RB Editor’s Selections: Lab Safety, Sequencing the Oceans and Peatland Drainage

Sarah Kendrew Sarah Kendrew selects interesting and notable ResearchBlogging.org posts in the physical sciences, chemistry, engineering, computer science, geosciences and mathematics. She blogs about astronomy at One Small Step.

[Cross-posted from ResearchBlogging News]

Like many I was shocked to learn of the lab accident that killed a physics undergraduate at Yale in mid-April. This week, Paige Brown writes a great post about lab safety, inspired by her own experience – like her, I’ve witnessed and placed myself in unsafe situations without taking the necessary precautions. Sad as accidents are, they are an important reminder to us all.

I’m no expert on ocean biodiversity or gene sequencing, but when Dr Bik tells me that “High-throughput sequencing platforms are like the Hubble telescope for biologists”, I know exactly what she’s talking about. Her excellent and enjoyable Deep Sea News post on metagenomics, she explains how sequencing technology is revolutionising our understanding of the oceans.

All over the world, peatland is drained so the land can be put to agricultural use. But peatlands store lots of CO2, and drainage releases it into the atmosphere. The effect of this process on our climate is a matter of considerable debate. Petter Hedberg, “PhD student in the land of mosquitoes”, describes an interesting recent study looking at the cost of peatland drainage in today’s carbon emissions economy.