Ecosystems

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.

Fish may not adjust to rising CO2 levels quickly
October 6, 2014 04:29 PM - Oliver Milman The Guardian, Organic Consumers Association

Rising carbon dioxide levels in oceans adversely change the behavior of fish through generations, raising the possibility that marine species may never fully adapt to their changed environment, research has found. The study, published in Nature Climate Change, found that elevated CO2 levels affected fish regardless of whether their parents had also experienced the same environment.

Does the public trust what scientists say?
October 6, 2014 03:58 PM - Princeton University

If scientists want the public to trust their research suggestions, they may want to appear a bit "warmer," according to a new review published by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The review, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), shows that while Americans view scientists as competent, they are not entirely trusted. This may be because they are not perceived to be friendly or warm.

How Air Pollution Affects River-Flow
October 6, 2014 10:13 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

Air pollution has had a significant impact on the amount of water flowing through many rivers in the northern hemisphere, according to the results of a new study. The paper shows how pollution, known as aerosols, can have an impact on the natural environment and highlights the importance of considering these factors in assessments of future climate change.

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