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Up to about 200 years ago, the passenger pigeon was one of the most numerous vertebrate animals on Earth. The species had an estimated 3 to 5 billion individuals at the peak of its existence and had such big flock sizes that they were known to block out the sun. However, this changed during the early 1800s when they…

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You sit down at a restaurant and peruse the menu for the best wine to pair with your dinner. Do you choose a red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, or something crisper and lighter like Riesling? Do you choose the cheapest one within the category, or first look to see the vineyards listed? The differences between wine…

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Since September is National Mushroom Month, it’s fitting to think about the incredible things fungi can do. You may be familiar with mushrooms in grocery stores or some of those visible in the forest. When it comes to fungal diversity, these examples are only the tip of the iceberg. While some may be delicious…

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Harmful algal blooms are becoming an increasing problem in areas around the world, including the Great Lakes, where drinking water is obtained from surface water sources, such as lakes and rivers. When agricultural nutrients and urban waste runoff enters these bodies of water, microbes such as cyanobacteria can consume…

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In biology, evolution is how populations change over time from their common ancestor. This process has been happening on Earth since life first began, over 3.5 billion years ago. Evolution, however; is not driven by one factor, but many, from climate conditions to predator/prey relationships. And even now, 3.5 billion…

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Integrated Multitrophic Aquaculture (IMTA) may be the future of aquaculture. Compared to traditional farms that only grow one species, IMTA farms produce multiple edible products and provide increased sustainability. These integrated systems use the waste products from one species to grow another, and often the lowest…

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Imagine wandering through a vast desert, empty for thousands of miles in every direction. Think about the relief and joy you’d feel to encounter an oasis full of life. Swimming through the open ocean, bumping into a coral reef must offer the same burst of biodiversity. Yet, these unique ecosystems are very sensitive…

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Many marine organisms have a planktonic form. This means that they drift in the ocean for part of their life until they can find something suitable to attach to and grow. A common example of an animal like this would be a mussel or a barnacle. However, it’s a real headache when they land on human-made structures that…