Oceans need more protected areas

Despite global efforts to increase the area of the ocean that is protected, only four per cent of it lies within marine protected areas (MPAs), according to a University of British Columbia study.

UBC Institute for Ocean and Fisheries researchers found that major swaths of the ocean must still be protected to reach even the most basic global targets.

In 2010, representatives from nearly 200 countries met in Nagoya, Japan, and adopted the United Nations' Aichi Targets, in a bid to stem the rapid loss of biodiversity. The countries committed to protecting at least 10 per cent of the ocean by 2020.

Disease-carrying ticks hitchhike into US on migratory birds
October 25, 2015 09:01 PM - Smithsonian Science News

Researchers who examined thousands of migratory birds arriving in the United States from Central and South America have determined that three percent carry ticks species not normally present in the United States. Some of the birds, they say, carry disease-causing Ricksettia ticks.

NASA Spots the 'Great Pumpkin'; Get ready to see a Halloween Asteroid!
October 22, 2015 09:31 AM - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA scientists are tracking the upcoming Halloween flyby of asteroid 2015 TB145 with several optical observatories and the radar capabilities of the agency's Deep Space Network at Goldstone, California. The asteroid will fly past Earth at a safe distance slightly farther than the moon's orbit on Oct. 31 at 10:05 a.m. PDT (1:05 p.m. EDT). Scientists are treating the flyby of the estimated 1,300-foot-wide (400-meter) asteroid as a science target of opportunity, allowing instruments on "spacecraft Earth" to scan it during the close pass.

Asteroid 2015 TB145 was discovered on Oct. 10, 2015, by the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS-1 (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) on Haleakala, Maui, part of the NASA-funded Near-Earth Object Observation (NEOO) Program. According to the catalog of near-Earth objects (NEOs) kept by the Minor Planet Center, this is the closest currently known approach by an object this large until asteroid 1999 AN10, at about 2,600 feet (800 meters) in size, approaches at about 1 lunar distance (238,000 miles from Earth) in August 2027.

Ocean Heat Content Reveals Secrets of Fish Migration Behaviors
October 22, 2015 09:24 AM - University of Miami

Researchers at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science developed a new method to estimate fish movements using ocean heat content images, a dataset commonly used in hurricane intensity forecasting. With Atlantic tarpon as the messenger, this is the first study to quantitatively show that large migratory fishes, such as yellowfin and bluefin tunas, blue and white marlin, and sailfish have affinities for ocean fronts and eddies.

The fish that cools off by jumping OUT of the water
October 21, 2015 04:18 PM - University of Guelph.

On hot, humid days, you might jump into water to cool down, but for the tiny mangrove rivulus fish, cooling down means jumping out of water, according to a new study from the University of Guelph.

In the study published today in the journal Biology Letters, the researchers describe how these fish air-chill themselves on solid ground in order to drop their body temperatures. The researchers also found that fish exposed to higher temperatures for a week tolerated warmer water better.

The fish jump out of the water to escape rising temperatures, said integrative biology professor Pat Wright, senior author of the study.

Heavy rain doesn't mean more trees in African savanna
October 20, 2015 09:38 AM - Princeton University

In 2011, satellite images of the African savannas revealed a mystery: these rolling grasslands, with their heavy rainfalls and spells of drought, were home to significantly fewer trees than researchers had expected. Scientists supposed that the ecosystem's high annual precipitation would result in greater tree growth. Yet a 2011 study found that the more instances of heavy rainfall a savanna received, the fewer trees it had.

To this ecological riddle, Princeton University researchers might have finally provided a solution.

Bees don't like diesels!
October 19, 2015 04:19 PM - Staff, ClickGreen

Diesel fumes may be reducing the availability of almost half the most common flower odours that bees use to find their food, new research has found.

The new findings suggest that toxic nitrous oxide (NOx) in diesel exhausts could be having an even greater effect on bees’ ability to smell out flowers than was previously thought.

NOx is a poisonous pollutant produced by diesel engines which is harmful to humans, and has also previously been shown to confuse bees’ sense of smell, which they rely on to sniff out their food.

The future of wildfires in a warming world
October 14, 2015 08:35 AM - University of Wyoming

The history of wildfires over the past 2,000 years in a northern Colorado mountain range indicates that large fires will continue to increase as a result of a warming climate, according to a new study led by a University of Wyoming doctoral student.

“What our research shows is that even modest regional warming trends, like we are currently experiencing, can cause exceptionally large areas in the Rockies to be burned by wildfires,” says John Calder, a Ph.D. candidate in UW’s Program in Ecology and the Department of Geology and Geophysics.

Spring will be springing earlier in the US
October 14, 2015 07:57 AM - INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS via EurekAlert

Scientists have projected that the onset of spring plant growth will shift by a median of three weeks earlier over the next century, as a result of rising global temperatures.

The results, published today (Wednesday 14th October), in the journal Environmental Research Letters, have long term implications for the growing season of plants and the relationship between plants and the animals that depend upon them.

Re-thinking plant and insect diversity
October 13, 2015 03:42 PM - University of York

New research by biologists at the University of York shows that plant and insect diversity is more loosely linked than scientists previously believed. Insects and flowering plants are two of the most diverse groups of organism on the planet. For a long time the richness of these two lineages has been regarded as linked, with plant-feeding insect groups considered unusually species rich compared with their nearest relatives. In a new analysis, based on the most complete tree of insect relationships to date, researchers at the University have shown that there is not a simple relationship between insect diet and diversity.

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