Simulated Sunlight Reveals How 98 Percent of Plastics at Sea Go Missing Each Year

A new study helps to solve the mystery of missing plastic fragments at sea. Scientists selected microplastics prevalently found on the ocean surface and irradiated them with a solar simulator system. They found that simulated sunlight increased the amount of dissolved carbon in the water, making those tiny plastic particles tinier. Direct, experimental proof of the photochemical degradation of marine plastics remains rare. This work provides novel insight into the removal mechanisms and potential lifetimes of a select few microplastics.

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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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UIC Urban Forum to explore the growth, potential impact and future of autonomous vehicles

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s 2019 Urban Forum, titled “Are we there yet? The myths and realities of autonomous vehicles,” will examine the questions and uncertainties surrounding not only the societal and legislative impact of autonomous vehicles, but also the technological advances needed for these vehicles to proliferate.

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U-M-led team selected for second $20M federal agreement to manage national estuary research

A collaborative, multisector team, led by the University of Michigan’s Water Center at the Graham Sustainability Institute and the School for Environment and Sustainability, has been awarded a five-year, $20 million cooperative agreement to support the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in overseeing research at a nationwide network of 29 coastal reserves.

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