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Earth and Environment

No Filter: Microfluidics Makes Desalination Membrane-Free

No Filter: Microfluidics Makes Desalination Membrane-Free

Seven billion people share one percent of Earth’s water. What’s more worrisome: our demand for freshwater increases every day. Advances in desalination have promised access to the oceans’ vast supply, but the majority of desalination facilities burn fossil fuels and

Digit Evolution: Debate over bird wing development

Digit Evolution: Debate over bird wing development

Wiggle your fingers. There should be ten of them. Now wiggle your toes. Still ten, right? We’re obviously not the only species that have digits. Birds have digits too. However, the development of their digits and consequently their wings is

Stubborn Salt Marshes: Nitrate Contamination Prevents Efficient CO2 Processing

Stubborn Salt Marshes: Nitrate Contamination Prevents Efficient CO2 Processing

Due to human activity, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to rise, contributing to increased global temperatures, rising sea levels, and other devastating environmental consequences. Salt marshes, widely found in coastal regions, are known to reduce CO2 levels by

John Aber (BK ‘71, M.F.S. ‘73, PhD ‘76):  Research to save our planet

John Aber (BK ‘71, M.F.S. ‘73, PhD ‘76): Research to save our planet

“I had no idea what I wanted to do—what does a computer scientist do with forests?” As it turns out, John Aber (BK ‘71, M.F.S. ‘73, PhD ‘76), professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environment at the University

Slime: How Algae Created Us, Plague Us, and Just Might Save Us

Slime: How Algae Created Us, Plague Us, and Just Might Save Us

How much do you think about algae? Unless you regularly eat seaweed snacks, likely not much. However, algae—albeit green and slimy—is more than meets the eye, and this tiny organism might even have an important role in shaping our future.

The Origins of Water in Earth: Meteorites offer insight on the early conditions of Earth

The Origins of Water in Earth: Meteorites offer insight on the early conditions of Earth

Earth is remarkable in countless ways, but particularly for providing a home to the only known living creatures in the universe. That Earth has the building blocks for life is extraordinary, but how did these circumstances come about? New research

Can Flags Make Energy?

Can Flags Make Energy?

Jorge Silva Leon and a team of researchers at the University of Manchester recently published a paper in Applied Energy on a technology that generates energy on a much smaller scale than ususal—the microgrid. Powering the ever-expanding microgrid of mobile

Shazam for Seismologists? How a new data mining technique is shaking up earthquake science

Shazam for Seismologists? How a new data mining technique is shaking up earthquake science

Have you ever experienced an earth­quake? Because many earthquakes are small and can go by unnoticed, the answer for most people is yes. A common miscon­ception about earthquakes is that they are always associated with ruptured pavement, collapsed buildings, and

An Unlikely Partnership: Why a parasitic relationship became mutualistic

An Unlikely Partnership: Why a parasitic relationship became mutualistic

When we think about bacteriophages, we don’t typically think of cooperation. Commonly represented with six legs and a big “head”, bacteriophages can look more like a bug than a microbial predator. Bacteriophages, a type of virus, attack by injecting their

The Evolution of Fire: Preserved proteins reveal a more accurate tree of life

The Evolution of Fire: Preserved proteins reveal a more accurate tree of life

Forest fires, while harmful for individual plants, offer re­storative benefits for an ecosystem. Flammability, therefore, may be an example of group selection, a process by which a trait that may not be advantageous for individuals may become prevalent if it