By: Hunter Cook
Summary: In the year 1676, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, also known as the father of microbiology, was the first person to discover an array of microscopic findings, including bacteria. Ever since van Leeuwenhoek's revolutionary discoveries, the scientific community has been studying lifeforms too small for the naked eye to see. Even though it was almost 350 years ago that we learned of bacterias' existence thanks to the father of microbiology, researchers continue unearthing new information that brings humanity a little closer to unraveling the mystery of life's origin story. Dr. Yuki Morono, a Japanese microbiologist who is also the lead author of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, and Oceanography Professor Steve D'Hondt, of the University of Rhode Island, led a research team towards the South Pacific Gyre during the summer of 2010. The South Pacific Gyre, a region of intersecting ocean currents east of Australia, is considered one of the planet's most uninhabitable areas due to the fact it has next to no nutrients needed for survival; a desert in the ocean. The research team extracted sediments from this previously presumed dead zone and brought the inorganic matter to their laboratory for further study. Three years later, geoscientist Yohey Suzuki from the University of Tokyo found microbes flourishing deep inside volcanic rocks beneath the Pacific Northwest's seafloor during research unrelated to the studies of Dr. Morono and Professor D'Hondt. Professor Suzuki's discovery of bacteria in such a harsh environment supported hypotheses about life on other planets. For example, volcanos on Mars, similar to the ones on Earth, could have sustained extraterrestrial life millions of years ago before solar wind destroyed the planet's atmosphere and magnetic field. It could also mean that other planets with harsh environments may host microscopic life. In 2020, ten years after Dr. Morono and Professor D'Hondt extracted sediments from the South Pacific Gyre (seven years after Professor Suzuki's revolutionary findings), they discovered that the dormant bacteria that had subsided within the inorganic environment for over 100 million years begun growing and multiplying. Dr. Morono concluded that some of Earth's simplest organisms do not obey the laws of time, thanks to this experiment.
Why we should care? Dr. Morono's, Professor D'Hondt's, and Professor Suzuki's studies are vital to understanding organic life because microbes such as bacteria hold the answers to several fundamental scientific questions.
The article regarding the dormant bacteria found in the South Pacific Gyre is fascinating for many reasons: discoveries regarding life on Earth, implications for extraterrestrial life, and inching closer to comprehending the origins of biological life. It was discovered earlier in the 2000s that certain microorganisms can survive in remarkably harsh environments, and these studies were intriguing; however, with this new research conducted by Dr. Morono and Professor D'Hondt, the scientific community can now speculate that certain microbes don't need sufficient nutrients to thrive either. What does this mean for future research: will new forms of nutrition be unearthed, or will a whole new taxonomic kingdom for bacteria that don't need nourishment to survive be found? The study of our universe is a relatively new realm of science, and each discovery made on Earth concerning life brings humanity closer to understanding more about possible extraterrestrial life. Even though the theory of evolution is nearly a proven fact, there is so much that we don't know about why the domain of life is what it is. I believe everything evolved from single-celled organisms, and the more we learn about microorganic life, the closer we are to learning why evolution happened the way it did.
Science in Action.
Dr. Yuki Morono is a Senior Scientist for the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology / Kochi Institute for Core Sample Research.
The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology is conducting the research, and Dr. Yuki Morono is the senior scientist heading these studies on the agency's behalf. He is also the lead author in charge of documenting any findings. In the past ten years, Dr. Morono led the IODP's expedition 329, where they extracted the South Pacific Gyre's sediments. He has also been in charge of incubating and studying the microbes that were once dormant in the previously thought to be uninhabitable sediments. Having spent a decade on the project, Dr. Morono is very relevant in the past, present, and future observations and discoveries regarding the ancient bacteria.
By: Zhereen Uddin
Summary: In the world now, Covid-19 is a major concern. However, climate change has slowly but surely has been affecting the world way before Covid-19. A patient that is elderly had with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who needed to use an inhaler especially because there was an insane heat wave going on in Miami where she lived. It was very difficult for her to breathe in such conditions. to breathe. People that are living in poverty these types of conditions causes bad outcomes such as illness, eviction and even death. The economic fallout during this pandemic have only increased vulnerability. Climate change is one of the biggest global health threats in the 21st century. The rising temperatures has more that comes along with it other than deadly heat waves. Wildfires, flooding and storms are another result of climate change. Due to these environmental factors, doctors see more asthma, heart disease and heat strokes. That’s not all. Other diseases such as dengue fever and Zika are being found in locations all over the world that hardly had these types of diseases. The American health care system were put to the test by what they call the “invisible enemy”. Climate change has put a huge toll on them. The healthcare system itself is a cause of climate change. This being noticed had opened new doors on ways to help out the planet for our own health and safety. Dr. Cheryl Holder co-founded Florida Clinicians for Climate Action. She works to help educate doctors, patients and policymakers about the links between climate change and health. The health risks and concerns of climate change is highly underappreciated. Gary Cohen is the president of Health Care Without Harm, calls it “the elephant in the waiting room”. Climate change also has a major impact on hospitals. Common Spirit Health, a nonprofit Catholic hospital system, almost met their goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by the end of 2020. They are using solar panels for energy. The Solar Energy and Loan Fund (SELF) with the assistance of a company called Health Dignity in Florida that provides low-interest loans to low and middle income households for solar panels and efficiency upgrades. If our Earth’s healing mission is to try and change as soon as possible we must try harder to achieve.
Why we should care? We should care about this topic because it is important to notice how the climate is changing and it is affecting the lives of many people.
I found this article interesting because I learned that climate change is one of the biggest global health threats in the 21st century. Temperatures that are continuing to rise bring more to the table than just strokes, droughts, or heat waves that cause wildfires, storms and flooding that are deadly. It also brings a disease Zika and the disease called dengue fever spread by mosquitos. High temperatures make it the perfect environment for these mosquitos to rise. They are being found in new locations that they were not there before. Climate change is highly unappreciated by many. These are results of us humans polluting our planet.
Science in Action.
Dr. Cheyrl Holder is Interim Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, and Community Initiatives; and Associate Professor at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.
Climate change has made many people with asthma suffer more. Since the pollution is on a high rise. In 2013 it was found that the Health care’s greenhouse gas emissions made up of 10 percent of the United States of America in total. Climate change is one of the biggest global health threats in the 21st century. Temperatures that are continuing to rise brings a disease Zika and the disease called dengue fever spread by mosquitos. High temperatures make it the perfect environment for these mosquitos to rise. They are being found in new locations that they were not there before.
By: Elizabeth Carlson
Summary: Global climate change can cause many different changes including temperature changes and also abnormal rainfall and humidity. These changes in the climate can create perfect conditions for diseases to thrive. Vector-borne diseases are especially subjected to the warming climate. In particular to Dengue Fever when temperature increases it also increases the percentage of mosquitos that will carry the Dengue virus inside them causing more people to come into contact with the virus. The rise in temperature will also allow for Dengue Fever and other vector-borne diseases to spread to areas that were previously free of disease. This is due to vector-borne diseases thriving in warm climates, when other climates are subjected to the rising temperatures it causes them to also be subjected to the diseases that can survive in the warmer climates. Not only does global climate change affect humans but also affects agriculture. Climate change can devastate crops and lead to a rise in plant diseases that perish many crops. Plasmopara viticola is a very devastating plant disease that affects grapevines predominantly in northern Italy. The disease is weather sensitive and thrives in wetness and without dry weather to kill off the disease it will ravish the crops. Global climate change has a major effect on viruses and diseases that can cause epidemics. Not only are these viruses and diseases affecting humans and animals they are also affecting plant life. These effects can have crippling effects on the survival of humans. Unless we want our Covid-19 lifestyle to be permanent we must address how global climate change is affecting existing and new epidemics.
Why we should care? We all have seen the global effects of Covid-19 over the course of the year. We should care about global climate change affecting new epidemics because this pandemic is just the first of many if we do not get global climate change under control.
I found this article interesting because not only is coronavirus wreaking havoc on the state of Florida, the state is also facing a Dengue Fever outbreak. As climate change continues and the earth warms it will subject climates that are being warmed to diseases that were not there before. This means the Dengue Fever outbreak in Florida will not just be contained to that state. This is interesting to me as a Michigander because this year we had a vector-borne disease outbreak. The Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus outbreak was such a threat Michigan counties had to spray an aerosol to kill the mosquitos carrying the virus and I wonder if climate change continues if this outbreak will become a regular worry.
Science in Action.
Jonathan Patz, M.D., MPH is director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Patz is part of a research team that created a vectorial model to display the effects of climate change on Dengue Fever. They did this by using disease transmission and Dengue specific parameters in conjunction with modeling changes in current climate conditions. Although the findings were pretty much undetermined the researchers believe that the influence of temperature change on vector-borne diseases should be considered. The researchers state that the increase in potential Dengue Fever risk due to global climate change is prevalent. Despite the results of the model, the researchers urge for policies that would reduce global climate change and also advancements in disease prevention. The researchers also advocate for more climate change and vector-borne disease risk analysis and assessments similar to their model. This research sheds some light onto how climate change is intertwined with epidemics and how more research is needed in this area.
By: Jessica Sabatini
Summary: According to Stanford, researchers predict that rising temperatures and increased urbanization will increase rates of diseases caused and spread by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals killing over 1,000,000 people per year. The two most common mosquitoes that transmit diseases are Aedes aegypti and Aedes alcopictus. These creatures can carry many different diseases to spread, malaria being the most widespread at this time. However, researchers believe that as greenhouse gases create warmer temperatures, mosquitoes will thrive and spread to places unseen. Mosquitoes are attracted to warm, wet, and humid places; and when humans live in places like these, they tend to keep their windows open. This increases their risk for bites and possibly infections. It is said that as atmospheric CO2 rise with the temperatures, mosquito evolution will rapidly increase. According to Dr. Chufei Tang, the evolution of mosquitoes may cause eradicated diseases to come back and spread even further. We have seen the increasing temperatures affect other insects that carry disease; Lyme disease, carried by ticks, had an increased spread as temperatures increased. These researchers also mention that malaria will not be the disease we need to worry about, in fact, malaria rates are said to possibly decrease in some areas! Dengue fever seems to be a recurring concern in all of these articles. More than 3 billion people are at risk for dengue (based on location). Dengue fever has very similar symptoms to those of the Zika virus; this includes fever, rash, severe muscle aches, eye pain, and nausea. Right now, there are only about 100 to 200 cases of dengue fever in the United States, and it usually only affects those who traveled internationally. This number is said to possibly increase within this century, as temperature and CO2 levels increase.
Why we should care? Malaria thrives at around 78°F and dengue thrives at around 84°F. Most US states get to those temperatures in the spring and summertime. We can all be affected by this disease eventually.
I like that the U.S. News article covers each point of this topic. I did a lot of research with many different articles and research papers and this article summarizes these pretty well. I like how the author pointed out that mosquitoes are the deadliest animals, how they used stats to support this, and how they explained the risk as temperatures increase. Also, they showed something that I didn't point out in my summary, that if temperatures get too high then the mosquitoes will ultimately suffer. Not to mention, this article also gives hyperlinks to background information on this topic, so if you are more interested you can research this even further than it has been summarized.
Science in Action.
Dr. Chufei Tang is at China Agricultural University.
Dr. Chufei Tang was mentioned in one of the articles I read on this subject. As I found his research profile, I had access to all of his publications. Dr. Chufei Tang has about 53 publications and a lot of them cover mosquitoes in some way. He does have a particular study or two that directly relates mosquitoes to climate change. This article is titled, "Elevated atmospheric CO2 promoted speciation in mosquitoes". This means that this article specifically covers climate change n relation to mosquito evolution and mutations. I covered a little bit about this in my summary, but he mentions that it is possible that as CO2 levels increase, mosquito evolution will thrive, and this could bring back some eradicated diseases.
By: Carlos Rodriguez
Summary: Rising heat temperatures are helping push ticks to the northward and westward ranges in the U.S. Ticks that are usually only found in the warmer southern states are now appearing in states like New York and New Jersey. These ticks, particularly blacklegged ticks, carry diseases which they then transmit to other species, eventually leading to humans. One of the main diseases that ticks play a big role in is Lyme disease. In just two decades, cases of Lyme disease have doubled to 30,000 cases a year in the U.S. alone. Ironically, due to the restrictions implemented to help control COVID-19, it seems that disease infections will now spread further. Since people are quarantined, a lot of those same people are actually going out to national parks more where they risk contact with these ticks; coming into contact with ticks could be very easy if one isn’t aware of what to look for in “tick areas”. Also, due to higher temperatures, ticks are becoming active earlier in the year and ending later into Autumn which increases their chances of surviving in the winter. With COVID-19 happening, it has only made the situation worse. Those who are aware of such diseases from ticks seem to underestimate them thinking COVID is the real threat since its virus based. However, bacteria-based diseases are not all easy to treat and should be given similar precaution as well.
Why we should care? This topic is important because just like mosquitos, ticks also pose a threat to humans and other species. We're currently in a pandemic and we're seeing/experiencing the disaster that a deadly disease can bring.
I found this article interesting because instead of just informing you on the dangers of climate change and ticks it also tells a story of a family that lives in Ohio. It is able to help you visualize and process the struggles and adaptations that the family must go through in order to keep living a normal life. A lot of the times people don't believe in something or aren't actually motivated to take action because they don't see how it actually affects people but adding that story in the article before talking about the issue really helps one put themselves in others' shoes and understand the severity of the situation. I also think the article did a good job in emphasizing the dangers/health risks of the diseases that are carried by ticks.
Science in Action.
Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld is a Disease Ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.
Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld studies the ecology of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases along with the effect of environment factors on tick survival and behavior. Specifically, he spent the last decade studying how climate change effects tick survival. He currently directs a 5-year study where 2 tick control methods are being tested in which he hopes to find an effective approach that could help communities control tick-borne diseases when implemented. His team is also investigating viruses that live within the blacklegged tick: what viruses they carry, how they're transmitted, and whether or not they pose a threat to the human species.
By: Zane Hammoud
Summary: Honey Bees are more important than we think! We have all heard the phrase "Save the Bees" and most of us could agree it is important. We must learn how it is important to us and the earth as a whole. Bees have a huge impact on this planet and our daily lives even though we might not realize it sometimes. We should be thankful for all the unnoticed work honeybees do for us, maybe instead of ignoring it, we should address the problem and hopefully maintain a healthy bee population for the future. Honeybees have been around and serving this earth for over 14 million years. There are 3 common solutions to help us step in the right direction of saving the bees. The first step is to ban the seven most dangerous pesticides. Secondly, protect pollinator health by preserving wild habitat. Lastly, restore ecological agriculture. By doing these steps, we can help restore bee colonies all across the world, not only in the United States. There are many organizations that are taking the next step to help these honeybees in the future. I highly recommend checking out some of their websites to learn more about what they do. Some of these organizations are The Honeybee Conservancy and The Bee Girl Organization. Both companies are based right here inside of the United States and strive to inspire communities to conserve bees, flowers, and food. Their goal is to place one million bees to support communities of need across the United States.
Why we should care? I believe we should all care about this issue more because of the consequences. Honeybees alone represent about 80% of all pollination on Earth. Across the whole world, the bee population is in decline.
This article was very interesting because it explains the practice of beekeeping in the United States, threats to honeybees, and the significance they have on our lives. It tells us that all bees are important to us, different types of bees have different roles as pollinators. It could be specialized pollination that supports biodiversity or large scale agricultural crop pollination that feeds the world. At the end of the day, it is very important to us. There are many threats to the health of a honeybee, The main ones are grouped into what scientists call "the four Ps," which are pesticides, pests, pathogens, and poor nutrition.
Science in Action.
Professor Robert E. Page, Jr. is Provost Emeritus and Foundation Chair of Life Sciences at Arizona State University.
Robert E. Page is the author of his own book called "The Art of the Bee." In this book, he goes on to say that "Honeybees are both artists and engineers." This saying could not be any more true, He understands the importance that honeybees have on this Earth. As he calls them "environmental artists", bees are “responsible for the brilliantly colored flowers in our landscapes,” and as "environmental engineers", the engineer “the niches of multitudes of plants, animals, and microbes." We all can agree that honeybees have great importance to us and it is worth our efforts to try to protect them as if we are protecting our future.
By: Cassidy Mullins
Summary: The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System is an oil transportation system which spans over 800 miles over Alaskan wilderness and carries on average 1.8 million gallons of crude oil every day. Construction began in 1975, and finished in 1977. The pipeline cost $8 billion, and 20,000 people worked on it daily. Seven oil companies make up a group called the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, who paid for the pipeline. It was built in part as a response to the 1973 oil crisis, which caused a spike in oil prices in the US. Since the Trans Alaska Pipeline was completed, the state government of Alaska has relied on taxes paid by oil producers. Alaska is now the most tax-free state due to being able to cut out personal income tax as a result of taxing oil companies. There are over 800 rivers and streams crossing the pipeline, some of which are used for fishing and water collection. There is a lot of opposition to the pipeline, mainly coming from conservationists and Alaska Natives. The pipeline crosses Native land, but does not benefit them directly. The pipeline also impacts caribou herds, and blocks migration routes, making caribou herds smaller. There have been crossing points built into the pipeline to limit the effects. Natives also rely on caribou for food, as well as whales that may be scared away by the pipeline. The pipeline has been damaged by natural disasters, human error, as well as sabotages. In March of 1989, an oil tanker helping to transport oil spilled between 260,000 to 750,000 of crude oil in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Some of that oil still remains to this day. While this spill doesn’t directly involve the pipeline, it is the most famous case of oil spills in Alaska. The most recent pipeline leak occurred in April 2020, where fifty thousand gallons gallons of oily water had to be recovered to prevent damage to wildlife.
Why we should care? In 2010, it was estimated that the pipeline would be working through at least 2032. Alaska is legally required to remove all traces of the pipeline once it is shut down, but the damage has already been done to the environment.
Anchorage Daily News ran an opinion piece in March about how a large problem facing Alaska's economy is their declining oil industry. This was written at a time where many were worried about an economic collapse due to COVID. People staying home leads to less oil being used, and Alaska isn't sure when, or if, a full recovery will be made. This could lead to an earlier shut down of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline than what is currently expected. Closing the pipeline down voluntarily, rather than when it is no longer functional, will likely lead to less oil spills as the pipe corrodes. While there is no evidence right now of the pipeline shutting down, it is likely that in the future a decision will have to be made if it is no longer profitable.
Science in Action.
Dr. Erin Pulster is a Scientific Researcher at the University of South Florida, College of Marine Science.
While not directly researching the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Dr. Pulster has recently concluded a study on long-term effects of an oil spill on marine life. After the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, researchers from University of South Florida (USF) began a study to determine how badly the spill affected marine life. They found that there was a 50 to 80 percent population decrease in deep water fish near the rig site. There has been a new study started by USF to track fish eggs and understand how spawning sites may have been impacted throughout various species. The results of these studies could be beneficial to better understand how past oil spills (such as the Prince William Sound Exxon Valdez spill) and possible future spills will affect the Alaskan environment.
By: Ethan Schiffour
Summary: The Atlantic coast pipeline was a natural gas pipeline that would have stretched 600 miles across North Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia or the Appalachian Trail. The Atlantic coast pipeline was first announced in 2014 and was being created by Duke energy and Dominion energy. The pipeline was supposed to bring natural gas to homes in the three states mentioned. The pipeline’s cost was projected to be around $5 billion dollars, but through production of the pipeline being on and off the pipeline’s finish would have cost around $8 billion dollars. The Atlantic coast pipeline has received a great deal of setbacks and had to deal with lawsuits from environmental groups. The concern that people had with the pipeline was that it would cost a great amount of money and that the pipeline wasn’t necessarily needed. The pipeline would also run through many waterways and communities, such as many different Native American communities. Duke and Dominion energy had fought for the pipeline saying it would bring more energy to homes and families. The two energy companies also claimed it would bring industry to the counties that the pipeline would pass through though those were false claims. Duke energy had hoped to have completed the pipeline by 2021, but the production of the pipeline had been cancelled in July of 2020 because of the legal battles and the growth of the cost of the pipeline.
Why we should care? I think we should care about this topic because it covers many important issues in environmental science. It covers environmental justice as many minority communities would have been affected by the building and completion of the Atlantic coast pipeline.
I found this particular article interesting because the article gave background information on what the Atlantic coast pipeline is, while also explaining the production and the reasons for cancellation of the pipeline. The article draws in statements from both Duke and Dominion energy while also giving statements from the environmental groups that had protested and took legal action against the building of the pipeline. The article was able to visualize for the reader the importance of whether this pipeline was built or not. The article also explains what actions Dominion energy had taken in selling many natural gas assets to affiliates of Warren Buffet.
Science in Action.
Dr. Drew Shindell is a professor of Earth Science at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment.
Drew Shindell does research on world climate and has been studying the plan for clean energy and how to curb dangerous greenhouse gases. Shindell would like the state to permanently stop building natural gas infrastructure. Including stopping the use of natural gas power plants and stopping the building of infrastructure like the Atlantic coast pipeline. Shindell explains that natural gas most companies use is methane and that it can leak and cause problems for the environment. Shindell also explains how the use of natural gas will cause greater costs for consumers, while causing harm to vulnerable communities.
By: Nikolas de Wit
Summary: The name Keystone comes from a particular wedge-shaped piece of stone used in the process of building an arch. The Keystone is located at the apex of the arch and is essential for proper weight distribution along the overall structure. The name Keystone has been front and center for climate activists for well over a decade. Dating back to when the Keystone Pipeline was first proposed in 2005. The Pipeline has been the topic of immense debate and scrutiny, due to its mission of transporting large amounts of crude oil, located in Alberta’s oil sands, across the United States. The more recent proposal refers to a pipeline addition named “Keystone XL”, the “XL” standing for “Export Limited”. This proposal focuses on the construction of a new, more direct, pipeline starting in Hardisty, Alberta and leading to Steele City, Nebraska. This addition has received the greatest controversy because of its path over Nebraska’s Sandhills. A National Natural Landmark covering nearly 20,000 square miles of prairie land, and a portion for the Ogallala Aquifer which spans eight states and is a major source of water for agricultural irrigation and drinking water for nearly 1.9 million people. The Keystone Pipeline XL has the ability to provide the United States with large quantities of crude oil needed to supply the countries ever growing consumption of fossil fuels. While also posing a large ecological concern due to a possible spill and its effects on the surrounding ecosystem, people, and communities. All the while, promoting carbon emissions through the use of fossil fuels in America.
Why we should care? I believe that we should care immensely about the proposed installation of this pipeline. The pipeline not only transports massive amounts of crude oil, but it also promotes the consumption of fossil fuels across the United States.
The article published by National Geographic effectively communicates and outlines the Keystone Pipeline XL propostion. National Geographic is an extremely reputable source, renowned for exploring and documenting enviormental topics that occur all over the world. As well as funding hundreds of research and conservation projects globally each year. Not only was the overall objective discussed in the article, the positive and negative impacts of the Keystone Pipeline were explored as well. Verifying that this article is a great source of information for which to formulate an opinion. I would recommend this article to anyone interested in doing their part for the environment, and educating themselves on the Keystone Pipeline situation.
Science in Action.
Dr. Ken Caldeira is a Senior Scientist at the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science.
Dr. Ken Calderia is a Senior Scientist at the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science. The Global Ecology department was the first new Carnegie Department created in more than 80 years. The Departments goal is to study and observe the ecological processes and mechanisms at the spatial scale, as well as at the large scale of the entire planet. The department strives to seek out notable scientists motivated to understand how the planet operates, and how it will respond to future changes. With a mission to educate and raise awareness on environmental topics all across the world.