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Polluted water tested from the Potomac River affects invasive species plant growth

Chao et al. | Sep 20, 2023

Polluted water tested from the Potomac River affects invasive species plant growth
Image credit: Alex Korolkoff

Here recognizing the potential for pollution to impact the ecosystems of local waterways, the authors investigated the growth of tiger lilies, which are invasive to the Potomac River, in relation to the level of pollution. The authors report that increasing levels of pollution led to increased growth of the invasive species based on their study.

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Using machine learning to develop a global coral bleaching predictor

Madireddy et al. | Feb 21, 2023

Using machine learning to develop a global coral bleaching predictor
Image credit: Madireddy, Bosch, and McCalla

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.

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Osmotic characteristics of water retention structures of Bursera microphylla in relation to soil salinity

Groom et al. | Jul 12, 2023

Osmotic characteristics of water retention structures of <i>Bursera microphylla</i> in relation to soil salinity
Image credit: Lisa Fotios

This study hypothesized that sodium chloride was taken up through plant root structures to facilitate water transportation, and that sodium chloride accumulation was directly proportional to the soil salinity. Results showed that most cells within the “bulb” structures were isotonic at a concentration approximately twice as high as that of root tissue and ambient soil salinity, therefore supporting the presented hypothesis.

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Characterization of Drought Tolerance in Arabidopsis Mutant fry1-6

Kim et al. | Jan 07, 2019

Characterization of Drought Tolerance in Arabidopsis Mutant  fry1-6

In a world where water shortage is becoming an increasing concern, and where population increase seems inevitable, food shortage is an overwhelming concern for many. In this paper, the authors aim to characterize a drought-resistant strain of A. thaliana, investigating the cause for its water resistance. These and similar studies help us learn how plants could be engineered to improve their ability to flourish in a changing climate.

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