Ecosystems

Popcorn-like fossils provide evidence of environmental impacts on species numbers
June 10, 2016 04:31 PM - University of Southampton via ScienceDaily

The number of species that can exist on Earth depends on how the environment changes, according to new research led by the University of Southampton.

By analysing the fossil record of microscopic aquatic creatures called planktonic foraminifera, whose fossil remains now resemble miniaturised popcorn and date back millions of years, the research provided the first statistical evidence that environmental changes put a cap on species richness.

NOAA, USGS, partners predict an average 'dead zone' for Gulf of Mexico
June 10, 2016 10:53 AM - NOAA Headquarters

Scientists forecast that this year's Gulf of Mexico dead zone--an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and marine life - will be approximately 5,898 square miles or about the size of Connecticut, the same range as it has averaged over the last several years.

NOAA, USGS, partners predict an average 'dead zone' for Gulf of Mexico
June 10, 2016 10:53 AM - NOAA Headquarters

Scientists forecast that this year's Gulf of Mexico dead zone--an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and marine life - will be approximately 5,898 square miles or about the size of Connecticut, the same range as it has averaged over the last several years.

Is sunscreen bad for coral reefs?
June 10, 2016 07:01 AM - Natalia Lima, Care2

You only use a little bit of sunscreen — a squeeze of the bottle or two or three sprays. Sure, it has some chemical ingredients, but it won’t kill anyone, right? Wrong. Sunscreen is actually one of the culprits of putting over 60 percent of the planet’s coral reefs in critical danger — and bringing a whole lot of other wildlife down with them.

The role of dam removal in river management in New England
June 9, 2016 01:48 PM - Dartmouth College via ScienceDaily.

Dam removal in New England is not only an important aspect of river restoration but it also provides an opportunity to enhance the magnitude and rate of river re-connection, and improve watershed resilience in response to human impact on the environment, if a broader strategic removal approach is implemented throughout the region, according to a new Dartmouth-led study published in Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.

The study is the first interdisciplinary, region-wide assessment of the social and biophysical impacts of dam removal and was conducted by researchers at Dartmouth, American Rivers and the USDA Forest Service.

 

Not So Healthy: Young Fish Eat Microplastics Like Fast Food
June 6, 2016 05:06 PM - Steve Williams, Care2

New research shows that young fish are eating tiny pieces of plastic instead of their regular food — with potentially devastating consequences.

A study published this month in the journal “Science” explains that juvenile perch larvae appear to be eating microplastics in place of their usual food sources, like free-swimming zooplankton. This hinders fish development, leaving them more susceptible to predators.

Microplastics — plastic particles that measure below 5mm — infiltrate our environments as a result of litter, such as plastic bags, packaging and other materials, that eventually end up in the sea. Microbeads — tiny plastics often found in health products, such as face scrubs and even some toothpastes — represent another major source of pollution. For this reason, a number of governments have either banned or are considering banning microbeads.

Not So Healthy: Young Fish Eat Microplastics Like Fast Food
June 6, 2016 05:06 PM - Steve Williams, Care2

New research shows that young fish are eating tiny pieces of plastic instead of their regular food — with potentially devastating consequences.

A study published this month in the journal “Science” explains that juvenile perch larvae appear to be eating microplastics in place of their usual food sources, like free-swimming zooplankton. This hinders fish development, leaving them more susceptible to predators.

Microplastics — plastic particles that measure below 5mm — infiltrate our environments as a result of litter, such as plastic bags, packaging and other materials, that eventually end up in the sea. Microbeads — tiny plastics often found in health products, such as face scrubs and even some toothpastes — represent another major source of pollution. For this reason, a number of governments have either banned or are considering banning microbeads.

Good news for the Giant Panda!
June 6, 2016 07:45 AM - Steve Williams , Care2

Due to a breeding boom over the past few years, giant pandas are making a strong recovery. Some experts argue that the species should be removed from the critically endangered list — but is it too soon?

This comes as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature undertakes an official reassessment of the panda’s status. The Swiss-based organization uses a seven-point scale to gauge the risk facing animal populations.

 

National Academy of Sciences Weighs In On Genetically-Engineered Foods
June 1, 2016 01:58 PM - Jan Lee, Triple Pundit

The National Academy of Sciences has some conclusions to share about genetically-engineered foods — 420 pages worth. And no matter which side of the fence you stand on when it comes to this divisive topic, you probably aren’t going to like what the nonprofit has to say.

The report, Genetically Engineered Organisms: Experiences and Prospects, was released last week online amid a flurry of news articles that attempted to breathlessly summarize the findings in a few short sentences. Some expressed disappointment in the authors’ inconclusive findings; many others attempted to pin a final yea-or-nay viewpoint on the Academy’s nine-chapter investigation.

Honeybees pick up 'astonishing' number of pesticides via non-crop plants
June 1, 2016 11:25 AM - PURDUE UNIVERSITY via EurekAlert!

A Purdue University study shows that honeybees collect the vast majority of their pollen from plants other than crops, even in areas dominated by corn and soybeans, and that pollen is consistently contaminated with a host of agricultural and urban pesticides throughout the growing season.

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