is brewing. In this study, scientists examined how rising temperatures might impact the growth of one of the major types of coffee produced in the world.

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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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Macadamia Farmers Going Nuts Over Birds and Bats

Removing natural vegetation around farms may keep crop predators such as monkeys off farms, but it also can keep away beneficial species of birds and bats that eat common insect pests. Do the services provided by birds and bats outweigh the disservices from monkeys? Researchers ventured into macadamia orchards to try and crack open the answer.

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The Cows and the Bees

In the age of the sixth extinction, we need to think carefully about how we use our land– especially when different land uses are at odds. As a way to advance conservation, researchers in Israel examined “land sharing” of rangelands: a way of using land to benefit agriculture and biodiversity alike.

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Double Threat: Toxic Arsenic and Climate Change Plummet Rice Production

Half of the world’s population depends on rice. We’ve studied how rice will respond to predicted changes in climate. But do we know how it will also interact with one of its most common pollutants? Researchers study how rice responds to the dual stressors of both climate change and arsenic, and ultimately find that arsenic may be the stressor we should be worried about.

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Streamside Vegetation Can Capture Pesticides

Blueberries and other crops are being impacted in the Pacific northwest by a new invasive species. Pesticide use to combat this problem may impact nearby aquatic life. Researchers studied agriculture areas with and without woody vegetation along stream banks to understand if they could play a role in keeping pesticides out of streams. Sites with woody vegetation reduced 96% of pesticide measured in the stream on average compared to sites without. Increasing woody vegetation next to streams could help farmers fight off invasive species while still protecting water quality.

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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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Pesticides and Fertilizers: A toxic relationship that is stressful for frogs

Large-scale agriculture utilizes a myriad of chemicals to increase crop yields and profits. The effects of these chemical mixtures can be unpredictable once they are introduced into the environment, especially when interacting with vulnerable animal groups like amphibians.

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