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Targeting Global Protected Area Expansion for Imperiled Biodiversity

Under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), governments have agreed to ambitious targets for expanding the global protected area network that could drive the greatest surge in new protected areas in history. They have also agreed to arrest the decline of known threatened species. However, existing protected areas perform poorly for coverage of threatened species, [...]

Genomic Engineering from Foxtail Millet (Setaria italica) Promotes High Salt Tolerance in Transgenic Arabidopsis- TERA

Foxtail millet, a grain crop cultivated in China since the sixth century BC, tolerates high salt concentrations well. All land plants produce proteins called remorins, several of which help plants respond to abiotic (environmental) stress. To determine whether foxtail millet uses remorins to help protect it from excess salt, Yue et al. first identified 11 [...]

Climate Policy: Science, Economics, and Extremes- TERA

Climate scientists, and natural scientists more generally, believe that climate change is a major, perhaps the most important, problem facing humankind this century, and that it is increasingly linked to extreme weather events. However, the impression one gets from much of the economic literature, particularly simulations from integrated assessment models used in policy analysis, is [...]

Potential Effects of Climate Change on the Productivity of U.S. Dairies- TERA

In the United States, climate change is likely to increase average daily temperatures and the frequency of heat waves, which can reduce meat and milk production in animals. Methods that livestock producers use to mitigate thermal stress—including modifications to animal management or housing—tend to increase production costs. We use operation-level economic data coupled with finely-scaled [...]

Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century

A consensus document signed by over 500 expert scientists. Full Report (pdf)

Climate change selects for heterozygosity in a declining fur seal population- TERA

Global environmental change is expected to alter selection pressures in many biological systems1, 2, 3, but the long-term molecular and life history data required to quantify changes in selection are rare4. An unusual opportunity is afforded by three decades of individual-based data collected from a declining population of Antarctic fur seals in the South Atlantic. [...]

National Strategic Plan for Federal Aquaculture Research Released by US Office of Science and Technology Policy- TERA

The plan includes 9 critical strategic goals, with outcomes and milestones that identify Federal agency and interagency research, science, and technology priorities over the midterm (5 years) that will support aquaculture development in the United States. Strategic Goals 1. Advance Understanding of the Interactions of Aquaculture and the Environment 2. Employ Genetics to Increase Productivity [...]

Drastic population fluctuations explain the rapid extinction of the passenger pigeon- TERA

The number of passenger pigeons went from billions to zero in mere decades, in contrast to conventional wisdom that enormous population size provides a buffer against extinction. Our understanding of the passenger pigeon’s extinction, however, has been limited by a lack of knowledge of its long-term population history. Here we use both genomic and ecological [...]

Environmental impact of geometric earthwork construction in pre-Columbian Amazonia- TERA

There is considerable controversy over whether pre-Columbian (pre-A.D. 1492) Amazonia was largely “pristine” and sparsely populated by slash-and-burn agriculturists, or instead a densely populated, domesticated landscape, heavily altered by extensive deforestation and anthropogenic burning. The discovery of hundreds of large geometric earthworks beneath intact rainforest across southern Amazonia challenges its status as a pristine landscape, [...]

Wildlife decline and social conflict

U.S. President Obama’s recent creation of an interagency task force on wildlife trafficking reflects growing political awareness of linkages between wildlife conservation and national security. However, this and similar new initiatives in Europe and Asia promote a “war on poachers” that overlooks the ecological, social, and economic complexity of wildlife-related conflict. Input from multiple disciplines [...]