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Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century

A consensus document signed by over 500 expert scientists. Full Report (pdf)

Climate change selects for heterozygosity in a declining fur seal population- TERA

Global environmental change is expected to alter selection pressures in many biological systems1, 2, 3, but the long-term molecular and life history data required to quantify changes in selection are rare4. An unusual opportunity is afforded by three decades of individual-based data collected from a declining population of Antarctic fur seals in the South Atlantic. [...]

National Strategic Plan for Federal Aquaculture Research Released by US Office of Science and Technology Policy- TERA

The plan includes 9 critical strategic goals, with outcomes and milestones that identify Federal agency and interagency research, science, and technology priorities over the midterm (5 years) that will support aquaculture development in the United States. Strategic Goals 1. Advance Understanding of the Interactions of Aquaculture and the Environment 2. Employ Genetics to Increase Productivity [...]

Drastic population fluctuations explain the rapid extinction of the passenger pigeon- TERA

The number of passenger pigeons went from billions to zero in mere decades, in contrast to conventional wisdom that enormous population size provides a buffer against extinction. Our understanding of the passenger pigeon’s extinction, however, has been limited by a lack of knowledge of its long-term population history. Here we use both genomic and ecological [...]

Environmental impact of geometric earthwork construction in pre-Columbian Amazonia- TERA

There is considerable controversy over whether pre-Columbian (pre-A.D. 1492) Amazonia was largely “pristine” and sparsely populated by slash-and-burn agriculturists, or instead a densely populated, domesticated landscape, heavily altered by extensive deforestation and anthropogenic burning. The discovery of hundreds of large geometric earthworks beneath intact rainforest across southern Amazonia challenges its status as a pristine landscape, [...]

Wildlife decline and social conflict

U.S. President Obama’s recent creation of an interagency task force on wildlife trafficking reflects growing political awareness of linkages between wildlife conservation and national security. However, this and similar new initiatives in Europe and Asia promote a “war on poachers” that overlooks the ecological, social, and economic complexity of wildlife-related conflict. Input from multiple disciplines [...]

Recycled fish bones offer five star sun protection- TERA

An effective new sunscreen based on iron-doped hydroxyapatite (HAp)-based materials derived from cod fish bones, a by-product of the food industry, has been developed by scientists in Portugal. Commercial sunscreens are usually based on materials like TiO2 and ZnO, which absorb UV to reduce its harmful effects on the skin. However, there are concerns regarding the potential toxicity [...]

A new health check of the ozone layer at global and regional scales: results equivocal

How effective is the Montreal Protocol, the international treaty aimed at protecting the stratospheric ozone layer? Since the treaty was adopted in 1989, manufacturers have gradually stopped producing numerous chemicals that deplete ozone. Scientists have predicted that ozone will recover as a result. Coldewey-Egbers et al. use an extensive data set to test whether recovery [...]

Thawing lake bottoms also store large quantities of carbon- TERA

Lakes that form in thawing permafrost emit substantial amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. It emerges that large quantities of carbon can also be stored in sediments at the lake bottoms. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13643

Efficient Utilization of Greenhouse Gases in a Gas-to-Liquids Process Combined with CO2/Steam-Mixed Reforming and Fe-Based Fischer–Tropsch Synthesis- TERA

Two process models for carbon dioxide utilized gas-to-liquids (GTL) process (CUGP) mainly producing light olefins and Fischer–Tropsch (F–T) synthetic oils were developed by Aspen Plus software. Both models are mainly composed of a reforming unit, an F–T synthesis unit and a recycle unit, while the main difference is the feeding point of fresh CO2. In [...]