Due to the susceptibility of adolescent age groups to opioid misuse, here the authors sought to determine if there was a difference in the perception and knowledge between 9th and 12th graders regarding the opioid crisis. An educational intervention trial was done with the 9th graders and surveys were used to identify its effects. Although the authors acknowledge a small sample size, their results suggest that their are gaps within the knowledge of adolescents in regards to opioid misuse and its long-term effects that could be addressed with further education.
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.
In this article, Harvell and Nicholson hypothesized that increased ocean acidity would decrease the photosynthetic ability of Chaetoceros gracilis, a diatom prolific in Monterey Bay, because of the usually corrosive effects of carbonic acid on both seashells and cells’ internal structures. They altered pH of algae environments and measured the photosynthetic ability of diatoms over four days by spectrophotometer. Overall, their findings indicate that C. gracilis may become more abundant in Monterey Bay as the pH of the ocean continues to drop, potentially contributing to harmful algal blooms.
Oil spills are one of the most devastating events for marine life. Finding ways to clean up oil spills without the need for harsh chemicals could help decrease the negative impact of such spills. Here the authors demonstrate that using a combination of several biodegradable substances can effectively adsorb oil in seawater in a laboratory setting. They suggest further exploring the potential of such a combination as a possible alternative to commonly-used non-biodegradable substances in oil spill management.
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.
Caffeine is widely consumed across the globe and is most appreciated for its effects as a stimulant. Here the authors investigate whether caffeine consumption affects performance during endurance or strength training. Their results suggest that caffeine consumption enhances endurance training, but not strength training.
Clean water is a necessity for every household, yet water pollution is a serious problem in many parts of the world and plays a major role in compromising water security in the 21st century. In this paper, the authors address the utility of several plants as natural water purifiers. They estimate the effectiveness of duckweed, hyacinth, and azolla in improving the quality of water from the Mithi river in India by measuring several metrics. They conclude that all three plants are effective in improving water quality, suggesting that these plants as eco-friendly options for water treatment.
Concerns regarding the rapid spread of Sars-CoV2 in early 2020 led company and local governmental officials in many states to ask people to work from home and avoid leaving their homes; measures commonly referred to as shutdowns. Here, the authors investigate how shutdowns affected carbon monoxide (CO) levels in 15 US states using publicly available data. Their results suggest that CO levels decreased as a result of these measures over the course of 2020, a trend which started to reverse after shutdowns ended.
Engineered bacteria that degrade oil are currently being considered as a safe option for the treatment of oil spills. For this approach to be successful, the bacteria must effectively express oil-degrading genes they uptake as part of an external genoming vehicle called a "plasmid". Using a computational approach, the authors investigate plasmid-bacterium compatibility to find pairs that ensure high levels of gene expression.
The authors test the ability of aloe vera gel to purify water of four separate contaminants. Aloe reduced the levels of copper, iron, and phosphate, but not nitrate. Potential applications of this purification system are discussed.