Permafrost Thaw Could Exacerbate Climate Change

The main driver behind global climate change is often thought to be fossil fuel emissions, but the results of a survey of 41 international scientists published in Nature this December stresses the role of another factor. Led by University of Florida scientist Edward Schuur and University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate student Benjamin Abbott, the survey suggests that intense permafrost thaw could potentially increase greenhouse gases by nearly 150 percent.

Work on Airborne H5N1 Virus Halted

Researchers studying the transmission of a deadly airborne strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus published a letter in both Science and Nature last month, announcing that they have suspended their work for 60 days to discuss the merits of this controversial research. Primary concerns regarding this research include the potential for this virus to escape laboratories and its possible use by bioterrorists.

Our Furry Friends: the History of Animal Domestication

Our Furry Friends: the History of Animal Domestication

Most of us go about our day without considering our encounters with domesticated animals: our pet dog, the horse we rode on the beach, the cow we just had for lunch. Yet animal domestication has played a significant role in our lives. “The history of domestication is interesting because it changed human history.

Saxitoxin and the induction of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Both a potent marine biotoxin and neurotoxin, saxitoxin (STX) is considered the active chemical responsible for deaths associated with the disease known as Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). STX manifests as a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) due to significant algal cell proliferation in aquatic environments. Although its original detection was in 1957, the chemical currently lacks a detoxification pathway and detailed mechanism of action. Moreover, prediction and detection of STX is not fully understood, and frequency of saxitoxin blooms is on the rise. The physical and economic impact of saxitoxin on human and aquatic life continues to increase worldwide, stimulating a renewed interest and research into this chemical.