Reduced mobility induced by the COVID-19 restrictions had only minor influence on particulate pollution levels according to atmosphere studies in the Po Valley region of northern Italy. Eventually computer simulations indicated that the change in air quality led to an increase in secondary aerosol formation.
Restoration of degraded drylands is urgently needed to mitigate climate change, reverse desertification and secure livelihoods for the two billion people who live there, experts warn in a major new paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Scientists leading the Global Arid Zone Project examined restoration seeding outcomes at 174 sites on six continents, encompassing 594,065 observations of 671 plant species - with the lessons learned important to meeting ambitious future restoration targets.
A landmark scientific study involving marine biologists from Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Libya, Italy, Tunisia, the UK, the US and even Malta, documenting instances where native Mediterranean species have preyed upon two highly invasive marine fish - the Pacific red lionfish and the silver-cheeked toadfish - has just been published.
No one wants to live near a toxic plant. Toxic-releasing facilities such as paper, pulp, and other manufacturing plants negatively affect human health, environmental quality, and property values. And communities with lower income and educational attainment are more likely to house such facilities.
Forensic scientists have developed a new method to help monitor plastic pollution across the world. An adhesive tape patented by Staffordshire University researchers to recover trace evidence from crimes scenes is being adopted to analyse microplastics more efficiently.
Common yeast are able to adapt and thrive in response to a long-term rise in temperature by changing the shape, location and function of some of their proteins. The surprising findings demonstrate the unappreciated plasticity in the molecular and conformational level of proteins and bring the power of molecular biology to the organismal response to climate change. Results from the Zhou lab at the Buck Institute are published in Molecular Cell.
Researchers in the BOTTLE Consortium, including from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Portsmouth, have identified using enzymes as a more sustainable approach for recycling polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a common plastic in single-use beverage bottles, clothing, and food packaging that are becoming increasingly relevant in addressing the environmental challenge of plastic pollution. An analysis shows enzyme-recycled PET has potential improvement over conventional, fossil-based methods of PET production across a broad spectrum of energy, carbon, and socioeconomic impacts.
The high monetary cost and environmental toll of disposable N95 masks could be dramatically cut by adopting reusable masks, according to an MIT study that calculated the financial and environmental cost of several different mask usage scenarios.
Hydropower has massive potential as a source of clean electricity, and the Indus basin can be a key player in fulfilling long-term energy storage demands across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. IIASA researchers explored the role the Indus basin could play to support global sustainable development.
The Xerces blue butterfly is generally accepted as the first American insect species destroyed by urban development, but there are lingering questions about whether it was really a species to begin with, or just a sub-population of another common butterfly. In a new study, researchers analyzed the DNA of a 93-year-old Xerces blue specimen in museum collections, and confirmed that it was a unique species.