Climate Change Could Cause Fish to Shrink in Size

Read the full story in e360 Digest.

In the coming decades, warming ocean temperatures could stunt the growth of fish by as much as 30 percent, according to a new study in the journal Global Change Biology.

Drainage technology, cover crops help to curb nutrient loss

Read the full story in Illinois Farmer Today.

Farmers have a lot of questions about water quality. Researchers at Southern Illinois University are hoping to provide some answers.

In a changing Arctic, a lone Coast Guard icebreaker maneuvers through ice and geopolitics

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Coast Guard Ensign Ryan Carpenter peered north through a front window of this 420-foot-long ship, directing its bright-red hull through jagged chunks of ice hundreds of miles north of Alaska.

It was only the second time that Carpenter, 23, had driven the 16,400-ton USCGC Healy, one of the U.S. military’s two working polar icebreakers. He turned the ship slightly to the left in the sapphire-blue water, and a few seconds later, the ship’s bow rumbled through the crusty white ice floe at about 10 mph. Metallic shudders rippled throughout the vessel, a feeling that Arctic rookies often find unnerving.

Carpenter is part of an increasingly pointed U.S. strategy to prepare for competition — and possible conflict — in what was once a frosty no man’s land. The warming climate has created Arctic waterways that are growing freer of ice, and with China and Russia increasingly looking toward the region for resources, the United States is studying how many new icebreakers to build, whether to arm them with cruise missiles, and how to deal with more commercial traffic in an area that is still unpredictable and deadly.

Campus museums recreate ‘cabinet of natural history’ digitally

Read the full story from the University of Wisconsin. Hat tip to ResearchBuzz for the link.

In 1849, the Board of Regents of the new University of Wisconsin directed the curation of the state’s plants, animals and minerals in a “cabinet of natural history.”

Now, that founding piece of scientific inquiry is re-forming — digitally.

A new UW2020 initiative will centralize the databases of the university’s five natural history museums, which have separated over the decades to specialize and accommodate growing collections. The 1.3-million-specimen Wisconsin State Herbarium will coordinate with the zoology, geology, entomology and anthropology museums to merge records in a way that allows researchers to study the full scope of natural artifacts in one central location. This digital cabinet of natural history will link the museums’ combined 9 million-plus specimens that span all seven continents, the moon and Mars.

Scientists compare soil microbes in no-till, conventional tilling systems of Pacific Northwest farms

Read the full post at

In recent decades, growers have increasingly been adopting no-till farming to reduce soil erosion and decrease fuel, labor, and inputs.

Wheat farmers of the inland Pacific Northwest, however, have been slower to adopt no-till, in part because—at least in the short term—they see more incidence of fungal soil-borne diseases like Rhizoctonia root rot when crop residues accumulate in the field. However, over longer periods of time, researchers located at Washington State University and the University of Idaho saw these fungal disease outbreaks decrease after farmers continuously practiced no-till over multiple seasons. This begged a research question: Is this due to some form of natural suppression by microbial communities?

The study of Yin et al, published in Phytobiomes, a new and fully open-access journal of The American Phytopathological Society, brings the scientific community one step closer to the answer, plus paves the way for further research.

USDA Wants More Bang for Conservation Bucks

Read the full story in Lancaster Farming.

The federal government is always under pressure to use money wisely, and that’s certainly true with USDA’s conservation programs.

“Just the fact that these are taxpayer dollars is enough of a reason to be cost-effective, but in terms of meeting program objectives, the more cost-effective a program is, the more farmers that can be reached, the more issues can be addressed,” said Marc Ribaudo, chief of the Conservation and Environment Branch in the USDA Economic Research Service.

What Happens to the Antarctic Ocean with 1 Degrees Celsius of Warming?

Read the full story in e360 Digest.

Scientists have discovered “massive impacts” on marine life in the Antarctic Ocean when waters are warmed by 1 degree Celsius, including a doubling in growth of some species and a drop in overall biodiversity, according to a new study in the journal Current Biology.