Ecosystems

When the Arctic coast retreats, life in the shallow water areas drastically changes
January 5, 2017 10:39 AM - Alfred-Wegener-Institut

The thawing and erosion of Arctic permafrost coasts has dramatically increased in the past years and the sea is now consuming more than 20 meters of land per year at some locations. The earth masses removed in this process increasingly blur the shallow water areas and release nutrients and pollutants. Yet, the consequences of these processes on life in the coastal zone and on traditional fishing grounds are virtually unknown. Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, urge to focus our attention on the ecological consequences of coastal erosion in the January issue of the journal Nature Climate Change. According to the scientists, an interdisciplinary research program is required, and must involve policy-makers as well as inhabitants of the Arctic coasts right from the onset.

When the Arctic coast retreats, life in the shallow water areas drastically changes
January 5, 2017 10:39 AM - Alfred-Wegener-Institut

The thawing and erosion of Arctic permafrost coasts has dramatically increased in the past years and the sea is now consuming more than 20 meters of land per year at some locations. The earth masses removed in this process increasingly blur the shallow water areas and release nutrients and pollutants. Yet, the consequences of these processes on life in the coastal zone and on traditional fishing grounds are virtually unknown. Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, urge to focus our attention on the ecological consequences of coastal erosion in the January issue of the journal Nature Climate Change. According to the scientists, an interdisciplinary research program is required, and must involve policy-makers as well as inhabitants of the Arctic coasts right from the onset.

What Satellites Can Tell Us About How Animals Will Fare in a Changing Climate
December 27, 2016 07:37 AM - NASA

From the Arctic to the Mojave Desert, terrestrial and marine habitats are rapidly changing. These changes impact animals that are adapted to specific ecological niches, sometimes displacing them or reducing their numbers. From their privileged vantage point, satellites are particularly well-suited to observe habitat transformation and help scientists forecast impacts on the distribution, abundance and migration of animals.

High-Severity Wildfires Complicate Natural Regeneration for California Conifers
December 21, 2016 10:46 AM - University of California - Davis

A study spanning 10 national forests and 14 burned areas in California found that conifer seedlings were found in less than 60 percent of the study areas five to seven years after fire. Of the nearly 1,500 plots surveyed, 43 percent showed no natural conifer regeneration at all.

High-Severity Wildfires Complicate Natural Regeneration for California Conifers
December 21, 2016 10:46 AM - University of California - Davis

A study spanning 10 national forests and 14 burned areas in California found that conifer seedlings were found in less than 60 percent of the study areas five to seven years after fire. Of the nearly 1,500 plots surveyed, 43 percent showed no natural conifer regeneration at all.

Studying the distant past in the Galapagos Islands
December 20, 2016 02:41 PM - University of Colorado at Boulder

The Galápagos Islands are home to a tremendous diversity of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. But why this is, and when it all began, remains something of an open question. Now scientists may have at least one more piece of the puzzle. According to a new study out today in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, the geologic formation of one particular part of the archipelago--the part responsible for the huge biodiversity--formed, approximately 1.6 million years ago.

Studying the distant past in the Galapagos Islands
December 20, 2016 02:41 PM - University of Colorado at Boulder

The Galápagos Islands are home to a tremendous diversity of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. But why this is, and when it all began, remains something of an open question. Now scientists may have at least one more piece of the puzzle. According to a new study out today in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, the geologic formation of one particular part of the archipelago--the part responsible for the huge biodiversity--formed, approximately 1.6 million years ago.

The Deepwater Horizon Aftermath
December 20, 2016 08:31 AM - University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Researchers analyze 125 compounds from oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico to determine their longevity at different contamination levels.

The oil discharged into the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) rig in 2010 contaminated more than 1,000 square miles of seafloor. The complexity of the event has made it difficult for scientists to determine the long-term fate of oil in this ocean environment.

Americans believe climate change connected to location and local weather
December 20, 2016 07:28 AM - George Washington University

A new study finds local weather may play an important role in Americans’ belief in climate change. The study, published on Monday, found that Americans’ belief that the earth is warming is related to the frequency of weather-related events they experience, suggesting that local changes in their climate influence their acceptance of this worldwide phenomenon. 

“One of the greatest challenges to communicating scientific findings about climate change is the cognitive disconnect between local and global events,” said Michael Mann, associate professor of geography at George Washington University and co-author of the paper. “It is easy to assume that what you experience at home must be happening elsewhere.”

Arctic lakes thawing earlier each year
December 19, 2016 12:41 PM - University of Southampton

Scientists from the University of Southampton have found Arctic lakes, covered with ice during the winter months, are melting earlier each spring.

The team, who monitored 13,300 lakes using satellite imagery, have shown that on average ice is breaking up one day earlier per year, based on a 14-year period between 2000 and 2013. Their findings are published in the Nature journal 'Scientific Reports'.

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