Oysters and Clams Can be Farmed Together

Eastern oysters and three species of clams can be farmed together and flourish, potentially boosting profits of shellfish growers, according to a Rutgers University–New Brunswick study. Though diverse groups of species often outperform single-species groups, most bivalve farms in the United States and around the world grow their crops as monocultures, notes the study in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.

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Diverse cropping systems don’t increase carbon storage compared to corn-soybean rotations

Diversified crop rotations protect water quality and have other environmental benefits, but recent experiments show that farms can’t rely on such rotations to improve carbon storage in the soil. The findings contradict widely held expectations that the extensive root systems of perennials and cover crops would deposit carbon in soils.

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LED Lighting in Greenhouses Helps But Standards are Needed

While LED lighting can enhance plant growth in greenhouses, standards are needed to determine the optimal intensity and colors of light, according to Rutgers research that could help improve the energy efficiency of horticultural lighting products.

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Decoding plant chatter could lead to stronger crops

Researchers will use a $2.25 federal grant to study how cells communicate within plants, and between plants and pathogens, to develop crops that are resilient to disease and other stresses. The work also could play a role in reengineering plants and microbes to improve biofuel production.

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Red Algae Thrive Despite Ancestor’s Massive Loss of Genes

You’d think that losing 25 percent of your genes would be a big problem for survival. But not for red algae, including the seaweed used to wrap sushi. An ancestor of red algae lost about a quarter of its genes roughly one billion years ago, but the algae still became dominant in near-shore coastal areas around the world, according to Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Debashish Bhattacharya, who co-authored a study in the journal Nature Communications.

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