Mixing bacteria and electricity to produce fuel from CO2

Electro-bioreactor and solar panel

Experimental setup of electro-bioreactor and solar panel (Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - Los Angeles)

Imagine being able to use electricity to power your car — even if it’s not an electric vehicle. Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have for the first time demonstrated a method for converting carbon dioxide into liquid fuel isobutanol using electricity.

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Caribbean coral reef decline predates damage from climate change

coralThe decline of Caribbean coral reefs has been linked to the recent effects of human-induced climate change. However, new research led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego suggests an even earlier cause. The bad news – humans are still to blame. The good news – relatively simple policy changes can hinder further coral reef decline.

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Diverse ecosystems vulnerable to extreme weather

Extreme weather such as hurricanes, torrential downpours and droughts will become more frequent in pace with global warming. Consequently, this increases the risk for species extinction, especially in bio diverse ecosystems such as coral reefs and tropical rainforests.

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Earlier heat stress helps corals overcome climate change

Coral reefA team of international scientists working in the central Pacific has discovered that coral which has survived heat stress in the past is more likely to survive it in the future.

The study, published March 30 in the journal PLoS ONE, paves the way towards an important road map on the impacts of ocean warming, and will help scientists identify the habitats and locations where coral reefs are more likely to adapt to climate change.

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Graph of the day: weather extremes are on the rise

weather extremes graphWhy write a full news story when a single graph tells you everything: ‘unprecedented records in monthly mean temperature’ between 1900-2000 for 17 weather stations across the globe.

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Arctic beluga whales and narwhals had a close relative in Pliocene waters

Beluga whales and narwhals live solely in the cold waters of the Arctic and sub-arctic. Smithsonian scientists, however, found that this may not have always been the case. They recently described a new species of toothed whale and close relative to today’s belugas and narwhals that lived some 3-4 million years ago during the Pliocene in warm water regions.

Beluga whale, narwhal and Pliocene relative

Beluga whale, narwhal and Pliocene relative Bohaskaia monodontoides shown in artist impression by Carl Buell

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Right recipe for CDR geoengineering with biochar: mind the temperature!

Backyard gardeners who make their own charcoal soil additives, or biochar, should take care to heat their charcoal to at least 450 degrees Celsius to ensure that water and nutrients get to their plants, according to a new study by Rice University scientists.

biochar recipe CDR geoengineering

Rice University biogeochemist Caroline Masiello shows improved biochar

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