Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Environmental Sciences

Journal Club: Engineered enzyme could streamline synthesis of nitrogen containing compounds

Researchers have re-engineered a bacterial enzyme to transform abundant alkanes into industrially important nitrogen-containing compounds that can be used to synthesize pharmaceuticals. In principle, the enzyme, now called P411CHA, could help streamline some methods for creating synthetic molecules, which often … Continue reading

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Journal Club: In a first, deep sea robots get a close look at giant larvaceans, a key player in the biological carbon pump

Closer inspection of the giant larvacean, seen here in an undersea video taken by a remotely operated vehicle, could reveal clues about how the deep sea sequesters carbon. Image Credit: © 2017 MBARI In the deeps off Monteray Bay, Calif., … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Geometry of Greenland’s glaciers helps predict future ice melt

The changing climate is just one factor contributing to the melting and thinning of the slow-moving rivers of ice that terminate in spots such as Greenland’s fjords. Each glacier’s geometry—including its thickness and how steeply it flows—also makes a difference. … Continue reading

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Journal Club: In some cases, water management practices exacerbated California drought, according to model

Many of California’s reservoirs are now fuller than they’ve been in years thanks to an extraordinarily wet winter. Yet drought conditions are likely to return based on historical cycles, even without accounting for climate change. And California’s depleted groundwater is … Continue reading

Categories: Agriculture | Climate science | Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences | Environmental Sciences | Journal Club | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Layer-cake chemistry offers up a cheap way to perform chemical tests

Sana Jahanshahi-Anbuhi started her study with a trip to the supermarket to buy Listerine breath strips, the sort that melt on your tongue in seconds. But the chemical engineering postdoc at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada wasn’t worried about bad … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Why do trees fix nitrogen in certain forests and not others? Model offers insights with big implications for the biosphere

Many trees can generate their own fertilizer from nitrogen in the air. But it remains a mystery as to why they grow where they do – for example, few grow in the nitrogen-poor soils of temperate forests but many thrive … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Maya altered their environment significantly, for better or worse

The ancient Maya once had a civilization in the Americas that stretched over an area the size of Texas. Now scientists detail a number of key ways the Maya left behind a lasting impact on the environment during the so-called … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Epigenetic marks may reveal how the environment affected ancient societies

Ancient DNA can shed light on the past in myriad ways — for instance, genes and mutations may reveal important adaptations or physiological changes. But gene-regulating molecules latched onto the DNA, known as epigenetic marks, may also reveal important clues. … Continue reading

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New forests change land temperatures

Thirty years ago China began launching ambitious reforestation projects, aiming to undo some of the massive environmental damage caused by years of clear cutting. Each year the country adds around 2 million hectares of new trees, with no sign of … Continue reading

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Porous aerosol particles could play a key role in the atmosphere

Microscopic droplets and particles make up aerosols in the air, clouds of haze, dust and soot that play vital roles in climate, absorbing or reflecting sunlight to help warm or cool the planet and serving as the seeds of precipitation. … Continue reading

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