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RACE dashboard now available

The coronavirus pandemic constitutes an unprecedented challenge with severe societal and socio-economic consequences. In order to shed new light on these changes taking place, ESA and the European Commission have worked closely together to create the ‘Rapid Action Coronavirus Earth observation’ dashboard—also known as RACE. The platform, which was unveiled today during an online event, uses Earth observation satellite data to measure the impact of the coronavirus lockdown and monitor post-lockdown recovery.

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Novel bioaccumulative compounds found in marine bivalves

A research team in Ehime University found novel bioaccumulative compounds in mussels inhabiting Hiroshima Bay and suggested their unintentional (natural) formation in the environment. The findings were published on March 12, 2020 in Environmental Science & Technology and selected as a supplementary cover of the journal.

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Swing voters, swing stocks, swing users

In group decision-making, swing voters are crucial…or so we’ve heard. Whether it’s a presidential election, a Supreme Court vote, or a congressional decision —and especially in highly partisan environments, where the votes of the wings are almost guaranteed—the votes of the few individuals who seem to be in the middle could tip the scales.

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Finding food security underwater

A key to solving global hunger—which is predicted to intensify during the COVID-19 pandemic—may lie in the ocean. In fact, the ocean could produce up to 75 percent more seafood than it does today, and drive sustainable economic growth, according to Stanford’s Rosamond Naylor and Jim Leape.

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Interfacing gene circuits with microelectronics through engineered population dynamics

The ability to detect the growth of a bacterial colony by monitoring changes in impedance (a measure of resistance) across time reflects the impressive scientific progress connecting bacterial behavior with electrodes via synthetic biology. In a new report, M. Omar Din and a research team at the BioCircuits Institute, department of bioengineering and molecular biology at the University of California, San Diego, U.S., interfaced synthetic biology with microelectronics using engineered population dynamics. They regulated the accumulation of charged metabolites and electrically detected the bacterial response to heavy metals using a population control circuit. During the experiments, the scientists used a synchronized genetic oscillator and obtained an oscillatory impedance profile with engineered bacteria. They miniaturized the array of electrodes to form bacterial integrated circuits and demonstrated their applicability as an interface with genetic circuits. The new approach is now published in Science Advances and will pave the way for advances in synthetic biology, analytical chemistry, and microelectronics.

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Report on New Caledonia’s coral reefs offers a glimmer of hope for the future

A new report from the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) provides a promising assessment of the status of coral reefs in New Caledonia. Released today, the Global Reef Expedition: New Caledonia Final Report summarizes the Foundation’s findings from a research mission to study the health and resiliency of the coral reefs of New Caledonia, part of KSLOF’s larger efforts to study the reef crisis unfolding around the world. They found many of the coral reefs to be in surprisingly good health, even in unexpected places.

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Contaminated soils determine root characteristics

Tree roots have multiple essential functions for their growth and survival. Acquiring nutrients and water from the soil, storing food and anchoring the plant in a substratum are what keep plants alive. In addition, root traits adapt themselves to physical limitation: they grow longer and thinner in dry soils in order to seek faraway water and they stay shorter in compact soils. Thanks to these powers, roots are an important pillar in tree survival strategy.

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