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January 2021

Climate Change Reduces the Abundance and Diversity of Wild Bees, Study Finds

January 13, 2021 - January 1, 2022

Wild bees are more affected by climate change than by disturbances to their habitats, according to a team of researchers led by Penn State. The findings suggest that addressing land-use issues alone will not be sufficient to protecting these important pollinators. “Our study found that the most critical factor influencing wild bee abundance and species diversity was the weather, particularly temperature and precipitation,” said Christina Grozinger, Distinguished Professor of Entomology and director of the Center for Pollinator Research, Penn State.…

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Inspired by Kombucha Tea, Engineers Create “Living Materials”

January 14, 2021 - January 1, 2022

Engineers at MIT and Imperial College London have developed a new way to generate tough, functional materials using a mixture of bacteria and yeast similar to the “kombucha mother” used to ferment tea. Using this mixture, also called a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), the researchers were able to produce cellulose embedded with enzymes that can perform a variety of functions, such as sensing environmental pollutants. They also showed that they could incorporate yeast directly into the material,…

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Anthropogenic Heat Flux Increases the Frequency of Extreme Heat Events

January 14, 2021 - January 1, 2022

Anthropogenic, or human-made, heat flux in the near-surface atmosphere has changed urban thermal environments. Much of this fluctuation has been noted with rapid development of the global economy and urbanization since the turn of the 21st century. Meanwhile, the number of extreme temperature events in the first decade of the 21st century grew faster than in the last 10 years of the 20th century. During this period, urban extreme heat events have become more frequent, breaking temperature records more often.…

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Managing Salt Pollution to Protect Drinking Water Resources and Freshwater Ecosystems

January 18, 2021 - January 1, 2022

Just like too much dietary salt is bad for blood pressure, too much salt in our nation’s streams, lakes, and reservoirs threatens ecosystem health and the security of our nation’s drinking water and food supplies. “Salt levels are rising fast in freshwaters across the United States,” said Stanley Grant, professor of civil and environmental engineering in the Virginia Tech College of Engineering and the principal investigator of a recent multimillion dollar grant from the National Science Foundation aimed at addressing…

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Changing Resilience of Oceans to Climate Change

January 18, 2021 - January 1, 2022

Oxygen levels in the ancient oceans were surprisingly resilient to climate change, new research suggests. Scientists used geological samples to estimate ocean oxygen during a period of global warming 56 million years ago – and found "limited expansion" of seafloor anoxia (absence of oxygen). Global warming – both past and present – depletes ocean oxygen, but the new study suggests warming of 5°C in the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) led to anoxia covering no more than 2% of the…

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