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Using DNA Barcodes to Evaluate Ecosystem Health in the SWRCMS Reserve

Horton et al. | Sep 27, 2018

Using DNA Barcodes to Evaluate Ecosystem Health in the SWRCMS Reserve

Although the United States maintains millions of square kilometers of nature reserves to protect the biodiversity of the specimens living there, little is known about how confining these species within designated protected lands influences the genetic variation required for a healthy population. In this study, the authors sequenced genetic barcodes of insects from a recently established nature reserve, the Southwestern Riverside County Multi-Species Reserve (SWRCMSR), and a non-protected area, the Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) Menifee campus, to compare the genetic variation between the two populations. Their results demonstrated that the midge fly population from the SWRCMSR had fewer unique DNA barcode sequence changes than the MSJC population, indicating that the comparatively younger nature reserve's population had likely not yet established its own unique genetic drift changes.

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Integrated Ocean Cleanup System for Sustainable and Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems

Anand et al. | Nov 14, 2020

Integrated Ocean Cleanup System for Sustainable and Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems

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.

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Genomic Signature Analysis for the Strategic Bioremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Mangrove Ecosystems in the Gulf of Tonkin

Dao et al. | Jun 27, 2021

Genomic Signature Analysis for the Strategic Bioremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Mangrove Ecosystems in the Gulf of Tonkin

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.

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Fire and dry grass: Effects of Pennisetum villosum on a California native, Nassella pulchra, in drought times

Chang et al. | Jan 23, 2022

Fire and dry grass: Effects of <i>Pennisetum villosum</i> on a California native, <i>Nassella pulchra</i>, in drought times

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.

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A new therapy against MDR bacteria by in silico virtual screening of Pseudomonas aeruginosa LpxC inhibitors

Liu et al. | Apr 27, 2022

A new therapy against MDR bacteria by <em>in silico</em> virtual screening of <em>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</em> LpxC inhibitors

Here, seeking to address the growing threat of multidrug-resistant bacteria (MDR). the authors used in silico virtual screening to target MDR Pseudomonas aeruginosa. They considered a key protein in its biosynthesis and virtually screened 20,000 candidates and 30 derivatives of brequinar. In the end, they identified a possible candidate with the highest degree of potential to inhibit the pathogen's lipid A synthesis.

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Modeling the effects of acid rain on bacterial growth

Shah et al. | Nov 17, 2020

Modeling the effects of acid rain on bacterial growth

Acid rain has caused devastating decreases in ecosystems across the globe. To mimic the effect of acid rain on the environment, the authors analyzed the growth of gram-negative (Escherichia coli) and gram-positive (Staphylococcus epidermidis) bacteria in agar solutions with different pH levels. Results show that in a given acidic environment there was a significant decrease in bacterial growth with an increase in vinegar concentration in the agar, suggesting that bacterial growth is impacted by the pH of the environment. Therefore, increased levels of acid rain could potentially harm the ecosystem by altering bacterial growth.

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