Comments Off on Mexico City taps into one of the world’s deepest aquifers, Peru’s hemorrhaging anchovy fishery and growing diverse crops in Bolivia.

7 February 2013

Mexico City taps into one of the world’s deepest aquifers, Peru’s hemorrhaging anchovy fishery and growing diverse crops in Bolivia.

ARGENTINA

Argentine scientists have identified hotspots of mosquito breeding in the country’s northern provinces. The research is part of an effort to eliminate populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, famous in Latin America for carrying the dengue virus. Writing in the journal PLoS ONE, the researchers created a predictive map that outlined where mosquitoes were most likely to deposit eggs. Tire dumps were associated with the most mosquito activity.

    Peru’s collapsing anchovy fishery means many fishermen are returning to port empty-handed. Cliff Hellis via Flickr.

BOLIVIA

Smallholder farms in Bolivia tend to focus on growing corn, but a new study has found that the growing of peaches and other non-traditional crops has exploded over the last decade. A Penn State research team looked at 174 small-scale farms in Bolivia’s Valle Alto region and found that the region was more biodiverse, agriculturally-speaking, than expected. And rather than farming a single strain of maize, Bolivian corn has high levels of taxonomic and ecological biodiversity, the researchers published in the journal PNAS.

COLOMBIA

Scientists at Medellin’s Universidad Nacional are looking at feeding cows glycerin extracted from palm oil biodiesel. According to the researchers, the glycerin increased milk production by 1.3 liters per day while not changing the nutritional profile of milk. “This is an opportunity for us, because we’re always pushing overhead,” says Antonio Lopera, a dairy farmer in Antioquia.

MEXICO

To quench its thirst, Mexico City is tapping into an aquifer more than a mile underground. The Iztapalapa aquifer is one of the deepest in the world, meaning it has a presented an engineering challenge. “This well is the only one of its kind worldwide,” says Alejandro Escobedo Ramirez, director of the hydrogeology department of Mexico’s water utility SACM. The company has just drilled an exploratory well in the city with the help of oil drilling equipment because of its depth. Extracting the water will require expensive pumps, he point out. With water companies looking deeper and deeper for drinking water, the United States may be polluting aquifers it may someday need. U.S. regulators assume deep aquifers are too expensive to tap and have been lax on protecting them from pollutants. Says ProPublica: “Indeed, by the standard often applied in the U.S., American regulators could have allowed companies to pump pollutants into the aquifer beneath Mexico City.”

PERU

Peru’s anchovy fishery is hemorrhaging; the fish that used to run in immense schools are now becoming more and more difficult to find. The thinning anchovy population is affecting the food chain along the coast of Peru and Chile. The fish also account for about a third of the the world’s fishmeal industry.