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Nov 15, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 20)

Biological Soil Crusts

URL:www.soilcrust.org
  • Informative
  • Not for everyone
When was the last time you gave much thought to the soil crust? If you’re like me, it has probably been at least a week or two. Frequently found in semiarid and arid environments, biological soil crusts are prominent features of the American West. Crusts are typically found in the very upper regions of soil (1–4 mm) and they affect soil stability, erosion, nitrogen fixation, seed germination, and plant growth. Crusts mostly contain cyanobacteria, though microclimate actually determines the organism dominating the crust. At the Biological Soil Crust website, you can learn about soil crust, view a gallery of TIFFs depicting soil crusts, and download extensive reference lists. There’s even a section on the site that provides corrections to textbook information about soil crusts. Clearly there’s something for everyone here.
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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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