Improving Taxonomy Research for Enhanced Conservation and Collaboration
About this episode
Identifying species with accuracy is important for numerous reasons; for instance, accurately knowing which organisms are present in an ecosystem is essential for informing conservation strategies to protect it. Therefore, if there is any question about an organism’s identity, it is important to document that uncertainty. However, levels of uncertainty are unknown for many research groups that carry out biological monitoring. James Stribling and Erik Leppo from Tetra Tech, Inc.’s Center for Ecological Sciences introduce a process for deriving uncertainty values, by studying the rates at which freshwater organisms in the US tend to be misidentified.
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Eggs are marvellous – they contain all the sustenance needed to make a young bird within their protective shell, and when destined for the plate, they are nutritious and delicious. For many of us, cracking open an egg for breakfast to discover two yolks in the pan is a pleasant surprise. However, if eggs are nature’s miracle of packaging, then double-yolked eggs must be nature’s mistake – a mistake that still holds many mysteries. To answer some persisting questions, Dr Attila Salamon and Dr John Kent of University College Dublin examined our collective knowledge on double-yolked eggs in a recent review.
Future food security is one of the key global challenges facing society. Climate change presents significant threats to our ability to produce staple food crops – particularly in regions already vulnerable to droughts. Dr Kahiu Ngugi and his research team from the University of Nairobi and other institutions in Kenya investigated numerous varieties of sorghum – one of the world’s most important cereal crops. Their aim was to find new genes that would allow the crop to withstand both drought and a common parasitic weed.
Dr Carlos Rodriguez-Franco | Dr Deborah Page-Dumroese – Healing Abandoned Mine Ecosystems with Biochar
The Gold Rush of the 1800s is inextricably tied to USA history. Mining towns popped up wherever precious metals could be extracted, with many of these towns and mines now lying abandoned as ghostly reminders of the old wild west. Abandoned mine land poses a threat to environmental and human health, and methods to rehabilitate this land has gathered much interest over the past few years. Dr Carlos Rodriguez-Franco and Dr Deborah Page-Dumroese from the US Department of Agriculture have been evaluating the use of biochar as a sustainable method to remediate abandoned mine lands.
The earth beneath our feet is far more than just dirt. Soil is a living ecosystem filled with microbes, worms and insects, and vast networks of underground fungi filaments. Healthy soils are critical to healthy ecosystems and productive agricultural systems. Dr Joji Muramoto and researchers from the University of California have created a framework for Integrated Soil Health Management that could help suppress plant diseases without the use of harmful chemicals.
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