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2018 NPIF

The environmental trade-offs of mining in a biodiversity hotspot

Historically nations have traded-off environmental degradation to achieve economic development. However, a turning point is sometimes observed above a certain level of wealth where countries invest in pro-environmental efforts. This inverted U-shape relationship between environmental degradation and a country’s GDP is the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC). If the Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved […]

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Why does C4 photosynthesis rarely evolve in trees?

C4 photosynthesis is an ultra-efficient mode plant physiology that is used by our most productive food and bioenergy crops, including maize, sugarcane, and miscanthus. It has evolved independently in nearly 70 plant lineages. Despite these multiple evolutions, C4 photosynthesis is extremely rare in trees, having only been documented in a handful of tree species in […]

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Understanding parallel origins of industrial metal tolerance in Silene uniflora

Climate change, urbanisation and exploitation of natural resources increasingly alter the environment, posing significant challenges for plants and animals. We have a poor understanding of how organisms will adapt to such rapid and widespread disruption, particularly in terms of their evolutionary responses. For species to adapt to such fast paced change, they will either need […]

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Tracing environmental impacts associated with hydrocarbon production with novel geochemical techniques

With recent government green light for Lancashire fracking, concerns have arisen over the potential environmental impacts associated with drilling and shale gas production. One issue is whether fracking would introduce elevated hydrocarbon gas levels in drinking-water wells in the area of fracking. Several studies suggest that shale gas drilling leads to fugitive gas contamination in […]

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The effect of electromagnetic noise on the orientation of migratory birds

Animals face many challenges as increased urbanization impacts their ability to survive and reproduce. Nowhere is this more evident than in migratory birds. Throughout Europe evidence indicates that populations of migratory birds are declining. Many anthropogenic influences are implicated, such as land use and climate change. However, recently, a new and surprising potential hazard to […]

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Street-scale modelling of air quality in Beijing: Explaining spatial variability and assessing human exposure

Air pollution is a major problem in many parts of the world, and is particularly acute in countries with rapidly developing economies such as China. Urban air pollution has a major impact on human health, but small-scale variability in pollutant sources makes assessment of human exposure difficult. Understanding this variability is important for quantifying the […]

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Sources, transfer and fate of microplastics in the Arctic marine environment

Contamination of the world’s oceans by plastic waste is of growing international concern. The presence of persistent microplastic particles in very remote environments like the Arctic demonstrates the far-reaching effects of pollution arising in temperate regions. Currently, the key sources of microplastics (from both outside and within the Arctic) and their subsequent behaviour and impact […]

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Soil microbes to mitigate climate change

Human populations are expected to increase by 50% to 9 billion by 2050 as climate change continues – together these changes will place unprecedented pressure on the Earth’s finite and fragile natural resources. There is growing social, economic and political concern about the impacts of climate and land use change on global biodiversity and the […]

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Sensitivity of aquatic insect eggs to elevated fine sediment and phosphate concentrations in rivers

Insect populations are declining at an alarming rate, globally. Aquatic insects have a crucial functional role in the environment and are used to monitor stream impairment. Despite the significance of aquatic insects, the majority of research is focused on the larval stage of these animals, with very little consideration of eggs. This is despite pollutants […]

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