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Environment

Coffee grounds recycled as sustainable road material

Melbourne folk do love their coffee, and one day the beverage mightn't be just pepping them up for a day's work but paving the way for their trip into the office. Swinburne University researchers have scoured the campus' cafes for coffee grounds and used them as part of the mix for a more sustainable road construction material.Read More

Seismic vibrations provide a new, accurate way to monitor ice sheet decline

We currently measure changes in ice sheets via data gathered by missions such as NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite, or by flying planes over a region and using lasers to map topography. But there could be a better way, with a team of researchers, led by scientists at MIT, getting positive results from a new method that tracks seismic vibrations caused by ocean waves to measure changes in ice volume.Read More

How infecting carp with herpes can help save dying river systems

When carp were first introduced into Australia in the mid-19th century, acclimatizing settlers hoped the freshwater fish would bring a taste of home to their food and recreational activity down under. Today, these pests are running riot across the country's waterways, seriously compromising the health of its rivers and native species. The Australian government is now moving to cut populations through the controlled release of carp-specific herpes virus, which it says is capable of killing individual fish off within 24 hours. Read More

Increased CO2 levels are greening the Earth

Researchers studying NASA satellite data on the Earth's vegetation coverage have discovered that plants have significantly increased their leaf cover over the last 35 years to the point that new growth across the planet is equivalent to an area twice as large as the continental United States. According to the study, the largest contributor to this greening is the growing level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.Read More

Planes, ships and ground stations working together to study pollution

Next week, an international effort between NASA and the Republic of Korea's National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) will see the two bodies working together on an ambitious, six-week set of observations designed to improve our understanding of air pollution. The project will include the use of three planes housing 37 different instruments, and more than 300 ground sites, working together to gather data that help in the development of new solution to combat poor air quality across the globe.Read More

Connected Conservation: Using drones, sensors and Wi-Fi to stop poachers

By their very nature, wildlife reserves are generally located in remote areas beyond the reach of typical communications technologies. This is good news if you're a poacher trying to infiltrate area, and bad news for patrol teams working to keep them out. But a new initiative is looking to tip things in the good guys' favor by fitting out an African nature reserve with high-tech gear, such as seismic sensors and infrared drones, all of which is networked to keep tabs on who exactly is going in and out of the park.Read More

Off color: 93% of Great Barrier Reef struck by mass coral bleaching event

Last month, an aerial survey of the northern section of Australia's Great Barrier Reef returned some pretty grim results, finding that the World Heritage Site had been hit with the worst coral bleaching event in its history. The researchers have now continued their work along this magnificent stretch of coastline and the news isn't getting any better. The results of their end-to-end study now reveal that 93 percent of the reef has been affected by bleaching as a result of warmer sea temperatures in the area.Read More

Semiconductive fabric soaks up oil spills while fighting bacteria and pollutants

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have been catastrophic in many ways, but if there's any silver lining to the disaster it's the efforts to find better ways to better extract oil from water that emerged in the aftermath. The latest candidate to emerge in this area is a multipurpose fabric covered in tiny semi-conducting rods, affording it a unique set of properties that could see it used to deal with everything from water decontamination to wiping down your kitchen counter.Read More

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