Ecosystems

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.

A look at N2O: Nitrous oxide emissions may be higher than previously thought
June 22, 2015 05:01 PM - Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

In addition to carbon dioxide there are plenty of other greenhouse gases. Nitrous oxide is one of them. However, a global assessment of emissions from the oceans is difficult because the measurement methods used so far have only allowed rough estimates. Using a new technology for continuous measurements, researchers of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel have now discovered that nitrous oxide emissions from the Southeast Pacific are much higher than previously thought. They publish their data in the international journal Nature Gesoscience.

Kids need green open spaces
June 19, 2015 07:58 AM - Renee Farris , Triple Pundit

Is it coincidence that Isaac Newton discovered gravity while sitting under a tree? Or that Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”

A study was just released that says outdoor green spaces make kids smarter.

The study assessed whether exposure to green space improved the cognitive development in children. Researchers tested the cognitive development of 2,593 schoolchildren in Spain, ages 7 to 10.

Study relates influx of North American icebergs in Atlantic Ocean to increased methane production in tropical wetlands
June 2, 2015 10:15 AM - Oregon State University

A new study shows how huge influxes of fresh water into the North Atlantic Ocean from icebergs calving off North America during the last ice age had an unexpected effect – they increased the production of methane in the tropical wetlands. Usually increases in methane levels are linked to warming in the Northern Hemisphere, but scientists who are publishing their findings this week in the journal Science have identified rapid increases in methane during particularly cold intervals during the last ice age. These findings are important, researchers say, because they identify a critical piece of evidence for how the Earth responds to changes in climate.

No Sunscreen Needed
May 12, 2015 08:47 AM - ENN Editor

With summer sun right around the corner, it is important to be prepared and protect our skin from those potentially harmful rays. Whether you use sunscreen or set up an umbrella for shade at the beach, we should be proactive so we don't get sun-burn.

For us, we take precautions, but how do the rest of the animal kingdom fare? How can animal species spend their whole lives outdoors with no apparent concern about high levels of solar exposure?

According to researchers from Oregon State University, animals make their own sunscreen.

The findings, published in the journal eLife, found that many fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds can naturally produce a compound called gadusol, which among other biologic activities provides protection from the ultraviolet, or sun-burning component of sunlight.

The researchers also believe that this ability may have been obtained through some prehistoric, natural genetic engineering.

Declining 'large herbivore' populations may lead to an 'empty landscape'
May 1, 2015 02:49 PM - Oregon State University via EurekAlert!

The decline of the world's large herbivores, especially in Africa and parts of Asia, is raising the specter of an "empty landscape" in some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, according to a newly published study. Many populations of animals such as rhinoceroses, zebras, camels, elephants and tapirs are diminishing or threatened with extinction in grasslands, savannahs, deserts and forests, scientists say.

Selective logging may underestimate carbon stock
April 29, 2015 08:20 AM - Rhett A. Butler, MONGABAY.COM

Up to 64 percent of above-ground biomass in selectively logged forests may consist of dead wood left over from logging damage, argues a paper published this week in Environmental Research Letters

A brief history of Earth Day
April 22, 2015 09:59 PM - Earth Day Network

Each year, Earth Day -- April 22 -- marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

The height of hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it.

 

Five Years and Counting: Gulf Wildlife in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster
April 17, 2015 09:37 AM - National Wildlife Federation

Five years after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, sending oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days, wildlife are still struggling. The Gulf, with its deep waters, sandy beaches, lush wetlands and coral reefs, is a vast system that supports more than 15,000 species of wildlife – fish, birds, marine mammals and many, many others.

A new report from the National Wildlife Federation looks at how 20 types of wildlife that depend on a healthy Gulf are faring in the wake of the BP oil spill. The full extent of the spill’s impacts may take years or even decades to unfold, but Five Years & Counting: Gulf Wildlife in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster examines what the science tells us so far.

Study shows how climate affects biodiversity
April 16, 2015 03:18 PM - Uppsala University via AlphaGalileo

A key question in the climate debate is how the occurrence and distribution of species is affected by climate change. But without information about natural variation in species abundance it is hard to answer. In a major study, published today in the leading scientific journal Current Biology, researchers can now for the first time give us a detailed picture of natural variation.

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