Environmental Sciences

Development and Evolution of the Muscles of the Pelvic Fin

Locomotor strategies in terrestrial tetrapods have evolved from the utilisation of sinusoidal contractions of axial musculature, evident in ancestral fish species, to the reliance on powerful and complex limb muscles to provide propulsive force. Within tetrapods, a hindlimb-dominant locomotor strategy predominates, and its evolution is considered critical for the evident success of the tetrapod transition onto land.

Coastal Resilience to Oil Spills in Cook Inlet

Coastal resilience is important to coastal communities. Coastal resilience can be defined as the capacity for a coastal community to absorb a disturbance while at the same time undergo changes that help retain that community’s services, structures, and sense of identity. Hazards that would require coastal resilience include natural and man-made disturbances such as tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides, flooding, and oil spills.

Unraveling the Transmission Ecology of Polio

Sustained and coordinated vaccination efforts have brought polio eradication within reach. Anticipating the eradication of wild poliovirus (WPV) and the subsequent challenges in preventing its re-emergence, we look to the past to identify why polio rose to epidemic levels in the mid-20th century, and how WPV persisted over large geographic scales.

Proposal to Build a Heavy Icebreaker for use by the Coast Guard in the Northwest Passage

With the recent opening of the Northwest Passage above the Arctic Coast of the United States and Canada, increased ship traffic from shipping, research, and tourism will increase risk of ships running aground or becoming trapped within the ice in the Arctic Sea.

Bilge Dumping in Prince William Sound Small Vessels, Big Impacts

Prince William Sound (Figure 1) is located in southcentral Alaska. It covers 65,000 square kilometers (personal communication Scott Pegau, 2013) and there are 3,800 miles of coastline (Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 2013) containing environmentally sensitive areas that are important for commercial harvests.

Tracing Personalized Health Curves during Infections

It is difficult to describe host–microbe interactions in a manner that deals well with both pathogens and mutualists. Perhaps a way can be found using an ecological definition of tolerance, where tolerance is defined as the dose response curve of health versus parasite load. To plot tolerance, individual infections are summarized by reporting the maximum parasite load and the minimum health for a population of infected individuals and the slope of the resulting curve defines the tolerance of the population.

The Resilience of the Taku River Ecosystem to Mining Impacts

The Taku River ecosystem supports a vital fishery to many individuals and user groups. It is a transboundary river, with its headwaters in British Columbia, Canada, and is therefore subject to the Pacific Salmon Treaty. There are a large number of potential mines, both along the Taku River or its tributaries
and their drainage areas. Chieftain Metals Corporation plans to revive the Tulsequah and Big Bull mines. This construction poses risk to the drainage, associated fisheries, and coastal communities of the river.

Effects on Bivalves and Associated Ecology in the Chukchi Sea Due to Changing Sea Ice Conditions

The Arctic Ocean sea ice extent has been rapidly declining since 1979. Positive feedback loops are expected to increase the rate of melting, posing a serious threat to the entire Arctic marine ecosystem. The Arctic Ocean ecosystem, including the Chukchi Sea, is currently benthic dominated, but is expected to become pelagic dominated due to changes in algal and zooplankton dominance.

The Effects of pH on the Abundance of Phytoplankton for Mariculture

Very little research has been done on the effects changing ocean pH has on the food source of shellfish. However, since one of the issues shellfish have with changing ocean pH is that they have less energy to take care of other vital needs like obtaining food, researching how changing ocean pH affects the phytoplankton could be significant.

Independently Evolving Species in Asexual Bdelloid Rotifers

Species are fundamental units of biology, but there remains uncertainty on both the pattern and processes of species existence. Are species real evolutionary entities or convenient figments of taxonomists’ imagination [1–3]? If they exist, what are the main processes causing organisms to diversify [1,4]? Despite considerable debate, surprisingly few studies have formally tested the evolutionary status of species [1,5,6].

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