Can the corridors under high-tension lines be important opportunities for conservation?
October 17, 2014 08:06 AM - richard conniff, Yale Environment360
Often mowed and doused with herbicides, power transmission lines have long been a bane for environmentalists. But that’s changing, as some utilities are starting to manage these areas as potentially valuable corridors for threatened wildlife. Nobody loves electrical power transmission lines. They typically bulldoze across the countryside like a clearcut, 150 feet wide and scores or hundreds integrated vegetation management in right-of-way scores or hundreds of miles long, in a straight line that defies everything we know about nature. They’re commonly criticized for fragmenting forests and other natural habitats and for causing collisions and electrocutions for some birds. Power lines also have raised the specter, in the minds of anxious neighbors, of illnesses induced by electromagnetic fields. So it's a little startling to hear wildlife biologists proposing that properly managed transmission lines, and even natural gas and oil pipeline rights-of-way, could be the last best hope for many birds, pollinators, and other species that are otherwise dramatically declining.
How Offshore Wind Farms Affect Marine Species
October 17, 2014 06:07 AM - University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Offshore wind power is a valuable source of renewable energy that can help reduce carbon emissions. Technological advances are allowing higher capacity turbines to be installed in deeper water, but there is still much unknown about the effects on the environment. In a recent paper, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science researcher Helen Bailey and colleagues review the potential impacts of offshore wind developments on marine species and make recommendations for future monitoring and assessment as interest in offshore wind energy grows around the world.
Could California Be Facing A Mega-Drought?
October 15, 2014 09:29 AM - Sonia Gadiaga, MONGABAY.COM
Agriculture, one of California’s strongest pillars, has taken the biggest hit: the drought will cost at least $2.2 billion in agricultural losses this year alone. Fields of dead almond trees and dried-out crops are a common sight in central California these days. Central Valley towns are also growing desperate. Many have been forced to install porta-potties in their backyards or even steal water from fire hydrants.
Why Cat Poop is Bad News for Sea Otters
October 13, 2014 09:19 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2
A parasite spread by cat poop is causing a big problem for endangered sea otters in California, and researchers have finally figured out how. Sea otters were nearly wiped out by the fur trade at one point, but they've been slowly making a comeback thanks to conservation efforts and protection under the Endangered Species Act. While they're on the road to recovery the latest numbers from the U.S. Geological Survey released last month shows they're population growth has stalled, with the biggest issue being that they're dying in record numbers.
Middle Eastern Vegetation Resistant to Climate Change
October 10, 2014 01:57 PM - University of Tübingen
Ecosystems in the Middle East are home to a wealth of unique species — including the ancestors of many of our staple crops today. Yet the climate scenario in this dry region is alarming. Already, the region has a relatively small amount of water available for every person living there — and it is predicted that in the future, there will be even less rain. That could jeopardize Middle Eastern ecosystems and threaten the survival of important species.
Fish Forced Poleward
October 10, 2014 09:36 AM - The University of British Columbia
Large numbers of fish will disappear from the tropics by 2050, finds a new University of British Columbia study that examined the impact of climate change on fish stocks. The study identified ocean hotspots for local fish extinction but also found that changing temperatures will drive more fish into the Arctic and Antarctic waters.
Fracking Footprint Seen From Space
October 10, 2014 08:38 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
An unexpectedly high amount of the climate-changing gas methane, the main component of natural gas, is escaping from the Four Corners region in the US Southwest, according to a new study by the University of Michigan and NASA. The researchers mapped satellite data to uncover the nation's largest methane signal seen from space. They measured levels of the gas emitted from all sources, and found more than half a teragram per year coming from the area where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet. That's about as much methane as the entire coal, oil, and gas industries of the United Kingdom give off each year.
What happens to a river when a dam is removed?
October 9, 2014 07:17 AM - Oregon State University
A study of the removal of two dams in Oregon suggests that rivers can return surprisingly fast to a condition close to their natural state, both physically and biologically, and that the biological recovery might outpace the physical recovery. The analysis, published by researchers from Oregon State University in the journal PLOS One, examined portions of two rivers — the Calapooia River and Rogue River. It illustrated how rapidly rivers can recover, both from the long-term impact of the dam and from the short-term impact of releasing stored sediment when the dam is removed.
First Hookworm Vaccine Passes Brazilian Safety Trial
October 8, 2014 09:33 AM - SciDevNet, SciDevNet
A vaccine for parasitic intestinal worms has been shown to be safe in Brazilian clinical trials, according to its US developer. Hookworm parasites infect more than 600 million people worldwide, attaching themselves to the intestines to feed on blood. Infection can lead to iron deficiency and capillary damage, and may retard children’s growth and mental development.
Sea Turtles in Hawaii getting tumors and we are the cause
October 7, 2014 08:09 AM - University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
Hawai'i's sea turtles are afflicted with chronic and often lethal tumors caused by consuming non-native algae, "superweeds," along coastlines where nutrient pollution is unchecked. The disease that causes these tumors is considered the leading cause of death in endangered green sea turtles. The new research was just published in the scientific journal PeerJ. Turtles that graze on blooms of invasive seaweeds end up with a diet that is rich in a particular amino acid, arginine, which promotes the virus that creates the tumors. Scientists at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and their NOAA colleague estimate that adult turtles foraging at high-nutrient grazing sites increase their arginine intake 17—26 g daily, up to 14 times the background level.