News Article | April 14, 2017
Graphene - Here's What You Should Know Top Scientific Minds You Probably Never Heard Of Researchers have revealed that changes in temperature since 2016 have promptly affected about 900 miles of corals on the Great Barrier Reef. Add to this what experts fear is another major bleaching event for the embattled reef this year. Now, the federal government of Australia announced $18 million in funding for six new projects meant to protect the reef. For a water quality expert, however, it could be too little, too late for the world heritage site’s salvation. The new funding initiatives belong to an ongoing water quality enhancement program and seek to tackle erosion of stream banks as well as gullies – something responsible for 70 percent of the fine sediment runoff onto the famed reef, according to Australian environment minister Josh Frydenberg. Terrestrial runoff such as nutrients and pesticides from farms translates to major damage to corals as well as sea grass. They also have a share in outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish in the area. For Frydenberg, the efforts are part of protecting the reef, to which water quality expert and James Cook University’s Jon Brodie said $18 million is rather small and won’t make a real dent in the reef’s current problems. “It’s good, but it’s all a bit little too late,” he said in an SBS report, saying that while water quality management will garner short-term wins, it matters to manage climate change in the long run. The government-based Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce estimated that it could take $8.2 billion to achieve water quality targets by 2025. Based on recent aerial surveys, mass coral bleaching affected two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef for a second time in just a year. Fearing high coral mortality in the reef’s central portion, Australian authorities said that severe bleaching episodes in 2016 and this year only left the reef’s southern third undamaged. Coral bleaching takes place when heat stress prompts corals to release small, colorful algae from their insides, which turn them white. Recovery is possible with a drop in temperature and the algae’s return, but sustained bleaching can lead to eventual death. Brodie, who has devoted much of his professional life to water quality on the reef, even told the Guardian that the celebrated piece of nature is already in a “terminal stage,” and that they have failed despite spending “a lot of money.” The researcher deemed 2016 as a bad enough year for the reef but thought 2017 is a “disaster year” just the same. "The federal government is doing nothing really, and the current programs, the water quality management is having very limited success. It’s unsuccessful," he said. Others, such as the reef’s Marine Park Authority’s former director Jon Day, choose to be optimistic. “You’ve got to be optimistic, I think we have to be,” he said, alongside criticizing the federal government’s approach to fishing, farming-caused run-off and pollution, and other practices destructive to the reef. He believes, though, that insufficient amounts are being spent to address the problem. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Ware J.L.,Rutgers University |
Beatty C.D.,Santa Clara University |
Sanchez Herrera M.,Rutgers University |
Johnson J.,3003 Unander Avenue |
And 3 more authors.
Journal of Biogeography | Year: 2014
Aim: To explore the phylogenetics and historical biogeography of the dragonfly family Petaluridae (known as 'petaltails'), a relict dragonfly group with unique habitat and life history attributes. Location: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Chile and North America. Methods: Using five mitochondrial and three nuclear gene fragments we recovered garli-part maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic hypotheses for 10 of the 11 extant petaltail species. Biogeographical patterns were analysed using Lagrange and interpreted through beast relaxed clock dating analysis. Results: Petaluridae is monophyletic with an origin in the mid-Jurassic, c. 157 Ma. The family consists of two major clades: one with a Laurasian distribution containing the genera Tachopteryx and Tanypteryx, and another containing the genera Petalura, Phenes and Uropetala, distributed in Gondwanan remnants. Based on our beast molecular clock, these two clades separated c. 146 Ma. Species ages in Petaluridae range from c. 100 to c. 30 million years, with the majority of the species persisting for 70-75 million years. Analysis with Lagrange points to an origin for the family associated with New Zealand, with subsequent dispersal to other Gondwanan remnants (Australia and Chile) as well as Laurasia (eastern and western North America) and subsequent dispersal from western North America to Japan. Main conclusions: The extant species of Petaluridae are extremely old, with most species persisting as independent lineages since the Jurassic. Our results suggest that New Zealand was close to the origin point in the Jurassic; one possibility is that Antarctica was at the centre of the petalurid distribution, based on Permian fossil evidence. Such long persistence for species is surprising, especially considering the specialized habitat required by petalurid larvae; unlike the majority of modern dragonflies, which spend their larval stage in ponds or streams, petaltails live in fen habitats. Petaltails also take multiple years to develop from egg to adult, another trait uncommon in modern dragonflies. Specialization in a species is normally associated with higher extinction rates; the petaltails appear to be an exception to this rule. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
News Article | November 22, 2016
Mechanical engineer, social entrepreneur and new Rhodes Scholar-elect, James Thorogood heading to Oxford CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - November 22, 2016) - James Thorogood is a recent mechanical engineering graduate who is passionate about water sustainability, food systems, and poverty reduction. He was also recently named as one of only three winners from the Prairie Provinces – and 11 across Canada – to win a scholarship at the University of Oxford. During his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, Thorogood spent his free time volunteering with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada. As co-president of EWB Calgary's student chapter, Thorogood supported youth outreach programs, promotion of ethical purchasing on campus, and advocacy to Canadian Members of Parliament. "This is a phenomenal accomplishment and I would like to personally congratulate James for this outstanding recognition of all your hard work, dedication and perseverance," said President Elizabeth Cannon. "I look forward to seeing the incredible things you will accomplish at Oxford and wish you the best of luck in your studies." Thorogood works on entrepreneurial initiatives at an international scale. He worked with EWB in Ghana to identify viable businesses that could reduce import dependencies and create opportunities for rural communities. He also co-founded Skill2Scale, a social enterprise developing digital education services for low-income youth in India and East Africa. Currently, Thorogood is working with a start-up in Kenya to improve the livelihood of millions of smallholder dairy farmers who are entrenched in cycles of poverty. "On behalf of the school, I want to congratulate James on this incredible achievement," says Bill Rosehart, dean of the Schulich School of Engineering. "He is an excellent example of an engineering leader making a positive difference in the world." "James is a natural in terms of collaboration, community and compassion, qualities all great engineers possess," says Marjan Eggermont, associate dean (student affairs) at the Schulich School of Engineering. "He wrote his fourth-year finals early to take a job in Kenya where he is taking on a breadth of activities from designing passive cooling for a greenhouse, to developing a program for cattle nutrition, to networking with investors and building financial models. I am extremely happy and excited for him — he has enormous potential and his time in Oxford will open doors for him that will add to the positive impact he is having on the world already." In addition to his academic pursuits, Thorogood is an enthusiastic musician. While in university, Thorogood collaborated with Calgary musicians to perform in the university's Battle of the Bands and also recorded an electronic single with producer Sodhivine. A vocalist, violinist, and guitarist, Thorogood continues to enjoy music as a way to meet new people and create new experiences. "I have discovered the live music community in Nairobi, Kenya and have been practicing with a jazz group which performs around East Africa, " says Thorogood. "I am teaching young children how to play the violin in a town outside Nairobi, and my fee is chai tea and a meal." Thorogood intends to pursue a master's degree in Water Science, Management and Policy. About the University of Calgary The University of Calgary is making tremendous progress on its journey to become one of Canada's top five research universities, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.' For more information, visit ucalgary.ca. Stay up to date with University of Calgary news headlines on Twitter @UCalgary. For details on faculties and how to reach experts go to our media center at ucalgary.ca/mediacentre
Theischinger G.,Water Science |
Richards S.J.,South Australian Museum
International Journal of Odonatology | Year: 2014
A new species of the endemic New Guinean genus Lanthanusa is described from the Trauna River Valley in Western Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea. Characters of the male are illustrated and affinities of the new species are discussed. Some characters of the type species of Lanthanusa, L. cyclopica, are reassessed and a revised key to the genus is presented.http://www.zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:1F0348AC-4486-49A2-8BA6-AFCE7C1DED9C. © 2014, © 2014 Worldwide Dragonfly Association.
Theischinger G.,Water Science |
Kalkman V.J.,Naturalis Biodiversity Center
International Journal of Odonatology | Year: 2014
Nososticta rufipes sp. nov. is described from Misool Island (Indonesia, Papua Barat, Kabupaten Raja Ampat). New records and notes on the species of the genus Nososticta on the Bird's Head Peninsula and Raja Ampat Islands are presented. Nososticta lorentzi (Lieftinck, 1938) is placed in synonymy with N. nigripes (Ris, 1913). © 2014, © 2014 Worldwide Dragonfly Association.
Theischinger G.,Water Science |
Kalkman V.J.,Naturalis Biodiversity Center
Odonatologica | Year: 2014
An overview of the genus Teinobasis on the Bird's Head Peninsula and the Raja Ampat Islands in Indonesia is given. Four new species, T. aquila, T. lieftincki, T. michalskii, and T. splendens, are described from the area and one probably new species is described but left unnamed. New material of six other species, T. buwaldai, T. pretiosa, T. pulverulenta, T. rufithorax, T. cf. superba, and T. wallacei, is brought on record. A key to the males of the twelve species known from the region is included and colour illustrations of males of eight species and females of five species are given.
Peters G.,Museum fur Naturkunde Berlin |
Theischinger G.,Water Science
Odonatologica | Year: 2011
The generic names Afroaeschna, Pinheyschna and Zosteraeschna are introduced for 3 groups of Afrotropical dragonfly species, traditionally assigned to the paraphyletic taxon Aeshna. The phylogenetic relationships of these monophyla which are not immediately related to each other are discussed. The Ethiopian populations of Pinheyschna gen. n. are described and characterized as a new sp. (Pinheyschna waterstoni). Zosteraeschna ellioti (Kirby, 1896) and Z. usambarica (Förster, 1906) are regarded as distinct species. Only synonymy, information on status (if feasible) and distribution are given for the remaining species of the group, and a preliminary key to the adults of all but one species is presented.
Michalski J.,1223 Mount Kemble Avenue |
Richards S.,South Australian Museum |
Theischinger G.,Water Science
Zootaxa | Year: 2012
Nososticta acuminata, a new disparoneurid damselfly from the Lakekamu Basin in Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea, is described. It is most similar to N. smilodon Theischinger & Richards, but the male has uniquely pointed superior anal appendages. Copyright © 2012. Magnolia Press.
News Article | November 1, 2015
Have scientists found a new way to purify sea water with materials that don't rely on electricity and are cheap enough to be manufactured in most countries? Might their work contribute to the search for a new, inexpensive water source? The paper drawing interest among news sites is titled, "Desalination of simulated seawater by purge-air pervaporation using an innovative fabricated membrane." The authors, from Alexandria, Egypt, are Mona Naim, Mahmoud Elewa, Ahmed El-Shafei and Abeer Moneer. Their paper has been published in Water Science & Technology. Al-Fanar Media said, "Moneer and a team of fellow researchers in Alexandria say they have created a new membrane that can extract more fresh water from the sea and improve the energy efficiency of doing so." The authors said they invented an innovative polymeric membrane. It's described as a breakthrough; it involves the pervaporation process. They said It can desalinate simulated seawater of exceptionally high concentration to produce a high flux of potable water with over 99.7% salt rejection in a once-through purge-air pervaporation process. There's nothing new about pervaporation, said Gizmag; the process "involves filtering the liquid through a ceramic or polymeric membrane," although the membrane used has been expensive and complicated to manufacture. Digital Trends also said, "The method of pervaporation has been in use since the early 1990s." It is being used in wastewater treatment to separate organic solvents from industrial waste water. Lynda Delacey in Gizmag said the importance of their work lies elsewhere than just pervaporation. "The breakthrough in this research is the invention of a new salt-attracting membrane embedded with cellulose acetate powder for use in step one of the pervaporation process. Cellulose acetate powder is a fiber derived from wood pulp and is, according to the researchers, cheap and easy to make in any laboratory." What is more, the materials, can be mass produced in printed and cut sheets for widespread use, said Bryan Lufkin in Gizmodo. The technology is based on membranes which contain cellulose acetate powder, produced in Egypt. The powder, in combination with other components, binds the salt particles as they pass through. The technique is being considered as useful for desalinating seawater. Why is their study considered as important? Any attempt to find a desalination method that is (1) not environmentally unsafe and (2) not too expensive to manage and maintain is obviously welcomed, at a time when planners look at how much of the planet's water is actually fit for drinking and farming. "New ideas of water treatment methods are always welcome: Desalination is an expensive process that also uses a ton of energy: more than 200 million kilowatt hours per day around the world," said Gizmodo. A 2013 UNDP report, "Water Governance in the Arab region," talks about managing water scarcity and securing the future. "Current projections show that by the year 2025 the water supply in the Arab region will be only 15 per cent of what it was in 1960." The report commented on desalination: "Nonconventional water resources include desalination, treated wastewater, rainwater harvesting, cloud seeding and irrigation drainage water. The Arab region leads the world in desalination, with more than half of global desalination capacity. Desalinated water is expected to expand from 1.8 per cent of the region's water supply to an estimated 8.5 per cent by 2025." The report pointed to the difficulties that desalination presented, as a process which is "energy- and capital-intensive," although technological advances have brought down production costs. "While desalination plants reduce pressure on conventional water resources, they have harmful environmental effects, including pollution and greenhouse gas emission." Quoted in Digital Trends: "Using pervaporation eliminates the need for electricity that is used in classic desalination processes, thus cutting costs significantly," said Ahmed El-Shafei, one of the study authors.
News Article | February 16, 2017
A University of Delaware researcher has been awarded a $499,500 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to determine if stream-bank legacy sediments are significant sources of nutrients to surface waters and investigate how they may influence microbial processes and nutrient cycling in aquatic ecosystems. Shreeram Inamdar, professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences (PLSC) in UD's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of the Water Science and Policy graduate program, will be joined on the project by Jinjun Kan, a microbial ecologist from the Stroud Water Research Center (SWRC) in Avondale, Pennsylvania. The significance of legacy sediments was highlighted in a study published in 2008 in the prestigious journal Science by Robert Walter and Dorothy Merritts from the Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. They brought attention to large stores of legacy sediments in the valley bottoms of the Mid-Atlantic and eastern U.S. which are visible along stream banks as a light-brown colored soil horizon -- usually 1-3 meters in depth -- underlain by a pre-colonial, dark, organic layer. Walter and Merritts attributed the legacy sediments to a combination of widespread colonial era activities such as large-scale erosion from agriculture, forest removal and the construction of numerous mill dams on streams and rivers in the region. Low head mill dams obstructed the flow of water, reduced flow velocities and resulted in substantial sediment accumulation behind the dams. Most of the dams have since breached and eroded, resulting in contemporary streams that are highly incised with exposed vertical stream banks that are vulnerable to erosion and collapse. Indeed, anomalously elevated sediment exports from Mid-Atlantic watersheds have already been reported by numerous researchers. Work by Inamdar's research group in predominantly forested watersheds in Maryland has found very high concentrations and exports of fine sediments in stream runoff following intense winter storms and tropical storms such as Irene and Lee in 2011. However, how much of this runoff sediment load originated from streambank legacy sediments is unknown and is a crucial question that needs to be addressed, as recent studies also suggest that the stream-bank legacy sediments could be rich in nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Taken together, these observations are fueling increasing concern that legacy sediments could be an important contributor of nonpoint source pollution to our surface waters and could pose a significant threat to the health of vulnerable downstream aquatic ecosystems such as the Chesapeake and Delaware bays. This new USDA grant focuses specifically on addressing these critical knowledge gaps: The study will be conducted in the Big Elk Creek watersheds in Maryland, where Inamdar has conducted research on various aspects of water pollution, watershed processes, and climate variability for the past 11 years. The watershed has substantial deposits of legacy sediments along stream tributaries. Stream water sampling for sediment and nutrients will be performed continuously and all year round using automated runoff samplers and in-situ, high frequency electronic sensors that monitor water quality every 15 to 30 minutes. Various forms of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in runoff sediments and water will also be analyzed. Much of the monitoring infrastructure is already in place in the watersheds. Suspended legacy sediments in runoff will be identified using a combination of methods including chemical and isotopic tracers, novel biomarkers, and microbial fingerprinting and source tracking. Chemical and biological fate of legacy sediments post erosion will be simulated using laboratory and field studies. Legacy sediment mesocosms will be subjected to a range of moisture and temperature conditions observed typically in the field and the release and sequestration of nutrients in runoff waters will be quantified. Molecular, DNA-based approaches will be applied to characterize and quantify the microbial population structures for sediments. Genomic DNA will be extracted from sediment samples and small subunits of the ribosomal RNA gene will be applied to monitor general microbial population dynamics using a fingerprinting technique which provides a quick snapshot of the major populations of the environmental microbial communities. In order to characterize and quantify the potential of nutrient transformation processes -- such as nitrification and denitrification -- the researchers will quantify certain functional genes that are involved in nutrient cycling in sediments. Results from this study will be valuable for university researchers as well as watershed managers and natural resource agencies tasked to protect water quality. Stream bank erosion is an increasing challenge in the northeast and mid-Atlantic and many stream restoration projects are currently being implemented at considerable cost to address legacy sediments. Inamdar and Kan will connect with federal, state, and local agencies during and after the project to convey key results and lessons from this study. Joining Inamdar and Kan on the project this summer and fall will be two new Water Science and Policy graduate students who will conduct this research as a part of their master of science or doctoral research.