Ecosystems

Extremely high coastal erosion in northern Alaska
July 2, 2015 05:59 AM - U.S. Geological Survey

In a new study published today, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey found that the remote northern Alaska coast has some of the highest shoreline erosion rates in the world.Analyzing over half a century of shoreline change data, scientists found the pattern is extremely variable with most of the coast retreating at rates of more than 1 meter a year.  

“Coastal erosion along the Arctic coast of Alaska is threatening Native Alaskan villages, sensitive ecosystems, energy and defense related infrastructure, and large tracts of Native Alaskan, State, and Federally managed land,” said Suzette Kimball, acting director of the USGS.

Researcher Discovers Groundwater Modeling Breakthrough
July 2, 2015 05:19 AM - University of Wyoming

A University of Wyoming professor has made a discovery that answers a nearly 100-year-old question about water movement, with implications for agriculture, hydrology, climate science and other fields.

Where the Wild Things Aren't: Cats Avoid Places Coyotes Roam
July 1, 2015 07:33 AM - NC State University

Domestic cats might be determined hunters, but they stick mostly to residential areas instead of venturing into parks and protected areas where coyotes roam. That’s the key finding from a North Carolina State University analysis of more than 2,100 sites – the first large-scale study of free-ranging cats in the U.S. published in the Journal of Mammalogy.

Why is it important to know where 74 million pet cats spend their time away from home?

Can pollution be good for trees?
June 30, 2015 07:46 AM - Society for Experimental Biology via EurekAlert!

Trees that can tolerate soil pollution are also better at defending themselves against pests and pathogens. "It looks like the very act of tolerating chemical pollution may give trees an advantage from biological invasion", says Dr Frederic E. Pitre of the University of Montreal and one of the researchers behind the discovery. 

Study examines the role of naturally occurring halogens in atmospheric deposition
June 30, 2015 06:11 AM - Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and the University of Colorado Boulder

It’s been difficult to explain patterns of toxic mercury in some parts of the world, such as why there’s so much of the toxin deposited into ecosystems from the air in the southeastern United States, even upwind of usual sources.

A new analysis led by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder shows that one key to understanding mercury’s strange behavior may be the unexpected reactivity of naturally occurring halogen compounds from the ocean.

How Rainwater Could Save Rupees
June 29, 2015 11:24 AM - Ashley Morrow, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Rainwater could save people in India a bucket of money, according to a new study by scientists looking at NASA satellite data. The study, partially funded by NASA’s Precipitation Measurement Missions, found that collecting rainwater for vegetable irrigation could reduce water bills, increase caloric intake and even provide a second source of income for people in India.

California's Isla Rasa being abandoned by seabirds
June 27, 2015 09:11 AM - ScienceDaily

Isla Rasa, in the Gulf of California, is renowned for its massive aggregations of nesting seabirds. Over 95 percent of the world populations of Elegant Terns and Heerman's Gulls concentrate unfailingly every year on this tiny island to nest. Ever since the phenomenon was described by L. W. Walker in 1953 the island has been a magnet for tourists, naturalists, filmmakers, and seabird researchers.

During some years in the last two decades, however, the seabirds have arrived to the island in April, as they usually do, but leave soon after without nesting. The first event was the 1998 "El Niño," when oceanic productivity collapsed all along the eastern Pacific coast from Chile to California. But then colony desertion happened again in 2003, and since then it has recurred with increasing frequency in 2009, 2010, 2014, and 2015. Researchers and conservationists were asking themselves where are the birds going when they leave their ancestral nesting ground, and what is causing the abandonment of their historic nesting site.

Beware the Giant Toxic Algae Bloom
June 26, 2015 07:56 AM - Lizabeth Paulat, Care2

Humans and animals on the west coast should take care when near the water. One of the largest algae blooms of all time is producing dangerous toxins which now stretch from California to Alaska. The neurotoxin being released by the bloom is called domoic acid, and it can cause a series of problems for any mammal that comes into contact with it.

Nepal deals with climate change
June 25, 2015 02:33 PM - SciDevNet., SciDevNet

On 25 April, Nepal was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. But as well as quakes, the country is also vulnerable to climate change, a combination that makes it harder to build resilience and risk preparedness.
 
As mean temperatures rise in South Asia, the monsoon season has changed, leading to more-erratic rainfall and increasing the risk of floods and landslides that can claim lives and wreck food production.
 

Using Invasive Species to Defeat Another Invasive Species
June 25, 2015 10:35 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

The forests of Denver, Colo., are currently under attack by an invasive insect species from Asia. So what is the scientists’ plan to stop this assault on trees? They’re going with the controversial move of introducing a second invasive species to destroy the first one. If it sounds like that children’s song about the old lady who swallowed the spider to catch the fly, that’s because it basically is. Unleashing a second non-native species might help to eradicate the first species, but it can also unleash a series of other consequences. Previous experiments in this invasive species vs. invasive species tactic have worked out with various degrees of success, as these four examples will show.

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