Earth and Environmental Sciences

Browse the following groundbreaking articles nominated by our Editors-in-Chief and read why they believe they could help change the world.

Enjoy free access until the end of July, 2017. Open access articles are freely available online on a permanent basis.


Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise

This article reassesses the extent to which water from the Antarctic ice sheet is likely to contribute to sea-level rise in a changing climate.

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Current warming will reduce yields unless maize breeding and seed systems adapt immediately

Though maize variety development can take 30 years, given the projected temperature increases, immediate development is needed to prevent yield losses.

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The global volume and distribution of modern groundwater

This article impressively illustrates the importance of groundwater as a critical resource.

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Plastic microfibre ingestion by deep-sea organisms

This small survey provides the first evidence that microplastic particle pollution has reached even the deepest marine ecosystems.

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Water and Food in the Twenty-First Century

As the world's population grows, can we produce enough food, and will there be sufficient water?

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An evolutionary ecology perspective to address forest pathology challenges of today and tomorrow

Increasing human impacts on forests, including the unintentional spread of pathogens, climate change, and large-scale intensive plantations, are associated with an unprecedented rate of new diseases. An evolutionary ecology perspective can help address these challenges and shape sustainable forest management.

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Diplomacy for science: strategies to promote international collaboration

Advancing science by forming partnerships between scientific and diplomatic communities.

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Molecular microbiology methods for environmental diagnosis

New methods have for the first time made it possible to map the bacterial diversity of soils at a national scale, thus paving the way for the engineering of soil microbes for soil C sequestration, water retention, less erosion, more fertility, pesticide degradation, etc. This discovery is of comparable importance to the discovery of the gut microbiome, and will lead to vital new applications.

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Weaving Indigenous and sustainability sciences to diversify our methods

 Indigenous and sustainability sciences have much to offer one another regarding the identification of techniques and methods for sustaining resilient landscapes.

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When is a forest a forest? Forest concepts and definitions in the era of forest and landscape restoration

Shows how and why distinguishing between different types of forests and reforests in tropical regions is critical to conserving forests and forest biodiversity.

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The secret pollinators: an overview of moth pollination with a focus on Europe and North America

Amid all the buzz around pollinating insects, we seem to have neglected one important group: night pollinators.

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Involvement of polar auxin transport in the inhibition of Arabidopsis seedling growth induced by Stenotrophomonas maltophilia

A broad range of microorganisms found in the rhizhosphere can regulate plant growth and development, but little is known about how they can also inhibit plant growth. The results presented here show that Arabidopsis shows great promise for investigating the molecular mechanisms of plant-growth inhibition by microbes.

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The Application of the Acoustic Complexity Indices (ACI) to Ecoacoustic Event Detection and Identification (EEDI) Modeling

In order to protect biological diversity, we need to recognize it and map it properly. This article impressively demonstrates how to map acoustic diversity.

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Knowledge-based environmental research infrastructure: moving beyond data

Presents an innovative and important extension of the ENVRI Reference Model (ENVRI-RM) - designed to support the acquisition, curation, access, and processing of measurement and observation of environmental data - by adding a functionality for the acquisition of knowledge from data.

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Deer herbivory affects the functional diversity of forest floor plants via changes in competition-mediated assembly rules

An important article that evaluates the impacts of deer grazing on natural vegetation, including ecological theory.

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Fracked ecology: Response of aquatic trophic structure and mercury biomagnification dynamics in the Marcellus Shale Formation

Research has only recently begun to assess the impacts of fracking on surrounding environments. Hydraulic fracking impacts stream ecosystems by altering aquatic biodiversity and biomagnification of methyl mercury at the base of food webs.

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Research of development strategy on China’s rural drinking water supply based on SWOT–TOPSIS method combined with AHP-Entropy: a case in Hebei Province

This exceptional article provides an essential new strategy for securing rural drinking water supply.

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A review of the characterization and revegetation of bauxite residues (Red mud)

Given the increased use of aluminum and growing awareness of the need for environmental protection, the suitable management of bauxite residue is rapidly becoming a global environmental concern.

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Promising approaches to the purification of soils and groundwater from hydrocarbons (A Review)

Soils and waters are affected by oil spills in the course of oil production and hydrocarbon leakages. Conventional purification technologies are inefficient and expensive. New approaches are proposed for the in situ purification of soils and groundwater.

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Decrypting the regulation and mechanism of nickel resistance in white birch (Betula papyrifera) using cross-species metal-resistance genes

Heavy metal contamination in mining regions has become a growing concern worldwide. These findings suggest that the bioavailable amount of nickel that is usually found in highly metal-contaminated soils in mining regions cannot trigger a measureable genetic response in plants.

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Coincidence or not? Interconnected gas/fluid migration and ocean–atmosphere oscillations in the Levant Basin

This article is an excellent example of unconventional and innovative thinking. Potential influence of fluid/gas venting along continental margins on regional climate fluctuations.

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Moderately compact helix antennas with cutoff patterns for millimeter RTK positioning

An essential article for all researchers and designers interested in special GPS receiver antennas for positioning at millimeter-scale accuracy.

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The human dimension of the conflict between fishermen and South American sea lions in southern Brazil

Sea lions are negatively perceived by (Brazilian) fishermen, as they prey upon the same resources and can damage nets. The authors recommend addressing these negative attitudes through environmental education.

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Groundwater Governance: key challenges in applying the Global Framework for Action

An urgent call for strengthening governance and raising awareness of the opportunities held by and threats to groundwater resources around the globe.

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Biorefinery for Glycerol Rich Biodiesel Industry Waste

The biodiesel industry has the potential to meet future fuel requirements. Biodiesel industrial waste rich in glycerol can be exploited to yield The Future Fuel (hydrogen) and bioplastics.

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Opening of a system of cracks—on the mechanism of the cyclic lateral eruption of the St. Helens volcano in 1980

Must-read guidelines for conservation researchers on how to describe the behavior of magma melts filling slot cracks in the context of real explosive volcanic eruptions.

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On the scale dependence of earthquake stress drop

Presents an outstanding discussion of the scale dependence of source parameters in earthquake source mechanics.

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Amur tigers and leopards returning to China: direct evidence and a landscape conservation plan

The Siberian tiger and the Amur leopard have become critically endangered species, and this study shows both the bright and dark sides of their future.

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Maximum tsunami height prediction using pressure gauge data by a Gaussian process at Owase in the Kii Peninsula, Japan

A new methodology to predict coastal maximum tsunami height that will improve tsunami early warning.

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Variation in the Abundance of Neotropical Bees in an Unpredictable Seasonal Environment

For all readers interested in climate change, neotropical bees are role models of plasticity, which provides greater resilience to environmental disturbances.

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Developmental synchrony in multivoltine insects: generation separation versus smearing

This article makes an important contribution to population ecology by integrating the two most prevalent theories on insect population dynamics with empirical examples.

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Environmental changes in the Arctic: an Italian perspective

Introduces readers to the latest advances in and prospects of Italian research in the Arctic, an area more affected by global warming than any other.

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Fish as proxies of ecological and environmental change

Fish are valuable but underused proxies for elucidating the degree, direction and scale of shifts in aquatic ecosystems.

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Biochar as an Exceptional Bioresource for Energy, Agronomy, Carbon Sequestration, Activated Carbon and Specialty Materials

Published in 2016 and already downloaded 800 times, this article fills an important gap, helping scientists effectively address the challenges of Biochars utilization.

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