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How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

Everitt et al. | Feb 15, 2021

How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

As the world struggled to grapple with the emerging COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many countries instated policies to help minimize the spread of the virus among residents. This inadvertently led to a decrease in travel, and in some cases, industrial output, two major sources of pollutants in today's world. Here, the authors investigate whether California's shelter-in-place policy was associated with a measurable decrease in water and air pollution in that state between June and July of 2020, compared to the preceeding five years. Their findings suggest that, by some metrics, air quality improved within certain areas while water quality was relatively unchanged. Overall, these findings suggest that changing human behavior can, indeed, help reduce the level of air pollutants that compromise air quality.

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The effects of stress on the bacterial community associated with the sea anemone Diadumene lineata

Cahill et al. | Feb 15, 2021

The effects of stress on the bacterial community associated with the sea anemone Diadumene lineata

In healthy ecosystems, organisms interact in a relationship that helps maintain one another's existence. Stress can disrupt this interaction, compromising the survival of some of the members of such relationships. Here, the authors investigate the effect of stress on the interaction between anemones and their microbiome. Their study suggests that stress changes the composition of the surface microbiome of the anemone D. lineata, which is accompanied by an increase in mucus secretion. Future research into the composition of this stress-induced mucus might reveal useful antimicrobial properties.

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Repurposing citrus peel waste and its positive effects on our health and communities

Kim et al. | Feb 08, 2021

Repurposing citrus peel waste and its positive effects on our health and communities

Every year, more than 30% of food products go to waste. This is approximately 1.3 billion tons of food, which is equivalent to 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars. While conventional solid waste treatments and fertilization of food waste are common, citrus fruit peels require secondary applications and advanced disposal management due to their low pH values and high antimicrobial characteristics. Since citrus fruits are well-known sources of vitamin C and antioxidants, we hypothesized that their peels also contain high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants. In our study, five common citrus peels including grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, and tangerine, were used to determine the amounts of vitamin C and total soluble antioxidants.

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Can Green Tea Alleviate the Effects of Stress Related to Learning and Long-Term Memory in the Great Pond Snail (Lymnaea stagnalis)?

Elias et al. | Jan 30, 2021

Can Green Tea Alleviate the Effects of Stress Related to Learning and Long-Term Memory in the Great Pond Snail (<em>Lymnaea stagnalis</em>)?

Stress and anxiety have become more prevalent issues in recent years with teenagers especially at risk. Recent studies show that experiencing stress while learning can impair brain-cell communication thus negatively impacting learning. Green tea is believed to have the opposite effect, aiding in learning and memory retention. In this study, the authors used Lymnaea stagnalis , a pond snail, to explore the relationship between green tea and a stressor that impairs memory formation to determine the effects of both green tea and stress on the snails’ ability to learn, form, and retain memories. Using a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) assay, where snails are exposed to a sweet substance followed by a bitter taste with the number of biting responses being recorded, the authors found that stress was shown to be harmful to snail learning and memory for short-term, intermediate, and long-term memory.

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Analysis of Patterns in the Harmonics of a String with Artificially Enforced Nodes

Jain et al. | Jan 28, 2021

Analysis of Patterns in the Harmonics of a String with Artificially Enforced Nodes

This study examines the higher harmonics in an oscillating string by analyzing the sound produced by a guitar with a spectrum analyzer. The authors mathematically hypothesized that the higher harmonics in the series of the directly excited 2nd harmonic contain the alternate frequencies of the fundamental series, the higher harmonics of the directly excited 3rd harmonic series contain every third frequency of fundamental series, and so on. To test the hypotheses, they enforced artificial nodes to excite the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th harmonics directly, and analyzed the resulting spectrum to verify the mathematical hypothesis. The data analysis corroborates both hypotheses.

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