Environment & Sustainability

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October 10, 2016

Catalyst from the Microwave: Microwave-assisted thermolysis: New route to highly crystalline carbon nitrides for efficient photocatalytic hydrogen generation

Lunch out of the microwave usually doesn’t taste nearly as good as a meal made in a conventional oven. This difference in quality is reversed for graphitic carbon nitride, a catalyst used for generating hydrogen from sunlight. Treatment of a precursor material with microwaves delivers a significantly more crystalline product than conventional thermolysis in an oven. As scientists report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, a catalyst produced in this way is significantly more effective in the generation of hydrogen.

July 21, 2016

Rusty Steel Triggers Oxygen Evolution: Corroded stainless steel plate makes up an efficient water splitting electrode

Electrocatalytic water splitting is one of the most promising next generation technologies for environmentally friendly and inexpensive energy conversion and storage. However, one of its biggest obstacles is the sluggishness of the oxidation reaction, which is key to the whole process. State-of-the-art technology relies on metal oxide electrocatalysts, but both cost and performance still need to be improved. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Chinese scientists have now introduced oxidized, that is, rusty, stainless-steel plates as excellent electrocatalysts for oxygen evolution. That technology could represent a surprisingly simple approach toward solving a long-standing problem.

June 20, 2016

Experts Examine the Environmental Impact of Crime

New research indicates that crime committed in 2011 in England and Wales gave rise to more than 4 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. 

June 19, 2016

Researchers Provide New Insights on Coral Bleaching

Reef-building corals have a symbiotic relationship with Symbiodinium algae, and environmental stressors that cause algae to be expelled from reefs can give rise to the phenomenon known as coral bleaching.

May 03, 2016

Birds of a Different Color: Why Some Birds Have More than One Color Type

In some animals, the same species can occur in two or more color types, or morphs. New research may help solve the mystery of how this can occur despite the pressures of evolution.

May 03, 2016

New Insights on How Oysters Form Shells

Researchers know that several proteins are involved in oyster shell formation, but how expression of these proteins is controlled is not well understood. Now investigators report that they have identified a protein called Pf-POU3F4 that promotes expression of two of these proteins, called Aspein and Prismalin-14.

April 04, 2016

Climate Change May Reduce Vulnerable Salmon Populations

New research in north-central Mongolia illuminates the effects of global climate change on certain vulnerable species of salmon.

April 04, 2016

Marine Reserves Are Critical for Coral Reef Resilience

Due to the combined effect of human and natural disturbances, coral reefs are declining at an alarming rate. Researchers who studied the effects of various disturbances on reef communities of coral and fish found that those in ‘no-take’ marine reserves are less impacted and recover faster than those in reefs that are not located in marine protected areas.

April 04, 2016

Research Provides Insights on Hailstorms in Switzerland and Neighboring Regions

A new study over a 13-year investigation period provides information on the distribution and characteristics of hailstorms in the alpine area and adjacent areas.

March 07, 2016

Few Studies Focus on Threatened Mammalian Species that Are “Ugly”

Many Australian mammalian species of conservation significance have attracted little research effort, little recognition, and little funding, new research shows. The overlooked non-charismatic species such as fruit bats and tree rats may be most in need of scientific and management research effort.

12:00 AM EST February 22, 2016

How Climate Change May Be Impacting the World’s Tropical Forests

New research suggests that multi-year droughts will significantly alter the structure, composition, and dynamics of second-growth tropical forests, which have re-grown after cessation of agricultural activity or a major disturbance such as fire. These second-growth forests represent the prevalent tropical forest cover today.

12:00 AM EST February 22, 2016

New Model May Improve Population Management of Species Facing Local Extinction

By developing a new model, researchers have provided the first detailed mortality estimates for male African lions. A comparison of two populations, including the one of Cecil, exposed the signature that human impact leaves on male lion mortality.

12:00 AM EST February 22, 2016

New Tool Helps Model Forest Traits and Evolution

Researchers have developed plant, a software framework, to investigate how plant species differing in traits may be able to coexist with one another.

12:00 AM EST February 22, 2016

Study Examines How Large-Scale Environmental Variation Affects Reproduction and Survival of Plants

A new analysis looks at how rates of reproduction and survival of 26 shrub species with fire-dependent life cycles in the Cape Floristic Region in South Africa respond to environmental variation.

February 16, 2016

3D Printed Flowers Provide Insights on How Orchids Attract Pollinators

By using 3D printing to make casts for realistic artificial flowers, researchers have discovered how a type of orchid deceives flies into pollinating it, by pretending to be a mushroom.

February 16, 2016

Are Conservation Efforts for Coral Reefs Misguided?

A recent global analysis indicates that more than half of coral reefs are located less than 30 minutes from the nearest human settlement, but these reefs are receiving less protection than reefs located farther away from people.

February 01, 2016

Biodegradable Fishing Nets May Help Protect Marine Animals

New research shows that a biodegradable net material can be used to create nets that have similar catch rates as conventional nets but decompose after a certain period of time under water.

January 27, 2016

Experts Offer New Approach to Prioritizing Research on the Environmental Impacts of Pharmaceuticals

Researchers have developed a new way to prioritize investigations on the environmental impacts of the estimated 1500 active pharmaceutical ingredients currently in use.

January 04, 2016

Challenges to Conserving Freshwater Mussels in Europe

New research looks at the status of the 16 currently recognized freshwater mussel species in Europe, finding that information is unevenly distributed with considerable differences in data quality and quantity among countries and species.

December 21, 2015

Common Insecticide May Not Harm Bumble Bees

Investigators have found no effect of an insecticide called thiamethoxam on bumble bees that forage on flowering winter oilseed rape. Using realistic field conditions, the researchers treated seeds of oilseed rape with the insecticide and then grew the seeds into flowers. They established similar conditions with seeds not treated with thiamethoxam, and they placed bumble colonies adjacent to the fields.