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Once a staple of Taiwanese diets, rice consumption per person has fallen more than two-thirds in 50 years, according to the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization, as "smart crops" and "super foods" grow in popularity. Malnutrition and climate change are top concerns for rice biologists and breeders, said Rod Wing, a UA professor who recently completed the genome sequencing of seven wild rice varieties.

Farming fish in the desert might sound counterintuitive, but Algeria hopes to tap the huge aquifers beneath the Sahara as it seeks new ways to feed its growing population and diversify its oil-based economy. "Raising fish in deserts is going to be really critical, even for developed countries, because we've got to be more efficient with water," said UA professor Kevin Fitzsimmons.

Mark Nelson, one of the eight people who inhabited the Biosphere 2 facility in Oracle, Arizona, for two years in the early 1990s, is the author of "Pushing Our Limits: Insights From Biosphere 2." The facility is now a science research center operated by the UA.

The Southwest was characterized by below-average precepitation. Temperatures were mostly above average. Drought designated areas continue to expand, and above normal wildland fire risk has been identified in specific areas. The La Niña event is officially over, and conditions have returned to normal. The three month outlook for June through August calls for equal chances of above or below average precepitation in certain areas. 

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