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BioScience tip sheet, January 2009

The January 2009 issue of BioScience includes the following research articles:

Leaf Evolution and Development: Advancing Technologies, Advancing Understanding. Heather L. Sanders and Sarah E. Wyatt. Advancing techniques are revealing networks of genes and epigenetic phenomena that regulate the development of leaves. The article discusses new research methods that are becoming available for the study of leaf development, including genomics and visualization techniques that show where the products of genes are active.

Aquaculture Production and Biodiversity Conservation. James S. Diana. An assessment by James S. Diana, of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, concludes that despite well-publicized concerns about some harmful effects of aquaculture, the technique may, when practiced well, be no more harmful to biodiversity than other food production systems. Aquaculture production of aquatic animals now accounts for about a third of the total supply and will probably remain the most rapidly increasing food production system worldwide through 2025, according to Diana.

Wet and Wonderful: The World's Largest Wetlands Are Conservation Priorities. Paul A. Keddy, Lauchlan H. Fraser, Ayzik I. Solomeshch, Wolfgang J. Junk, Daniel R. Campbell, Mary T. K. Arroyo, and Cleber J. R. Alho. The authors explore the ecosystem services provided by four diverse examples of the world's largest wetlands: the West Siberian Lowland, the Amazon River Basin, the Congo River Basin, and the Mississippi River Basin. Among the most important services are carbon cycling and climate regulation, freshwater supply, and biodiversity maintenance. The authors argue that large wetlands "constitute their own vital class for conservation planning."

Fish, Floods, and Ecosystem Engineers: Aquatic Conservation in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Ketlhatlogile Mosepele, Peter B. Moyle, Glenn S. Merron, David R. Purkey, and Belda Mosepele. The Okavango Delta, Botswana, is a major wetland surrounded by the Kalahari Desert. The delta supports a diverse fish fauna that depends not only on seasonal flooding from inflowing rivers, but also on the actions of ecosystem engineers. Understanding this complexity can help allocate water within the Okavango watershed.

Spurious Certainty: How Ignoring Measurement Error and Environmental Heterogeneity May Contribute to Environmental Consequences. Reinette Biggs, Stephen R. Carpenter, and William A. Brock. Environmental studies that appear to provide conflicting results can often be reconciled through the use of hierarchical Bayesian techniques. Such techniques can lead to a more accurate understanding of complex systems.

A Framework for Implementing Biodiversity Offsets: Selecting Sites and Determining Scale. Joseph A Kiesecker, Holly Copeland, Amy Pocewicz, Nate Nibbelink, Bruce McKenney, John Dahlke, Matt Holloran, and Dan Stroud. Selecting sites for biodiversity offsets, which seek to ensure that environmental impacts of development are balanced by environmental gains, provides conceptual and methodological challenges. The authors demonstrate the use of the Marxan site-selection algorithm in this process.


Contact: Jennifer Williams
202-628-1500 x209
American Institute of Biological Sciences

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