Ecology & Environment Notes 2020 (#9): Jasmonate (JA); Medicanes; Komodo Dragon; Arsenic-Affected Habitations

Jasmonate (JA)

  • Targeting a specific plant hormone called Jasmonate (JA) would help rice plants have greater tolerance to potassium deficiency. This will in turn, improving rice productivity, a new study has suggested.
  • JA is often associated with the plant’s defence against biotic factors like insects, pests and other pathogens.
  • The overexpression of a gene called OsJAZ9 helped make rice plants more tolerant of potassium deficiency.
  • The study was conducted by a team of scientists at the Department of Biotechnology’s New Delhi-based National Institute of Plant Genome Research (DBT-NIPGR).
  • The Green Revolution of the 1960s was driven by another plant hormone called Gibberellins (GA).
  • The new study suggests that future research could be targeted towards JA that could help achieve both, nutrient- efficient crops and protection against pests.


  • Human-induced climate change will make Medicanes’ or ‘Mediterranean Hurricanes’ more frequent in near future.
  • ‘Medicanes’ or ‘Mediterranean Hurricanes’ are extra tropical storms in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • On September 18, 2020, a medicane named Ianos made landfall along the coast of Greece and caused heavy rainfall and flooding on the islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Ithaca.
  • The wind speeds reached upto 100 kilometres per hour (km / hr).
  • Medicanes occur more in colder waters than tropical cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons.
  • Hence, the cores of these storms are also cold, as compared to the warm cores of tropical cyclones. Warmer cores tend to carry more moisture (hence rainfall), are bigger in size and have swifter winds.
  • Sometimes, warm-cored tropical cyclones transform into cold-cored extratropical cyclones and in rare cases, the opposite can also happen, according to the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).
  • EUMETSAT is an intergovernmental organisation created through an international convention. The convention was signed by 30 European Union countries.

Komodo Dragon

  • According to a study conducted by the University of Adelaide and Deakin University, the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard, could become extinct in the next few decades due to climate change.
  • The study used models to predict that the dragon could become extinct on three of the five island habitats where it is currently found.
  • Climate change was likely to cause a sharp decline in the availability of habitat for Komodo dragons, reducing their populations, said the study.

Arsenic-Affected Habitations

  • The number of arsenic-affected habitations in the country increased by 145 per cent in the last five years, according to data shared with the Parliament on September 18.
  • Arsenic-affected habitations in the country increased from 1,800 in 2015 to 4,421 as on September 17, 2020, according to a reply given to Lok Sabha by Rattan Lal Kataria, minister of state, Jal Shakti (water) ministry.
  • The 4,421 habitations were mainly in Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh (UP). Jharkhand.
  • Jharkhand did not have any such habitation in 2015. Now, the state has two arsenic-affected habitations.
  • Karnataka, which had nine habitations in 2015, had none in 2020.
  • Habitations are the group of households at a community level in a village. These are the smallest level of settlements that can have between 10-100 households.
  • Under Jal Shakti Ministry’s ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’, priority has been given to such quality-affected habitations through community water purification plants (CWPP) to meet with drinking and cooking needs — until potable water supply through tap connection is provided.
  • Most of the arsenic-affected habitations lie in the Ganga and Brahmaputra alluvial plains; in the states of Assam, Bihar, UP and Bengal.
  • Assam had the highest share of such habitations (1,853), followed by Bengal (1,383).

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