State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Recent publications
The seed-mediated method is a general procedure for the synthesis of gold nanorods (Au NRs), and reducing agents such as ascorbic acid (AA) and hydroquinone (HQ) are widely used for the growth process. Further, they are mild reducing agents; however, when AA is used, controlling the size of Au NRs with a higher aspect ratio (localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) peak, λ Lmax > 900 nm) is challenging because it results in a faster growth rate of Au NRs. In contrast, when HQ is used, Au NRs with a higher aspect ratio can be synthesized as it slows down the growth rate of the Au NRs and greatly enhanced the λ Lmax . However, the increase in λ Lmax is still needs not satisfactory due to the limited enhancement in the aspect ratio of Au NRs due to utilization of single reducing agent. The growth kinetics of the Au NRs can be modulated by controlling the reducing power of the reducing agents. In such scenario, judicious use of two reducing agents such as AA and HQ simultaneously can help us to design Au NRs of higher aspect ratio in a controlled manner due to the optimum growth rate resulting from the combined effect of both the reducing agents. In this study, we investigated the effect of the two reducing agents by controlling the volume ratios. When the growth solution contains both the reducing agents, the growth of Au NRs is first initiated by the fast reduction of Au ³⁺ to Au ⁺ due to stronger reducing power of the AA and when the AA in the growth solution is completely utilized, further growth of the Au NRs continues as a result of the HQ thereby resulting to high aspect ratio Au NRs. Consequently, the LSPR peak (λ Lmax > 1275 nm) can be tuned by controlling the volume ratios of the reducing agents.
Energy companies, like companies more generally, routinely have to make investment decisions by comparing alternative investment projects. In the face of the uncertainty of the current energy transition, traditional economic tools, such as discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, that depend on long term cash forecasting, offer limited, deterministic and potentially misleading insights. Additionally there are many pressures on companies to expand decision making criteria to “ESG” (Environmental, Social and Governance) considerations. But these are often qualitative with no clear standards, leaving investors often forced to make significant investments based on poorly understood, at times misleading and even self-defeating considerations. We explore the application of Biophysical Economics (BPE), an approach to economics based on the natural sciences, as an alternative to provide an additional lens that cuts through the uncertainty and political pressures to help companies navigate this uncertainty and make more robust long term investment decisions. The most immediately useful tool within BPE is the concept of Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROI). Specifically we compare an investment case for oil companies, one in oil sands vs. one in microbial-enhanced oil recovery, applying the two methodologies in parallel. Results from a traditional economic perspective weakly favor the oil sands, whereas biophysical economics strongly favors the microbial case due to is significantly lower energy requirement to produce the energy that it yields. A close examination indicates that EROI can be used effectively and practically next to DCF to provide better insights and identify cases that are fundamentally less sustainable for society.
Characterizing the microbial communities associated with soil-borne disease incidence is a key approach in understanding the potential role of microbes in protecting crops from pathogens. In this study, we compared the soil properties and microbial composition of the rhizosphere soil and roots of healthy and bacterial wilt-infected tobacco plants to assess their potential influence on plant health. Our results revealed that the relative abundance of pathogens was higher in diseased plants than in healthy plants. Moreover, compared with healthy plants, there was a significantly higher microbial alpha diversity in the roots and rhizosphere soil of diseased plants. In addition, we detected a lower abundance of certain plant microbiota, including species in the genera Penicillium, Trichoderma, and Burkholderia in the rhizosphere of diseased plants, which were found to be significantly negatively associated with the relative abundance of Ralstonia. Indeed, compared with healthy plants, the co-occurrence networks of diseased plants included a larger number of associations linked to plant health. Furthermore, structural equation modeling revealed that these specific microbes were correlated with disease suppression, thereby implying that they may play important roles in maintaining plant health. In conclusion, our findings provide important insights into the relationships between soil-borne disease incidence and changes in the belowground microbial community. These findings will serve as a basis for further research investigating the use of specific plant-associated genera to inhibit soil-borne diseases.
Chemical analysis of calcified structures continues to flourish, as analytical and technological advances enable researchers to tap into trace elements and isotopes taken up in otoliths and other archival tissues at ever greater resolution. Increasingly, these tracers are applied to refine age estimation and interpretation, and to chronicle responses to environmental stressors, linking these to ecological, physiological, and life-history processes. Here, we review emerging approaches and innovative research directions in otolith chemistry, as well as in the chemistry of other archival tissues, outlining their value for fisheries and ecosystem-based management, turning the spotlight on areas where such biomarkers can support decision making. We summarise recent milestones and the challenges that lie ahead to using otoliths and archival tissues as biomarkers, grouped into seven, rapidly expanding and application-oriented research areas that apply chemical analysis in a variety of contexts, namely: (1) supporting fish age estimation; (2) evaluating environmental stress, ecophysiology and individual performance; (3) confirming seafood provenance; (4) resolving connectivity and movement pathways; (5) characterising food webs and trophic interactions; (6) reconstructing reproductive life histories; and (7) tracing stock enhancement efforts. Emerging research directions that apply hard part chemistry to combat seafood fraud, quantify past food webs, as well as to reconcile growth, movement, thermal, metabolic, stress and reproductive life-histories provide opportunities to examine how harvesting and global change impact fish health and fisheries productivity. Ultimately, improved appreciation of the many practical benefits of archival tissue chemistry to fisheries and ecosystem-based management will support their increased implementation into routine monitoring. Graphical abstract
The photoelectrochemical production of fuels, exemplified by light‐driven water splitting to hydrogen and oxygen, offers a sustainable option to offset dependence on fossil fuels. A low‐cost, efficient, and stable photoelectrochemical approach to solar fuels remains elusive but using similar materials and photoelectrodes for chemical production or biomass conversion offers an appealing alternative. This work reports a facile method for fabricating pristine (undoped) BiVO4 photoanodes to carry out TEMPO‐mediated benzyl alcohol oxidation to benzaldehyde in organic media (TEMPO = 2,2,6,6‐tetramethylpiperidinyl‐N‐oxyl). The best performing BiVO4 photoanode studied here gave a Faradaic efficiency (FE) of 85 ± 5% for benzaldehyde formation in the presence of TEMPO and pyridine during a 2.5‐hour reaction. Compared with direct electrocatalytic conversion under the same conditions, light capture and conversion by the BiVO4 surface decreased the required applied bias by 46%. To our knowledge, this is the first report of visible light assisted, TEMPO‐mediated benzyl alcohol oxidation using pristine BiVO4 photoanodes in organic media.
In most countries, major development projects must satisfy an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process that considers positive and negative aspects to determine if it meets environmental standards and appropriately mitigates or offsets negative impacts on the values being considered. The benefits of before-after-control-impact monitoring designs have been widely known for more than 30 years, but most development assessments fail to effectively link pre- and post-development monitoring in a meaningful way. Fish are a common component of EIA evaluation for both socioeconomic and scientific reasons. The Ecosystem Services (ES) concept was developed to describe the ecosystem attributes that benefit humans, and it offers the opportunity to develop a framework for EIA that is centred around the needs of and benefits from fish. Focusing an environmental monitoring framework on the critical needs of fish could serve to better align risk, development, and monitoring assessment processes. We define the ES that fish provide in the context of two common ES frameworks. To allow for linkages between environmental assessment and the ES concept, we describe critical ecosystem functions from a fish perspective to highlight potential monitoring targets that relate to fish abundance, diversity, health, and habitat. Finally, we suggest how this framing of a monitoring process can be used to better align aquatic monitoring programs across pre-development, development, and post-operational monitoring programs.
Different models as well as planting prioritization and optimization schemes based upon diverse ecological, social, and economic goals and preferences have been used to develop more efficient and effective tree planting schemes. We compare tree planting prioritization scenarios identified from i-Tree Landscape’s priority planting index to optimal scenarios identified from a spatially explicit multi-objective decision support framework at the census block group level in the Bronx, NY. We explore four scenarios with varying objectives considering populations below the poverty line, avoided runoff, and PM2.5 air pollutant removal monetary benefits. Results show that when prioritizing single objectives (e.g., PM2.5 air pollutant removal) using the same per area of tree canopy benefits from the spatially distributed modeling of ecosystem services, the two approaches recommend similar block groups for additional tree cover. Scenarios considering multiple objectives, however, result in different optimal solutions, with the decision support framework generally recommending more block groups for increased tree cover than i-Tree Landscape’s methodology. When the per area of tree canopy benefits from i-Tree Landscape are used as input in the i-Tree Landscape prioritization scenarios and the spatially distributed benefits used in the decision support framework scenarios, different optimal solutions are identified between the two approaches across all four scenarios, with i-Tree Landscape recommending fewer block groups for increased tree cover. Such a comparison will help inform the development of flexible multi-objective decision support tools to guide future greening initiatives towards prioritizing planting locations that maximize multiple objectives, as well as areas to preserve urban forests.
Providing an accurate above-ground biomass (AGB) map is of paramount importance for carbon stock and climate change monitoring. The main objective of this study is to compare the performance of pixel-based and object-based approaches for AGB estimation of temperate forests in north-eastern of New York State. Second, the capabilities of optical, SAR, and optical + SAR data were investigated. To achieve the goals, the random forest (RF) regression algorithm was used to model and predict the AGB values. Optical (i.e. Landsat 5TM, Landsat 8 OLI, and Sentinel-2), synthetic aperture radar (SAR) (Sentinel-1 and global phased array type L-band SAR (PALSAR/PALSAR-2)), and their integration have been used to estimate the AGB. It is worth mentioning that the airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) AGB raster has been used as a reference data for training/testing purposes. The results demonstrate that the OBIA approach enhanced the RMSE of AGB estimation about 5.32 Mg/ha, 8.9 Mg/ha, and 5.29 Mg/ha for optical, SAR, and optical + SAR data, respectively. Moreover, optical + SAR data with the RMSE of 42.63 Mg/ha and R2 of 0.72 for pixel-based and RMSE of 37.31 Mg/ha and R2 of 0.77 for object-based approach provided the best results.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a major priority for many federal and state regulatory agencies charged with monitoring levels of emerging contaminants in environmental media and setting health-protective benchmarks to guide risk assessments. While screening levels and toxicity reference values have been developed for numerous individual PFAS compounds, there remain important data gaps regarding the mode of action for toxicity of PFAS mixtures. The present study aims to contribute whole-mixture toxicity data and advance the methods for evaluating mixtures of two key components of aqueous film-forming foams: perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid (6:2 FTS). Wildtype (AB) zebrafish embryos were exposed to PFOS and 6:2 FTS, both as individual components and as binary mixtures, from 2 to 122 h post-fertilization. Five treatment levels were selected to encompass environmentally relevant exposure levels. Experimental endpoints consisted of mortality, hatching, and developmental endpoints, including swim bladder inflation, yolk sac area, and larval body length. Results from dose–response analysis indicate that the assumption of additivity using conventional points of departure (e.g., NOAEL, LOAEL) is not supported for critical effect endpoints with these PFAS mixtures, and that the interactions vary as a function of the dose range. Alternative methods for quantifying relative potency are proposed, and recommendations for additional investigations are provided to further advance assessments of the toxicity of PFAS mixtures to aquatic organisms.
Although most prey have multiple predator species, few studies have quantified how prey respond to the temporal niches of multiple predators which pose different levels of danger. For example, intraspecific variation in diel activity allows white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) to reduce fawn activity overlap with coyotes (Canis latrans) but finding safe times of day may be more difficult for fawns in a multi-predator context. We hypothesized that within a multi-predator system, deer would allocate anti-predation behavior optimally based on combined mortality risk from multiple sources, which would vary depending on fawn presence. We measured cause-specific mortality of 777 adult (>1-year-old) and juvenile (1-4-month-old) deer and used 300 remote cameras to estimate the activity of deer, humans, and predators including American black bears (Ursus americanus), bobcats (Lynx rufus), coyotes, and wolves (Canis lupus). Predation and vehicle collisions accounted for 5.3 times greater mortality in juveniles (16% mortality from bears, coyotes, bobcats, wolves, and vehicles) compared with adults (3% mortality from coyotes, wolves, and vehicles). Deer nursery groups (i.e., ≥1 fawn present) were more diurnal than adult deer without fawns, causing fawns to have 24-38% less overlap with carnivores and 39% greater overlap with humans. Supporting our hypothesis, deer nursery groups appeared to optimize diel activity to minimize combined mortality risk. Temporal refuge for fawns was likely the result of carnivores avoiding humans, simplifying diel risk of five species into a trade-off between diurnal humans and nocturnal carnivores. Functional redundancy among multiple predators with shared behaviors may partially explain why white-tailed deer fawn predation rates are often similar among single-and multi-predator systems.
Peatland ecosystems cover only 3% of the world’s land area; however, they store one-third of the global soil carbon (C). Microbial communities are the main drivers of C decomposition in peatlands, yet we have limited knowledge of their structure and function. While the microbial communities in the Northern Hemisphere peatlands are well documented, we have limited understanding of microbial community composition and function in the Southern Hemisphere peatlands, especially in Australia. We investigated the vertical stratification of prokaryote and fungal communities from Wellington Plains peatland in the Australian Alps. Within the peatland complex, bog peat was sampled from the intact peatland and dried peat from the degraded peatland along a vertical soil depth gradient (i.e., acrotelm, mesotelm, and catotelm). We analyzed the prokaryote and fungal community structure, predicted functional profiles of prokaryotes using PICRUSt, and assigned soil fungal guilds using FUNGuild. We found that the structure and function of prokaryotes were vertically stratified in the intact bog. Soil carbon, manganese, nitrogen, lead, and sodium content best explained the prokaryote composition. Prokaryote richness was significantly higher in the intact bog acrotelm compared to degraded bog acrotelm. Fungal composition remained similar across the soil depth gradient; however, there was a considerable increase in saprotroph abundance and decrease in endophyte abundance along the vertical soil depth gradient. The abundance of saprotrophs and plant pathogens was two-fold higher in the degraded bog acrotelm. Soil manganese and nitrogen content, electrical conductivity, and water table level (cm) best explained the fungal composition. Our results demonstrate that both fungal and prokaryote communities are shaped by soil abiotic factors and that peatland degradation reduces microbial richness and alters microbial functions. Thus, current and future changes to the environmental conditions in these peatlands may lead to altered microbial community structures and associated functions which may have implications for broader ecosystem function changes in peatlands.
As a major part of the urban green space system, street trees play a corresponding role in adjusting the thermal comfort of the environment and alleviating heat island effects. The correlation between the morphological structure and microclimate factors in the lower canopy of street trees was studied, using data that were captured with vehicle-borne LiDAR to model the morphological structure and geometric canopy features of six key street tree species in the built-up area of Zhumadian City, Henan Province. The regulating ability and differences of canopy geometry on cooling, humidification, shading, and Physiologically Equivalent Temperature (PET) were studied. Research shows that: (1) Canopy Volume (CV), Canopy Area (CA), Canopy Diameter (CD), and Tree Height (TH) have a linear negative correlation with air temperature, relative humidity, and luminosity. TH had significant effects on the air temperature and relative humidity (R2 = 0.90, 0.96), and CV and CD had significant effects on luminosity (R2 = 0.70, 0.63). (2) The oval-shaped plant (Platanus acerifolia (Aiton) Willdenow) had a strong cooling and shading ability, with an average daily cooling of 2.3 °C and shading of 318 cd/m2. The spire-shaped plant (Cedrus deodara (Roxb.) G. Don) had a strong ability to humidify, with an average daily humidification of 4.5%. (3) The oval-shaped and spire-shaped plants had a strong regulation ability on PET, and the daily average regulation values were 40.5 °C and 40.9 °C, respectively. (4) The CD of the oval-shaped plant had a significant effect on PET (R2 = 0.49), and the TH of the spire-shaped plant had a significant effect on PET (R2 = 0.80), as well as a significantly higher CV and Leaf Area Index (LAI) than other street tree species. Therefore, selecting oval and spire canopy-shaped plants with a thick canopy, dense leaves, and high CD and TH values as street trees can provide significant advantages in cooling, humidifying, and shading, and can effectively adjust human comfort in the lower canopy understory. This study is the first to apply LiDAR technology to the regulation of urban microclimate. The research results provide a theoretical basis and quantitative reference for street tree design from the perspective of outdoor thermal comfort evaluation and play a guiding role in the application of LiDAR to urban forestry research.
The development of sustainable and low carbon impact processes for a suitable management of waste and by-products coming from different factors of the industrial value chain like agricultural, forestry and food processing industries. Implementing this will helps to avoid the negative environmental impact and global warming. The application of the circular bioeconomy (CB) and the circular economic models have been shown to be a great opportunity for facing the waste and by-products issues by bringing sustainable processing systems which allow to the value chains be more responsible and resilient. In addition, biorefinery approach coupled to CB context could offer different solution and insights to conquer the current challenges related to decrease the fossil fuel dependency as well as increase efficiency of resource recovery and processing cost of the industrial residues. It is worth to remark the important role that the biotechnological processes such as fermentative, digestive and enzymatic conversions play for an effective waste management and carbon neutrality.
During a survey of myxosporean parasites of freshwater fishes in northern Vietnam, myxospores resembling those of the genus Myxobolus (Myxosporea: Myxobolidae) were found in the trunk muscle of 6 out of 35 specimens (17.14%) of wild goldfish Carassius auratus (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae). The mature spores were 12.0 ± 0.4 (11.4 − 12.6) µm long, 8.5 ± 0.2 (7.9 − 9.0) µm wide and 6.1 ± 0.2 (5.8 − 6.3) µm thick, containing two pyriform-shaped polar capsules unequal in size. The larger polar capsule was 7.6 ± 0.3 (7.1 − 8.4) µm long and 3.5 ± 0.1 (3.3 − 3.8) µm wide, and the smaller polar capsule was 6.2 ± 0.3 (5.5 − 6.7) µm long and 2.9 ± 0.2 (2.6 − 3.4) µm wide. Each polar capsule contained a polar filament with 3–5 coils. A phylogenetic analysis based on the small subunit rDNA (SSU rDNA) sequence revealed that this Myxobolus species forms a distinct branch in the phylogenetic tree sister to Myxobolus artus and Myxobolus cyprini, with DNA sequence similarity at 97.6% to M. artus and 97.5% to M. cyprini. A combination of the morphological characteristics and molecular data suggest that this is an undescribed species, and we propose the name Myxobolus hoabinhensis n. sp.
As the Global South shifts towards increased manufacturing, the negative effects on climate change and environmental pollution raise serious concerns. These global effects are increasingly felt locally, as reflected in health surveys throughout the Global South. The world cannot afford to wait for a natural development process to take place in which rising incomes might curb pollution. This article examines the challenges of reforming manufacturing in the Global South towards more sustainable practices. It also focuses on the lessons of the Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution Program (SMEP) which has funded a series of environmental improvement projects across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia aimed at reducing pollution in the manufacturing process. The lessons learned from these projects include the need to improve the tracking of the negative effects of the environmental damages caused by manufacturing and analyze the manufacturing supply chain processes to better identify potential points of intervention; as well as the need for more external financial and technical resources to expand these projects.
Increases in population and urbanization leads to generation of a large amount of food waste (FW) and its effective waste management is a major concern. But putrescible nature andhigh moisture content is a major limiting factor for cost effective FW valorization. Bioconversion of FWfor the production of value added products is an eco-friendly and economically viable strategy for addressing these issues. Targeting on production of multiple products will solve these issues to greater extent. This article provides an overview of bioconversion of FW to different value added products.
The Limits to Growth was a remarkable, and remarkably influential, model, book and concept published 50 years ago this year. Its importance is that it used, for essentially the first time, a quantitative systems approach and a computer model to question the dominant paradigm for most of society: growth. Initially, many events, and especially the oil crisis of the 1970s, seemed to support the idea that the limits were close. Many economists argued quite the opposite, and the later relaxation of the oil crisis (and decline in gasoline prices) seemed to support the economists’ position. Many argued that the model had failed, but a careful examination of model behavior vs. global and many national data sets assessed by a number of researchers suggests that the model’s predictions (even if they had not been meant for such a specific task) were still remarkably accurate to date. While the massive changes predicted by the model have not yet come to pass globally, they are clearly occurring for many individual nations. Additionally, global patterns of climate change, fuel and mineral depletion, environmental degradation and population growth are quite as predicted by the original model. Whether or not the world as a whole continues to follow the general patterns of the model may be mostly a function of what happens with energy and whether humans can accept constraints on their propensity to keep growing.
Purpose: A variety of lignocellulosic raw materials have been previously reported for the production of cellulose and cellulose derivatives, but little research effort has been dedicated to producing cellulose from Hyparrhenia filipendula . In this study, cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) were extracted from Hyparrhenia filipendula waste straws via sulphuric acid hydrolysis. Methods: The straws were pretreated with a combination of physiochemical processes and hydrolyzed using sulphuric acid at three different concentrations (1 M, 3 M and 5.6 M) for 2 hours at 80 °C. The properties of the CNFs was checked by Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) for surface chemistry, X-ray diffraction (XRD) for crystallinity, Scanning Electron microscopy and Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) for morphology. A high-performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC) was used to quantify the amount of biopolymers in the CNFs. Results: The results show that CNFs, denoted as CNF 1 , CNF 3 , and CNF 5.6 for 1 M, 3 M, and 5.6 M sulphuric acid, respectively, were successfully extracted at the various concentrations of sulphuric acid. The cellulose content of CNF1 , CNF3 , and CNF5.6 determined by HPLC analysis were 85%, 77 % and 78 % respectively. Also, the hemicellulose content in CNF 1 , CNF 3 , and CNF 5.6 was 10 %, 15 %, and 12 % respectively, showing a high carbohydrate content of the CNFs. The FTIR spectra confirm the absence of characteristic peaks for lignin in the CNFs. The XRD analysis reveals presence of characteristic cellulose I β peaks at 2θ of 18°, 26°, and 40° with the crystallinity of 78%, 74 % and 73% for CNF1, CNF3 and CNF5.6, respectively. Moreover, SEM analysis shows the deposition of lignin polycondensate on the surface of CNF 1 , CNF 3 , and CNF 5.6 while the bleached sample has a smooth and glossy appearance. The TEM analysis shows long unbranched nano-sized fibers for CNF 1 and shorter fibrous network of fibers for CNF 3 , and CNF 5.6. The average diameter of the fibers, measured with ImageJ software is 40 nm for CNF 1 , 57 nm for CNF 3 , and 92 nm for CNF 5.6. Conclusion: CNFs were successfully produced from Hyparrhenia filipendula and reported for the first time in open literature. In view of the structure and properties of the produced CNFs, they are a potential material for value-added applications such as polymer matrices, films, and membranes, thus enabling efficient utilization of agricultural waste.
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1,271 members
William Thomas Winter
  • Department of Chemistry
David Newman
  • Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management
Bandaru Ramarao
  • Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering
Chang Geun Yoo
  • Department of Chemical Engineering
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David C. Amberg, Ph.D.
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