Questions tagged [environment]

The natural world, especially pertaining to the interactions of life therein.

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63
votes
8answers
11k views

Why does evolution not make our life longer?

Why does evolution not make life longer for humans or any other species? Wouldn't evolution favour a long life?
25
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1answer
1k views

What are the environmental conditions for SARS-CoV-2 to survive?

What do we know about the environmental limits for nCoV to survive outside the body? For example, in: In open air On surfaces In water What are the limits for temperature, humidity and air pressure,...
20
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3answers
5k views

Can 'human' become a genus due to space colonization?

I have read that during the Second World War, some mosquitoes got trapped in the London underground railway system. The mosquitoes never got out and eventually they became a new species by themselves. ...
18
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4answers
30k views

Are trees the only source of large amounts of oxygen?

Trees use carbon dioxide and produce oxygen in the presence of sunlight. But is there any other source? If yes, are trees the most important source of oxygen, or is there any other source which ...
16
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1answer
4k views

Antibacterial soap impacts on septic system?

What impacts do antibacterial soaps have on septic systems? I know that septic systems rely heavily on bacteria (especially regarding the breakdown of wastes by bacteria), so it seems as though ...
11
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2answers
293 views

Have any genetically altered organisms actually become abundant in a natural environment?

Most of the things that come up in Google and Google Scholar for this question have a mostly/completely speculative tone, or at best use models instead of measurements. This report describes some ...
9
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1answer
4k views

Does rainwater contain many fewer micro-organisms than river water?

From watching many documentaries on micro-organisms, I can tell water typically contains quite a lot of them. But what about rainwater? (before it hits the ground). I know nothing about any micro-...
8
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2answers
15k views

What is the maximum altitude where humans can survive?

What is the highest altitude that a human can survive without being pressurized? Let's assume that oxygen and heat/insulation are not the limiting factors? Why I asked.
8
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1answer
1k views

Are animals that live in areas where avalanches happen equipped to deal with that?

Humans take courses to learn how to assess the risk of avalanches and how to deal with it. Additionally, they often use special gear to survive avalanches if they got caught in the middle of one. ...
7
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1answer
581 views

Does a plant have to be alive for its roots to prevent erosion?

One argument often given in favour of saving current and planting additional plants/saplings is the roots hold soil together and prevent soil erosion. Unlike plants that may be uprooted, a large ...
6
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4answers
511 views

How much carbon does a forest contain?

Trees in a forest, alongside the fungi, animals and plants that live there in, capture atmospheric carbon dioxide and store it inside their tissues and in the soil as humus. It is possible to ...
6
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1answer
178 views

How much cost would artificial pollination add to common products (fruits etc.)?

I've read about ecosystem services and their possible valuation - statements like "honeybee pollination service in the US is worth 1.6 billion dollars". Is data available on how this would affect the ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Which class of animals constitute the largest biomass?

I found here that species-wise it is cow. But, collectively, insects may exceed even mammals. So, which class of animals constitutes the largest biomass?
5
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1answer
353 views

How do mushrooms react to being grown in a microgravity environment?

I'll use Agaricus Bisporus as an example mushroom. If cultured in potato dextrose yeast extract agar, will the resulting growth grow in a normal pattern? Will the sporocarps emerge from the surface (...
5
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2answers
1k views

Why is Homo sapiens not categorized as an invasive species?

According to Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC), the definition of the invasive species is “a species that is non-native to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or ...
5
votes
1answer
170 views

Could habitat selection pattern be deformed in environment with low variability?

It is possible that strong (clearly visible) pattern of selection towards particular parameter is detectable only in environment with high variability (difference between used (red) and non-used (grey)...
5
votes
2answers
717 views

Trick fruit trees into flowering later in the spring

There is a common problem with fruit trees in temperate climates where the trees flower before the last frost. Generally speaking, if the tree has flowered, and the temperature drops below freezing, ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Mesophytic Climax community in succession?

My textbook says that in all cases of ecological succession (xerarch, hydrarch, etc.), the ultimate climax community, assuming constancy of environment, is a mesic community. Xeric or hydric pioneers ...
5
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0answers
165 views

What is the thickness of the biosphere?

In other words, what is the vertical distance between the deepest and highest point on Earth where life is found? Life has been discovered at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, 13 km below sea level. ...
5
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0answers
41 views

Firefly mating displays

I live in the northeast US, and really enjoy firefly displays at dusk in the summer. However, when paying attention this summer, I noticed that the fireflies were not displaying every night, but ...
4
votes
1answer
142 views

How quickly do estrogens break down in the environment?

Of all the synthetic hormones we use, estrogens are probably the most common. They are used for birth control as well as hormone replacement therapy. This researcher also shows that there is plenty ...
4
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1answer
225 views

Questions about “parasite recursion”

So imagine a parasite of a parasite. Imagine a parasite of that parasite. Then imagine a parasite of that parasite, then a parasite of that parasite, and so on and so forth. Is there a formal term ...
4
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1answer
58 views

How is mankind important to nature? [closed]

Like mosquito eggs are important for fish, what’s our role in balancing the life on earth or its ecosystem. Please suggest if this question doesn't fit in this community. I am a mechanical engineer ...
4
votes
1answer
118 views

electrostatic charge of viruses, especially Coronaviruses

I am searching for (and failing to find) literature about the electric charge (+/-) of viruses, specifically the Coronaviruses. I am aware that it is a complicated issue, including interaction of pH ...
4
votes
1answer
244 views

Using Canonical Correspondence Analysis on matrices with missing data

I have a matrix of sites where not all the environmental variables I want to assess were sampled. In other words, there are sites with the whole set of variables sampled, and there are other sites ...
4
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0answers
41 views

How different is breathing in wildfire smoke in urban areas compared to sitting by a campfire for a night?

The air quality in the Bay Area is currently the worst in the world, due to the devastating Butte County wildfires. I understand smoke inhalation can cause inflammation and respiratory issues, ...
4
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0answers
73 views

What is the effect of pesticides on worm growth?

As a new semester begins, we were asked to propose ideas for investigatory projects. Our idea revolves around the effects of pesticides on non-target organisms. Since frequent use of pesticides may ...
3
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2answers
382 views

Interdependency between organsims on our planet and its relation to ecosystem?

I am not a biologist but I just wonder if all species are interdependent. I mean if the tiger becomes extinct does it affect the ecosystem? If the mosquito or mouse become extinct does it affect the ...
3
votes
2answers
137 views

Have there ever been as many mammals as there are now?

I apologize for the weird question, but based on a Google search it looks like this topic hasn't been discussed before. I'm hoping that enough information about population biology is stored in the ...
3
votes
1answer
39 views

Why are Aardvarks capable of burrowing given their size?

I was wondering if large animals could possibly dig extensive burrows for themselves to live in. The polar bear burrows, but snow is not dirt. The aardvark goes about 4' long, ~150 lbs: similar to a ...
3
votes
1answer
248 views

What is the meaning of “within-season variation”?

I am reading a paper about phenology and climate change for my assignment and I found this concept "within-season variation", can someone explain it to me? and how it is related to changes over time?
3
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1answer
2k views

Are there examples of animals that adapt to their environment very quickly? The phenomenon is called Phenoptic Plasticity [closed]

Evolution and speciation may take millions of years. This made me wonder if there is an animal that adapts itself relatively rapidly to its environment? I don't mean a simple adaptation like a change ...
3
votes
1answer
162 views

Can the characteristics of an offspring depend on the locality of its conception also?

Transfer of characteristics from a parent to its offspring is explained in biology. When an adult male and female (of humans) who are displaced from their local environment to another (say, a ...
3
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0answers
40 views

What's the lowest atmospheric pressure a tardigrade can remain active in?

I'm not asking what atmospheric pressures they can survive (we now they can survive the vacuum of space) I'm wondering at what point a deficit of atmospheric pressure would cause them to enter one of ...
3
votes
0answers
63 views

Could trees be engineered to produce rainfall-nucleators?

Scientists are using genetic engineering to make trees produce more terpenes. Is it possible to genetically engineer trees to produce more hygroscopic volatile organic compounds? These trees could be ...
2
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4answers
195 views

What causes plants in the prunus genus to reach anthesis?

In a related question, I ask how to trick fruit trees into flowering later in the spring by prolonging frozen ground conditions. However, I'm starting to realize that I don't actually understand what ...
2
votes
1answer
46 views

Roughly speaking how stable are short sections of single-stranded RNA in exposed environments compared to double-stranded DNA?

A search following a recent news item led me to a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for 23 March 2020 which says in part: SARS-CoV-2 RNA was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

What are ways to compare the “costs” and “gains” of food production systems?

I'm looking for methodologies to compare the costs a food production requires with the gains it delivers (not in economic terms). I'm aware of energy returned on investment. Are there other methods ...
2
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1answer
606 views

Does the process of photosynthesis occur in insectivorous plants? [closed]

Does the process of photosynthesis occur in insectivorous plants? Can you please give me a clear answer and explain to me how? and also can you describe the environment in which they grow ? Thank you
2
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2answers
120 views

Is there a physiological reason why direct lightning strikes are not lethal for everyone or does it all come down to dumb luck?

Some people who get directly struck by lightning and some more than once (starts at 00:25) survive while others die instantly or later on due to complications/injuries. Looking at a wiki page for ...
2
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0answers
57 views

Is an animal's body height dependent on its environment?

Imagine the follwing situation: a newly born animal is brought into a small room. This room has no windows, but artifical light to imitate the sunlight. Furthermore, this light behaves like the sun, ...
2
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0answers
330 views

Saturation vapor pressure effect on human body [closed]

I found this calculator: http://www.decatur.de/javascript/dew/ It calculates the dew point based on temperature and humidity. In the result it is mentioned the saturation vapor pressure. I barely ...
2
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0answers
83 views

Birth control hormones in the water? Or not?

This prior question talks about natural estrogen (TL;DR: Months to years): How quickly do estrogens break down in the environment? Ref: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/485441a A lot of media has said, "...
2
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0answers
2k views

Is it possible to simulate the effects of high altitudes for plants?

Note- I considered asking this on gardening.stackexchange.com but i believe it is better suited for this site since it deals with more complicated material. As I understand it, certain plants (...
2
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0answers
48 views

How do climate and location affect the Pine Processionary moth?

I have statistics on the occurence of the Pine Processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa); we have the regions that are located in Algeria, infested area in percent, the defiliation degree (small, ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

How deep could a human swim with SCUBA apparatus?

Using normal SCUBA apparatus and wet suit, how much pressure can the human body withstand? This is assuming that they descend as gradually as necessary for their body to make adjustments. What would ...
1
vote
1answer
311 views

How are epiphytes symbiotic?

I understand epiphytes are not parasitic. But how exactly are they helping the tree on which they grow?
1
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1answer
163 views

Limited space for animals - how is that bad?

I am writing an English paper wherein I have to appeal for change in the way humans treat wildlife. I was initially given a situation wherein I took a ferry in a certain area and saw a dead baby ...
1
vote
1answer
124 views

Why are some chemical dangerous to aquatic environment only?

Recently I was changing the thermal grease on my PC. I have noticed on the back of box, that the grease is not dangerous when ingested or when touched. But there was specifically stated, that is ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Can viruses be reintroduced to humans from ice sheets?

A comment on reddit mockingly say because the ice is melting away due to global warming, this new virus came out of the melted ice sheets It has 60+ upvotes and no one replied Is it possible for ...