Environmental Sciences

Protein Flexibility Facilitates Quaternary Structure Assembly and Evolution

The intrinsic flexibility of proteins allows them to undergo large conformational fluctuations in solution or upon interaction with other molecules. Proteins also commonly assemble into complexes with diverse quaternary structure arrangements. Here we investigate how the flexibility of individual protein chains influences the assembly and evolution of protein complexes.

Production of α-Galactosylceramide by a Prominent Member of the Human Gut Microbiota

While the human gut microbiota are suspected to produce diffusible small molecules that modulate host signaling pathways, few of these molecules have been identified. Species of Bacteroides and their relatives, which often comprise >50% of the gut community, are unusual among bacteria in that their membrane is rich in sphingolipids, a class of signaling molecules that play a key role in inducing apoptosis and modulating the host immune response.

Seed size and its rate of evolution correlate with species diversification across angiosperms

Angiosperms are one of the most species-rich clades on Earth and have dominated terrestrial plant communities since the Late Cretaceous Period. The astounding diversity of flowering plants is distributed extremely unevenly across the Tree of Life (ToL). Each of the 5 most species-rich angiosperm families contains more than 10,000 species, while more than 200 families contain less than 100 species each.

Precision Genome Engineering and Agriculture: Opportunities and Regulatory Challenges

Plant agriculture is poised at a technological inflection point. Recent advances in genome engineering make it possible to precisely alter DNA sequences in living cells, providing unprecedented control over a plant’s genetic material.

Positively Charged Residues Are the Major Determinants of Ribosomal Velocity

Both for understanding mechanisms of disease and for the design of transgenes, it is important to understand the determinants of ribosome velocity, as changes in the rate of translation are important for protein folding, error attenuation, and localization. While there is great variation in ribosomal occupancy along even a single transcript, what determines a ribosome’s occupancy is unclear. We examine this issue using data from a ribosomal footprinting assay in yeast.

The Effects of Ocean Freshening on Marine and Atmospheric Circulation: Impacts and Solutions

Ocean freshening (the desalination of the oceans) is occurring, in part, due to increased terrestrial runoff and ice cap melting caused by rising carbon dioxide emissions. Ocean freshening causes a variety of problems on its own, independent of other variables of global climate change.

Diversifying Petersburg’s Economy: Assuring Resiliency against a Potential China Market Crash

The total proportion of Petersburg’s population that fished was 25.8% in 2013. Moreover, the estimated earnings related to fisheries in 2013 was $65.7 million. Given the importance of the seafood industry and Petersburg’s connection to the world market, we decided to look at what might happen to Petersburg if China’s market were to crash and could no longer buy our fish.

Seawall Construction

Well-built seawalls have long been used as an inexpensive way to control coastal erosion. Seawalls are associated with reduced aesthetic value, and increased erosion at the ends and in front of the seawall.

The Effects of Timber Harvest on the East Duncan Canal Estuary

The Tonka Timber Sale is planned for Kupreanof Island near Petersburg in southeast Alaska. Little study has been given to the effect of timber harvest on estuaries. We are providing an analysis of timber harvests on East Duncan Canal estuaries. The two main studies we observed are biogeochemical cycling and hydrological processes.

The Effects of Declining Sea Ice on Narwhals

Narwhal populations number around 80,000 individuals (Laidre, n.d.). Threats to narwhals include polar bears, orca whales, and entrapments in sea ice (“The Narwhal’s Tale: Surviving Sea Ice Change,” 2012). Other potential problems include the melting of global sea ice, which will reshape their habitat.

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