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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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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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The Effect of Anubias barteri Plant Species on Limiting Freshwater Acidification

Ramanathan et al. | Jul 06, 2021

The Effect of <i>Anubias barteri</i> Plant Species on Limiting Freshwater Acidification

Research relating to freshwater acidification is minimal, so the impact of aquatic plants, Anubias barteri var. congensis and Anubias barteri var. nana, on minimizing changes in pH was explored in an ecosystem in Northern California. Creek water samples, with and without the aquatic plants, were exposed to dry ice to simulate carbon emissions and the pH was monitored over an eight-hour period. There was a 25% difference in the observed pH based on molar hydrogen ion concentration between the water samples with plants and those without plants, suggesting that aquatic plants have the potential to limit acidification to some extent. These findings can guide future research to explore the viable partial solution of aquatic plants in combating freshwater acidification.

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The Non-Thermal Effect of UV-B Irradiation on Onion Growth

Nashnoush et al. | Jun 09, 2020

The Non-Thermal Effect of UV-B Irradiation on Onion Growth

UV-B radiation due to the depletion of ozone threatens plant life, potentially damaging ecosystems and dismantling food webs. Here, the impact of UV-B radiation on the physiology and morphology of Allum cepa, the common onion, was assessed. Mitosis vitality decreased, suggesting UV-B damage can influence the plant’s physiology.

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