In her NY Times blog, Olivia Judson gives an ovation to Archaea. This domain of organisms gets none of the recognition of their more famous kin, Bacteria and Eukaryotes despite their unusual biology. As she describes, some members of the group Archaea have extreme tolerance to temperature and pH, thriving in the boiling acids found in hot springs and the bottom of ocean vents. All known methane producing microbes are found among the Archaea.
A NYTimes article covers the problem of roundup resistant weeds
Much like antibiotic-resistant bacteria, these weeds have become a problem where genetically-modified crops have put selection pressure on weeds.
There is a lot of concern about birds being killed by wind turbines. In 2007, the National Research Council put out a report on the Environmental Impacts of Wind Energy Projects that identified a small general risk to birds & bats (at least compared to house cats!), but that some specific locations and species were at risk. Yesterday, a student in my Global Change Ecology class sent a video link about how some wind farms along a major migratory flyway along the Texas coast are using a Merlin Radar System to detect when large flocks of birds are present. The system stops the wind turbines when large flocks are in the vicinity of the turbines.
In August of 2008, I met a journalist in Alaska named Bob Reiss who was doing a story on Barrow, Alaska for Outside magazine. That article mostly covered why the Coast Guard is expanding its presence along the Arctic coast. In the latest issue of Smithsonian magazine, Bob has another nice article covering Barrow as “Ground Zero for Climate Change.” Here he focuses more on life in Barrow, both for scientists and residents.