Category Archives: Online Resources

Less science, more pollution

30By Karina Toledo, Caxambu

Agência FAPESP – Universidade de São Paulo researchers have published a detailed map of atmospheric pollution, showing that the countries with the worst air quality indices are precisely those with the fewest scientific production on this topic. The article was published in the August edition of Nature Reviews Cancer.

In the opinion of the article’s author, Lais Fajersztajn, lead researcher of the FAPESP-funded study, the result indicates that science is an important tool for improving atmospheric pollution and must be strengthened in developing countries through international collaboration. “The greater the knowledge, the better it is disseminated, and the more chances there are of dealing with the problem,” she stated.

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Source and Photo: Agência FAPESP, 9th October, 2013
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Botanical Institute discovers seven species of fungi in Paranapiacaba

2By Noêmia Lopes
Agência FAPESP – Conservative estimates put the total number of fungal species in the world at 1.5 million. Although many remain unknown, new studies in the field of mycology are increasing the knowledge on this kingdom every year. Researchers from the São Paulo Environment Secretariat’s Botanical Institute (IBt/SP) have been contributing to these efforts and have just discovered seven new species on the Paranapiacaba Biological Reserve (RBP) in Greater São Paulo.
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The state of the world: is it too late for sustainability?

Coral reeef man in boatThe Guardian - In November 2012, the “big four” professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers released a report that concluded it was too late to hold the future increase in global average temperatures to just two degrees Celsius. “It’s time,” the report announced, “to prepare for a warmer world”.

The same month, the World Bank released Turn Down the Heat, which soberly set forth why a four-degree warmer world must be avoided. Meanwhile, accounts of myriad emerging calamities were easy to find in the press: the failure of the Rio+20 talks to result in positive action, “zombie” coral reefs, calls for higher birth rates, declining Arctic sea ice, an approaching “state shift” in the earth’s biosphere, and other evidence of strain in natural systems and of human blindness, ignorance or denial ……..>> Access the complete article<<

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Amazon plant discovery could yield green cash crop

43By Emma Marris
Nature - The two men saw a plant they did not recognize. Its plump, green seed pods resembled those of a family of plants known in Peru as sacha inchi, which produce oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids. But the pods of the new plant, later dubbed Plukenetia carolis-vegae, were bigger than those sprouted by the known sacha inchi species Plukenetia volubilis and Plukenetia huayllabambana.

Bussmann, an ethnobotanist at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis, and Vega, head of the Institute for Sustainable Local Development and Andean Amazon Cultural and Biological Conservation (INBIAPERU) in Trujillo, Peru, had stumbled on a species unknown to science. Now, they hope to transform it into a ‘conservation crop’ that can be raised commercially in the shade beneath the Amazon’s forest canopy, without cutting down any trees.

Click here to access the complete article at Nature
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A Rescue Mission for Amphibians at the Brink of Extinction

F1_smallRichard Stone
Science - Brian Gratwicke reaches into a terrarium with a gloved hand and gently nudges a tiny froglet onto a U.S. quarter. Smaller than George Washington’s head, the 5-day-old Limosa harlequin frog, its slick skin sporting green and black chevrons, squats calmly as Gratwicke snaps photos. The little tyke is a celebrity. When Gratwicke, a conservation biologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C., and his team first captured a few of the endangered toads in 2009, he says: “We couldn’t keep them alive for even 2 days.” The toads had been taken in jungle in central Panama thought to be free of chytrid fungus, which has been mowing down amphibians worldwide. But the captives had been infected in the wild and succumbed in Gamboa. The team found healthy individuals on subsequent forays. “We came this close to losing the species,” Gratwicke says, holding his thumb and index finger a hair’s width apart. …. >>Continue Reading<<

Source and Photo: Sciene 22nd March, 2013
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Renewable energy

energiarenovavelBy Vania de Souza Andrade
Biomassa & Bioenergia - The Rio +20 emphasized subject that has been much discussed recently by governments. With the inclusion on the agenda of the meeting the topic of renewable energy, the world is forced to discuss viable alternatives and implement effectively in practice initiatives to encourage the use of clean energy sources. The most recent example that has news was the Japan, which has approved a plan to encourage the production of clean energy investment that should result in at least $ 9.6 billion in new facilities with generating capacity of 3.2 gigawatts. Such policy incentives for the production of energy Renewable worldwide have been object of study by KPMG, which raised and compared information subsidies by 15 countries, such as feed-in tariff (mechanism of stimulating the production of renewable energy), Continue reading

Chicken Vaccines Combine to Produce Deadly Virus

By Kai Kupferschmidt
Science – Vaccines aren’t supposed to cause disease. But that appears to be what’s happening on Australian farms. Scientists have found that two virus strains used to vaccinate chickens there may have recombined to form a virus that is sickening and killing the animals. “This shows that recombination of such strains can happen and people need to think about it,” says Glenn Browning, a veterinary microbiologist at the University of Melbourne, Parkville, in Australia and one of the co-authors on the paper.
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Extreme climate change linked to early animal evolution

Science News – An international team of scientists, including geochemistries from the University of California, Riverside, has uncovered new evidence linking extreme climate change, oxygen rise, and early animal evolution. A dramatic rise in atmospheric oxygen levels has long been speculated as the trigger for early animal evolution. While the direct cause-and-effect relationships between animal and environmental evolution remain topics of intense debate, all this research has been hampered by the lack of direct evidence for an oxygen increase coincident with the appearance of the earliest animals — until now.

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Source and Photo: Science News
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DNA discovery key to drought resistant crops

Scientists have pinpointed the ‘stay green’ DNA in barley in new research that may help farmers to grow better crops in areas of drought, heat and salinity.

In an international collaboration, researchers studied a set of 292 barley accessions from the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Aleppo, Syria. The accessions were collected from 35 countries in six geographic regions including Africa, Middle East Asia, North East Asia, Arabian Peninsula, Australia and Europe.

The collaboration was between The University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture and researchers in China, the United States and Syria… >>Read the Complete Article<<

Source and Photo: University of Western Australia, May 31st, 2012
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Agricultural Bacteria: Blowing in the Wind

It was all too evident during the Dust Bowl what a disastrous impact wind can have on dry, unprotected topsoil. Now a new study has uncovered a less obvious, but still troubling, effect of wind: Not only can it carry away soil particles, but also the beneficial microbes that help build soil, detoxify contaminants, and recycle nutrients.

Using a powerful DNA sequencing technique, called pyrosequencing, a team led by USDA-ARS scientists Terrence Gardner and Veronica Acosta-Martínez analyzed the bacterial diversity in three Michigan agricultural soils, and in two eroded sediments generated from these soils during a wind tunnel experiment: coarse particles and fine dust. Not only were the microbial assemblages on the coarse particles distinct from those on the dust, report the scientists in the current issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality, but the two types of eroded sediments were each enriched in certain groups of microbes compared with the parent soil, as well.

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