Magazine article USA TODAY

Science Scene

Magazine article USA TODAY

Science Scene

Article excerpt

To tackle environmental issues, it just may take a challenge similar to Pres. John F. Kennedy's "man on the moon in a decade" declaration, maintains Robert Mason, director of the environmental studies program at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa. "Many have made the case that we must reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels. By doing so, the accompanying benefits would include reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and possibly new checks on urban sprawl." Among the ways to address these concerns, he says, is to raise the Federal gasoline tax, increase government spending for renewable energy research and development, sign and support the Kyoto Protocol, and create meaningful urban and suburban growth management policies.

New socioeconomic and ecological strategies are urgently needed to manage fisheries' sustainability and preserve marine resources, argues Joan Roughgarden, a Stanford (Calif.) University ecologist. "Reserves should set aside at least 30% of the habitat of a given species to have any serious assurance of long-term profitability, as welt as to guard against risk of extinction."

Disease-carrying Asian tiger mosquitoes may show up in locations they never have been seen before as a result of global warming, warns entomologist Barry Alto, University of Florida, Gainesville. "Our research shows that, like many mosquitoes, this species breeds faster as the temperature gets higher." They were first reported in the U.S. in 1985 and have reached at least 25 states, mainly in the East and South.

Blue-green algae, among the most-ancient of today's living organisms, have been in existence for more than 2,800,000,000 years. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered cellulose biosynthesis in nine species of it, which may turn out to be a promising new resource for industrial production of cellulose that could eventually eliminate the need to harvest trees for wood or pulp. …

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