Mars habitability limited by its small size, isotope study suggests

Researchers measured the potassium isotope compositions of Martian meteorites in order to estimate the presence, distribution and abundance of volatile elements and compounds, including water, on Mars, finding that Mars has lost more potassium than Earth but retained more potassium than the Moon or the asteroid 4-Vesta; the results suggest that rocky planets with larger mass retain more volatile elements during planetary formation and that Mars and Mars-sized exoplanets fall below a size threshold necessary to retain enough water to enable habitability and plate tectonics.

UCI is No. 2 in Sierra magazine’s 2021 ‘Cool Schools’ ranking of sustainability leaders

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 9, 2021 — The green streak continues! Sierra magazine has named the University of California, Irvine No. 2 overall in its annual “Cool Schools” ranking of sustainability leaders among U.S. and Canadian universities and colleges, marking the 12th time in a row that UCI has placed in the top 10 of the widely acclaimed list.

National Geographic Society grant to fund research into Easter Island

Binghamton University anthropologists Robert DiNapoli and Carl Lipo received a $60,280 grant from the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration to explore how ancient populations managed freshwater scarcity.

Finding pathways for sustainable development in Africa

A new project funded by the Belmont Forum will develop novel tools and capacities to understand and manage interlinkages between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and support sustainable development pathways for African countries.

Decisions, Decisions: Climate Change and Water

PNNL’s Framework for Assessment of Complex Environmental Tradeoffs (FACET) is designed to navigate and rigorously evaluate competing environmental, economic, and social impacts to help make decisions more equitable. In an example scenario prepared using publicly available data, FACET was applied to predict tradeoffs facing the Colorado River and to balance competing demands of river flow and temperature, along with withdrawals for cities, crop irrigation, and power generation.

Warm ice may fracture differently than cold ice

Researchers at Aalto University in Finland have found strong evidence that warm ice – that is, ice very close in temperature to zero degrees Celsius – may fracture differently than the kinds of ice typically studied in laboratories or nature. A new study published in The Cryosphere takes a closer look at the phenomenon, studied at the world’s largest indoor ice tank on Aalto’s campus.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Spring Allergy Season in N.J.

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 20, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick allergy specialist Leonard Bielory is available for interviews on the spring allergy season in New Jersey. “One can expect a brisk allergy season this year since we had a lot…

Washington University to develop lunar resource utilization technology for NASA

Power and in-situ resources are two things humans will need as they explore deep space. How future astronauts use these commodities depends on the technology at hand. That’s why NASA is looking to U.S. universities — including Washington University in St. Louis — for lunar-focused research to bring about advancements in in-situ resource utilization and sustainable power solutions.

Microplastic Sizes in Hudson-Raritan Estuary and Coastal Ocean Revealed

Rutgers scientists for the first time have pinpointed the sizes of microplastics from a highly urbanized estuarine and coastal system with numerous sources of fresh water, including the Hudson River and Raritan River. Their study of tiny pieces of plastic in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary in New Jersey and New York indicates that stormwater could be an important source of the plastic pollution that plagues oceans, bays, rivers and other waters and threatens aquatic and other life.

Bacteria and Algae Get Rides in Clouds

Human health and ecosystems could be affected by microbes including cyanobacteria and algae that hitch rides in clouds and enter soil, lakes, oceans and other environments when it rains, according to a Rutgers co-authored study.

Best Region For Life on Mars Was Far Below Surface

The most habitable region for life on Mars would have been up to several miles below its surface, likely due to subsurface melting of thick ice sheets fueled by geothermal heat, a Rutgers-led study concludes. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, may help resolve what’s known as the faint young sun paradox – a lingering key question in Mars science.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Science and Benefits of Handwashing in COVID-19 Era

New Brunswick, N.J. (Nov. 23, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Donald W. Schaffner, a food microbiologist who has also studied handwashing for more than 20 years, is available for interviews on the science and benefits of handwashing during the COVID-19 pandemic and overall.…

NSF Grant Funds Research to Help Better Manage Water Resources

A collaborative research project with scientists from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), and Syracuse University will identify options for more effectively managing water resources in semi-arid areas impacted by climate change. The project is funded with a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for nearly $550,000.

How Did Red Algae Survive in Extreme Environments?

Red algae have persisted in hot springs and surrounding rocks for about 1 billion years. Now, a Rutgers-led team will investigate why these single-celled extremists have thrived in harsh environments – research that could benefit environmental cleanups and the production of biofuels and other products.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Habitats, Living on Moon’s Surface

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 27, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Haym Benaroya is available for interviews on placing habitats for long-term living on the moon’s surface in light of new evidence of water on Earth’s satellite. Benaroya, a Distinguished Professor in the…

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Risk Perception in COVID-19 Era

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 26, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor William Hallman is available for interviews on the science of risk perception and its practical implications in the COVID-19 era – a time of fear and anxiety among millions of…

UCI is No. 1 in Sierra magazine’s 2020 ‘Cool Schools’ ranking of sustainability leaders

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 28, 2020 — The green streak continues! Sierra magazine has named the University of California, Irvine No. 1 overall in its annual “Cool Schools” ranking of sustainability leaders among U.S. and Canadian universities and colleges, marking the fourth time in the last seven years that UCI has topped the widely acclaimed list.

How to Get a Handle on Carbon Dioxide Uptake by Plants

How much carbon dioxide, a pivotal greenhouse gas behind global warming, is absorbed by plants on land? It’s a deceptively complicated question, so a Rutgers-led group of scientists recommends combining two cutting-edge tools to help answer the crucial climate change-related question.

Ocean Algae Get “Coup de Grace” from Viruses

Scientists have long believed that ocean viruses always quickly kill algae, but Rutgers-led research shows they live in harmony with algae and viruses provide a “coup de grace” only when blooms of algae are already stressed and dying. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, will likely change how scientists view viral infections of algae, also known as phytoplankton – especially the impact of viruses on ecosystem processes like algal bloom formation (and decline) and the cycling of carbon and other chemicals on Earth.

China’s ecological restoration projects deplete terrestrial water stores

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 10, 2020 – Through concerted, policy-driven efforts, China has converted large swaths of desert into grassland over the past few decades, but this success has come at a cost. In a study published recently in Nature Sustainability, scientists at the University of California, Irvine report that the Asian nation’s environmental reclamation programs have substantially diminished terrestrially stored water.

New Device Can Measure Toxic Lead Within Minutes

Rutgers researchers have created a miniature device for measuring trace levels of toxic lead in sediments at the bottom of harbors, rivers and other waterways within minutes – far faster than currently available laboratory-based tests, which take days. The affordable lab-on-a-chip device could also allow municipalities, water companies, universities, K-12 schools, daycares and homeowners to easily and swiftly test their water supplies. The research is published in the IEEE Sensors Journal.

Argonne scientists create water filtration membranes that can clean themselves

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have designed a new, low-cost means to address membrane fouling through the application of a light-activated coating that can make the membrane self-cleaning.

Bacteria Can Defuse Dangerous Chemical In Passaic River

Bacteria that can help defuse highly toxic dioxin in sediments in the Passaic River – a Superfund hazardous waste site – could eventually aid cleanup efforts at other dioxin-contaminated sites around the world, according to Rutgers scientists. Their research, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, needs further work to realize the full potential of the beneficial bottom-dwelling microbes.