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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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