Month: August 2017

The Sensitive Baltic Sea

The Baltic Sea has suffered due to many pollutants; some of which have taken a major toll on the Baltic’s habitat; these pollutants include nuclear waste and agricultural chemical runoff.

In-Silico Patterning of Vascular Mesenchymal Cells in Three Dimensions

The evolution of tissue form in development, wound healing, and regeneration is a dynamic process that involves the integration of local cues on cell fate and function. These cues include interactions with soluble factors (growth factors, morphogens, dissolved gases) and insoluble factors (extracellular matrix, neighboring cells) in a three-dimensional context. A fundamental understanding of how tissue structure evolves is critical to the rational development of engineered tissues for therapeutic applications.

The Pike Plague

Throughout history there have been many plagues of all different types and forms. Though the problem we are facing today is not a terminal disease or a swarm of locusts eating our crops, the problem we are facing in Anchorage, Alaska, is the plague of the pike.

The Mongoose, the Pheasant, the Pox, and the Retrovirus

Paleovirology is the study of ancient viruses. The existence of a paleovirus can sometimes be detected by virtue of its accidental insertion into the germline of different animal species, which allows one to date when the virus actually existed. However, the ancient and the modern often connect, as modern viruses have unexpected origins that can be traced to ancient infections.

In Vitro Model of Vascularized Bone: Synergizing Vascular Development and Osteogenesis

In native bone, synergistic interactions between osteoblasts/osteogenic precursors and endothelial cells enable coordinated development of vasculature and mineralized tissue. In the process of intramembranous ossification during craniofacial bone growth, this cell coupling results in close spatial relationships between the two tissues in newly forming bone, with the vascular network serving as a ‘template’ for bone mineral deposition [1]. A synergy between the two cell populations has also been observed during endochondral ossification.

The Fifth Adaptor Protein Complex

Adaptor protein (AP) complexes sort cargo into vesicles for transport from one membrane compartment of the cell to another. Four distinct AP complexes have been identified, which are present in most eukaryotes.

Our Sixth Mass Extinction

A mass extinction is the eradication of a large number of species within a short period of geological time due to catastrophic factors occur too rapidly for most species to adapt. Today, many scientists think the evidence indicates a sixth mass extinction is under way. The Holocene extinction, also known as the Sixth Extinction or Anthropocene extinction, is ongoing and humans are to blame.

Pollution

Pollution is one of the primary ways humans have caused severe modifications of wildlife habitat. We have sabotaged the air, water, soil and given little consideration to the ecological consequences of our actions. As a result, wildlife populations are confronted with a bewildering array of pollutants, being suffocated, strangled and eventually killed.

 
What found inside an albatross chick on Midway Island

Climate Change

The global temperatures are warming because of greenhouse gases that humans are pumping into the atmosphere. One major consequence is that melting glaciers are raising the sea level. Flooding, increasing temperature and other climate-related consequences make species unable to exist in their original homes.

 
A pelican body found after the Santa Barbara Oil Spill

Hunting/ Poaching

Hunting is a way for humans to systematically wipe out species very quickly. Animals are poached for cultural medicine, trading, clothing or personal interests.

 
Pangolins are the most illegally trafficked animal in the world; over 100,000 are killed and traded every year for their meat and scales as a source of traditional medicine.

Habitat Degradation

The more humans convert land to their own purposes, the less habitat left for animals. Natural habitats are being converted for human use at an alarming rate. About half of the earth’s original forests are gone. In fact, we are losing forests at the rate of 20 football fields per minute. If the current rate of deforestation continues, it will take less than 100 years to destroy all the rainforests on Earth.

 

Dire Consequences

Recent extinction rates are unprecedented in human history and highly unusual in Earth’s history:

  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates the extinction rate is 1000–10,000 times faster than natural and each year, 200–2000 species go extinct.
  • Mother Nature Network (MNN) reports that 38% of all land animals and 81% of freshwater vertebrates went extinct between 1970 to 2012.
  • In just the past 40 years, nearly 52 percent of the planet’s wildlife species have been eliminated.
  • According to the study published in the journal Science Advances, 75 percent Earth’s species could be lost in the span of two generations.

Humans: The Next Victim

Humans will not be spectators to the phenomenon but rather victims as well. Just before his death in 2010, Professor Frank Fenner left a chilling warning for future generations, saying the end is on the horizon for humanity.

The human race faces a one in 500 chance of extinction in the next year, an expert mathematician has claimed. That is twenty times more likely than dying in a car crash.

So is it all lost? Avoiding a true sixth mass extinction will require us rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species and minimize the amount of chemical pollutants to the environment. But time is of the essence, the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

The Effects of Ocean Acidification on Meroplanktonic Organisms

Ocean acidification is the acidification of the world’s ocean due to the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the absorbing of the CO2 into the ocean. The absorption is making the ocean more acidic by releasing hydrogen (H+) ions and thus lowering the pH.

Land- or Ocean-Based Conservation

Widespread degradation and loss of coastal marine ecosystems has occurred over the previous centuries and has accelerated in recent decades [1–5]. These changes compromise the delivery of important ecosystem services to human society [6]. Coastal marine ecosystems pose a particular challenge to environmental managers because they are exposed to threats occurring both in the ocean (e.g., overfishing, direct damage) and on land.

The Effects of Fish Processing Bio-waste on the Ocean’s Organisms and Nutrients

The effect fish processing bio-waste has on surrounding environments, habitats, and organisms is highly controversial. Although it is a natural pollutant, fish bio-waste has the ability to affect oxygen levels, salinity, temperature, pH levels, and the overall abundance of organisms in sea water.

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