The Arkive
 
|| Year Delta: London: Monday: September 24: 2018: We Keep On Walking On The Path of Humanics ||
First Published: September 24: 2015
VII London Poetry Festival 2018: Sunday-Monday: October 14-15: 19:30-22:00
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Humanion

 

 

The Humanion UK Online Daily

 

As the Mother Earth Belongs to Every Single Human Being of the Humanion Regine Humanics Foundation Ltd and The Humanion Belong to All for We are a Human Enterprise: A Not for Profit Social Enterprise: Support Your Daily Quality Newspaper and Let Us Build an Institution That Will Flow with Time with the Rainbow Peoples of This Earth Far Into the Flowing Future: Support The Humanion: Support Regine Humanics Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

Ecology

Ecology Arkive

 

Majestic Dolphins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ecology is Not What is Out There, Irrelevant, Far Away, Remote, Outside and Beyond Us But Our Home: If, We Let It Become Devastated Ruins We Let Ourselves Live and Suffer in This Devastation, as Well as, Ruining and Devastating the Entire Web of Life. We Can Not Live Well, If, We Do Not Seek to Ensure Everything Lives Well for These Dolphins Can Not Live Well, If, the Oceans are Poisoned. As an Individual Human Soul, a Human Can Not Exist Well, If, the Entire Society is Poisonous or the Earth is Poisoned with Polluted Air or Water. Therefore, Selfishness is Anti-Existence, Anti-Humanity, Anti-Nature, Anti-Life, Anti-Science and Anti-Reason. Commonness, Connections, Oneness and Unison in Goal, Work and Creation is What Humanity is About. If, We Need Support for This View Just Bring in Mind the Human Physiology and See How It All Works in Oneness and Unison So to Ensure Existence is Not Only Sustainable But, Also, Being at Homeostasis, It is Ensured to Continue to Flow.....

Year Gamma Arkive 2017-18

Year Beta Arkive 2016-17

Year Alpha Arkive 2015-16

Greenhouse Gas Removal Could Make the UK Carbon Neutral by 2050: BUT Immediate Action is Required

 

 

|| September 16: 2018: University of Southampton News || ά. A joint Report by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society, with input from the University of Southampton, presents an ambitious plan for how the UK can lead the way in deploying greenhouse gas removal:GGR technologies to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It is the first time that a range of GGR technologies have been assessed for their real-world potential in being used together to meet climate goals in the UK over the next 30 years.

The Report’s authors, including, Southampton’s Professor John Shepherd, Emeritus Professor of Earth System Science state that, while the UK’s first priority must be to maintain efforts to rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions, GGR technologies have a role to play in counteracting emissions from aviation and agriculture, where the scope to completely reduce emissions is limited. However, to meet climate targets significant action is essential, starting now. Bringing the UK to net-zero emissions in 2050 will require annual removal of an estimated 130 megatonnes of CO2, even, with stringent reductions in emissions.

The Report, also, considers the global picture and outlines a scenario, in which a portfolio of GGR technologies can be implemented together to achieve carbon removal across the world by 2100 to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Biological solutions like planting trees will become saturated by the end of the century and other GGR technologies will need to be developed and used in the longer term.

The technologies discussed in the Report range from well-known and ready to deploy methods, such as, forestation, to more speculative technologies like direct air capture, which aims to use chemical processes to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Each technology is assessed on its readiness for deployment in the time scale required, potential for scalability, costs, environmental and social impacts and how much of a ‘dent’ it can make in removing excess carbon to meet the targets.

"Prevention is better than cure, so reducing emissions of CO2 is still a better bet than removing it from the air after it has been released.” said Professor Shepherd. “However, CO2 removal technologies are likely to be very useful later this century, to supplement emissions reductions, and compensate for intractable emissions once all other emissions have been eliminated.

They will, also, be essential, if, we, eventually, decide that the CO2 level remaining in the atmosphere needs to be reduced too. There are several promising techniques, that now need to be further researched and developed, so that they can be deployed, when we need them and there are many opportunities for the UK if we are prepared to invest in them.

In general, use of the methods based on forests and soil carbon could be commenced within a decade but their capacity would potentially be fully utilised by mid-century. Other methods with greater long-term potential, such as, direct air capture and enhanced weathering, therefore, also, need to be developed so that they can be deployed at large scale after that.”

The UK 2050 Net-Zero Scenario: GGR technologies suitable for the UK to use to meet net-zero emissions by 2050

Ready to use GGR methods, such as, forestation, habitat restoration, soil carbon sequestration and building with wood or carbonated waste could provide just over a quarter of the target to reach net zero emissions.

Biochar, enhanced terrestrial weathering in agricultural soils, direct air capture:DACCS and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage:BECCS could contribute to the rest of the 2050 target.

What we need to do to achieve net-zero emissions in the UK

Rapidly increase forestation to 05% of UK land, restore wetlands and salt marshes and store more carbon in farmland;

Establish an incentive or subsidy system to encourage farmers to use their land to store carbon. This could be part of the framework, that replaces the Common Agricultural Policy after the UK leaves the EU;

Encourage changes in building practice to use wood and cement manufactured with carbonated waste;

Develop better ways of monitoring the effectiveness of GGR technologies;

Pursue research into the potential of longer term GGR technologies, such as, enhanced weathering, biochar, BECCS and DACCS;

Capitalise on the UK’s strengths in engineering and industry to establish the infrastructure required for the storage of CO2.

How to meet the Paris Agreement using GGR technologies

The Report calls for action in a number of key areas in order to meet the overall goals of the Paris Agreement. 

Continue and increase global efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases;

Implement a global portfolio of GGR technologies now to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement;

Build carbon capture and storage infrastructure, essential to meeting the scale required for achieving climate goals;

Encourage investment in the development and piloting of GGR projects to assess their real world potential and understand any environmental and social impacts;

Establish incentives, for example, carbon pricing, to pay for removal of CO2 and encourage business to use a wide portfolio of GGR technologies;

Establish a framework to govern use of GGR technologies, that addresses sustainability and engages the public;

Build GGR into regulatory frameworks and carbon trading systems;

Establish international science-based standards for monitoring the effectiveness of GGR technologies and their environmental impacts. :::ω.

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Northern Peatlands Will Store More Car­bon as the Planet Warms

 

 

|| September 12: 2018: University of Helsinki News: Anu Partanen Writing || ά. Rising temperatures will cause northern peatlands to store more carbon than was previously believed but the effect will weaken over the coming decades, if, the warming continues. Global warming will cause northern peatlands to absorb more carbon and slow climate change over the coming decades, new research suggests. Rising temperatures will lengthen the growing season in northern latitudes, which allows plants growing in northern peatlands to absorb more carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.

Once these plants die, the acidic and waterlogged conditions of peatland environments slow the decomposition process. Carbon in the plants gets locked in the ground and the plant remains form peat, instead of carbon being released back into the atmosphere. About half of peat is carbon. In environments, such as, forests, carbon from dead plants is released back into the atmosphere faster. This makes peatlands vital ‘carbon sinks’, currently storing more carbon than all of the world’s vegetation. However, the research shows that peatlands will store even more carbon in the future than was previously believed.

The study estimates that by 2,100 peatlands would have absorbed 05% more carbon than during the preceding thousand years. This effect, a so-called ‘negative feedback’, where climate change causes effects, which slow further climate change, will increase over the coming decades but will decline after 2,100, if, warming continues, according to an international team of 70 scientists.

University Researcher Ms Minna Väliranta and Professor Atte Korhola from the University of Helsinki participated in the study. Ms Väliranta and her colleagues sent Finnish peat samples to the lead researchers of the study at the University of Exeter and took part in analysing and interpreting the samples.

“This study gives us completely new knowledge of how northern peatlands will benefit from climate change, when it comes to absorbing carbon.” Ms Väliranta says. “However, the models have their uncertainties. For example, in this study the classification of different types of peatlands was fairly simple and the study doesn't account for possible future changes in peatland types or areas covered by bogs.” Ms Väliranta says.

“In addition, predicting how general humidity conditions will change is much more difficult than estimating future temperatures, while the nutrient regimes, might, also, change, which affect carbon balance.” Professor Atte Korhola says. 

Finland has particular expertise in peatland research as a third of the country's land mass is covered by peatlands. The initial increase in carbon storage in the northern peatlands will eventually be offset by reduced storage in tropical peatlands in places like Borneo and the Amazon region.

In tropical areas, higher temperatures will not boost plant growth, as the circumstances there are already optimal for peat plants. Instead, decomposition will speed up releasing more carbon back into the air. Even, though, most peatlands are located in high latitudes in places, such as, Siberia, Canada and Finland, eventually, release of carbon in tropical peatlands will surpass the increased carbon uptake in the north.

The researchers looked at a range of estimates for future warming, from an average warming of between 01°C and 03.7°C by 2,100. Modelled future projections under all scenarios suggest that the present-day global sink in peatlands will increase slightly until about 2,100 but will decline thereafter.

The research team used a new global data set of peatland carbon accumulation rates over the last millennium.

The Paper: Published in the journal Nature Climate Change: Latitudinal limits to the predicted increase of the peatland carbon sink with warming

Minna Väliranta: University Researcher :email: minna.valiranta at helsinki.fi

Atte Korhola: Professor: email: atte.korhola at helsinki.fi :::ω.

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New Research Finds: Drought Increases CO2 Concentration in the Air

 

 

|| September 03: 2018: University of Exeter News || ά. According to new research, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rises faster during drier years because struggling ecosystems absorb less carbon. The study, led by Mr Vincent Humphrey at ETH Zurich and supported by the University of Exeter and the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, France, used innovative satellite technology to measure the global sensitivity of ecosystems to water stress or lack of water.

The researchers found that during the driest years, such as, 2015, natural ecosystems removed about 30% percent less carbon from the atmosphere than during a normal year. As a result, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increased faster in 2015 than in normal years. Meanwhile, during the wettest year on record in 2011, CO2 concentrations increased at a much slower rate due to healthy vegetation. Land ecosystems absorb on average 30% of CO2 emissions caused by humans, thereby, tempering the increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

During droughts, plants reduce photo-synthesis and capture less carbon dioxide from the surrounding air. While this effect can be easily observed in the lab, measuring its impact on the whole planet has proved difficult. Conventional satellites only see what happens at the surface and can not measure how much water is available underground.

But in the last few years, a new type of satellite mission has been used to measure extremely small changes in the Earth’s gravity field. It was found that some small perturbations of the gravity field are caused by changes in water storage.

When there is a major drought in a given region, there is less water mass and gravity is consequently slightly weaker over that region. By measuring this with satellites, scientists are able to estimate large-scale changes in water storage to an accuracy of about four centimetres everywhere on the planet.

The researchers in this study compared year to year changes in total water mass over all continents against global measurements of CO2 increase in the atmosphere. These results help us understand why atmospheric CO2 growth can vary a lot from one year to the other, even, though CO2 emissions from human activities are comparatively stable.

“This study crucially demonstrates a strong link between changes in terrestrial water and the global carbon cycle.” said Professor Stephen Sitch, the Chair in Climate Change at the University of Exeter. “Given we can now monitor changes in the terrestrial water from space this opens up new and exciting avenues in climate-carbon cycle research.”

During the last century, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has been steadily increasing because of human activities. “Now that most countries around the world have agreed they should limit CO2 emissions, we are facing the challenge of monitoring CO2 fluxes to a level of accuracy higher than ever before.,” said Mr Vincent Humphrey.:::ω.

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Adapt Move Or Die: How Animals and Plants React to Climate Change

 

 

 

|| September 01: 2018: University of Birmingham News || ά. Nature is on the move as plants and animals react to the threat of extinction from climate change by changing their location or behaviour, according to a new critical review. Scientists at the University of Birmingham are working with archives of living fossils to help understand how current species will react to an ever-warming planet. The study of these archives, combined with predictive modelling will allow us to forecast changes in biodiversity due to future climate change.

Their work is showcased as part of a major international effort to review current trends in bio-diversity response to climatic change, led by experts at the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate and published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Co-author Dr Luisa Orsini, Senior Lecturer in Biosystems and Climate Change at the University of Birmingham, said, “Archives of living fossils are the key to understanding how species will react to future global change. Interrogating revived dormant stages of species, that adapted to climatic change, we are able to predict the fate of species facing climatic changes.

“The speed and severity of change exacerbated by human activities, may, surpass those of the previous several million years leading many species to extinction. A clear understanding of the fate of species is critical to preserve biodiversity." The study reviews current knowledge on climate change and how nature is reacting to climate change. Altered behaviour and movement can already be seen among plants and animals; flowers change flowering time and owls get darker body colour due to warmer winters.

The Lead-author Professor David Nogués-Bravo from the Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen, said, “Our research group has worked through an enormous amount of studies about bio-diversity’s reaction to climate change. We focused on events in the last past million years we know influenced biodiversity.

It turns out that species, actually, have been able to survive new conditions in their habitat by changing either behaviour or body shape. However, the current and future magnitude and unseen speed of change in nature may push species beyond their ability to adapt.”

Scientists know that species react by adapting locally or move, to survive, when conditions in their habitat changes. Some species, when failed to adapt or move fast enough, like the Orange-spotted filefish, have already gone extinct. Global warming can also have an indirect impact on a species by increasing its susceptibility to bacterial infection.

However, the review highlights migration to new habitats is not the predominant reaction to climatic changes. It shows that local adaptation in response to change in the environment have played a key role in species survival. But how far can local adaptation ensure species survival when humans change the environment so drastically and so rapidly?

The study helps us decode how biodiversity changes under climate change and may provide a platform for policy-makers to design effective conservation schemes in the future.

Image: University of Birmingham:::ω.

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Forests are Crucial for Limiting Climate Change to 01.5 Degrees

 

 

 

|| August 12: 2018: University of Exeter News || ά. According to researchers, trying to tackle climate change by replacing forests with crops for bio-energy power stations, that capture carbon dioxide:CO2 could instead increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage:BECCS power stations are designed to produce energy and store the resulting carbon dioxide in bedrock deep underground. But a study led by the University of Exeter suggests that converting large land areas to growing crops as biomass for BECCS would release so much CO2 that protecting and regenerating forests is a better option in many places.

“The vast majority of current IPCC scenarios for how we can limit global warming to less than 02°C include BECCS.” Said the Lead Author Dr Anna Harper, from the University of Exeter. “But the land required to grow biomass in these scenarios would be twice the size of India,” This motivated the research team to look at the wider consequences of such a radical change in global land use. The researchers used an advanced computer model of global vegetation and soil and presented it with scenarios of land-use change consistent with stabilising the climate at less than 01.5oC and 02oC of global warming.

The results warn that using BECCS on such a large scale could lead to a net increase of carbon in the atmosphere, especially, where the crops are assumed to replace existing forests. Co-author Dr Tom Powell, from the University of Exeter, said, “In some places BECCS will be effective but we’ve found that in many places protecting or regenerating forests is much more sensible.”

How well BECCS works depends on factors, such as, the choice of biomass, the fate of initial above-ground biomass and the fossil-fuel emissions offset in the energy system, so future improvements could make it a better option.

Professor Chris Huntingford, of the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said, “Our paper illustrates that the manipulation of land can help offset carbon dioxide emissions but, only, if, applied for certain quite specific locations.”

Dr Harper said, “To meet the climate change targets from the Paris agreement, we need to both drastically reduce emissions and employ a mix of technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There is no single get-out-of-jail-free card.”

The researchers involved in the new study included researchers from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the Met Office.

Drawing together expertise to create solutions to the global changes, that humans are now causing is a key focus of the University of Exeter’s new Global Systems Institute. 

The Paper: Land-use emissions play a critical role in land-based mitigation for Paris climate targets: Published in the journal Nature Communications:::ω.

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Researchers Find the World’s Largest Fish Does Not Swim the Farthest

 

 

|| August 11: 2018: University of Southampton News || ά. Whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, roam less than previously thought and need greater protection from local and regional threats to ensure the long-term conservation of this globally endangered species, according to a new study. Previously, genetic research indicated that whale sharks mixed within distinct populations in the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, respectively. This new study published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series by researchers, using a stable isotope analysis, a biochemical technique, find that whale sharks feeding at three disparate sites in the Western Indian Ocean, Mozambique and Tanzania and the Arabian Gulf, Qatar rarely swim more than a few hundred kilometres north or south from these areas.

This research was conducted by researchers from the Marine Megafauna Foundation, University of Southampton and Sharkwatch Arabia. The researchers used isotopes of nitrogen and carbon, that have similar chemical properties but vary in their atomic mass. Ratios between the heavier and lighter isotopes of these elements vary naturally across different habitats in the marine environment. For example, more of the heavier isotopes are found in near-shore environments than offshore. These ratios stay consistent as they are passed up through the food web, from tiny marine plants to top predators and, therefore, provide a record of the animal’s feeding and movement behaviours. Stable isotope analysis, thereby, provides a ‘biological passport’ for whale sharks.

“Whale sharks are amazing swimmers, often, moving over 10,000 km each year and they can dive to around 2,000 meters in depth. Biochemical studies tell us more about where they go and what they do when they’re out of our sight.” said Dr Clare Prebble, who led the research as part of her PhD research at the University of Southampton. Electronic tags are commonly used with marine animals to record their movements and diving behaviours.

However, the challenge of keeping them attached to a large shark, while minimising disturbance, has meant that only short-term deployments, weeks to months, have been possible. This study used tiny samples of skin tissue from wild, free-swimming whale sharks. These small pieces of skin, collected over two to three years at each location, were sufficient to reconstruct the sharks’ movements and feeding preferences over the weeks and months prior to sampling.

Values of both carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes differentiated at each site. To complement the biochemical analysis, the researchers, also, took photographs of the natural markings on each whale shark to identify and track individuals over a 10-year timeframe. Every whale shark has a unique spot pattern, similar to a human fingerprint. The researchers recorded 4,197 encounters with 1,240 individual whale sharks within these three countries. 

Only two sharks moved between sites, both swimming around 2,000 km north from Mozambique to Tanzania. Taken together, these findings indicate that there are limited movements between these major aggregation sites over months to years. These results have implications for the conservation of this endangered species.

“The best data available suggests that more than half of the world’s whale sharks have been killed since the 1980s. Although, the Western Indian Ocean remains a global hotspot for the species, even, the largest feeding areas, only, host a few hundred sharks. Our results show that we need to treat each site separately and ensure good conservation management is in place, as the sharks, may, not re-populate, if, they’re impacted by people’s activities.” Dr Prebble said.

The study stresses the need to protect these filter-feeding sharks at the areas, where they come together in numbers, particularly, where human pressures are, also, present. Whale sharks are an incidental catch in coastal gillnets, which are frequently used in Mozambique and Tanzania. The Arabian Gulf is a huge oil shipping area, where vessel strikes pose a major threat to the sharks, when they are feeding near the surface.

“Whale sharks are fully capable of swimming across oceans but it seems like the juveniles, at least, are choosing not to.” said Dr Simon Pierce, the Principal Scientist at the Marine Megafauna Foundation and a Co-author on this study. “They like coming back to the same sites each year to take advantage of predictable feeding opportunities. Looking on the bright side, that emphasises that local protection can have a major benefit for the recovery of this endangered species. The rewards can, also, be felt locally, with whale shark tourism now worth over $100 million each year around the world.”

Earlier this year, researchers reported that whale sharks regularly visit Madagascar to feed, which has led to a growing eco-tourism industry between the months of September and December. To date, none of the sharks identified in Madagascar have been seen outside that country, further reinforcing the results from this new study.

Dr Clive Trueman from the University of Southampton said, “Interestingly, most sharks found at these feeding sites are juvenile males of less than nine meters. To truly assess how populations are globally structured and distributed, we need to learn more about where the sharks go once they reach adulthood. They, may, well move out of our sight to feed and breed in deeper offshore waters.”

The study was supported by WWF Tanzania, Shark Foundation, Aqua-Firma, Waterlust, Maersk Oil Research and Technology Centre, Qatar Ministry of Municipality and Environment, PADI Foundation, Rufford Small Grants and two private trusts.

The Paper: Limited latitudinal ranging of juvenile whale sharks in the Western Indian Ocean suggests the existence of regional management units: Published Marine Ecology Progress Series

Caption: Whale shark in Tanzania: Image: Clare Prebble, Marine Megafauna Foundation and University of Southampton :::ω.

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Scorched Denmark: Is It Not Time for the World and World Humanity to Wake Up and Register What is Happening Across the Earth and Act with the Utmost Urgency That is Required

 

 

 

|| July 25: 2018 || ά. With temperatures soaring and no rain to speak of, Europe is in the grip of a heatwave. As well as the havoc that wildfires have caused in countries, such as, the UK, Sweden and Greece, the current heat is scorching the land and vegetation. These two images from the Copernicus Sentinel-Two mission show agricultural fields around the town of Slagelse in Zealand, Denmark.

As can be seen, on the image on the left, from July 2017, the lush green fields but as the image on the right shows, from this July, the heat and lack of rain has taken its toll on the health of the vegetation. This year’s summer weather means that the same comparison could be made for many other parts of Europe. And while all this is happening across Europe and across of the world, most, notably, in Africa and in Japan, it appears that the world and its humanity seem oblivious to what has been happening and ‘business’ goes on as ‘usual’!

The two Copernicus Sentinel-Two satellites carry high-resolution multi-spectral optical imagers to monitor changes in vegetation. While the difference in plant health in these two images is clear to see, the mission offers measurements of leaf area index, leaf chlorophyll and leaf water content, which allow for a detailed assessment of plant health.

The Copernicus Sentinel-Three mission, also, offers a wider view of northern Germany, Denmark and Sweden, showing the stark difference between vegetation on 30 June 30, 2018 and 19 July 19, 2018.

This is what science and scientific work can do: show and offer evidence but they can not ‘do’ ‘politics’ or shift or change ‘political will’; it is the people, it is the humanity, that have to do this ‘politics’ part: but it is getting desperately towards ‘too late’ for the world humanity to act and act decisively and as a combined and unified force, as one voice. It is getting desperately towards too late, too fast and building towards ‘irreversibility’.

Caption: Images: ESA:::ω.

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The Day of the Tiger: July 29

 

 

|| July 22: 2018 || ά. The International Tiger Day is on Sunday, July 29. To celebrate the Day Drayton Manor Park is going to host many special events tiger-themed activities to help raise vital funds for the Wild Cats Conservation Alliance, whose mission is to save wild tigers for future generations by funding carefully chosen conservation projects. There were children with their parents by the tiny little flowing body of water, a small river. And, yet, disappointments spoke in children’s looks and, their parents sat or stood equally saddened: Why, because there was not a single life form visible on that water today. The various types of ducks and lot of different ‘goose families’ with their younglings, pigeons, moorhens, canaries, black birds and all other little birds were not there today for some reason! The water, despite being flowing, seemed dead.

Only on this point we humans realise that what was lost from that scene and how terribly depressing it was and how irreversible a loss that was: this living, flowing, growing life, that enriches us and makes our life what it is and it must exist as we do, with us, parallel to us. Tigers are such a thing: a magnificent creature and they face this desperate time. Once the world lost them they are gone forever. It is time we begin to wake up and realise that the web of life on which our human-strand of it is struck and our fate and state of existence and the quality of it is inalienably bound to the state and quality of that web. And on that web everything must stand, stay and thrive as mother nature has intended them to be. Otherwise ours, this human existence, gets poorer and poorer and, along with it, we drag the whole web of life towards gradual extinction, bringing an end to our own very existence with it.

Home to Dua and Dora, two critically endangered Sumatran Tigers, Drayton Manor Zoo raised £2,550.00 through its fundraising last year and hopes to beat its great efforts on International Tiger Day this year.

Visitors can get involved in tiger face painting, completing the Tiger Trail, tiger themed games, talks and enrichment but in addition to the fundraising activities the Drayton Manor team will, also, be completing a 400-mile bike ride Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29 to represent the approximate number of Sumatran Tigers left in the wild.

The best time to catch a glimpse of the Tigers at Drayton Manor Park is first thing in the morning. If, you are at the park and waiting for the rides to open why not head down to the Zoo and meet Dua and Dora?

To book tickets, or for more information about the park, visit their website draytonmanor.co.uk or call 0844 472 1950. :::ω.

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Say Hello to The Newly Named New Species of Fish: Platichthys Solemdali Or The Baltic Flounder: No Not the European Flounder

 

 

|| July 15: 2018: University of Helsinki News|| ά. Researchers at the University of Helsinki discovered and named a new endemic fish species in the Baltic Sea, the Baltic Flounder or Platichthys Solemdali. The Baltic Flounder is the first fish species shown to be native only to the Baltic Sea, i.e, the first endemic fish described from the area and one of the only two known endemic species when considering any organism. The fact that a new vertebrate species is found and described from European waters and, especially, from the species-poor Baltic Sea still after more than a century of biological research in the area, makes this finding significant. And, this discovery or rather the searching, seeking, finding and naming the Fish Not Called Wanda, of the Solemdali or the Baltic Flounder, proves one and only thing.

That, do not ever be like anyone else for then you have no identity and despite being yourself people simply do not know that you are different! This is what happened to the poor Solemdali. It looked so much like the European Flounder that people simply did not even recognise it as a different species. So tell the human world people should wear different clothes and wear different shoes and trainers and speak differently and eat and drink different food and celebrate the diversity of life. "The reason why this species has not been recognised before is that it appears to be near to identical to the other flounder species, the European Flounder, Platichthys Flesus, also, occurring in the Baltic Sea." says Professor Juha Merilä, one of the authors behind the article from the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

Currently the two species can be distinguished only with genetic methods or by studying their eggs and sperm. The species, also, differ in their interaction with the environment: the newly described Baltic Flounder lays sinking eggs on the sea floor in coastal areas while the European Flounder  spawns buoyant eggs in deep areas out in the open sea. The new species is more abundant in the Gulf of Finland while the distribution of the European Flounder is centred to the central and southern Baltic Sea.

Previous research by the same research group uncovered that the ecological speciation process, that drove the evolution of these flounders, which is rarely witnessed in the marine environment and had occurred at record speed in evolutionary time scales. However, the two flounders can officially be considered separate species only now after the new species has been formally described.

“Because the definition of a species and the binomial scientific name in connection to that are central concepts and entities of biology in general and in biological taxonomy in particular, the formal description and naming of a species still constitute an important part in the understanding of biological order.” says Professor Merilä.

The official separation of the flounders into two distinct species through a formal description and naming procedure is essential for conducting more accurate stock assessments and highly relevant to the management and conservation of the species that in many areas constitute mixed stocks.

The commercial fishing of flounders in the Baltic Sea has been partially based on the wrong assumption that stocks consist of a single species, while the two flounder species may co-occur in several locations. As fisheries might currently be targeting both flounders species, this poses the danger of unknowingly over-exploiting the species, that constitute the weaker component of a mixed-stock.

Caption: The Baltic Flounder or Platichthys Solemdali is the first fish species shown to be native only to the Baltic Sea: Image: Mats Westerbom :::ω.

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All-Female Sailing Expedition and Scientific Research Mission on Plastic Pollution: Sailing and Searching in the North Pacific: June 23-July 28

 

 

|| First Published: March 15: 2018: Repost: July 14:2018 || ά. The Exxpedition North Pacific 2018 is a pioneering all-female sailing expedition and scientific research mission starting in Hawaii and ending in Seattle via Vancouver this summer, led by British Skipper and Ocean Advocate Dr Emily Penn. With a focus on micro-plastics and links to environmental and human health, Exxpedition North Pacific 2018 aims to make the unseen, seen. And, this expedition is taking place at the absolute opportune time since micro-plastics has become the most urgent of all serious issues facing the world and world humanity. The world needs to learn fast as to how far and how deep and how wide these tiny things have gone and how all these are causing harm or likely to cause harm to the eco-system and the web of life. We can not escape micro-plastic nor plastic for this pollution has become 'normal': it is everywhere: on land, in water and, even, in the air and sky from there it has got into living organisms and it is in food and drink and getting more and more deeper and wider!

It has become an alarming thing, inescapable. Recently, Ms Leonie Cooper AM, Chair of the Environment Committee of the London Assembly, called it 'The Plague of Plastic' or Plastic Plague. This can not be left to go on and get worse. And, this is why, this Research Team's expedition is such a great initiative and they must be congratulated and supported for taking the lead and getting this expedition together. In addition to this the very fact that all the woman-scientists have made this research team should go to inspire young girls and women towards studying all branches of science, mathematics and engineering. This expedition will see a diverse and international group of 24 women, split over two voyage legs, journey over 3,000 nautical miles through the densest ocean plastic accumulation zone on the planet, the North Pacific Gyre, better known as, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The expedition aims to: raise awareness of the devastating impact of single-use plastic and toxics in the world’s oceans; celebrate women in science, leadership and adventure; create a community of female change-makers and inspiring global ambassadors to tackle plastic pollution and its environmental and health impacts; and champion and contribute to innovative scientific research to tackle the crisis.
North Pacific 2018 is the 10th Exxpedition voyage. It has the endorsement and support of the UN Environment Clean Seas initiative.

Public interest in ocean plastic pollution is at an all time high and the crew want their voyage to put a spotlight on the lesser understood issue of micro-plastics. During the month long voyage, the crew will make daily trawls for plastics and pollutants and collect data for a variety of global datasets and scientific research studies.

The Exxpedition crew will be sailing Sea Dragon, a 72ft scientific exploration vessel.

Leg One: Hawaii to Vancouver: June 23-July 15: Sailing to explore and further understand micro-plastic pollution. Sail into the heart of the North Pacific Gyre for sailing and science. This is expected to be the most dense ocean plastic accumulation zone on the planet.
Let Two: Vancouver to Seattle Via Vancouver Island: July 21-28: Exploring remote coastlines to survey for plastic pollution. We will be coastal hopping to find out how plastic pollution is impacting the shore and communities. This sail will, also, involve cleanup projects where possible.

A roster of events in each place will be announced closer to the departure. Support the Exxpedition and tell the world about their work. ω.
 

All-Women Exxpedition Setting Out Against the Plastic Pollution: August 07-September 05: 2017: || June 30: 2017: Plymouth University News || ά. A pioneering sailing expedition starting and finishing at the University of Plymouth’s Marine Station will see a diverse group of women sample the UK’s waters for plastic pollution and run awareness-raising events around the British coastline. The voyage, being co-ordinated by Community Interest Company eXXpedition, will take 30 days and incorporate high-profile events in Plymouth, Cardiff, Belfast, Arran, Stornaway, Edinburgh and London. This summer will be the first time they will have a crew sampling in UK waters and they will be sailing on board the 72ft challenge yacht Sea Dragon, owned by Pangaea Exploration. They will leave the Marine Station on August 07, completing their sail on September 05.

The female crew members include scientists, students, artists, filmmakers, business women, psychologists, ocean activists and sustainability professionals, as well as experienced sailors. eXXpedtion specialises in all-women sailing trips with a focus on highlighting the devastating impact single-use plastic is having on our planet’s oceans, ecosystems and on human health. It has run previous expeditions all over the world and previous research has highlighted the endemic nature of microplastics within our ocean environments globally and the increasing potential impact they have on human health. Readmore

Caption: All-Women Exxpedition Setting Out Against the Plastic Pollution: August 07-September 05 in 2017: Centre Image: Exxpedition

 

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How Not to Catch and Kill Birds and Turtles While Catching Fish

 


|| July 12: 2018: University of Exeter News || ά. Illuminating fishing nets with low-cost lights could reduce the terrible impact they have on seabirds and marine-dwellers by more than 85 per cent, new research has shown. A team of international researchers, led by Dr Jeffrey Mangel from the University of Exeter, has shown the number of birds caught in gillnets can be drastically reduced by attaching green battery-powered light-emitting diodes:LEDs. For the study, the researchers compared 114 pairs of gillnets, which are anchored in fixed positions at sea and designed to snare fish by the gills, in fishing waters off the coast of Peru.

They discovered that the nets fitted with the LEDs caught 85 per cent fewer Guanay Cormorants, a native diving bird, that commonly becomes entangled in nets, compared with those without the lights. Coupled with previous research conducted by the same team, that showed LED lighting, also, reduced the number of sea turtles caught in fishing nets by 64 per cent, the researchers believe the lights offer a cheap, reliable and durable way to dramatically reduce the capture and death of birds and turtles, without reducing the intended catch of fish.

The research is published in the Royal Society journal Open Science on Wednesday, July 11. Lead Author Dr Mangel, from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University’s Penryn Campus, said, “We are very encouraged by the results from this study. It shows us that we, may be, able to find cost-effective ways to reduce bycatch of multiple taxa of protected species and do so while still making it possible for fishers to earn a livelihood.”

Peru’s gillnet fleet comprises the largest component of the nation’s small-scale fleet and is conservatively estimated to set 100,000km of net per year in which thousands of turtles and seabirds will die as ‘bycatch’ or unintentionally. The innovative study, carried out in Sechura Bay in northern Peru, saw the LED lights attached at regular intervals to commercial fishing gillnets, which are anchored to the bottom of the water.

The nets are left in situ from late afternoon until sunlight, when the fishermen collect their haul. The researchers used 114 pairs of nets, each, typically, around 500-metres in length. In each pair, one was illuminated with light-emitting diodes:LEDs, placed every ten metres along the gillnet float-line. The other net in the pair was the control and not illuminated. The control nets caught 39 Cormorants, while the illuminated nets caught just six.

A previous study, using the same LED technology, showed they, also, reduced the number of sea turtles, also, caught in gillnets. Multiple populations of sea turtle species use Peruvian coastal waters as foraging grounds, including, green, olive ridley, hawksbill, loggerhead and leatherback.

For that study, the researchers found that the control nets caught 125 green turtles while illuminated nets caught 62. The target catch of guitarfish was unaffected by the net illumination. They are now working with larger fisheries in Peru and with different coloured lights to see, if, the results can be repeated and applied with more critically endangered species.

Professor Brendan Godley, who is an Author of the study and Marine Strategy Lead for the University of Exeter, said, “It is satisfying to see the work coming from our Exeter Marine PhDs leading to such positive impact in the world. We need to find ways for coastal peoples to fish with the least impact on the rest of the biodiversity in their seas.”

The Paper: Illuminating gillnets to save seabirds and the potential for multi-taxa bycatch mitigation by J.C. Mangel, J. Wang, J. Alfaro-Shigueto, S. Pingo, A. Jimenez, T. Suarez, Y. Swimmer, F. Carvalho and B. J. Godley is published in Open Science:::ω.

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Exotic Invasions Can Drive Native Species to Extinction




|| June 24: 2018: University of Southampton News || ά. Latest research from the University of Southampton has shown the impact of exotic species upon native wildlife, which could, potentially, lead to native plant species extinctions within their natural habitats. The study, published in Nature Communications, underlined that, even, though, competing species have, typically, lived together following past migration periods, human introduction and assistance, may, turn today’s invaders into agents of native species extinction.

Dr Jane Catford, Principal Investigator of the study, titled, ‘Introduced specie, that overcome life history trade-offs can cause native extinctions’, said, “It is well established that introduced pests, parasites and predators can result in native species extinctions but whether the introduction of exotic plants can lead to native plant extinctions has been hotly debated. Our research shows that introduced exotic plants, that are free from their natural enemies or are widely planted in agriculture and gardens can competitively exclude natives.

To help avoid this problem, we can increase the diversity of species, that we use in our gardens and in agriculture and vary the species, that we plant in different areas and in different years, while a greater use of native species should also help.

In contrast to previous natural invasions, where species migrated to new regions themselves, humans, principally, introduce modern invaders, repeatedly and in large quantities and in ways that can help free them from their usual enemies and competitors.

Given that the replacement of native plants and animals by exotic species occurs incrementally over many generations and that the majority of species introductions have taken place in the last 200 years and at rapidly increasing rates, it is plausible that most invasion-induced extinctions are yet to occur.

The research, led by the University of Southampton, has indicated that humans can enhance the performance of some exotic species, giving them an unfair advantage over their competitors.

As such, modern invaders can have more offspring, live longer and become more competitive than their native counterparts, at zero cost to the exotic invaders themselves.

As a result, exotic species, that overcome life history trade-offs can increase in abundance, potentially outcompeting native species, triggering the future extinction of these species. :::ω.

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The New Zealand Kiwi Is Fast Heading to the Top of the To Be Extinct Soon List: Save the Kiwi-Bird: Soon is as Short as in 50 Years




|| June 15: 2018 || ά. Two hundred species go extinct every single day but one country is taking matters into its own hands in an ambitious attempt to save its national pride. Despite an evolutionary journey, that goes back over 50 million years, shortly after their cousins, the dinosaur, roamed the earth, New Zealand’s indigenous Kiwi could soon go the way of its prehistoric ancestor, if, action isn’t taken now. The population has declined by 99% over the past 50 years and could go extinct in the next 50.

The Kiwi’s best chance of survival now lies in the hands of the charity Kiwis for Kiwi, that is undertaking a remarkable feat, creating predator free islands. But they need support and New Zealand’s Old Mout Cider, is seeking to inspire the UK populace to help save this vulnerable bird. They’ve teamed up with wildlife-expert Ms Michaela Strachan to create a short documentary film, ‘The Forgotten World’, which shows Ms Strachan traveling to New Zealand’s Kapiti Island, an isolated sanctuary for the nation’s most endangered birds, which mirrors the prehistoric conditions of the time that the Kiwi’s ancestors, the dinosaur, roamed.

While in the remote and wild Forgotten World, Ms Strachan witnesses first-hand, the positive results of the predator-free island initiative, with a Kiwi population thriving in the absence of predators, which were once brought to the country by humans. As a result of these predator-free islands, the Kiwi survival rate has increased from one in 20, to 14 in 20 on these islands.

The thought-provoking three-minute documentary film follows Ms Strachan’s journey, both day and night and gives an exclusive behind the scenes look at an extraordinary project to restore the forest and freshwater ecosystem as closely as possible to their pre-human state.

She joins a Kiwis for Kiwi ranger as they trek through the exotic terrain, seeking out wild Kiwi in burrows and discovering positive signs of a recently hatched kiwi egg.

Ms Michaela Strachan said, "It's staggering to think that a bird, that has been around for 50 million years could go extinct in the next 50. We need to do everything we can to save as many species as possible. In New Zealand, conservationists are working tirelessly to protect the Kiwi from predators, that have seen its population plummet. We are a small world and must take threats to species extremely seriously before it’s too late.

I hope this documentary film helps people understand just how precious the Kiwi’s history is and, more importantly, how its future is hanging in the balance. Let’s not be the generation, that says goodbye to species but be the generation, who rallies together to look after our environment. So, join Old Mout’s mission and together, we can save the Kiwi.”

Old Mout’s Ms Emma Sherwood-Smith said, “As New Zealanders, our epic landscapes and great wildlife inspire our adventurous spirit. If, we are to enjoy it in the long run we desperately need to look after it. Yet, the Kiwi, the symbol of our country, is in great peril.

The work to create predator-free islands has become a beacon of hope for the people of New Zealand and we want to spread the word to help save this vulnerable bird from the brink of extinction. Our Kiwi roots mean this little bird is close to our hearts, which is why we’re making the plight of the Kiwi famous to people in Britain, a nation of animal lovers.

We hope people will fall in love with these captivating, clever and charming little birds. No one wants to see a species go extinct and we hope our documentary film will have a halo effect to get everyone, who enjoys our cider in Britain to think a little more about the impact they have on their own environment while supporting our mission.”

Caption: This image of a Kiwi has been in the public domain by its author, Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust. :::ω.

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Micro-Plastics Is Big Everywhere: Even in the Antarctic





|| June 12: 2018: University of Exeter News || ά. Antarctica’s most remote and pristine habitats are contaminated with micro-plastic waste and persistent hazardous chemicals, new research shows. Earlier this year, a Greenpeace expedition took a range of samples from the sea and the snow to see how pollution was affecting Antarctica.

Analysis carried out by the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter showed that micro-plastics was widespread in the area investigated. “Using infrared methods, we found micro-plastics in seven of eight samples of surface seawater collected near the Antarctic Peninsula in February this year.” said Dr David Santillo, who led the analysis. 

“Most of those micro-plastics were fibres, including, polyester, polypropylene and nylon, among other materials. Whether they come mainly from local sources, such as shipping, or have been transported on currents from much further afield, remains to be seen.

What is clear is that our plastic ‘footprint’ extends, even, to the ends of the Earth, to areas we may hope and expect to be pristine.”

Samples of snow collected during the same expedition were analysed by an independent laboratory for the presence of perfluorinated chemicals, widely used as water-proofing and grease-proofing chemicals in outdoor clothing and food packaging.

Some can be carried over vast distances on air currents and deposited in rain or snowfall, far from their sources.

“The chemicals, that we detected in snow samples, also, show how pervasive humanity’s impact can be.” said Ms Louisa Casson, of Greenpeace.

“These chemicals are widely used in many industrial processes and consumer products, and have been linked to reproductive and developmental issues in wildlife.

The snow samples gathered included freshly-fallen snow, suggesting the hazardous chemicals were deposited from the atmosphere.” ::: ω.

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New Research Shows the Latest Impact of Carbon Dioxide Dissolving Into Ocean Water



|| May 30: 2018: University of Southampton News || ά. A new study, led by the University of Southampton, has shown that the transfer of gases across the sea surface affects the accumulation of greenhouse emissions in the atmosphere. The transfer is typically viewed as a simple stirring process but it becomes complicated, when waves break on the sea surface in strong winds. The role of the ocean in contributing to climate control and change has been recognised for many years.

The research found new measurements in the open ocean, including, the first demonstration that substantial numbers of fairly large bubbles are injected by breaking waves to depths of at least one metre. Published in Scientific Reports, the findings are crucial since these bubbles tend to partially dissolve, forcing additional carbon dioxide into the oceans. The inclusion of this effect increases current global estimates of the oceanic sink of carbon dioxide and rates of ocean acidification. 

The study was published as part of a collaboration between Professor Tim Leighton, his PhD student Dr David Coles and Professor Paul White at the University of Southampton’s Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, Professor Meric Srokosz from the National Oceanography Centre and Dr David Woolf from Heriot-Watt University.

Professor Tim Leighton, Principal Investigator for the study, said, “If, the amount of carbon dioxide dissolving into the seas from the atmosphere exactly balanced the amount leaving the seas and entering the atmosphere we would have a steady state situation.

“However, our data suggests that in stormy seas the bubble-induced asymmetry in atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolving into the oceans, as compared to previously dissolved carbon dioxide being released back into the atmosphere, is many times greater than scientists currently estimate.

The excess CO2, which gas dissolves into stormy seas through bubbles, will increase as the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere increases.’’

The results of the study, ‘Asymmetric transfer of CO2 across a broken sea surface’, indicate a much larger imbalance of carbon dioxide than previously suggested, contradicting an assumption inherent in most existing estimates of ocean atmosphere gas transfer. Moreover, the geochemical and climate implications include increased levels of carbon dioxide into stormy, temperate and polar seas.

Dr David Woolf from Heriot-Watt University applied his expertise in modelling the processes of air-sea gas exchange within the project. He said, “The role of bubbles in the air-sea exchange of gases has been of interest for decades but firm conclusions have been prevented by a lack of adequate data. Participation in this project has been very rewarding, since measurements are finally giving us the information we need.”

“This was a tremendous study stretching right from theory to the design of new sensors and sea-going platforms to hold them, with years of careful calibration in the lab to ensure the measurements were accurate and the development of a comprehensive model of bubble clouds under breaking waves in the upper regions of the ocean and how they affect the flux of gases between atmosphere and ocean.’’ Professor Leighton said.

“We achieved this thanks to funding from the Natural Environment Research Council. After a couple of years of preparation, we went to sea in 2007 in very rough conditions, and since then have been carefully analysing the data and writing this report, before determining these conclusive findings."

The research team have passed on all of their methods, equipment, computer codes, and findings to other groups around the UK for further investigation. ::: ω.

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Rising Sea Level as Much as 80-90 Centimetres Increases the Risk of Flooding Along Finland's Southern Coastline

 

 

|| May 05: 2018 || ά. According to updated estimates, the sea level in the Gulf of Finland could rise by as much as 80-90 cm during this century. The rising sea level will, clearly, increase the likelihood of coastal flooding, especially, along Finland's southern coastline. Flood risks around the Bay of Bothnia, in contrast, will not significantly increase during the coming century.

In recent research by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, estimates for the rising sea level and flood risks have been updated for the Finnish coastline for the period up to 2100. The research draws on the newest international research results for global rising sea levels and, also, takes into account regional variations. Flood risks will increase, particularly, along the southern coastline.

The research combined predictions for the rise in the sea level over the long term and observation-based assessments of short-term water level variations. In this way, it was possible to estimate the likelihood of floods in the future. Flood risks are expected to increase significantly along the southern coastline.

For example, the flood experienced in January 2005, which raised the sea level to a record high along the Gulf of Finland, could, by the end of this century, be something, that takes place on average every other year. In the Bay of Bothnia, however, where the land uplift is stronger and the sea level rise is weaker, no large changes in flooding risks are expected during the coming century.

Along the coastline of the Sea of Bothnia, on the other hand, flooding risks will, probably, increase to some extent. A number of preparations have been made in Finland for the rising sea level, includin,  the issuing of recommendations for minimum construction elevations, which were last set in 2014.

The research now carried out does not, significantly, change the estimates on which these construction elevation recommendations are based. 

Contact for information: Researcher Havu Pellikka, tel. +358 50 499 1131: email: havu.pellikka at fmi.fi 
Researcher Ulpu Leijala, tel. +358 50 380 2828: email: ulpu.leijala at fmi.fi ::: ω.

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Switch From Leaded Petrol Has Reduced Lead Ocean Pollution

 

|| April 26: 2018: University of Southampton News || ά. New research has shown the first observed reduction in lead concentrations in the surface waters of the seas around Europe since the phasing out of leaded petrol. Lead has no biological function and is toxic to humans and marine organisms. The study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, is based on samples of the Celtic Sea, taken during a series of research expeditions on board the Royal Research Ship:RRS Discovery.

The results show that there has been a four-fold reduction in the concentration of lead in the surface waters of European shelf seas compared to measurements undertaken two to three decades ago, following the phase out of leaded petrol in Europe over the same time period. This finding is the result of an international collaboration by researchers from the University of Southampton, the National Oceanography Centre:NOC, GEOMAR, Germany, the University of Edinburgh and Plymouth University, UK, Bretagne Occidentale, France, NIOZ, Netherlands and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA. 

 Stricter environmental regulations have reduced lead emissions into the environment,and leaded petrol has now been, almost, entirely, phased out in the UK. Yet, prior to this change, enhanced lead emissions from human activity occurred for more than 150 years,and resulted in oceanic lead concentrations up to 100 times higher than natural background levels.  Lead deposited in the ocean is later transferred to sea-floor sediments.

The results of this study show that ‘legacy lead’ is now being released by sediments, forming a new lead source to the environment. Historical lead signals are, also, evident in deep Mediterranean waters around 1000 metres deep, transported from the surrounding countries of Italy, Spain and Greece, where leaded petrol was only phased out in 2003.  Professor Eric Achterberg from the University of Southampton, said, “our results show that sediments have become a source of lead to overlying waters.

The lead in sediments represents the legacy of lead supplied to the sea over the last 150 years. This was not expected, as lead is assumed to bind very strongly with particles in the seas and, thus, remain permanently trapped in the sediment. Our thinking on this needs to be re-assessed and lead concentrations will likely take much longer to return to natural background levels in coastal waters than previously anticipated.” Professor Douglas Connelly from the NOC, said, “The behaviour of trace elements in the oceans is far more complex than previously expected and emphasises the need to better observe the oceans.” 

Southampton Research Fellow Dr Martha Gledhill from GEOMAR, said, “The sampling and analysis for lead in seawater is challenging and has, only, been possible since the 1980’s. The challenges are related to the relatively low concentrations of lead in seawater. The sampling has to be conducted using metal-free specialised equipment, in order to exclude contamination from sampling equipment. Sampling is a challenge because lead is found, almost, everywhere on ships, even, on new plastic surfaces. Analysis has to be conducted in specialized clean-rooms, similar to the ones that computer chips are manufactured in”. 

This research was conducted as part of the UK Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry Programme and the International GEOTRACES Programme. At numerous sites in the Celtic Sea, Ms Dagmara Rusiecka, a PhD student from the NOC, who is working on this project, took water samples for measurements of lead, which were then taken to specialist laboratories at GEOMAR for analysis.

Professor Eric Achterberg said, “The lead data from this study are an important contribution to the GEOTRACES Programme, a large international effort to map metal concentrations in the global ocean. The data will allow us to make larger scale predictions about contaminant transport in shelf seas. Ultimately, combining such information with worldwide contaminant metal measurements and improvements in ocean models will enable us to make robust predictions about pollutant behavior and effects on ecosystems at a global scale." 

This work was funded by the UK's Natural Environment Research Council and GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. Anthropogenic signatures of lead in the Northeast Atlantic is published in Geophysical Research Letters. ::: ω.

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Finnish-Swedish Forest Conference 2018 in Hanaholmen in Espoo April 17-18
 
 


|| April 17: 2018 || ά. Finland's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is organising a Finnish-Swedish Forest Conference, taking place in Hanaholmen, Espoo, that has opened today for two days: April 17-18 April. The purpose of the conference is to thank Sweden for the gift in honour of Finland’s 100 years of independence and to further enhance Finnish-Swedish co-operation in research and innovation and in forest policy. To honour the centenary of Finland’s independence, Sweden donated 12 two-year post-doctoral positions for forest research and research on new forest-industry processes and products.

A good number of applications have been submitted to the programme, Tandem Forest Values and these are now being evaluated. Because of the gift, forest co-operation between the countries will become, even, closer. At the Forest Friends Forever Conference co-operation projects, already, under way will be presented. In addition, new initiatives will be discussed by which Finland and Sweden could, through joint action, further improve the efficiency of innovation activities relating to the bio-economy and create markets for new forest bio-economy products.

The organisation,  that will take part include the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and its sister organisation RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, which aim to make, even, better joint use of the mutually complementary expertise and infrastructures. There is close co-operation between the Natural Resources Institute Finland and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences as well.

Mr Jari Leppä, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland and Mr Sven-Erik Bucht, Minister for Rural Affairs of Sweden, will, also, be speaking at the conference. The event is expected be attended by a hundred Finnish and Swedish experts, policy-makers and financers dealing with the forest sector.

Sweden and Finland are Europe’s largest and most significant forest countries, which is why friendship and collaboration between the countries in forest issues is most beneficial. Both countries are, also, moving towards a carbon-neutral society, where products based on fossil raw materials are being replaced by products derived from renewable natural resources. Research and development obviously have a key role in this kind of systemic change, that aims for a sustainable economic growth and mitigating climate change.

Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:Liisa Saarenmaa, Deputy Director-General, tel. +358 295 162 429: email: liisa.saarenmaa at mmm.fi ::: ω.

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Worsening Worldwide Land Degradation is Now Critical Which Is Undermining the Well-Being of 03.2 Billion People

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 


|| April 09: 2018: University of Jyväskylä News || ά. Worsening land degradation, caused by human activities is undermining the well-being of two fifths of humanity, driving species extinctions and intensifying climate change. It is, also, a major contributor to mass human migration and increased conflict, according to the world’s first comprehensive evidence-based assessment of land degradation and restoration. The dangers of land degradation, which cost the equivalent of about 10% of the world’s annual gross product in 2010 through the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, are detailed for policymakers, together with a catalogue of corrective options, in the three-year assessment report by more than 100 leading experts from 45 countries, launched last week.

Produced by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services:IPBES, the report was approved at the 6th session of the IPBES Plenary in Medellín, Colombia. IPBES has 129 State Members. Providing the best-available evidence for policymakers to make better-informed decisions, the report draws on more than 3,000 scientific, Government, indigenous and local knowledge sources. Extensively peer-reviewed, it was improved by more than 7,300 comments, received from over 200 external reviewers. Rapid expansion and unsustainable management of croplands and grazing lands is the most extensive global direct driver of land degradation, causing significant loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, food security, water purification, the provision of energy and other  contributions of nature essential to people.

According to the report, this has reached ‘critical’ levels in many parts of the world. “With negative impacts on the well-being of, at least, 03.2 billion people, the degradation of the Earth’s land surface through human activities is pushing the planet towards a sixth mass species extinction.” said Professor Robert Scholes, South Africa, Co-chair of the assessment with Dr. Luca Montanarella, Italy. “Avoiding, reducing and reversing this problem and restoring degraded land, is an urgent priority to protect the biodiversity and ecosystem services vital to all life on Earth and to ensure human well-being.”

“Wetlands have been particularly hard hit.” said Dr. Montanarella. “We have seen losses of 87% in wetland areas since the start of the modern era, with 54% lost since 1900.” According to the authors, land degradation manifests in many ways: land abandonment, declining populations of wild species, loss of soil and soil health, rangelands and fresh water, as well as, deforestation.

The report suggests that the underlying drivers of land degradation are the high-consumption lifestyles in the most developed economies, combined with rising consumption in developing and emerging economies. High and rising per capita consumption, amplified by continued population growth in many parts of the world, can drive unsustainable levels of agricultural expansion, natural resource and mineral extraction and urbanisation, typically, leading to greater levels of land degradation.

By 2014, more than 01.5 billion hectares of natural ecosystems had been converted to croplands. Less than 25% of the Earth’s land surface has escaped substantial impacts of human activity and by 2050, the IPBES experts estimate, this will have fallen to less than 10%. Crop and grazing lands now cover more than one third of the Earth´s land surface, with recent clearance of native habitats, including, forests, grasslands and wetlands, being concentrated in some of the most species-rich ecosystems on the planet. The report says that increasing demand for food and bio-fuels will likely lead to continued increase in nutrient and chemical inputs and a shift towards industrialised livestock production systems, with pesticide and fertilizer use expected to double by 2050.

Avoidance of further agricultural expansion into native habitats can be achieved through yield increases on the existing farmlands, shifts towards less land degrading diets, such as, those with more plant-based foods and less animal protein from unsustainable sources, and reductions in food loss and waste. “Through this report, the global community of experts has delivered a frank and urgent warning, with clear options to address dire environmental damage.” said Sir Robert Watson, Chair of IPBES.

“Land degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change are three different faces of the same central challenge: the increasingly dangerous impact of our choices on the health of our natural environment. We can not afford to tackle any one of these three threats in isolation; they each deserve the highest policy priority and must be addressed together.” The IPBES report finds that land degradation is a major contributor to climate change, with deforestation alone contributing about 10% of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. Another major driver of the changing climate has been the release of carbon previously stored in the soil, with land degradation between 2000 and 2009 responsible for annual global emissions of up to 04.4 billion tonnes of CO2.

Given the importance of soil’s carbon absorption and storage functions, the avoidance, reduction and reversal of land degradation could provide more than a third of the most cost-effective greenhouse gas mitigation activities needed by 2030 to keep global warming under the 02°C threshold targeted in the Paris Agreement on climate change, increase food and water security and contribute to the avoidance of conflict and migration.

“In just over three decades from now, an estimated four billion people will live in drylands.” said Professor Scholes. “By then it is likely that land degradation, together with the closely related problems of climate change, will have forced 50-700 million people to migrate. Decreasing land productivity, also, makes societies more vulnerable to social instability, particularly, in dryland areas, where years with extremely low rainfall have been associated with an increase of up to 45% in violent conflict.”

Dr. Montanarella said, “By 2050, the combination of land degradation and climate change is predicted to reduce global crop yields by an average of 10%, and by up to 50% in some regions. In the future, most degradation will occur in Central and South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia , the areas with the most land still remaining, that is suitable for agriculture.”

The report underlines the challenges, that land degradation poses and the importance of restoration, for key international development objectives, including, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. “The greatest value of the assessment is the evidence that it provides to decision makers in Government, business, academia and, even, at the level of local communities.” said Dr. Anne Larigauderie, Executive 
Secretary of IPBES. “With better information, backed by the consensus of the world’s leading experts, we can all make better choices for more effective action.”

The report notes that successful examples of land restoration are found in every ecosystem and that many well-tested practices and techniques, both traditional and modern, can avoid or reverse degradation. In croplands, for instance, some of these include reducing soil loss and improving soil health, the use of salt tolerant crops, conservation agriculture and integrated crop, livestock and forestry systems.

In rangelands with traditional grazing, maintenance of appropriate fire regimes, and the reinstatement or development of local livestock management practices and institutions have proven effective. Successful responses in wetlands have included control over pollution sources, managing the wetlands as part of the landscape and reflooding wetlands damaged by draining.  In urban areas, urban spatial planning, replanting with native species, the development of ‘green infrastructure’, such as, parks and riverways, remediation of contaminated and sealed soils, e.g, under asphalt, wastewater treatment and river channel restoration are identified as  key options for action. 

Opportunities to accelerate action identified in the report include: i: Improving monitoring, verification systems and baseline data; ii: Co-ordinating policy between different ministries to simultaneously encourage more ; iii: sustainable production and consumption practices of land-based commodities; iv: eliminating ‘perverse incentives’ that promote land degradation and promoting positive; v: incentives that reward sustainable land management and vi: integrating the agricultural, forestry, energy, water, infrastructure and service agendas.

Making the point that existing multilateral environmental agreements provide a good platform for action to avoid, reduce and reverse land degradation and promote restoration, the authors observe, however, that greater commitment and more effective cooperation is needed at the national and local levels to achieve the goals of zero net land degradation, no loss of biodiversity and improved human well-being.

Among the areas identified by the report as opportunities for further research are: i: the consequences of land degradation on freshwater and coastal ecosystems, physical and mental health and spiritual well-being, and infectious disease prevalence and transmission; ii: the potential for land degradation to exacerbate climate change, and land restoration to help both mitigation and adaptation; iii: the linkages between land degradation and restoration and social, economic and political processes in far-off places and iv: interactions among land degradation, poverty, climate change, and the risk of conflict and of involuntary migration.

The report found that higher employment and other benefits of land restoration often exceed by far the costs involved. On average, the benefits of restoration are 10 times higher than the costs, rstimated across nine different biomes and, for regions like Asia and Africa, the cost of inaction in the face of land degradation is at least three times higher than the cost of action. 

“Fully deploying the toolbox of proven ways to stop and reverse land degradation is not only vital to ensure food security, reduce climate change and protect biodiversity.” said Dr. Montanarella, “It’s, also, economically prudent and increasingly urgent.” Echoing this message, Sir Robert Watson, said:, ''Of the many valuable messages in the report, this ranks among the most important: implementing the right actions to combat land degradation can transform the lives of millions of people across the planet, but this will become more difficult and more costly the longer we take to act.”

More information: Janne Kotiaho: Professor of Ecology: tel: + 358 50 5946881: email: janne.kotiaho at jyu.fi
 ::: ω.

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Regine Humanics Foundation Begins Its Journey Today: The Humanion Is Now A Regine Humanics Foundation Publication

 
 


|| April 06: 2018 || ά. The Humanion was first published on September 24, 2015 and has been run, since that day, on a complete voluntary basis without any 'formal' or 'constituted' manner or form and, it was run on as a Human Enterprise, which is an idea of Humanics, in which, ownership is replaced by belongingship and, thus, in a Humanical Society, no one owns anything but everyone belongs to the whole as the whole belongs to everyone lawfully and equally and, it neither believes in nor makes money but human utilities, needs, aspirations, creativity, imagination and dreams are served without money, where everyone works and creates for all others as all others create and work for all others, thus, bringing in meaning and purpose to life along with it come natural justice, equality and liberty, that establish a true civilisation within the Rule of Law. And in one word, this system of human affairs management is called, Humanics and a society that runs itself in humanics is called a humanical society. Today, we have begun the process of 'constituting' this Human Enterprise, which does not exist in the current system, but the next closest thing to it, that exists in the UK Law is Social Enterprise. Therefore, today, Friday, April 06, 2018, we are beginning Regine Humanics Foundation, that is the 'Agency', that will lead, run, manage and develop everything, that The Humanion has been trying to do.

Regine Humanics Foundation is established by the Thinker, Author, Poet, Novelist, Playwright, Editor of The Humanion, Festival Director of London Poetry Festival and a Humanicsxian: hu: maa: neek: tian: One, that believes in, lives and exists by Humanics, Mr Munayem Mayenin, of London, England, United Kingdom. Mr Mayenin says, ''Humanics is a vision; people, may, call it, utopia, we, call it our Humanicsovicsopia; Humanics. Humanics is our philosophy, our faith, our conviction, our resolution, our way of existing, thinking, being and doing: to seek and try to do so in the determination that all we must do and be is to exist to advance the human condition. People, readers and agencies and organisations, from all across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the whole of the United Kingdom and Australasia, Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, from all walks and strata of life, have supported our endeavours, supported The Humanion and The Humanion Team, who volunteered their time to run things, since the beginning of The Humanion and long before that, when other things, that are now part of The Foundation, were developing. Nothing has changed in terms of the nature and value of what we have been seeking to do.''

''But the founding of The Foundation brings it all in a solid foundation so that we can keep on building this 'vision' so that it keeps on going regardless of who come to take the vision-mission of The Foundation forward. The Foundation runs along with time and along with the flowing humanity. This is the dream, this is the vision, this the hope in founding this Foundation. And, in this, we hope and invite all our readers, supporters, well wishers and all agencies and organisations to support our endeavours to build something, a Human Enterprise, which we are in the process of registering as a Social Enterprise, as a Community Interest Company, working for the common good of the one and common humanity. No one makes or takes profit out of The Foundation, which now runs The Humanion and everything else, that is part of it. The Foundation, once registered, will have an Asset Lock, which means that in any event, should The Foundation dissolve itself, all its existing assets shall go to a similar Social Enterprise. Therefore, we invite everyone to support The Foundation, support The Humanion in whatever way they can. And, there are endless number of ways people and organisations can support The Foundation and The Humanion.'' ::: ω.

 

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Draining Peatlands Gives Global Rise to Greenhouse Laughing-Gas Emissions
 
 

|| April 06: 2018: University of Birmingham News || ά. A new study shows that drained, fertile peatlands around the globe are hotspots for the atmospheric emission of a powerful greenhouse gas,nitrous oxide, otherwise known as, laughing-gas, which is, partly, responsible for global warming and destruction of the ozone layer. Research into natural peatlands, such as, fens, swamps and bogs, as well as, drained peatlands, found that either draining wet soils or irrigating well drained soils boosts the emission of nitrous oxide significantly.

Led by researchers at the University of Birmingham and the University of Tartu, Estonia, the study took in 58 peatland sites around the world. These included locations in the United States, Australia, Brazil, South America, Australia, New Zealand, East Africa, Southeast Asia, Siberia and Europe. The authors of the study, published in Nature Communications, are calling for increased conservation of fens and swamps to help reduce the impact of climate change and protect the ozone layer.

Professor Ülo Mander, Senior Lecturer in Biogeochemistry, at the University of Tartu, who conceived this research with a global network of 36 scientists, said, “Nitrous oxide is no laughing matter; it is a significant contributor to global climate change and depletion of the ozone layer, which protects our planet from cosmic radiation.

Organic soils, such as, fens, swamps, bogs and drained peatlands, make up more than one-tenth of the world’s soil nitrogen pool and are a significant global source of laughing gas. They are significant sources of nitrous oxide, when drained for cultivation.”

Dr Sami Ullah, Senior Lecturer in Biogeochemistry at the University of Birmingham said that this potential problem was further exacerbated, when drained cultivated organic soils are irrigated, particularly, in warm:tropical regions, which, significantly, increases nitrous oxide emission. The report’s lead author Dr. Jaan Pärn is a joint exchange postdoctoral fellow at the University of Birmingham working under with Dr. Ullah and Professor Mander’s supervision. 

“Our findings show that artificial drainage will be the primary driver of future changes in laughing gas emission from organic soils.” Dr Ulah said “This effect will be more pronounced in tropical regions leading to more nitrous oxide emitted to the atmosphere. Therefore, conservation and restoration of tropical fens and swamp forests should be made a priority to avoid and reduce emissions of this grim laughing gas.”

Dr. Jaan Pärn said that predicting soil response to changes in climate or land use was central to understanding and managing nitrous oxide emission. Previous studies have suggested multiple factors of nitrous oxide emission without a clear global pattern for the prediction of nitrous oxide emission from organic soils. A work group of 37 experts from 24 research institutions conducted a global field survey of nitrous oxide emissions and potential driving factors across a wide range of organic soils in 58 sites around the world.

The survey found that changes in nitrous oxide levels flux emission can be predicted by models incorporating soil nitrate concentration, water content and temperature. Nitrous oxide emissions increase with nitrate and follow a bell-shaped distribution peaking at intermediate soil moisture content around 50%. Both nitrate and soil moisture together explains 72% of laughing gas emission from the global organic soils.

The Paper: Nitrogen-rich organic soils under warm well-drained conditions are global nitrous oxide emission hotspots

Caption: Sampling greenhouse gases in an oil-palm plantation on a drained peat in Klias, State of Sabah: Image: Dr. Taavi Pae 
::: ω.
 
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 Leaf Uptake of Mercury Lowers Global Air Pollution
 
 
 
 
|| April 03: 2018 ||  ά. Finnish Meteorological Institute has participated in a new study, that shows that the atmospheric pollutant mercury shows similar seasonality as the greenhouse gas CO2. The study, led by researchers from the CNRS, the University Grenoble Alpes, found out that atmospheric CO2 levels fluctuate seasonally as vegetation takes up the gas through leaves to produce biomass. Consequently, CO2 levels are lower during summer compared to winter. By comparing mercury observations at 50 forested, marine and urban monitoring stations, the, study published in Nature Geoscience, March 26, finds that vegetation uptake of mercury is important at the global scale.
 
The researchers estimate that the biological mercury pump annually sequesters half of all global anthropogenic mercury emissions. Each year industrial activities emit between two and three thousand metric tons of mercury into the atmosphere. With a long atmospheric lifetime of about six months, mercury emissions spread across the globe. What goes up must, ultimately, come down and this applies to mercury as well. It has long been thought that atmospheric mercury deposition takes place, predominantly, by rainfall and snowfall and monitoring networks measure mercury wet deposition worldwide. A slowly increasing number of experimental, field and modelling studies has suggested that plant leaves can, also, directly, take up  gaseous elemental mercury from the atmosphere.
 
In fall, leaf mercury is, then, transferred to the underlying soil system by leaf senescence. Yet, the importance of this alternative deposition pathway, at the global scale, has never been fully appreciated. To understand, if, leaf uptake of atmospheric mercury is important on the global scale, Mr Martin Jiskra and Mr Jeroen Sonke, from the Géosciences Environment Toulouse laboratory, teamed up with scientists, who monitor atmospheric mercury and CO2 levels across our planet.
 
CO2 has a well-known seasonality with concentration minimum in late summer, at the end of the vegetation and leaf growth season and higher levels during winter. "To their surprise, the researchers found that mercury and CO2 show similar seasonal variations at five forested monitoring stations in the Northern hemisphere, including, Pallas." says Researcher Ms Katriina Kyllönen from FMI. 

Observations of mercury and CO2 made at Amsterdam Island by Ms Aurélien Dommergue and Mr Olivier Magand from the Institut des Géosciences de l'Environnement and by Mr Michel Ramonet and Mr Marc Delmotte from the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement turned out to be key in identifying the role of vegetation. At the Amsterdam Island station, operated by the French polar institute's Mr Paul Emile Victor and surrounded by 3,000km of Ocean in all directions, both mercury and CO2 show near-zero seasonal variations.

Next, the researchers turned to atmospheric monitoring databases from EMEP, AMNet and CAMnet, examining seasonal mercury observations for another 43 sites globally but for which CO2 observations were lacking. They found that the amplitude of seasonal atmospheric mercury variations is largest at inland monitoring sites away from the coast. At all of the terrestrial sites they found strong inverse correlations between satellite observed photosynthetic activity and mercury concentrations.
 
At urban monitoring stations the correlations were absent and mercury seasonality controlled by local anthropogenic mercury emissions. The researchers conclude that vegetation acts as a biological pump for atmospheric mercury and plays a dominant role in the observed atmospheric mercury seasonality. By comparing the 20% amplitude of seasonal mercury variations to the known amount of mercury in the atmosphere, ~5000 metric tons, they estimate that each year about 1,000 tons of mercury is sequestrated in vegetation via leaf uptake.
 
This amount is equal to half the annual global anthropogenic mercury emissions. The researchers further suggest that the documented 30% increase in global primary productivity over the 20th century has, likely, enhanced uptake of atmospheric mercury, thereby, practically, offsetting increasing mercury emissions. Although, leaf uptake removes mercury from air, autumn litterfall transfers the sequestered mercury to soils. Soil mercury, ultimately, runs off into aquatic ecosystems, including, lakes and Oceans, where the mercury bio-accumulates to toxic levels in fish.
 
The Pallas research infrastructure has been extensively instrumented for modern and versatile monitoring of the environment since the start of continuous monitoring of atmospheric sulphur dioxide:SO2 and ozone:O3 concentrations at Sammaltunturi in September 1991 and with the setup of the Global Atmosphere Watc:GAW station in 1994. The measurement sites have contributed to numerous European and global research programmes and research infrastructures.
 
In 2009, the Academy of Finland recognized Pallas, together with the FMI Arctic Research Centre at Sodankylä, as one of the most significant national research infrastructures in Finland. Mercury measurements have been conducted since 1996 in co-operation with Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL. 

The research was funded by Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant.
 
More information: FMI, Researcher Katriina Kyllönen: tel. +358 50 352 6722: email: etunimi.sukunimi at fmi.fi
 
 
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Life: You Are The Law The Flow The Glow: In Joys In Hurts You Are The Vine-Songs On The Light-Trellis

 

 

 

 

   
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|| All copyrights @ The Humanion: London: England: United Kingdom || Contact: The Humanion: editor at thehumanion.com || Regine Humanics Foundation Ltd: reginehumanics at reginehumanicsfoundation.com || Editor: Munayem Mayenin || First Published: September 24: 2015 ||
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