Ecosystems

Is Greenland Melting?
February 26, 2015 04:09 PM - University of Copenhagen

A team of scientists lead by Danish geologist Nicolaj Krog Larsen have managed to quantify how the Greenland Ice Sheet reacted to a warm period 8,000-5,000 years ago. Back then temperatures were 2-4 degrees C warmer than present. Their results have just been published in the scientific journal Geology, and are important as we are rapidly closing in on similar temperatures.

Agricultural insecticides pose a global risk to surface water bodies
February 25, 2015 01:51 PM - Tilo Arnhold, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research

Streams within approximately 40% of the global land surface are at risk from the application of insecticides. These were the results from the first global map to be modeled on insecticide runoff to surface waters, which has just been published in the journal Environmental Pollution by researchers from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Koblenz-Landau together with the University of Milan, Aarhus University and Aachen University. According to the publication, particularly streams in the Mediterranean, the USA, Central America and Southeast Asia are at risk.

BLM vs the Sage Grouse
February 25, 2015 07:45 AM - Center for Biological Diversity

The Bureau of Land Management’s proposal to offer new oil and gas leases on 89,000 acres in northwestern Wyoming would have devastating effects on greater sage grouse, including allowing industrial operations in some of the birds’ most important nesting and rearing habitat, according to comments submitted to the agency this week by the Center for Biological Diversity. Even though sage grouse have declined 60 percent over six years in Wyoming, the plan repeatedly ignores federal scientists’ recommendations for protecting these prairie birds from fossil fuel development.

“Rather than protecting these vanishing birds, the BLM is proposing to hand over some of their last remaining habitat to the oil and gas industry,” said Michael Saul, an attorney with the Center. “A few companies may squeeze some short-term profits out of it, but the long-term effect will be pushing these great prairie birds toward extinction.”

Friendly Fungi Could Help Barley Growers
February 23, 2015 02:08 PM - Trinity College Dublin

Botanists from Trinity College Dublin have made a breakthrough discovery that could save barley farmers sleepless nights and millions of Euro each year: naturally occurring plant-friendly fungi prevent crop-ravishing diseases from spreading, and also aid plant survival in testing environmental conditions. Importantly, these amazing little organisms cause no harm to the plant roots in which they take up their abode. However, their gift of immunity against common seed diseases greatly reduces the need for farmers to spray environmentally damaging chemicals, which can affect ecosystems in a plethora of negative ways.

ENN Releases App for Android Users
February 23, 2015 09:14 AM - ENN Editor

Last month ENN launched a new mobile app available at the iTunes store making it easier for you to connect with us and stay up to date with groundbreaking environmental news. Now, ENN releases the mobile app at Google Play, making it compatible for Android users.

ENN is more than just a gatherer of environmental news but rather a unique set of resources, archives, tools, and experts for the increasingly complex field of environmental science attracting readers from all levels of government, business and academia.

We also encourage you to join the conversation by checking out our Community Blog and by connecting with us on Facebook.

Apple users can download the app at the iTunes store.

Android users can download the app at Google Play.

Make sure you click on the app with the logo shown here.

Understanding the Forces of Abrupt Climate Change
February 23, 2015 08:30 AM - Northern Arizona University.

By studying African lake sediments from the past 20,000 years, scientists are learning more about abrupt climate shifts, advancing their understanding of changing weather patterns. In a recent paper published in Nature Geoscience, co-author on an NAU assistant professor Nicholas McKay analyzes core samples from Lake Bosumtwi in Ghana. The isolated lake was formed by a meteor and sits like a bowl on the landscape giving scientists a clear view of environmental changes.

Putting a value on forests
February 23, 2015 07:00 AM - Kaz Janowski, SciDevNet

The day I first set foot in a tropical rainforest, in Malaysia in the early 1980s, I experienced something profound. From the echoes of gibbons calling from the canopy in the early morning mist to the iridescent flash of a bird in a beam of sunlight, rainforests are a sensory delight as well as a marvel to anyone’s scientific curiosity. 

As I subsequently watched these forests dwindle and, in some cases, vanish, I have felt an equally profound sense of loss and a nagging guilt that I was somehow part of the story, because I had done little to remedy the situation. 
 

Biodiversity may reduce threat of disease
February 20, 2015 08:45 AM - Victor Montoro, MONGABAY.COM

Biodiversity level changes can have consequences for species and habitats around the world. A new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, reaffirms previous findings that higher diversity in ecological communities may lead to reduced disease threat. The study concludes that higher amphibian diversity in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest is linked to a lower infection rate of a fungus that is devastating amphibian populations around the world. 

The effects of Global warming on fisheries assessed in new study
February 19, 2015 06:35 AM - Oregon State University

A report to be published Thursday in the journal Nature suggests that global warming may increase upwelling in several ocean current systems around the world by the end of this century, especially at high latitudes, and will cause major changes in marine biodiversity.

Since upwelling of colder, nutrient-rich water is a driving force behind marine productivity, one possibility may be enhancement of some of the world’s most important fisheries.

However, solar heating due to greenhouse warming may also increase the persistence of “stratification,” or the horizontal layering of ocean water of different temperatures. The result could be a warm, near-surface layer and a deep, cold layer.

New study calculates magnitude of plastic waste going into the ocean
February 12, 2015 03:30 PM - Stephanie Schupska, University of Georgia

A plastic grocery bag cartwheels down the beach until a gust of wind spins it into the ocean. In 192 coastal countries, this scenario plays out over and over again as discarded beverage bottles, food wrappers, toys and other bits of plastic make their way from estuaries, seashores and uncontrolled landfills to settle in the world's seas.

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