Invasive species pose a significant threat to many ecosystems, whether by outcompeting native species and disturbing food webs, or through increasing risks of natural disasters like flooding and wildfires. The ornamental grass species Pennisetum villosum R. Br. was previously identified by the California Invasive Plant Council as being potentially invasive; this experiment was conducted to determine if P. villosum displays characteristics of an invasive species when grown in a California chaparral environment. Reults found that in both conditions, the two species had similar germination rates, and that P. villosum grew significantly larger than N. pulchra for around 95 days.
Here the authors investigated the motivation of a short squeeze of GameStop stock where users of the internet forum Reddit drove a sudden increase in GameStop stock price during the start of 2021. They relied on both qualitative and quantitative analyses where they tracked activity on the r/WallStreetBets subreddit in relation to mentions of GameStop. With these methods they found that while initially the short squeeze was driven by financial motivations, later on emotional motivations became more important. They suggest that social phenomena can be dynamic and evolve necessitating mixed method approaches to study them.
Rhizopus stolonifer is a mold commonly found growing on bread that can cause many negative health effects when consumed. Preservatives are the well-known answer to this problem; however, many preservatives are not naturally found in food, and some have negative health effects of their own. We focused on honey as a possible solution because of its natural origin and self-preservation ability. We hypothesized that honey would decrease the growth rate of R. stolonifer . We evaluated the honey with a zone of inhibition (ZOI) test on agar plates. Sabouraud dextrose agar was mixed with differing volumes of honey to generate concentrations between 10.0% and 30.0%. These plates were then inoculated with a solution of spores collected from the mold. The ZOI was measured to determine antifungal effectiveness. A statistically significant difference was found between the means of all concentrations except for 20.0% and 22.5%. Our findings support the hypothesis as we showed a positive correlation between the honey concentration and growth rate of mold. By using this data, progress could be made on an all-natural, honey-based preservative.
Coral bleaching is a fatal process that reduces coral diversity, leads to habitat loss for marine organisms, and is a symptom of climate change. This process occurs when corals expel their symbiotic dinoflagellates, algae that photosynthesize within coral tissue providing corals with glucose. Restoration efforts have attempted to repair damaged reefs; however, there are over 360,000 square miles of coral reefs worldwide, making it challenging to target conservation efforts. Thus, predicting the likelihood of bleaching in a certain region would make it easier to allocate resources for conservation efforts. We developed a machine learning model to predict global locations at risk for coral bleaching. Data obtained from the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office consisted of various coral bleaching events and the parameters under which the bleaching occurred. Sea surface temperature, sea surface temperature anomalies, longitude, latitude, and coral depth below the surface were the features found to be most correlated to coral bleaching. Thirty-nine machine learning models were tested to determine which one most accurately used the parameters of interest to predict the percentage of corals that would be bleached. A random forest regressor model with an R-squared value of 0.25 and a root mean squared error value of 7.91 was determined to be the best model for predicting coral bleaching. In the end, the random model had a 96% accuracy in predicting the percentage of corals that would be bleached. This prediction system can make it easier for researchers and conservationists to identify coral bleaching hotspots and properly allocate resources to prevent or mitigate bleaching events.
Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are bio-electrochemical systems that utilize bacteria and are promising forms of alternative energy. Similar to chemical fuel cells, MFCs employ both an anode (accepts electrons) and a cathode (donates electrons), but in these devices the live bacteria donate the electrons necessary for current. In this study, the authors assess the functionality of a photosynthetic MFC that utilizes a purple non-sulfur bacterium. The MFC prototype they constructed was found to function over a range of environmental conditions, suggesting its potential use in industrial models.
In our modern age, the burgeoning use of radios and radars has resulted in competition for electromagnetic spectrum resources. With recent research highlighting solutions to radio and radar mutual interference, there is a desperate need for a cost-effective configuration that permits a radar-radio joint system. In this study, the authors have set out to determine the feasibility of using single-tone continuous-wave radars in a radar-joint system. With this system, they aim to facilitate cost-effective near-field target detection by way of the popularized 2.4-GHz industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) band.
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are promising new nanomaterials for use in the fight against climate change that can efficiently capture and convert CO2 to other useful carbon products. This research used computational models to determine the reaction conditions under which MOFs can more efficiently capture and convert CO2. In a cost-efficient manner, this analysis tested the hypothesis that pressure and temperature affect the efficacy of carbon capture and conversion, and contribute to understanding the optimal conditions for MOF performance to improve the use of MOFs for controlling greenhouse CO2 emissions.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most common form of pancreatic cancer, with early diagnosis and treatment challenges. When any of the genes KRAS, SMAD4, TP53, and BRCA2 are heavily mutated, they correlate with PDAC progression. Cellular stress, partly regulated by the gene SERPINA6, also correlates with PDAC progression. When SERPINA6 is highly expressed, corticosteroid-binding globulin inhibits the effect of the stress hormone cortisol. In this study, the authors explored whether there is an inverse correlation between the expression of SERPINA6 and PDAC-linked genes.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports a significant number of heavy metal-contaminated sites across the United States. To address this public health concern, rhizoremediation using microbes has emerged as a promising solution. Here, a combination of soil microbes were inoculated in the rhizosphere in soil contaminated with 500 parts per million (ppm) of lead. Results showed rhizoremediation is an effective bioremediation strategy and may increase crop productivity by converting nonarable lands into arable lands.