Desalination: As If Corals Didn’t Have Enough to Worry About Already

Clean, safe drinking water is a basic human need. However, for many areas around the globe, freshwater is becoming scarce. Desalination is increasingly used to provide drinking water in some coastal regions, but the waste products – brine and antiscalants – are discharged back into the ocean with unknown consequences. A recent study by Karen Lykkebo Petersen (University of California Santa Cruz) and colleagues sought to simulate happens to coral reefs as they are increasingly exposed to desalination discharge.

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Timing is Everything: Sockeye Salmon Migration on the Skeena River

For most salmon to complete their life cycle, juveniles must migrate out to the ocean as “smolts”. They are then able to grow quickly by taking advantage of marine food sources, before they return as adults to spawn in the river where they were born. With climate change affecting environmental cues and conditions, the timing of their migration might not match up to the availability of crucial food resources, which could reduce smolt survival. Will this phenomenon affect the Skeena River populations of Sockeye Salmon? Read on to learn more!

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Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Satellites have changed our ability to see the globe. We can now use satellite data is to monitor change in the amount of land covered by forests, and determine the reasons for that change. In this article, we discuss recent findings global forest monitoring and the impact of supply chain decisions by corporate actors.

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Where will the tall trees grow?

What will the landscape look like when the world is four degrees warmer? Seven degrees warmer? Will you see the same trees and shrubs? Will the same birds visit your bird feeder? If you live in a forest now, will you then live in a desert? The implications have wide consequences not least for the production of food and the provision of water for your future self.

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Taking a closer look at plant-sediment interactions in the rhizosphere

The rhizosphere refers to the narrow region of soil or sediment surrounding the plant roots that directly interact with the roots, both chemically and biologically. Although this region is a hotspot for carbon and nutrient cycling, we know very little about this zone. This post describes a new study that collects information from within the rhizosphere using novel optode imagery.

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Is there enough dirt in the Mississippi River to save the delta?

I know what you’re thinking: dirt flowing down a river doesn’t sound too exciting. But what if I told you this dirt could be the difference between building and losing physical land on our coastlines? Information like how much sediment is flowing down the river, what kind it is, and where it might end up is important in deciding how people will manage coastlines in a delta. For some places, like the Mississippi River Delta, sediment can be the difference between saving and losing precious natural resources, and even people’s homes.

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Intertidal Examination: Competition Between an Invasive and Endemic Species

Coastal New England isn’t independent from the world of invasive species. The Asian shore crab has encroached on many crustaceans habitats in the last few decades and recently this includes the American lobster. Work done by Baillie and colleagues suggest that specific life stages of the lobster may be negatively impacted by the invasion of the crab. Not only will understanding the interactions between these two species aid in preservation of one of North America’s most important fisheries, it may also provide critical insight into the fascinating relationship between endemic and invasive species.

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