CDFW Awards $37 Million for Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration, Protection and Scientific Study Projects – CDFW News

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 40 multi-benefit ecosystem restoration and protection projects to receive funding under its Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 grant programs.

The awards, totaling $37 million, were made under CDFWs 2020 Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 Grant Opportunities Proposal Solicitation Notice.

Of the $37 million, approximately $24 million was awarded to 19 projects statewide through the Proposition 1 Watershed Restoration Grant Program. Approximately $7 million was awarded to seven projects through the Proposition 1 Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program to projects that directly benefit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Approximately $6 million was awarded to 14 projects through the Proposition 68 Rivers and Streams Grant Program.

While California faces numerous challenges related to COVID-19 (coronavirus), CDFW will continue to administer its grant programs and will implement awarded grant projects while working with grantees to incorporate necessary accommodations under these circumstances.

We are all currently going to get through this public health emergency together. In the longer term, this years awards represent a visionary effort to invest in our ecosystems statewide which will outlast our current challenges, said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. These awards represent our focus on continuing necessary support for our restoration partners in local government, Tribes, nongovernmental organizations and communities who support these efforts, which is why we wanted to keep this business going in this difficult time with the announcement of these awards.

The awarded projects represent priorities outlined in the solicitation, as well as the California Water Action Plan, State Wildlife Action Plan, Sacramento Valley Salmon Resiliency Strategy, Delta Plan, California EcoRestore, Safeguarding California Plan, the California Biodiversity Initiative and the fulfillment of CDFWs mission.

The following projects were approved for funding through the Proposition 1 Watershed Grant Program.

Acquisition Projects:

Implementation Projects:

Planning Projects:

The following projects were approved for funding through the Proposition 1 Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program.

Implementation Projects:

Planning Projects:

Scientific Studies:

The following projects were approved for funding through the Proposition 68 Rivers and Streams Grant Program.

Implementation Projects:

Planning Projects:

General information about CDFWs Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 Restoration Grant Programs, as well as a schedule for upcoming grant solicitations, once available, can be found at wildlife.ca.gov/grants.

Funding for these projects comes from Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 bond funds, a portion of which are allocated annually through the California State Budget Act. More information about Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 can be found on the California Natural Resources Agency website.


Media Contacts:Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grant Branch, (916) 216-7848Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

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CDFW Awards $37 Million for Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration, Protection and Scientific Study Projects - CDFW News

Here’s how healthcare can build effective ecosystem for innovation, entrepreneurship – India Today

India is passing through a point of inflection, where start-ups are poised to create more job opportunities compared to conventional industry sectors. Many millennials born in early 21st century are seizing this opportunity to dive in and solve unmet needs of society through innovation and entrepreneurship.

We are however, yet to see global success stories of 'Made in India' products. The progress is slow, because most real-life problems are multi-disciplinary in nature and require collaboration between experts with different backgrounds.

There are 'valleys of death' between ideation, invention, innovation and impaction. Thousands of innovators who have incubated their start-ups are struggling to bring their products into the market. A conducive and supportive ecosystem is required to overcome these challenges.

1. Universal Need:

Everyone will at some point of time, be concerned about health, as diseases and disabilities affect the lives of people as well as others around them. India needs 50,000 crore rupees worth of medical devices every year.

However, we are importing over 80 per cent of these from foreign companies, which are unaffordable to the majority of the population. There is continuous demand from the doctors for better, safer, suitable, reliable, affordable, adaptable, available and accessible medical devices. All these give many directions to come up with innovative medical devices.

2. Technology Drivers:

New technologies such as CAD, 3D scanning, 3D printing, medical imaging, Cloud computing, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain are opening new possibilities to rethink even conventional devices. For example, the Ayu stethoscope module invented at BETIC allows converting conventional stethoscopes into digital devices, with sound enhancement, noise cancellation, recording and sharing. Doctors are finding it very useful for rural medical camps and telemedicine.

Imported medical devices are unaffordable to the majority of the population. Frugal innovation makes it possible to bring down the cost of diagnosis or treatment to less than one-tenth. In particular, screening devices, such as those for diabetic foot ulcer and glaucoma developed at BETIC, allow early interventions, thereby preventing expensive treatments otherwise required. Further, healthcare has become the largest employer in the USA (13 per cent of population), and is becoming the top sector targeted by start-ups in India (after e-commerce).

4. Funding Support:

Given the above reasons, it is not surprising that healthcare has become one of the top priorities for government and non-government funding agencies. The ministries of science & technology; health and family welfare; electronics and information technology; micro, small and medium enterprises and others along with their arms (such as department of biotechnology) have many schemes to support researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs working in this field. Industry is pitching in through corporate social responsibility funds. Private investors are waiting for success stories to emerge.

As mentioned earlier, innovation requires collaboration, which in turn requires going out of one's comfort zone and embrace risk as well as failures that are bound to occur (else it is not novel enough).

In healthcare, the primary focus is to prevent or alleviate the suffering of the common person, and this provides the required motivation to overcome personal mental blocks as well as inter-personal barriers. Moreover, there are many doctors who in their heart wanted to be engineers, and vice versa. We just need to bring these two together and put them in touch with other stakeholders; the rest will follow.

The Biomedical Engineering and Technology Innovation Centre is located at IIT Bombay, with satellite centres in six engineering colleges and seven medical institutes across Maharashtra. The initiative is envisioned and supported by S&T Council of Maharashtra Government and DST, New Delhi, to accelerate indigenous development of affordable medical devices suitable for local manufacture and use.

In the last five years, the BETIC team developed and filed patents for over 50 devices, and licensed 20 of them to start-up companies or industry partners. To know more, visit: http://www.betic.org.

Authored by Professor B Ravi, innovator, educator, mentor and founder of BETIC, IIT Bombay

Read: Healthcare provides a very good starting point to build an effective eco-system for innovation and entrepreneurship

Read:The 10 most popular Healthcare courses in India

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Here's how healthcare can build effective ecosystem for innovation, entrepreneurship - India Today

Neo Foundation unlocks 1.66 million NEO to fund development of ecosystem – NEO News Today

NEO News Today is a community run website that exists to share information on activity within the NEO blockchain ecosystem.We report any information that we feel may be of interest to NEO programmers, investors and enthusiasts.As NEO is an open source platform, this information may include developments, products and events from entities from outside of the NEO Foundation.Forms of coverage may include, but is not limited to, breaking news, accouncements, reviews and interviews, and does not constitutean endorsement of any kind.We report without hype or propaganda.Although we do our best to fact check all information before publishing, readers are encouraged to do their own research before investing in any products, services or token sales mentioned on NEO News Today. No information found on this site should be considered as investment advice.We do not speculate on price.We do not run any form of native advertising, or accept payments in exchange for coverage.We provide free banner space to open source projects built on the NEO platform that we feel are of a high quality, at the discretion of the editorial team. Banners may run for no more than seven days in a row or two weeks of any month.NEONewsToday.com is operated by Ragnarok Digital, LLP.NEO News Today receives funding from City of Zion and NEO Global Development, neither of whom are granted any influence on editorial decisions or policy.If you have any further questions, you can email wakeup@neonewstoday.com

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Neo Foundation unlocks 1.66 million NEO to fund development of ecosystem - NEO News Today

Sony expands its Smart Agriculture Solution ecosystem – Successful Farming

Sony Electronics is adding four ag tech providers to its newly enhanced Smart Agriculture Solution ecosystem. By integrating with innovations from Drones Made Easy,BirdsEyeView Aerobotics,RantizoandProgeny Drone Inc., the ecosystem will now support day-to-day crop management by collecting and analyzing data on plant growth and health status.

Sony plans to host a webinar with Drones Made Easy on March 31, 2020, at 1 p.m. EST to share how the companys Fast Field Analyzer softwarewith stand count featurequickly lets users review an entire field to evaluate replanting needs. Registerhere.

Our team thoroughly researched the various needs for a drone-based remote sensing solution with some of the top agriculture companies, researchers and universities, says Theresa Alesso, pro division president at Sony Electronics. That feedback was incorporated into the recent upgrade of Sonys Smart Agriculture Solution and is the basis for the providers selected thus far for this expanded ecosystem. These integrations provide comprehensive, new ways of working for todays growers that will increase yield with far greater efficiency.

Designed to allow growers to precisely and easily analyze large areas, Version 2.0 includes Sonys imaging and artificial intelligence-based technology for stand counting. This equips growers with the tool to assess plant establishment, so they can make replanting decisions earlier and with greater accuracy. Included in the enhanced solution is a drone-mounted multi-spectral sensing unit and Fast Field Analyzer image analytics software for crop management, monitoring and insights.

Based in San Diego, Drones Made Easy has developed Map Pilot, a flight planning software and Map Pilot AG, a photogrammetry data collection app. The new app collects data that is optimized for Sony's MSZ-2100G multispectral camera to getthe most accurate results possible.

Prior to the introduction of Sonys Smart Agriculture Solution, no system existed with multi-spectral cameras and analytics software thatworked with a small unmanned aerial system and could process data easily at the edge of a field. With our new brackets for mounting on to DJI aircraft and our Map Pilot AG software integrated with Sonys technology, we have a turnkey solution, explained Tudor Thomas, chief technology officer, Drones Made Easy.

New Hampshire-based BirdsEyeView Aerobotics is a drone manufacturer whoseFireFLY6 PROis known for its flight time and speed. The vertical take-off and landing drone can cover up to 600 acres in one flight. It can be launchedquickly from anywhere. Itlands accurately and gracefully, which eliminatesthe crash-landpitfalls of a fixed-wing platform.Sony's Smart Agriculture Solution has been seamlessly integrated into the FireFLY6 PRO with custom, vibration-isolated mounts for Sonys MSZ-2100G multispectral camera. This provides drone operators with the benefit of Sonys advanced real-time vegetation analytics.

Rantizo, which is based in Iowa,uses drones to deliver agriculture inputs when and where they are needed.Rantizos Fly & Apply System combinesDJIdrones, Rantizo hardware and software, as well as proprietary software in an integrated solution that identifies in-field anomalies with autonomous, targeted drone-based agricultural spraying.Sony's Smart Agriculture Solution provides the imagery on areas in need of spraying, and the Rantizo system sprays only the designated areas.

Faster processing leads to nimble systems that can adapt to the ever-changing agricultural environment," says Michael Ott, CEO, Rantizo. "With our combined expertise, Rantizo and Sony can determine field issues and deploy the necessary ag inputs to treat problems and maximize yield."

Progeny Drone Inc., which is a Purdue University-affiliated start-up,has created Plot Phenix software that converts raw drone imagery of outdoor small plot research trialsinto custom-labeled, plot-level metrics of plant growth and health atthe field's edge without internet. By integratingSonys Smart Agriculture Solution with Plot Phenix,agronomists can collect metrics with streamlined operation.

"We have worked with many different types of cameras on drones over the last few years, says Anthony Hearst, PhD, CEO, Progeny Drone Inc. Many of them are poorly designed and dont produce accurate measurements. We are thrilled to partner with Sony on their new Smart Agriculture Solution. Sony knows how to properly design and build an affordable camera for a specific purpose thats easy to use for collecting and processing imagery. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Sony because we believe they will continue to deliver cameras that get agronomists the metrics they need to move agriculture forward."

In an effort to continouslymove the ag industry forward, Sony is in active discussions with other leading ag tech companies to add to its integratednetwork.

The Version 2.0 updateof Sony'sFast Field Analyzer software with stand count feature will be released onMarch 30, 2020.Current Smart Agriculture Solution users who have a valid subscription plan will be able to automatically download the free upgrade at the Sony license web store.

To learn more about Sonys Smart Agriculture Solution, visitpro.sony/agriculture.

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Sony expands its Smart Agriculture Solution ecosystem - Successful Farming

Madrid: A city turning eco-fictions into eco-futures through systems innovation – Daily Planet`

25 Mar 2020

Three-quarters of European citizensover 400 million peoplelive in urban areas, and these numbers are still on the rise. This makes Europes cities an ever more important crucible for low-carbon solutions. Here, we find out about an unusual cross-sectoral alliance in Madrid that is using creative arts in a city-wide decarbonisation and resilience project.

The Spanish capital is one of 15 cities taking part in an EIT Climate-KIC-led Deep Demonstration of Healthy, Clean Citiesa project that is prototyping a breakthrough model of orchestrated systems innovation. In the project, city governments act as challenge owners to ensure support for an ambitious, cross-sectoral transformation agenda. The project also integrates designers to help map the opportunity space for systemic change and to design leverage pointswhich can include interventions through finance, education, citizen engagement, regulation, and the creative arts.

At her workspace in the hanger-like studio of the Matadero Cultural Centre in downtown Madrid, Andrea Azuqueca is scribbling ideas in her notebook. At her elbow is a book about eco-social transition entitled Rutas sin Mapas (Routes without Maps) and, beside it, an illustrated guide to the Madrileo district of Usera. A 26-year-old recent architecture graduate, Ms Azuqueca is deep in the initial investigation phase of a three-month artistic residency. Her focus: To work alongside the residents of Usera (colloquially known as Madrids Chinatown) to re-envision the neighbourhood as an exemplar of low-carbon living.

Madrid is in urgent need of such examples. Located in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula, the Spanish capital finds itself facing ever-hotter summers as well as an increase in freak weather events. The citys climate challenges are exacerbated by a densely-packed built environment, coupled with increasingly congested traffic, limited green space, and a long-neglected watercourse (the River Manzanares).

A pointer towards a cleaner, greener future can be found in the Madrids current climate plan. An ambitious document, the 199-page Plan A sets out a vision for reducing the citys overall carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.

But what would such a city look like? And how might Madrileos get there? Ms Azuqueca hopes that these two questions will spark the imagination of Useras residents about what the future could look like. Drawing on her creative talent, her job is then to find ways to bring these eco-fictions to life in an artistic installation within the community itself.

The goal of the installation is to help us all better visualise this future, which, along with the debates and discussion it will hopefully prompt, is the first step towards seeing such a future realised, says Ms Azuqueca, who also acts as a spokesperson for the Extinction Rebellion campaign group.

The Eco-fictions installation is the brainchild of Instituto Mutante de Narrativas Ambientales, an environment-focused arts group based at Matadero. They are taking part in the Madrid chapter of EIT Climate-KICs recently launched Deep Demonstration of Healthy Clean Cities project, along with three other core partnersMadrids Ayuntamiento (City Government), the transport infrastructure operator Ferrovial, and the Technical University of Madrid.

Zooming out, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Krakw, Krievci, Leuven, Malm, Maribor, Milano, Ni, Orlans, Sarajevo, Skopje and Vienna are also part of the pilot phase of the Healthy Clean Cities ecosystem. Each city is different and each city is contributing novel ideas and approaches within the same core Deep Demonstrations framework. The cities will share experiences and actionable intelligence to encourage replication, scaling, cross-pollination and speed. Its early days for the pilot project (it kicked off formally late last year), but Madrids four core participants were not starting from scratch. Far from it, in fact. The cross-sector coalition had already embarked together on an ambitious and highly experimental approach to driving forward climate innovation, off the back of an enriching two-year process and partnership.

From the outset, former hierarchical ways of working were binned. If the platform (as the partners initially called themselves) was going to fast-track climate action as hoped, everyone would have to be on the same level.

We are all aware of the urgency of climate change and the need to respond to emerging issues as flexibly as possible, which is why we were looking to work together in a less transactional and less top-down fashion, explains Juan Azcaratel, Deputy Director for Energy and Climate Change at Madrid City Government, the pilot projects challenge owner.

Agreeing a common purpose and a common approach was also super important, notes Sara Romero, one of the 15-strong team at the Technical Universitys Innovation and Technology for Human Development Centre (itdUPM).

Not only does a shared focus maximise efficiency and effectiveness, she explains, it also helps the project partners build a culture of mutual trusta vital, yet rare commodity among organisations coming from different sectors and used to different operating cultures. Lastly, in terms of approach, the group agreed to adopt the same set of tools and methodologies, be these for diagnosing the issues at stake, identifying the principal levers of change (and points of inertia), designing strategic interventions, or factoring feedback into the projects evolving design. Here, their gut reaction was to ditch the incremental, step-by-step approach that typifies so much current action on climate change. Instead, they took a route less travelled: Namely, working on multiple fronts at the same time and within the same ecosystem (i.e. their home city of Madrid). Their thinking: large-scale change requires a wholesale shift, not tinkering at the edges.

What the group had intuited, EIT Climate-KIC has already worked hard to systematise into a new model of innovation. Their systems innovation model uses a portfolio approachi.e. they help to design, build and manage mission-led portfolios of connected and simultaneous interventions, with the aim of shifting whole systems more quickly. It is this model, and its tools, that provides the framework for the Healthy, Clean Cities project, and for EIT Climate-KICs seven other Deep Demonstration projects, covering landscapes as carbon sinks, food, maritime hubs, just transition, resilience, long-termism and circular economy.

Joining the Deep Demonstration has helped us to bring greater rigour to our way of working and has placed the concept of systems-level innovation at the heart of what were trying to achieve, says itdUPMs Ms Romero.

EIT Climate-KICs CEO, Kirsten Dunlop, is thrilled to have this unusual coalition on board:

Deep Demonstrations are intended as inspirational examples of what can be done when innovation is orchestrated, collaborative, and mission-led. Working backwards from the changes we want to see in the world is one way of approaching systemic change.

It may seem obvious that more of us need to collaborate across boundaries if we want to forge new grooves and move past business-as-usual. But this more horizontal model of innovation is not just a question of organisational governance: It also implies a radically different mode of working together and learning together.

So what have EIT Climate-KICs partners learnt so far about cross-sectoral co-operation? Firstly, flexibility and responsiveness are everything. Just because everyone starts on the same page, doesnt mean that circumstances dont change. Also, learning happens as the project evolves, and this should lead to tweaks and changes.

Cecilia Lpez, a development strategist in the itdUPM team, admits that working with such uncertainty can prove taxing. This is unsurprising. As with most organisations, the projects partners are all accustomed to operating in line with a predetermined strategy: goals firmly set, responsibilities divvied out, resources duly assigned and so the juggernaut starts chugging.

Such rigidity doesnt lend itself to managing todays climate emergency, she states. For that, decision-makers need the space to learn from experience and the freedom to change tack if required.

She continues: Companies and government agencies arent set up to work in such ways, but this is precisely what systems innovation requires.

Such an approach is not without its stress points. Trust in your partners helps offset this to an extent, Ms Lpez argues. More important still is a large dose of humility. The complexity of the systems addressed by the Deep Demonstration projects defy simple solutions. Once people accept that, she states, navigating the terrain ahead becomes more manageable:

Its perfectly possible to be dead clear on where you need to get to, but not one-hundred percent certain on the best solutions for getting there. Embracing this reality helps deal with the stress that comes with not knowing.

With constant learning and responsiveness such a key element of Deep Demonstrations, rigorous diagnostics and monitoring are fundamental to the model. To this end, the projects coordinating team at Madrids Technical University meet every Friday to reflect on current progress and, with the assistance of a visionary director, tweak their approach as necessary. In a similar way, one of the three working groups into which the Deep Demonstration partners are split is christened the Grupo de Contraste, which the team at itdUPM translate (loosely) as The Provocateurs. Their task, as Ms Romero puts it, is to probe and challenge the decisions of the two other working groups, which focus on project implementation and evaluation, respectively.

Last but not least is the centrality of citizens in the decision-making process. Madrids City Government already seeks to achieve this to an extent; a small percentage of the municipal budget, for instance, is decided by public vote. Yet, as Juan Azcarate admits, opportunities for citizens to get involved in designing and executing policies linked to the citytheir cityremain limited.

The team is not short of ideas on how to correct this. Framing climate change in a way that is not only readily understood but attractive to residents is an obvious first step. Likewise, finding appropriate means to engage citizensholding meetings on the communitys home turf (rather than in more formal environments), for instance, or via social mediais also imperative.

Citizens want to see clear outcomes from their involvement, Mr Azcarate from the City Government adds. In the normal way of working, it can easily take 18 months for a project to come to fruition after initial consultation. Thats too slow, he concedes: To keep momentum, its vital to show results quickly and make this [decarbonisation] a reality.

Back at the cultural centre in Matadeiro, turning Madrids low-carbon ambitions into a reality is precisely what the artist-architect Andrea Azuqueca is seeking to achieve. Even before she has settled on the theme or location for her exhibition, she is busy arranging a public debate to coincide with the opening night. As for the Deep Demonstration partners, early-stage discussions about precisely what activities will be included in the pilots portfolio are reaching culmination. While the exact specifics await confirmation, theres a consensus that the individual interventions should link directly to the City Governments recently agreed climate plan.

What keeps me motivated is that the idea that the fictitious stories that we tell each other today could become reality in the future, says Ms Azuqueca, But that all depends, of course, on the decisions we take today.

Related Goal

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Madrid: A city turning eco-fictions into eco-futures through systems innovation - Daily Planet`

Pablo Escobar’s Cocaine Hippos Are Filling Ecosystem Roles in Colombia That Have Been Vacant for Thousands of – Gizmodo

A hippo known as Pepa in Medellin, Colombia on July 15, 2018. Pepa was part of the initial batch of animals imported by drug lord Pablo Escobar back in the 1980s.Photo: Getty

Generally speaking, scientists are not down with Pablo Escobars hippos.

When the Colombian national police assassinated the cocaine kingpin in 1993, he left behind four fully-grown hippopotamuses. They are considered one of the worlds top invasive species. A January study showed that their shit was contributing to algae blooms and screwing with local lakes chemistrythe implication being that the animals are gross pests that could ruin local ecosystems.

But in a new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science on Monday, has a different view of the coke hippos. Specifically, the new research shows that the introduction of large non-native herbivores into ecosystemslike the hippos in Colombiacan actually restore ecologically beneficial traits to the area that may have been lost for thousands of years.

While we found that some introduced herbivores are perfect ecological matches for extinct ones, in others cases the introduced species represents a mix of traits seen in extinct species, study co-author John Rowan, a study co-author and biology researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said in a statement.

Pablos hippos, for instance, are similar in diet and size to the now-extinct giant llamas that once roamed the area. Theyre also similar in size and semiaquatic behavior to another extinct species, notoungulates, which have been gone for thousands of years. That allows them to fill two long-vacated roles in the Colombian ecosystem they were introduced to after Escobar died and they began to roam the countryside.

In other words, Pablo Escobar is inadvertently responsible for rewilding his home country and bringing back ecosystem services that have been missing since these megafauna died out. That doesnt necessarily mean Pablos hippos are good. But it does mean scientists should look at introduced species like the hippos without preconceptions that theyre negative, invasive pests (locals may beg to differ).

And this isnt just about Pablos hippos. The researchers analyzed 72 cases of invasiveor introduced, as the authors sayherbivore species entering an ecosystem, comparing their ecological traits to those of the animals that populated the areas in the pre-historic, pre-human past.

In 64 percent of cases, the authors found introduced species resembled extinct species more than the ones currently populating an ecosystem. That means that more than half the time, these introduced species could potentially fill into ecological niches that have long been empty, which can variously affect many aspects ecosystem health, from what nutrients are dispersed in the water and soil to how often wildfires occur.

The hippos, for instance, have been thought to be harmful because their poop fertilizes lakes. But in Africa, the fertilization of waterways that hippos conduct plays a keystone role in boosting fishery productivity, Erick Lundgren, a Ph.D. student at the UTS Centre for Compassionate Conservation who led the study, told Earther. Indeed.

We do not claim that hippos are beneficial or notbut that they should be studied without those types of labels, in the context of deep time, said Lundgren.

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Pablo Escobar's Cocaine Hippos Are Filling Ecosystem Roles in Colombia That Have Been Vacant for Thousands of - Gizmodo

Certain Individual Fish Contribute Far More to Ecosystem Health than Others, Research Shows – Earth Island Journal

Understanding unique contribution of highly active individuals could support sustainable fisheries management.

Mukta Patil

March 19, 2020

It seems intuitive that every human being has unique behaviors and this affects how they live, eat, and move. And while we might be able to imagine this for large creatures like bears or mountain lions, it is often much harder for humans to extend this idea of individuality to small fish like snappers or groupers.

It took us until 2017 to understand that individual behavior can drive the collective functioning of schools of fish, and until 2018 to say conclusively that fish feel conscious pain, though it may not be the same as the pain we feel. Now, a study published in Scientific Advances shows us not only that fish contribute in major ways to keeping their habitat healthy and nutrient-dense, but that some individuals within species are far more important when it comes to this. These super-urinator individuals move around more, and spend more time foraging, which means they contribute more nutrients to their ecosystem through their urine and spread it more widely.

The studys authors examined the behavior of 33 individual gray snappers (Lutjanus griseus) and 25 cubera snappers (Lutjanuscyanopterus) at a mangrove-lined estuary on Abaco Island in the Northern Bahamas. The fish, both of which are exploited tropical species, were surgically implanted with transmitters so that researchers could study their movements. Nine receivers were placed throughout the study site in the shallow estuary.

The study shows that individual-level behavioral traits are poorly captured at the population-level and that nutrient supply from individuals was different from the population average over 80 percent of the time. If accounted for, this individual variation would nearly double the estimated nutrient supply to their ecosystem.

The problem is that those engaging in fishing activities like spearing and angling are more likely to catch these active individuals. Fishing specifically selects for these extra-important individuals, which in turn has disproportionately negative effects on the ecosystem, Jacob Allgeier, lead researcher and assistant professor at the University of Michigan, said.

Through this research, Allgeier concluded that a definition of biodiversity which only focuses on contributions and impacts to ecosystems at a species level, and not individual animals, might not be the best approach to conservation.

Allgeier has been working on understanding marine ecosystems in the Bahamas and Haiti for more than a decade. In 2012, he realized that fish are perhaps the most important contributors of nutrients to their ecosystem, which they excrete through their urine and which algae and seagrass require for growth. In fact, their contribution is one of the largest sources in marine ecosystems, so much so that the amount of urine can impact how much and how quickly algae and seagrass grew.

In marine food chains, fish were long considered predators, feasting on plants and animals alike. But it turns out they also recycle the nutrients they consume, and provide growth fodder for the bottom of the chain.

In 2015, more research involving 102 different species showed that different fish transfer these nutrients to the water at different rates. These rates depend on what species of fish live in the ecosystem, due to the fact that different species tend to eat different foods, and how large they are.

Now we know that within each species, too, individual contributions can differ a lot, and that loss of certain individuals can have a bigger impact on ecosystem health. For example, computer models used in the study to simulate fishing show that removing the most active fish can decrease nitrogen supply in the environment by up to 69 percent.

While Allgeier is not advocating fisheries management based on fish pee, he does think it is a useful proxy to understand alternative ways in which fishing is affecting ecosystems, particularly in nutrient poor systems. Ecosystem based management needs to consider the potentially cryptic impacts that species and individuals have on ecosystems, he said.

Thats why Allgeier now wants to track more fish. At least 500 more at the Abaco island, which could show how they individually contribute to providing nutrients for their surroundings, and how important particular individuals are within these different species.

We are basically scaling this up to study more species and individuals and to quantify the specific implications for ecosystem function, he said.

It might take more work to study fish at the individual level. But if we know which individual fish, as well as which species, are the most important to keeping marine ecosystems nutrient-rich, it might just lead to more targeted management and more impactful conservation interventions.

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Certain Individual Fish Contribute Far More to Ecosystem Health than Others, Research Shows - Earth Island Journal

Investing in the Airport Ecosystem: Prospects and Risks – JD Supra

Updated: May 25, 2018:

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Investing in the Airport Ecosystem: Prospects and Risks - JD Supra

Breaking Down The Disinformation Ecosystem Around Coronavirus – Newsy

As the coronavirus sweeps across the globe, another kind of contagion is spreading as well disinformation. Newsy and Bellingcat are here to help.

Is there really a major outbreak in every U.S. election cycle? No, actually. Is there really a silver-based cure for the coronavirus you can buy online? No, there's not. And is the virus a bio-weapon created by the U.S. Army? There's zero evidence of that.

This is all just a small sampling of the hoaxes and disinformation surrounding the global outbreak of the coronavirus. Some of it is the kind of stuff we'd see in the heyday of the email chain-letter spreading from one person to the next on social media.

Other disinformation is a little more nefarious, coming from governments attempting to distract from their own domestic problems by shifting blame for the virus elsewhere.

As the virus spreads, sorting through disinformation and knowing what to believe is about as important as washing your hands. Newsy and Bellingcat are here to help.

This video is part of a collaboration between Newsy andBellingcat.

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Breaking Down The Disinformation Ecosystem Around Coronavirus - Newsy

Jack Liu on how Bitcoin SV is changing the payments ecosystem – CoinGeek

In less than two years, Bitcoin SV (BSV) has done more to propel Bitcoin forward than other blockchains had done in ten. One of the main purposes of digital currency, as outlined in the original Bitcoin whitepaper, was to facilitate micropayment transactions to allow anyone, anywhere, to monetize their web-based content.

Jack Liu was one of the many who immediately understood the value BSV would have to global digital currency adoption and, since getting involved, has helped develop several key solutions, including RelayX and Float SV. Liu was on hand at the CoinGeek London 2020 conference, where he led a talk on what new developments are being seen, and where the various solutions are headed.

Float SV, a BSV exchange built on the OKNodes platform, has received a lot of interest since launching in 2019. In less than 10 months, it has already seen over 500,000 trades and continues to grow as BSV becomes increasingly popular. RelayX, a BSV wallet that is still under beta, already has more than 3,000 users and is integrated into popular apps such as Twetch, Paymail and others, and continues to push forward with new features not found anywhere else.

These are just two of the projects being worked on, but much more is coming. Liu has also helped establish Output Capital, an investment firm that targets BSV apps. As opposed to other investment offerings, Output Capital derives its returns strictly from transaction outputs. It also is designed to approve investments within no more than 72 hours, not three to six months like other investment solutions. This is due to the fact that the projects are being built on the blockchain, so all the detailseverything needed to gauge the viability and progress of the developmentcan easily and quickly be gleaned without having to be pitched.

One of the major problems with the Internet today is that there is no way to manage micropayments. This means that theres no incentive to provide quality content or to allow users to take advantage of their skills and talents to receive compensation. A micropayment solution, which is one of the core functions of BSV, opens up an unlimited number of revenue channels and will help ensure that the data available to netizens is legitimate, while allowing content providers to be paid for their work.

CoinGeeks Hannah Jackson was able to steal Liu away for a few minutes to discuss his various projects and what is coming down the pipe. One of the biggest advancesfor both RelayX and the entire digital currency ecosystemis going to be the ability of the wallet to authorize any app, such as Twetch and others, right from the app, as well as to show transaction histories, payment requests, identities and more from those apps. It becomes an all-inclusive, multi-functional wallet that allows users to manage virtually all of their payment channels from a central location.

There is a lot of positive movement associated with BSV development currently underway, and more is constantly being seen. While many blockchain projects have become stagnant as they wait for another 2017 price explosion that wont come, the BSV community is dedicated to providing real-world solutions that make blockchain adoption easy and worthwhile. With forward thinkers like Liu, this progress will continue well into the future.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeeksBitcoin for Beginnerssection, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoinas originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamotoand blockchain.

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Jack Liu on how Bitcoin SV is changing the payments ecosystem - CoinGeek

Duff & Phelps analyses impact of Covid-19 on the value of IPL ecosystem – Best Media Info

This is only the first quarter of 2020, but the year has already seen an unprecedented shutdown of global sports leagues due to Covid-19.

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Duff & Phelps has undertaken a study to analyse the impact of Covid-19 on the value of the IPL ecosystem, which was estimated in our IPL Brand Valuation Report 2019. The multinational financial consultancy firm considered various scenarios that were addressed by BCCI President, Saurav Ganguly, during his press conference over the weekend and estimated the impact on the IPL ecosystems value under each of those scenarios.

The scenarios considered are:

1) Scenario 1: Truncated IPL with the number of matches reduced to half, a high possibility as per BCCI.

2) Scenario 2: The entire IPL 13 season getting cancelled

The impact analysis has been carried out on the IPL ecosystem value calculated by Duff & Phelps last year, which was $6.8 billion in 2019. The analysis doesnt reflect the current value of the IPL ecosystem that would have been estimated after considering the factors available post completion of IPL 2020.

Scenario 1: According to BCCI officials, in case the IPL season commences on April 15, it will be truncated as more than 15 days would have been lost by that time. In the analysis, Duff & Phelps assumed that in a truncated season, each team will play against the other only once, instead of the home and away format, thus reducing the number of league matches by half. It also factored in two situations one where the spectators are allowed inside the stadium and another where the matches are played behind closed doors, effectively impacting the in-stadia revenues, including gate receipts and food and beverages. The impact of revenue loss on account of lack of gate receipts is negligible on the IPL value. It might in fact benefit the broadcasters if the shutdown persists and more people are forced to spend time at home, thus increasing the television audience for IPL, though none of the stakeholders including the broadcasters prefer this option. Further, Duff & Phelps factored in the loss of revenue from broadcasting and sponsorship, as broadcast partners and sponsors will renegotiate the contracts based on the number of matches being played. It considered the impact of a truncated tournament on the sale of official merchandising and associated revenues. Overall, under Scenario I, the IPL ecosystem value estimated by us last year is expected to reduce by $200 million to $350 million (3.0% to 5.0%).

Scenario 2: Under this scenario, the consultancy firm assumed the possibility of the entire IPL 13 getting cancelled, a high possibility if the current situation persists. This scenario will have a massive impact on the IPL ecosystems value as it will also consider larger economic and financial consequences.

In this scenario, the analysis considered two sub scenarios. First there is no impact on the next years edition and the second, a complete one year setback from the revenue perspective for all the stakeholders. In sub-scenario 1, Duff & Phelps considered nil cash inflow from the broadcaster or title and associate sponsors for the 2020 season as the same is assumed cancelled. Likewise, franchisees will not receive their share of revenue from the central pool nor will they be required to share profits with BCCI as part of their franchise fees. However, the analysis considered the expenses incurred by BCCI, IPL franchisees and other stakeholders with respect to advertising, promotional events and other general administrative costs, including salaries to their non-cricket playing staff, etc. In sub scenario 2, apart from the cash flow impact considered for the 2020 season, it also considered the economic impact due to the one year setback, where the analysis anticipated that the sponsorship revenues might not grow at desired levels next year due to the current disruption.

Under Scenario 2, Duff & Phelps estimate the IPL Ecosystem value to reduce by $700 million to $1,000 million range (approx. 10.0% to 15.0%). The analysis under this scenario does not capture a financial recession-like event that would further impact the IPL value.

The last such shutdown happened during World War II when all major sporting events across the globe, including the Olympics in 1940 and 1944, were cancelled.

This year, major sports leagues across the world, including EPL, La Liga, Seria A, NBA, Champions League and bilateral cricket tournaments have been suspended at least till the first week of April as governments scramble to contain the spread of the virus, which has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

UEFA Euro 2020 and COPA America 2020, the two major football events scheduled to take place this year in June, have also been pushed to 2021. Even the Olympics 2020 being held in Japan face the threat of cancellation or postponement if the pandemic does not subside in the next couple of months. More recently, the Indian Super League finals between ATK and Chennaiyin FC had to be played behind closed doors.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has also felt the heat of Coronavirus, with Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) deciding to postpone the start of IPL season until April 15 with no clear visibility of its start date and a major threat of cancellation looming around. The Government of India and various state governments have mandatorily banned public gatherings in view of public health and safety concerns. The government has also suspended visas from most countries, which might impact the availability of foreign players who are a vital cog in the IPL. Given this background, the options before BCCI are somewhat limited.


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Duff & Phelps analyses impact of Covid-19 on the value of IPL ecosystem - Best Media Info

Deepwater Horizon and the Rise of the Omics – Eos

Almost everywhere scientists have looked on or near Earths surfacefrom ice-buried Antarctic lakes to arid, ultraviolet-baked deserts and ecosystems ranging from pristine to heavily pollutedthey have found abundant and often highly diverse populations of microorganisms. Microorganisms, or microbes, are everywhere; they are adaptable, and they play key roles in element cycling and ecosystem functioning in nearly every environment on Earth.

Microbes are the great decomposers in ecosystems, breaking down dead and dying organic matter and recycling major nutrients for use by plants. And by reacting rapidly and adapting to changing conditions, they act as first responders in helping restore balance and stability to ecosystems after such disturbances as pollution or catastrophic storms. Microbes are, for example, intimately involved in ecosystem responses to oil spills.

A variety of so-called omics techniques, focused on parsing the genetic makeup of cells, have emerged and offered researchers powerful new ways to study microbial communities.Like organic matter derived from modern-day primary production, oil formed over geologic time can act as a carbon source that fuels microbial growth and metabolism. Hydrocarbon-degrading microbes have been studied for decades and are thought to be ubiquitous and diverse and to have adapted to consuming oil over millions of years [Head et al., 2006]. And biodegradation mediated by indigenous microbial communities is considered the primary fate of most petroleum (oil and gas) that enters the marine environment through natural mechanisms like seeps [Leahy and Colwell, 1990].

As researchers began unveiling the complexity of microbial communities and illuminated fundamentals of how they operate in recent decades, though, much remained unclear about their structure and functioning in nature. The reason for this was in part because of a shortage of techniques for studying them. Because of their small size, microbes evade easy observation, and most cannot be cultured in the laboratory. At the time of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, for example, environmental microbiology was a relatively nascent field. But in the past decade, a variety of so-called omics techniques, focused on parsing the genetic makeup of cells, have emerged and offered researchers powerful new ways to study microbial communities and the roles played by specific groups of microbes.

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the largest accidental oil discharge into a marine environment for which a proportional emergency response effort was mounted. In contrast to the Valdez spill, the last major spill affecting the United States before 2010, the DWH discharge occurred in deep water, with extraordinarily large volumes of chemical dispersant applied during emergency response efforts.

The DWH spill was also the first major environmental disaster for which genomics technologies had matured to such an extent that they could be deployed to quantify microbial responses over large spatial and temporal scales. As a result, the field of environmental genomics matured during the past decade in parallel with the DWH response. Technical advances in genomics enabled direct, comprehensive analyses of the microbes in their natural habitat, be it oil-contaminated or uncontaminated seawater or sediments. Researchers studying the effects of the DWH spill presided over an explosion of microbial genomics data that enabled major advances in oil spill science and allowed scientists to answer the question, What microbes are there?, in complex communities in unprecedented detail.

Metagenomics, the sequencing of all genes for all organisms in a sample, enabled determinations of the full range of microbial species present. It also provided assessments of these organisms metabolic potential to carry out important ecosystem processes like photosynthesis and the degradation of certain carbon compounds. Application of metatranscriptomics, the sequencing of active or expressed genes, provided opportunities to decipher the functions or activities of those same microbes in nature, essentially answering the question, What are they doing?

Gene sequences are collected from the environment in fragments. Recent improvements in bioinformatics tools, which use high-performance computing to stitch these fragments back together into the genomes of individual microbial species, have allowed scientists to reconstruct microbial genomes over large scales, revealing the incredible diversity and complexity of microbial communities.

Through a systems approach that incorporates genomics along with knowledge and tools from a range of other disciplines (e.g., biogeochemistry and oceanography), researchers can now monitor and assess ecosystem healthand identify disturbances that might otherwise go unnoticedby analyzing microbial populations that both act as stewards for and represent bioindicators of ecosystems. With these efforts, global ecosystems can be better protected and, when necessary, restored in the face of diverse environmental stressors.

In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill, multidisciplinary scientific partnerships enabled transformative discoveries detailing how microbes respond to petroleum discharges and facilitate ecosystem recovery.Prior to 2010, most studies of microbes associated with oil spills were conducted by growing them in the laboratory using pure cultures or enrichments. Consequently, we had a very limited understanding of the types and distribution of oil-degrading microorganismsand of what they actually doin the environment, because the vast majority of microorganisms in the natural environment have yet to be cultured. But in the wake of the DWH spill, multidisciplinary scientific partnerships enabled transformative discoveries detailing how microbes respond to petroleum discharges and facilitate ecosystem recovery.

Many of these partnerships were supported by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), created with a $500 million, 10-year commitment from BP to fund an independent scientific research program dedicated to studying oil spill impacts and mitigation, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico. GoMRI has funded 17 international consortia and thousands of investigators (bit.ly/GoM-Research).

Armed with genomics tools, GoMRI researchers showed that oil-degrading microbes are, indeed, nearly ubiquitous, found almost everywhere around the world in low abundance even when crude oil is absent. These microbes, part of the pool of low-abundance species known as the rare biosphere, harbor a specialized metabolic capacity to use oil as a food sourcea capability that can be rapidly activated upon exposure to oil [Kleindienst et al., 2015].

From deep ocean waters to shallow coastal sediments, hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria responded profoundly to oil contamination after the DWH spill, increasing in abundance and expressing genes involved in hydrocarbon metabolism over days to months. It was shown in some cases that microbial communities were composed of up to 90% oil-degrading species after exposure to hydrocarbons [Kleindienst et al., 2015; Huettel et al., 2018].

Over time, successions of microbial populations bloomed as they consumed the different hydrocarbon compounds of oil and responded to environmental factors [Kostka et al., 2011; Yang et al., 2016; Kleindienst et al., 2015]. Genomics research revealed that different microbial species are adapted to degrade specific types of hydrocarbon compounds (e.g., natural gases, straight-chain aliphatics, or aromatics) depending on environmental conditions like temperature and nutrient availability. These discoveries underscore the natural capacity of microbes in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere to bioremediate petroleum hydrocarbons.

Scientists have long hypothesized that the fate and impacts of oil in ecosystems are determined by interplays between the physical and chemical characteristics of the environment and by hydrocarbon chemistry and biogeochemical processes largely mediated by microbes. However, the complexity of these interactions has impaired our ability to decipher exactly how ecosystem functioning is affected by oil.

Genomics-enabled research revealed that ecosystem functions related to the microbial nitrogen cycle were drastically affected by oil.Oil can be a food source for some microbes, but it can be toxic to others, resulting in adverse effects on microbially mediated ecosystem services like the breakdown of organic matter and the regeneration of nutrients. Following the DWH discharge, GoMRI researchers observed through multiple lines of evidence that liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons from the spill rapidly entered the microbial food web and persisted for years [Fernndez-Carrera et al., 2016; Rogers et al., 2019; Chanton et al., 2020], with major implications for carbon and nutrient cycling through the environment. Genomics-enabled research revealed, for example, that ecosystem functions related to the microbial nitrogen cycle were drastically affected by oil.

Petroleum is made mostly of carbon and contains relatively small amounts of major nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Thus, scientists expected that oiled environments would likely become limited in major nutrients, with negative effects potentially rippling through entire food webs. In numerous investigations of DWH-contaminated seawater and sediments, genes for nitrogen fixationa process carried out by some microbes that involves converting inorganic nitrogen gas into fixed forms like ammonium, which can be used by all organismswere shown to increase many times relative to pristine conditions, even when adjusted for the overall abundance of microbes present.

For example, a metagenomic time series revealed an increase in the abundance of genes that encode for nitrogen fixation (via the enzyme nitrogenase) that coincided with an increase in genes related to hydrocarbon degradation pathways [Rodriguez-R. et al., 2015]. This increase then dissipated when the oil and associated hydrocarbon compounds disappeared. In addition, the abundances of genes related to degradation of specific hydrocarbon classes, such as alkanes and polycyclic aromatics, could be directly correlated with concentrations of the corresponding classes.

Genomic data were corroborated by research using isotopic tracers, which showed the incorporation of inorganic nitrogen into the microbial food web [Fernndez-Carrera et al., 2016]. Nitrogen-fixing microbes, also called diazotrophs, are well known to support crop growth in agricultural ecosystems and photosynthetic production in the open ocean [Zehr et al., 2016], but nitrogen fixation by oil degraders in response to hydrocarbon exposure is a new discovery. The recognition that oil-degrading bacteria can supply themselves with nitrogen indicates that the microbial food web can compensate, at least to an extent, for influxes of nutrient-poor oil. Studies by GoMRI researchers further revealed that as overall microbial diversity declined in oil-contaminated environments, the oil selected for a few very abundant microbial species with the dual capability to fix nitrogen and degrade oil.

Practitioners charged with cleaning up after oil spills dream of a superbugone thats native to the contaminated environment and capable of removing all components of oil while also generating its own nutrients.Fertilizing water with nitrogen and phosphorus to stimulate microbial growth is a common bioremediation strategy for oil spill cleanup; it was used, for example, during the Valdez spill in 1989 [Bragg et al., 1994]. But fertilizers are costly and difficult to apply over large scales and may result in unintended ecosystem consequences. Thus, practitioners charged with cleaning up after oil spills dream of a superbugone thats native to the contaminated environment and capable of removing all components of oil while also generating its own nutrients.

Nature may have provided just such an organism. Guided by metagenomic field data, GoMRI researchers patched together the genomes of microbes thought to be diazotrophs that also degraded oil in marine sediments. After looking at the potential metabolisms of these microbes, they isolated a particular microorganism from the field samples. They used hexadecane, a hydrocarbon, as the sole carbon and energy source and did not provide any nitrogen [Karthikeyan et al., 2019]. Sequencing confirmed that the genome of the newly isolated microbe, KTK-01, contains genes that encode for nitrogen fixation and hydrocarbon degradation pathways as well as for biosurfactant production, all of which together facilitate growth in a nitrogen-limited, oiled environment.

Comparisons with genomes from publicly available data sets collected in other studies revealed that the newly isolated microbeprovisionally named Candidatus Macondimonas diazotrophica for the Macondo oil that was discharged during the DWH disasterrepresents a novel genus of Gammaproteobacteria, a class that includes Escherichia coli and Salmonella, among many others. The screening also revealed a remarkable distribution of sequences identical or almost identical to those in KTK-01 in hydrocarbon-contaminated sediments from coastal ecosystems across the globe: Microbes with genomes matching this sequence often made up about 30% of their total communities but were almost absent in pristine sediments or seawater. Macondimonas thus appears to play a key ecological role in the natural responses to oil spills in coastal environments around the world and could prove to be a useful model organism for further studying such responses.

Genomic indicators serve as biomarkers to guide mitigation strategies, much like blood tests can point physicians to disease diagnosis and treatment options.The ultimate goal of GoMRI-supported genomic research is to translate genomic findings into actionable information to help scientists monitor and restore ecosystem health in the face of natural or human-made disasters. Through examination of the organisms, genes, and metabolic pathways present in microbial communities, researchers can take the pulse of an ecosystem and identify functional deficits or gains in the communities that affect the overall health of the ecosystem. Such genomic indicators serve as biomarkers to guide mitigation strategies, much like blood tests can point physicians to disease diagnosis and treatment options.

During the DWH response, microbial genomics techniques have demonstrated the potential to develop effective genetic proxies or biomarkers for recording oil inputs, exposure regimes, and hydrocarbon degradation. Oil-induced ecosystem disruptions were identified by a reduction in community diversity; an overgrowth of certain species; or the emergence of novel genes, metabolic pathways, and ecosystem functions. For example, Macondimonas was shown to dominate microbial communities in oiled beach sands, and a large increase in the abundance of nitrogen fixation genes signified nutrient limitation and disruptions to the nitrogen cycle initiated by oiling [Karthikeyan et al., 2019]. Further, a decline in the abundance of chemolithoautotrophic nitrifying microorganisms in oiled sediments followed by the rebound of these microbes in recovered sands provided evidence of ecosystem recovery [Huettel et al., 2018].

Efforts supported by GoMRI to characterize responses of microbial communities in Gulf of Mexico ecosystems following the DWH oil spill generated knowledge with far-reaching impacts and spurred a wealth of discoveries. And newly developed tools and approaches have shown the proof of principle for deployment as part of the emergency response tool kit.

The need for ongoing research on these fronts is great because the risk of future oil spills like DWH remains as the petroleum industry continues tapping ultradeep marine wells for oil and gas production and because chemical dispersantswhich may be toxic to organismsremain the major response strategy. But lessons learned from DWH research so far can be applied to developing new mitigation strategies and improvements in predictive capabilities for responding to future environmental disturbances, such as those caused by extreme weather events or climate change.

For the first time, a data-driven approach for oil spill response and mitigation is possible. With advanced genomic tools and scientific expertise, microbiologists can quickly and inexpensively analyze field samples to provide essential information about microbial ecosystems before, during, and after spills.

We envision a future in which omics measurements enable assessment of environmental risks, identification of ecosystem deficits, selection of appropriate mitigation plans, and monitoring of ecosystem recovery and in which scientists play key roles in informing practitioners to improve response and restoration preparedness for future environmental disasters.

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Deepwater Horizon and the Rise of the Omics - Eos

Tracking app to thermal camera, Indian startup ecosystem is coming together to fight Covid 19 – Economic Times

As the novel coronavirus has taken the world by storm, everyone, including political leaders, celebrities, government agencies and influencers are playing their part in promoting awareness and preventing its spread. Joining the bandwagon is a group of over 200 entrepreneurs who are harnessing their innovative minds by bringing solutions to address the pandemic.

The collaboration, tentatively called- Founders against COVID, is in the process of developing an app called Quarantine app, which will live track the patients who are in home quarantine and those who have tested positive.

The collaboration, which consists of startup founders including Mayank Bidawatka, co-founder Vokal, Mekin Maheshwari, co-founder Udhyam.org, Urban Company, and others are planning to join hands with the government for the purpose.

Bidawatka, who proposed the idea of the application, told ET Digital, A few days back I had thought of opening up a map view of where we can identify the location of the affected patients so that the locations can be marked as unsafe or risky. This way, citizens will know that these are risky spots and let's start with avoiding these areas.

He added that while this was one idea, the other idea that his co-founder Aprameya Radhakrishna suggested was to create a tool which will give the authorities the ability to track the patients. If they are supposed to be quarantined they can upload pictures in the app on a regular basis so that the authorities have the ability to keep track of a patient and whether he's following rules or not, he said.

He highlighted that ideas to tweak the app are being discussed, such as a self-reporting option where individuals who are feeling the symptoms can report themselves to authorities. This will be available to both the authorities and the public to track.

The founder of the regional content driven app said that the app is still a work in progress and they are in the early stages of discussion with the government.

He, however, acknowledged that the app also carries the risk of data privacy breach, which they want to make sure does not happen. A lot of this data has to be anonymized and it is still unsafe to show an exact location of where a patient is because there is a high risk of them getting harassed.

When asked about when the app will be launched, Bidawatka reiterated that they are in the early stages of discussion with the government and only after they are fulfilled, they will be able to launch something.


Corona 100m is a GPS-powered app that informs citizens of the affected cases within 100 metres of their current location. It also provides information on the patients age, gender and nationality.

Others chip inMeanwhile, Gurugram-based AI-powered startup Staqu has launched a new thermal camera which detects individuals with a body temperature of more than 37 degree Celcius and alerts the system. Built under its video analytics team JARVIS, the thermal camera examines heat signatures and identifies suspected patients.

With a range of up to 100 meters, the camera is able to identify multiple people at once. This can come extremely handy in scanning crowded places like airports, railway stations, malls, etc. It has a sensitivity range from- high sensitivity range of -40 to 160C or -40 to 320F, whereas the low sensitivity of -40 to 550C and -40 to 1022F.

Atul Rai, CEO and Co-founder said, Our latest technology removes human intervention in early stages of detection. Through heat wave analysis and more, the technology helps in proactively taking preventive efforts to reduce the risk of the spreading the virus.

Helping in preventing the spread of the virus which is known to be physically contagious, automobile startup Droom has launched an antimicrobial surface protection shield for cars and two-wheelers called Corona Shield. The firm claims that the shield has been proven to be effective against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and similar droplet-based viruses for up to four months.

This Shield protects surfaces against harmful microbes as it prevents the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, algae, yeast, mold, and mildew.

Akshay Singh, VP, Enterprise & Strategy at Droom said, The accumulation of bacteria on frequently touched surfaces is the key to the transmission of any infection. COVID-19 or the coronavirus can live on a solid surface for a considerable amount of time. So, after 14 days of quarantine, when people are ready to step out of their houses, it is important to ensure that there is no virus left alive in their personal vehicles.

The shield is priced at Rs 499 for 2-wheeler bike/scooter and Rs 999 for a hatchback.

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Tracking app to thermal camera, Indian startup ecosystem is coming together to fight Covid 19 - Economic Times

Initiative to foster growth of Bangladeshs impact ecosystem launched – The Financial Express BD

FE Online Desk | Published: March 21, 2020 12:47:55

An initiative to increase impact investment in the countrys social business as well as environmental sectors has been launched.

Three organizations jointly launched the programme titled Biniyog Briddhi (B-Briddhi)- Scaling Impact Enterprises of Bangladesh-from their respective offices through video conferencing by opening a new website.

They are German-based financial consultancy firm-Roots of Impact (RoI), Bangladeshs business consultant firm Light Castle Partners (LCP), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Bangladesh (SDC). Derek George, Deputy Director & Ameena Chowdhury, Programme Manager of SDC; Bjoern Struewer, founder and CEO & Maxime Chang, Programme Manager of RoI; and Bijon Islam, CEO of LCP, recently inaugurated the programme, which was attended by entrepreneurs, investors, start-up accelerators and incubators. The four-year programme is aimed at increasing capacities of impact investors and entreprenuers for dealing with social business and environmental issues.

The entrepreneurs, who will play positive role in facing environmental problems as well as improving the condition of the backward people, will get financial assistance under the programme. Under the programme, initially applications will be accepted from impact entrepreneurs and accelerator programmes through the websitewww.sie-b.org Applicants have been requested to visit the website for detailed information.


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Initiative to foster growth of Bangladeshs impact ecosystem launched - The Financial Express BD

HTC Conducts Its First Virtual "VIVE Ecosystem Conference" (VEC) fully in VR Allowing Global Attendees to Join Virtual Sessions – PRNewswire

BEIJING, March18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, HTC VIVE held its fifth annual XR industry conference, now renamed the Virtual VIVE Ecosystem Conference (VEC),but this time in VR. It marks the first major physical industry event that has been replaced fully by an interactive VR digital twin.

Approximately two thousand participants from over 55 countries have registered for the event, with worldwide speakers attended the event in the form of their own custom VR avatars, all with the freedom to interact with each other and the special space that was created for the event, just as they would expect from a physical conference. Executives and experts from leading XR and telecom industry players shared their insights on the coming impact of the XR on the world and the audience we treated to a unique immersive conference experience not possible in the real world.

At the V2EC2020, Cher Wang, Chairwoman of HTC, delivered the opening speech through her virtual avatar: "HTC's original intention of entering VR industry is to give human beings the chance and possibility to break through physical limitations and realize their dreams by leveraging advanced technologies. At the same time, in the face of this pandemic, HTC is demonstrating VR's potential to break through conventional thinking and physical boundaries. This is the real significance of V2EC2020."

Yves Maitre, CEO of HTC, said: "Innovation remains the main driver of HTC's continuous development. HTC has been creating an ecosystem with core products, including VR, AR, AI, blockchain, and 5G, since 2015. In 2020, 5G technologies will certainly be commercially applied across various fields on a large scale. The VR sector will also develop lockstep with the popularization of 5G. Centering on products and services, we will continue exploring these cutting-edge technologies, and expand the WAVE mobile XR ecosystem, to lead the development of the XR industry in an effort to introduce novel technologies to daily life and work. VR brings us a sense of immersion and the experience of keeping close during difficult times. Science and technology are the keys to changing our lives."

At the conference, HTC and China Mobile signed the Cloud VR Strategic Cooperation Memorandum to accelerate the creation of a true XR ecosystem together. Yves Maitre (CEO of HTC), Xin Liu (CEO of China Mobile Migu), and Xiaowei Luan (GM of China Mobile Group Device) signed the MOU as their virtual counterparts on a grand virtual stage. This strategic partnership included areas of cooperation including the integration of the VIVEPORT content platform and the WAVE Mobile XR platform into China Mobile's offerings, as well as hardware joint development for the B2C and B2B markets. They will equip hardware providers and developers with higher standards for the XR industry, as a whole, with the aim of bestowing the best XR experience for consumers and businesses in China.

"To help enable collaboration within and growth of the XR industry, we have conducted the Vive Ecosystem Conference every year since 2016," HTC China President, Alvin W. Graylin said. "This year, in the face of the global COVID-19 outbreak, we are taking the lead to show the world the power of VR to effectively convert an in-person conference into a fully interactive virtual one. The inability to meet and communicate face to face will be an increasing challenge for the world, but XR can be one solution. To stay safe these days, we need to create more distance between people, and conversely, one of the biggest benefits of XR is the ability to remove the perception of distance and boundaries for users."

"Prior to this virus pandemic, the mindset of many people is that XR is a nice-to-have technology. Post-outbreak, the benefits of XR to overcome the physical barriers between people could make it a must-have technology over time. The killer app of XR isn't a specific game or application like with prior computing technologies, but rather the ability to regain a part of the daily life we lost due to the new reality facing the world today. Working-from-home, distance learning, home-based fitness, immersive entertainment and networked social interactivity will all be part of the new normal in our lives, and made more agreeable if more users could adopt XR technologies."

HTC selected the ENGAGE VR events platform from ImmersiveVR Education (IVRE) as the underlying system for conducting the VEC2020 as it was able to meet the needs of a full-scale industry event in a virtual arena. ENGAGE VR allows attendees to have 1:1 social interactions and high visual quality, while offering management tools to conduct a large-scale event with or without a VR device.

In addition, virtual events save the time and cost of traveling and will have huge environmental benefits even when the initial health concerns of the virus subside. The need for tools like this to help businesses continue to operate effectively post-outbreak will only increase.On stage at V2EC, a new strategic partnership between HTC and IVRE was announced, allowing HTC to distribute the ENGAGE platform globally. The ENGAGE VR software is already available for download on VIVEPORT.

The conference also provided in-depth technical tutorials in VR on new advanced developer tools created by Vive for its developer community. Using an immersive environment to teach how to develop for VR also made some complex issues much simpler to grasp. The sessions encompassed areas such as Vive Eye Tracking Integration and foveated rendering, Vive Hand Tracking, and the latest Vive Wave SDK for mobile XR development.

For those that missed the event, recorded video stream of the event can be viewed here or for those with a VR device, can be re-experience spatially in the ENGAGE platform. For more information, you can access here.


HTC VIVE is the premier virtual reality (VR) platform and ecosystem that creates true-to-life VR experiences for businesses and consumers. The VIVE ecosystem is built around premium VR hardware, software, and content. The VIVE business encompasses best-in-class XR hardware; VIVEPORT platform and app store; VIVE Enterprise Solutions for business customers; VIVE X, a $100M VR business accelerator; VIVE STUDIOS, an entertainment, gaming, and enterprise content studio; and VIVE ARTS for cultural initiatives. For more information on VIVE, please visitwww.vive.com.

HTC, the HTC logo are the trademarks of HTC Corporation. All other names of companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.



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HTC Conducts Its First Virtual "VIVE Ecosystem Conference" (VEC) fully in VR Allowing Global Attendees to Join Virtual Sessions - PRNewswire

Heres A Look Inside HTCs In-VR Vive Conference, Running This Week – UploadVR

HTC is battling the spread of coronavirus by shifting its annual Vive Ecosystem Conference to VR later this week. Heres a sneak peek at how its shaping up.

Vive China President Alvin Graylin Wang posted the below video, which offers a look inside the conference before it opens its doors. The Vive Ecosystem Conference is being held in Immersive VR Educations Engage platform. Several rooms have been kitted out with the Vive branding, where HTC will host talks and provide networking space.

Traditionally hosted in China, HTC moved its Ecosystem Conference online in face of the threat COVID-19 poses to physical events. The traditional gaming and technology event calendars have been hugely disrupted by the current situation; MWC didnt take place in February, GDC was supposed to be running this week and E3 has already cancelled its June 2020 event. In lieu of GDC, Facebook is this week running a digital Game Developers Showcase to make new announcements about its platform and games.

The Vive Ecosystem Conference, meanwhile, is open to over 55 countries and will feature both English and Chinese audio tracks. Announcements at past events have previously been geared more towards HTCs Chinese audience, but theres often still news relevant to the west too. With HTC gearing up to launch a more consumer-friendly Vive Cosmos Play headset, a developer XR faceplate and a concept lightweight device, we could well see some interesting news from this years show.

The Vive Ecosystem Conference 2020 kicks off on March 18, starting at 5:30 pm Pacific (or 1:30 am March 19 in GMT). You can sign up to attend here, although there will also be a non-VR livestream on YouTube here. Will you be attending to show? Let us know in the comments below!

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Heres A Look Inside HTCs In-VR Vive Conference, Running This Week - UploadVR

Navigating the sustainability ecosystem – Recycling Today

Last week, Sustainability in Packaging, an event that took place March 11-13 in Chicago, provided insights from brand owners, retailers, packaging manufacturers, government regulators and nongovernmental organizations on trends in sustainable packaging.

Andrew Kern, procurement manager at Smurfit Kappa, which has headquarters in Ireland, presented on March 13 in a session titled Navigating the Sustainability Ecosystem. Kern is part of a team responsible for procuring fiber for the company's 100 percent recycled containerboard mill in Forney, Texas, as well as its other mills throughout the Americas and Europe. During the session, Kern discussed three critical obstacles in packaging that impact the recycling industry: critical mass, too many choices and contamination.

He said the critical mass and too many choices challenges tie into the challenge of contamination.

With critical mass, you have to have a volume of material to economically have a solution for most recyclable materials, said Kern So, thats part of why we have [single-stream recycling]it helps us overcome that critical mass. But the byproduct of that is we end up with contamination. Also, a lot of contamination is due to over-choice [with packaging options]. Over-choice tends to lead to poor and wrong choices with recycling, which leads to contamination.

In the presentation, Kern also shared some myths in the session around sustainable packaging, including:

Collection of recyclable materials equates to recycling.

Preconsumer recycled materials and postconsumer recycled materials are equal.

Biodegradable and biocompostable are the same thing.

Kern said hes even noticed people in the recycling industry share these myths at times.

Im amazed at how often I even see in our own recycling industry the idea that collection equals recycling, he said. Just because something is collected at a plant doesnt always equate to it being recycled, either due to contamination before it comes to the plant or when at the plant. The other myth is that preconsumer materials that are recycled do not necessarily equal postconsumer materials that are recycled. Source-separated industrial materials frequently have end-use homes that dont once they become comingled.

Then, the myth of biodegradable and biocompostable being the same thingtheres a myth about how beneficial they are, he continued. A lot of biodegradable products out there turn into contamination [mixed] with their plastic counterparts.

There are several ways to combat these myths. Kern suggested working with suppliers and recycling facilities to improve communication. At Smurfit Kappa, he said the companys Better Planet Packaging initiative has helped to bust some of these myths.

We had an event in November where we invited multiple packaging partners of ours to learn more about end life cycles of packaging, Kern said. Thats the encouraging piece. Companies involved in packaging are taking more interest in the end life cycle and wanting to understand it. There are still difficult choices to be made, but they are more involved in that. Were encouraging that.

Kern added that he has noticed some trends that may improve the sustainability of packaging. He said Amazons Frustration-Free Packaging model and similar design trends that use fewer types of materials help reduce contamination in recycling.

Weve even developed some packaging designs that utilize corrugated buffers instead of foam buffers in packaging to eliminate over choice, he added.

Another trend is the move toward using more recycled materials in packaging to improve sustainability, which he said is driven, in part, by increased consumer demand for recycled content in products.

However, some trends may not be as beneficial to recycling. Kern said there is a trend toward personalized packaging and box demand requirements by customers. Thats a trend that could work for or against contamination issues, depending on the direction of personalization that goes into that, he said.

Overall, Kern said he wants to see more packaging trends alleviate contamination challenges faced by recyclers. He said, My hope is some of these packaging trends ease the challenges of removing contamination. As packaging choices are made with more focus on end life cycles and better understanding them. Really, its not been verbalized, but the idea that they want to know its not just recovered but recycled to a new productthose are positives I think coming out of some of these packaging trends.

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Navigating the sustainability ecosystem - Recycling Today

[Startup Bharat] CrAdLE is mentoring entrepreneurs to grow the ecosystem in Gujarat – YourStory

Gujarat, with more than 236 operational startups, is a booming startup ecosystem. The state was ranked the best performing state in the National Startup Ranking for 2018, according to a recent report of NASSCOM and consulting firm Zinnov.

CrAdLE, which is currently focused only on Gujarat, is supported by National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

CrAdLE CEO Mayank Patel

"We have been in operation for three and a half years now. We have a target of supporting at least 10 big startups and another 15 startups at a point of time, says Mayank Patel, CEO, CrAdLE.

With an aim to boost the ecosystem, the government of Gujarat had in 2018 announced that it would support 2,000 startups in the state by 2021. This announcement was made at a Vibrant Gujarat Startup and Technology Summit held in Gandhinagar.

Around 21,900 enterprises were set up by beneficiaries trained under the EDIIs Micro Skillpreneurship Development Programme (MSDP) in the past five years.

The institute, as part of the Skills to Succeed 2020 Goal, trained more than 32,900 beneficiaries across states, includingTamil Nadu,Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Assam, and Puducherry during 2015-16 and 2019-20. The programme was developed to encourage entrepreneurship among marginalised communities.

The incubator has supported close to 45 startups till now. Of these, we believe that at least eight startups have the potential to scale into large businesses, Mayank says.

The incubator provides an array of workshops, courses, and mentorship programmes to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to develop and execute an effective business plan.

It aims to foster technology and knowledge-based entrepreneurial startups by nurturing them at an early stage and helping them overcome teething troubles by providing legal, financial, and technical services. It aims to help the economy grow by nurturing the most innovative technology-based ideas.

The two principal services that CrAdLE provides are mentoring and fund-raising assistance. Apart from this, it also helps young startups find offices spaces, team members etc.

The incubator also checks if the team displays the viability to execute the idea into a viable product/service.

The startup ecosystem in Gujarat has started to pick up in the last two years, courtesy the many incubators and awareness programmes.

The startups that CrAdLE supports are mainly from Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. However, the incubator mentors startups from Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, and Kutch as well.

There is immense potential for startups to emerge from Tier II and III cities. My interaction with entrepreneurs has been tremendously positive, and I believe we have a good number of startups coming from these cities. These founders are focused on solving problems using technology, Mayank says.

The two main challenges startups in smaller cities face are in terms of hiring and funding.

The state government has stepped in to solve this dearth of investment. It regularly conducts awareness programmes and provides funding with a ticket size of Rs 10-25 lakh, which is often not generally considered by angel investors or VCs.

However, Mayank says angels and VCs across India have started realising the potential of Gujarat startups. Many angel network representatives routinely visit Ahmedabad now, he says, adding that CrAdLE hopes that they will start visiting other cities soon.

Entrepreneurship has become a serious career for young graduates. And working in a startup is also no longer considered risky. A couple of years down the line, I am sure Gujarat will also have a few startups that will be the poster boys for the Indian ecosystem, Mayank says.

Clearly, the hand that rocks the CrAdLE aims to rule the startup world!

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)

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[Startup Bharat] CrAdLE is mentoring entrepreneurs to grow the ecosystem in Gujarat - YourStory

UTEP partners with City Accelerator to provide insights on El Paso Minority Business Ecosystem – El Paso Herald-Post

The Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship (CFHE) housed in the College of Business Administration (COBA) at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has partnered with the City of El Paso City Accelerator to help expand minority businesses by removing common barriers to markets, contracts, capital, education and consulting.

In 2018, the City of El Paso received a $100,000 Living Cities grant funded by the Citi Foundation to build a support system for small businesses with the help of local business organizations including the Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship.

Accelerate El Paso provided us with a great opportunity to gather insights about our local minority businesses and to look at our current entrepreneurship infrastructure, said Denisse Olivas, director of the Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship at UTEP. We hope that our findings can help organizations better serve our local entrepreneurs.

Other partners include the Small Business Development Center (El Paso Community College), Workforce Solutions Borderplex, El Paso Chamber, El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Hub of Human Innovation and the El Paso County Economic Development Office.

The local partners developed the design of the accelerator to begin to map an ecosystem that supported minorities in all phases of their business, including starting, continuing and scaling up. The program was developed to offer training, events and guidance through one-on-one consulting through the specialization of each of the local partners. The programs end goal encouraged the formation of a central location for small businesses to find guidance on topics such as how to start a business, how to fund a venture, best accounting practices, networking opportunities, access to government contracting, marketing, communication, leadership and employee training.

The program, called Accelerate El Paso or Accelerate EP, recruited 70 small- to medium-sized minority businesses to participate as a cohort through a one-year program.

The CFHE contributed by providing a research template and guidance, disseminating the survey, analyzing the data and writing the final paper submitted to Living Cities, which is now available as a download.

This was a very exciting project for us because, through the development of a cross-functional team consisting of multiple City of El Paso departments, we were able to put together a plan to consolidate efforts and ensure business access to high quality resources, said Aimee Olivas, socioeconomic compliance officer for the City of El Paso.

Key findings include:

For more information on the Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship at UTEP and to download the full report, click here.

Author:Darlene Barajas UTEP Communications

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UTEP partners with City Accelerator to provide insights on El Paso Minority Business Ecosystem - El Paso Herald-Post