Science Week in Review No. 2

I am excited to bring you my second Science Week in Review. I really enjoyed writing and researching the first one and so I was just as excited about this one. As much as I can I am trying to share stories and articles that don’t require lots of background information. I give some short explanations for any concept that I think might not be common knowledge. Please feel free to ask if you need any clarification!

The importance of understanding microplastics. This article reminded me of how important awareness of our use of plastic is. I feel like I sometimes become complacent and need a reminder of how every action counts and just how serious the situation is. There is also this article on plastics and fish. The issue of microplastics is an important one that I will definitely address in the future but in short microplastics are fragments of plastic less than 5mm that are polluting the environment. Plastics degrade into these tiny little pieces that are much harder account for and clean up.

Understanding Species Recovery (IUCN red list). If you are familiar with any part of conservation you have likely heard of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is basically the platform used to keep track of species status. It is basically a database of information on many species around the world. Each species is reevaluated every so often and that allows for numbers to be monitored especially for species that are listed in a threatened category. This article gives some insight into how species recovery works. Recently the Green List has been introduced as an add on to the Red List that will allow for monitoring of conservation efforts. We actually had a discussion about this at the conference I went to last week!

Algae species as a key to plant evolution. Plants are a crucial part of our ecosystem, our breathing depends on them! Studying plant evolution is difficult since we don’t have fossils like we do with animals. The important science here? Recently scientist published the genomes of two algae species that are evidence for plant evolution to land species. They appear to be the closest living relatives of land plants. This is definitely an important find for plant scientists and for evolutionary biologists.

A star flying out of a black hole. I do have a fascination with space so I always look to include an interesting article about it. Astromoners observed a “runaway star” that has come out of the black hole at the center of our galaxy. The speed at which it is going is absolutely crazy (4 million miles an hour)! I think this article was so interesting and understandable (for someone who has not much knowledge of astronomy).

Methane emissions in California. Methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect. This is the process of the warming of the atmosphere by radiation of greenhouse gases. The warming today is so extreme because we have drastically sped up natural processes. We are emitting greenhouse gases at an unprecedented rate. This article speaks to California’s monitoring of methane emissions. The relevance here is that the research done looked at spatial emissions of methane allowing the state to focus efforts on facilities with the largest emissions.

One last interesting article only because I found this to be a fun and interesting little piece of information.Β A fossil relative of the orangutan. Scientists used proteins from the jaw/tooth of aΒ Gigantopithecus blacki fossil to link it to modern orangutans.

Please let me know if you have found any interesting science articles! Also I always appreciate feedback on posts, especially this series. I strive to bring science to everyone and in terms that are understandable for everyone. I also try to make sure I state the relevancy of each article I share. Thanks for reading!

❀

Erin