Disease threatens aquaculture in developing world
March 15, 2013 09:12 AM - Wagdy Sawahel, SciDevNet
Disease may challenge the ability of fish farming to feed the growing human population even as wild fish stocks decline and climate change hampers food production from other sources, a study shows. Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, with 90 per cent of production coming from the developing world, where it makes a significant contribution to many nations' economies.
World Water Day in the Middle East
March 15, 2013 06:27 AM - Arwa Aburawa, Green Prophet
With the region getting drier 'at an alarming rate', what is there to celebrate this World Water Day? In the lead up to World Water Day which will take place next Friday, I have gathered some interesting water-based facts on the issue. The Middle East and North Africa region is famously one of the driest regions in the world and things don't look like they are getting better. So what is there to actually celebrate? Read on for the bad news and also some rather great news. Firstly, the bad news. According to the latest statistics gathered by IRIN, the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) is getting drier at an alarming rate. And whilst trading and importing food brings in 'virtual water', it also makes the region extremely vulnerable to trade disruptions caused by dwindling supplies, higher prices or lack of money to pay for the imports. As a report on the issue of climate change and the Arab Spring points out, a winter drought in China contributed to global wheat shortages and skyrocketing bread prices in Egypt, which is the world's largest wheat importer.
German Home for the Bison to Roam
March 14, 2013 12:50 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
What would you do if you owned 30,000 acres in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany? While this area is one of the country's most densely populated states, this vast acreage is covered with Norwegian spruce and beech trees and owned by Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. So what has this royal decided to do with his land? Fulfill his dream of reintroducing bison known as wisents, of course.
Quinoa Farming in Bolivia has significant impacts
March 13, 2013 06:08 AM - Cristina Pabón, SciDevNet
Bolivian scientists have warned that growing international demand for quinoa is endangering local farming practices and the environment, as well as denying access to local consumers. Their caution follows the UN's kick off last month (20 February) of a year-long series of cultural, artistic and academic activities — along with scientific research — to celebrate 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), a grain-like crop cultivated in the Andes for 7,000 years, has remarkable nutritional value and adapts well to a variety of growing environments.
Honeybees Get the Caffeine Buzz
March 11, 2013 01:42 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
Most of us rely on a cup of coffee to jump start our day. For us, that jolt of caffeine wards off drowsiness and restores alertness. Not only does caffeine help to wake us up, but it also can affect our memory. So how does caffeine affect other species in the animal kingdom? Does anything else share our addiction to morning caffeine? Well according to new research, it seems that honeybees also get their buzz from drinking caffeine-laced nectar.
Cropland expansion the culprit in biodiversity loss, says study
March 1, 2013 08:55 AM - Clara Rondonuwu, SciDevNet
Rapid cropland expansion is the main cause of biodiversity loss in tropical countries, a study by UNEP's (the UN Environment Programme) World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative has found. The study, published in PLOS ONE last month (9 January), highlights maize and soybean as the most expansive crops and as the main drivers of biodiversity loss in tropical regions. Other crops that pose a major threat to habitats and wildlife are beans, cassava, cowpea, groundnut, millet, oil palm, rice, sorghum, sugarcane and wheat, the study says.
Crab's Metabolism May be Affected by Noise Pollution
February 28, 2013 09:56 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Sitting at the dock of the bay you might hear the crash of breaking waves and squawking seagulls flying overhead. As you take in all the sites and sounds, you next hear a speeding boat racing by and an oil tanker a mile away. Grinding engine noises and long, low, horn sounds can be deafening in any harbor. And while you can handle it for the hour or two you spend there, the continuous sounds of these noisy vessels are being found to have repercussions on marine life.
Rice Paddies and Fish Farming - Perfect Together!
February 27, 2013 05:59 AM - Naimul Haq, SciDevNet
By combining aquaculture with wet paddy farming in its coastal areas Bangladesh can meet food security and climate change issues, says a new report. The approach promises more nutritious food, without causing environmental damage, and has the potential for a 'blue-green revolution' on Bangladesh’s existing crop areas extending to about 10.14 million hectares and an additional 2.83 million hectares that remain waterlogged for about 4—6 months.
Mutated Moth Genes May Lead to Environmentally Friendly Pest Control
February 22, 2013 10:02 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Pheromones are chemical substances secreted or excreted by species that when released into the environment can affect the behavior or physiology of others. Basically, these chemicals trigger social responses and are crucial to the mating systems in a wide range of organisms. According to a new study led by researchers from Sweden’s Lund University, a single gene mutation found in the moth genus, Ostrinia, has led to the species’ ability to produce an entirely new scent.
Stress makes organic tomatoes more nutritious, sweeter
February 22, 2013 08:50 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Organic tomatoes are sweeter (more sugar) and more nutritious (more vitamin C and anti-oxidants) than tomatoes grown with pesticides and chemical fertilizers, according to a new study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. The scientists theorize that stress may be why organic farming produces a more nutritious and tastier tomato.