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January

Every year during the austral summer, satellite imagery reveals a wide belt of unusually reflective seawater encircling Antarctica between about 38°S and 60°S. This bright, patchy halo, known as the Great Calcite Belt (GCB), covers 16% of the entire global ocean. New research by Balch et al. identifies key factors behind the formation of the GCB and explores its effects on carbon cycling.

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Researchers have discovered that the ice-covered lakes in Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valley uphold the thawed fragments of black carbon from ancient wildfires. The study was published in the American Geophysical Union journal Geophysical Research Letters, and was co-authored by Drs. Yan Ding and Rudolf Jaffe of the Southeast Environmental Research Center at Florida International University.

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February

Researchers are taking a step back to answer the question of whether long-term studies are helping save plants, animals and the places they call home. The global answer is yes. FIU researchers are gathering data in the Everglades that provide critical information needed for restoration and conservation. They’ve been doing this for more than a decade. Read more on their efforts here.

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From February 13-17, 2017, the city of Rabat hosted several events of the African Water Association (AfWA), namely the Board meeting, General Assembly, and a meeting of the Scientific and Technical Council (STC). The STC meeting was held under the theme: "Water and Sanitation in Africa: Challenges and Prospects". Dr. Lakhdar Boukerrou, FIU/USAID WA-WASH Regional Director, participated in these meetings and officially launched the AfWA’s new knowledge management and information sharing platform.

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SERC researcher and FCE LTER Lead Principal Investigator Evelyn Gaiser is featured in the Miami Herald on Everglades research. For the last 16 years, nearly 80 scientists and their students from 29 organizations have embarked on one of the longest and largest studies ever conducted on South Florida’s coastal Everglades. They now fear the system may be at what lead investigator Evelyn Gaiser calls a “tipping point,” where change is happening faster than scientists expected.

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During his visit to Burkina Faso, Dr. Kamal Kar, the Sanitation and Natural Resources Expert met with FIU/USAID WA-WASH Program staff on Thursday, February 9, 2017, at the Program's Office, in Ouagadougou. This exchange with the founder of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) provided a real opportunity to share experiences and stress the need for Burkina Faso to move towards the implementation of CLTS without subsidies.

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The first few nights of February 2017 have been chilly by South Florida standards. This episode of WLRN's Topical Currents examines how these temperature dips affect South Florida plants and landscapes, featuring the Southeast Environmental Research Center's Dr. Jennifer Rehage. Listen to the full interview here.

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March

The 4th meeting of the USAID/West Africa WASH Coordinating Secretariat was held from March 2 to 3, 2017 in Accra, Ghana. In addition to the members of the Coordinating Secretariat, representatives of some 20 organizations working in the WASH sector in Ghana attended this meeting. The meeting provided the participants with an opportunity to share views and information on the issues related to the improvement of communities’ access to water and sanitation services.

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April

Many sea-level rise (SLR) assessments focus on populations presently inhabiting vulnerable coastal communities1, but no studies have yet attempted to model the destinations of these potentially displaced persons. With millions of potential future migrants in heavily populated coastal communities, SLR scholarship focusing solely on coastal communities characterizes SLR as primarily a coastal issue, obscuring the potential impacts in landlocked communities created by SLR-induced displacement.

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Massive seagrass beds in Western Australia’s Shark Bay have showed little recovery from a devastating 2011 heat wave, according to a new study. The team's findings demonstrate how certain vital ecosystems may change drastically in a warming climate. Read more here.

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FIU/USAID WA-WASH Regional Director Dr. Lakhdar Boukerrou recently attended a meeting with the members of the Burkina Faso Parliamentarians Network for Drinking Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene. This meeting follows the marketing workshop of the REPHA-BF 2016-2020 action plan held on March 31, 2017. The REPHA-BF gathers Parliamentarians from various political parties in Burkina Faso. The objective of this Network is to contribute to improving the quality of drinking water and sanitation services.

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May

The Everglades ecosystem is vast, stretching more than 200 miles from Orlando to Florida Bay, and Everglades National Park is but a part located at the southern end. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the historical Everglades has been reduced to half of its original size, and what remains is not the pristine ecosystem many image it to be, but one that has been highly engineered and otherwise heavily influenced, and is intensely managed by humans.

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An entirely new community of life on the skin and shells of sea turtles was revealed to the world in 2015 when several new species of diatoms (a type of microscopic algae) unique to sea turtles were described. Scientists have been studying sea turtles for over a century, so it is amazing to think that a new and unique community was just under the noses and eyes of so many people and overlooked for so long. Read more from SERC researchers here.

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