In a recent study, researchers used 19 human stressors to determine what marine wilderness was left in the world. They call for large-scale actions to protect these areas, including preventing overfishing and limiting run-off from land-based activities. 

By Michele Berger

Our weekly round-up compiles stories and news, both from here at Penn and around the world, that highlight the intersection of animal, environmental, and human health.

The last of the ocean wilderness
Scientific American, July 26, 2018
In a number once unimaginable, today just 13 percent—21 million square miles—of the world’s oceans remain untouched by humans, according to a study published in Current Biology. So far, large-scale international environmental policies have failed to protect these as-yet uncharted waters.

Could this tiny spider be helping the Arctic stay cool?
Science, July 23, 2018
Wolf spiders typically eat an insect called the springtail, whose diet is composed of fungi in the soil that release carbon dioxide and other potent greenhouse gases. But when the temperatures spike, the spiders eat each other instead, inadvertently allowing more of these gases to enter the atmosphere over the Arctic.

For the first time, a female Ebola survivor infects others
The New York Times, July 23, 2018
For more than a year, the Ebola virus hid out in the body of a woman who had survived the infection during the epidemic in West Africa. When she relapsed, the virus was still contagious, the first known case of this type.

The world is hot, on fire, and flooding. Climate change is here.
Grist, July 24, 2018
The headline kind of says it all: As droughts and heat waves amp up both in frequency and intensity, fires are happening more often. More intense rains are causing flooding around the world. Plus, it’s already one of the hottest years on record—and we haven’t even hit August.

Top EU court: GMO rules cover plant gene editing technique
Reuters, July 25, 2018
The Court of Justice of the European Union decided that plants that have undergone gene editing called mutagenesis fall under the same laws as other genetically modified organisms, a boon for environmental advocates but a setback for the biotech industry.

New drug wipes out malaria in a single dose—but there’s one hitch
NPR’s Goats and Soda, July 26, 2018
A new drug called tafenoquine is extremely effective at wiping out malaria, preventing relapse by as much as 70 percent. But to use it, health care providers must administer a test that determines whether someone’s red blood cells will respond poorly to it, an expensive diagnostic that’s not yet widely available.

Michele Berger is a Science News Officer in University Communications and chair of the One Health group.