Bird origin for 1918 flu pandemic

Nature

Model also links avian influenza strains to deadly horse flu.

The virus that caused the 1918 influenza pandemic probably sprang from North American domestic and wild birds, not from the mixing of human and swine viruses. A study published today in Nature reconstructs the origins of influenza A virus and … Read the rest

Lady of the Lakes

Nature

Diane Orihel set her PhD aside to lead a massive protest when Canada tried to shut down its unique Experimental Lakes Area.

It was an ominous way to start the day. When she arrived at work on the morning of 17 May 2012, Diane Orihel ran into distraught colleagues. Staff from Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area had just been called to an emergency meeting at the Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg. … Read the rest

Glimmer of hope for freshwater research site

This story was originally posted on the Nature News Blog. 

The government of Ontario, Canada, has stepped in to keep open the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA). The freshwater research facility, located in northern Ontario, was closed in March by the government of Canada, despite protests from scientists.

Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne announced today that the government of Ontario will provide support to keep the ELA running this year and in … Read the rest

Scientists call for no-fishing zone in Arctic

Nature

Thousands of scientists from 67 countries have called for an international agreement to close the Arctic high seas to commercial fishing until research reveals more about the freshly exposed waters.

Recent Arctic sea-ice retreat during the summer months has opened up some of the waters that fall outside of the exclusive economic zones of the nations that circle the polar ocean. In all, more than 2.8 million square kilometres … Read the rest

Regime Change: Q&A with John Smol

Nature

A freshwater ecologist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Smol studies lake sediments to understand climatic and environmental change. Nature Outlook asks him to share his experience.

What can we learn from lake sediments?
One of the biggest challenges in environmental science is the lack of long-term data, so we have to use indirect proxies. All over the planet, lakes act as passive samplers of the environment, recording … Read the rest