Ecosystems

Fishing nations urged to protect newly discovered cold-water corals
September 11, 2007 07:59 AM - WWF

A new WWF study assesses the impact of fishing on three fragile coldwater coral “hotspots” off the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, providing the scientific basis for Canadian and European governments to protect sensitive coral habitat in the Northwest Atlantic. Based on scientific surveys by Canadian researchers, the study — Cold-water corals off New Foundland and Labrador: Distribution and fisheries impacts — illustrates the distribution of corals and assesses coral bycatch (where fishing gear becomes accidentally entangled in corals) in the six most common deep-water-fisheries off Newfoundland and Labrador.

Grays Whales Starving As Food Supply Dwindles
September 11, 2007 07:38 AM - Seth Borenstein -Associated Press

One of the great success stories of the ocean, the return of the Pacific gray whale, may have been based on a miscalculation, scientists reported Monday in a study based on whale genetics. What was assumed to be a thriving whale population actually is at times starving from a dwindling food supply, said study co-author Stephen Palumbi, a Stanford University marine sciences professor. And global warming is a chief suspect.

Overweight Trucks Damage Infrastructure
September 11, 2007 07:32 AM - Aprol Castro -Associated Press

More than a half-million overweight trucks are allowed onto the nation's roads and bridges - an increasingly routine practice that some officials say is putting dangerous wear and tear on an already groaning infrastructure.

Water Fleas Spreading In Wisconsin Lakes
September 10, 2007 03:22 PM - Jill Sakai, University of Wisconsin

WISCONSIN - The spiny water flea, a small but aggressive aquatic invasive species, has made its way into another of Wisconsin's lakes, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers reported last week. The spiny water flea, an aquatic invasive species with a barbed spine twice as long as its body, has infested two inland lakes in Wisconsin. Spread from lake to lake by boaters, it may negatively impact native lake ecosystems by preying on native species and competing with young fish for food.

Libya Creates World's Largest Sustainable Development
September 10, 2007 11:06 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Libya - Libya today announced the creation of an unprecedented sustainable development on its beautiful northern Mediterranean coast. The massive project includes a world class sustainable resort and spa, extensive wind and solar on the coast and desert area, growth of biofuel crops, closed loop water systems, sustainable transportation, housing, and the creation of a huge national ecological parkland that includes protection of the Mediterranean ocean and incorporates Tripoli and other cities. The 5,500 square kilometer development, called Green Mountain, covers an area that is home to diverse animal and plant species and historic and archaeologically rich sites.

Strong 6.8 earthquake hits Colombia west coast
September 10, 2007 08:24 AM - Reuters

A strong 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit near the west coast of Colombia on Sunday night, the U.S. Geological Survey said, but local authorities said there were no immediate reports of serious damage.

Crews Work to Contain Fire in Sierras
September 10, 2007 07:56 AM - Associated Press

Crews worked through the night to fight a wildfire that has blackened 62,000 acres in the northeast Sierra Nevada and was only 15 percent contained.Shifting winds sent smoke from the growing wildfire heading back toward the San Joaquin Valley and San Francisco Bay area Sunday, authorities said.

Study: Asteroid Breakup Likely Cause Of Mass Earth Extinction
September 9, 2007 12:49 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Boulder, Colo. — New research says it started as an asteroid vs. asteroid collision and breakup far above earth, and got worse from there, with large chunks eventually striking earth and the moon. After years of analysis and computer modeling, scientists now believe the impact that wiped out dinosaurs and other life forms on Earth some 65 million years ago began with a breakup event in the main asteroid belt. A joint U.S.-Czech team from Southwest Research Institute and Charles University in Prague thinks the parent object of asteroid (298) Baptistina broke up when it was hit by another large asteroid.

More CO2, Plants Less Thirsty, Rivers Higher
September 9, 2007 12:15 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

University of Exeter, UK - Rising carbon dioxide levels will increase river levels in the future, according to a team of scientists from the Met Office Hadley Centre, the University of Exeter and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. The findings, published on 30 August 2007 in the journal Nature, suggest that increasing carbon dioxide will cause plants to extract less water from the soil, leaving more water to drain into rivers which will add to the river flow increases already expected due to climate change.

In A Warmer World, Birch Trees Will Edge Out Aspens
September 9, 2007 12:03 PM - University of Michigan News

ANN ARBOR, Michigan — Birches will likely drive out many aspens in northern forests as mounting levels of carbon dioxide force the trees to compete more fiercely for soil nutrients in the coming decades, a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues have concluded. Carbon dioxide is emitted when fossil fuels are burned, and it's a heat-trapping gas blamed for global warming. But rising carbon dioxide levels also have a fertilizing effect on trees and other plants, making them grow faster than they normally would.

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