Journal Club

Highlighting recent, timely papers selected by Academy member labs

Category Archives: Sustainability Science

Could expanding social webs help humans cooperate altruistically on a global scale?

Celebrities and social media influencers are reaching global audiences on unprecedented scales. Such audiences are already forming cooperative groups that could one day tackle complex problems such as climate change, argues a recent perspective published in One Earth. Drawing on … Continue reading

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Agricultural spray could quickly deliver advantageous genes to crops mid-growing season

Plant breeders are masters of genome tuning, spending years developing crops with the genes to resist disease, drought, and pests. Now, a team of industry and academic researchers in Germany and the United Kingdom has developed a viral vector technology … Continue reading

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Satellite monitoring may help preserve the Chesapeake Bay by improving farming practices

  Restoring the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s largest estuary, has for decades proven to be a fraught enterprise, beset by the interests of researchers, farmers, anglers, multiple governments, and a host of others. A new approach, recently reported in Remote … Continue reading

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Rice gene could make “green revolution” plants greener by cutting back on fertilizer

The green revolution was launched, in large part, with rather squat plants. In the 1960s, farmers began using semidwarf varieties of wheat and rice that produced many grain-bearing branches known as tillers. When farmers added nitrogen fertilizer, the plants gained … Continue reading

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Genome of “mile-a-minute weed” hints at the secrets to its invasive success

The weedy vine Mikania micrantha, originally from Central and South America, has become a worldwide menace. Thus far, it’s spread to tropical climes in China and Southeast Asia, Australia, and islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as … Continue reading

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Climate disasters fuel only a small boost in green energy investments

  In the wake of devastating floods in Germany in 2013, some affected householders recognized the connection between extreme weather and climate change and sought out green energy sources, according to analyses of insurance payouts and Internet searches conducted by … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Carbon payments could prove more profitable than mining or logging for some nations

Logging, mining, and other activities plow through the tropical forests of developing countries, releasing 10 to 18 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. One proposed solution is for wealthy countries to pay developing nations to keep … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Protein vs protein, study comprehensively compares the environmental impacts of livestock and seafood

The most environmentally friendly protein sources include clams, sardines, and cod. Not surprisingly, beef has the worst environmental impact. Somewhat surprisingly, farmed salmon is relatively innocuous; but catfish is not. These are the conclusions of a recent study that compares … Continue reading

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Journal Club: How traditional people tamed the Amazon rainforest

The Amazon rainforest is often thought of as an untamed wilderness. But a growing number of studies, for example one in 2015 and another in 2017, show that local people have domesticated the forests for millennia, weaving patches of useful … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Ancient diet helps tell the story of Easter Island

Famous for its towering stone human figures, Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, has long been shrouded in mystery, with the demise of its people the subject of an intense debate. Now, new findings about what its residents ate hundreds of … Continue reading

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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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