Ecosystems

Pope Leads Church's First Eco-Friendly Rally
September 1, 2007 06:28 PM - Philip Pullella, Reuters

LORETO, Italy - Pope Benedict on Saturday led the Catholic Church's first eco-friendly youth rally -- where nearly everything used was biodegradable or recyclable -- and urged his young listeners to shun "disposable love." The 80-year-old Pope told the young people, estimated by organizers at some 300,000, to dare to change the world and search for lasting, meaningful relationships.

California Limits Water Supply To Protect Endangered Animals
September 1, 2007 05:04 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A U.S. District Court has ordered a massive reduction in water supplies from the state's two largest water delivery systems to protect an endangered fish species, the Delta smelt. The reduction is anticipated to last while federal agencies develop a revised federal biological opinion for Delta smelt that will ensure the projects' compliance with Endangered Species Act requirements.

Biosensors To Probe The Metals Menace
September 1, 2007 12:06 PM - CRC CARE

If the pond life goes star-shaped, you’d be wise not to drink the water. Researchers from CRC CARE are pioneering a world-first technology to warn people if their local water or air is contaminated with dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals and metal-like substances.

Looking for Life in and Under Antarctic Ice
September 1, 2007 11:55 AM - LSU

If confirmed, "immortal cells" could prove potential for life on Mars and Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons; Antarctica is home to the largest body of ice on Earth. Prior to approximately 10 years ago, no one thought that life could exist beneath the Antarctic ice sheets, which can be more than two miles thick in places, because conditions were believed to be too extreme. However, Brent Christner, assistant professor of biological sciences at LSU, has spent a great deal of time in one of the world’s most hostile environments conducting research that proves otherwise.

ENN Focus: Bottom Trawling.
September 1, 2007 07:54 AM - ENN -Lawrence Norton

Today's trawlers are capable of fishing deep-sea canyons and rough seafloor that was once avoided for fear of damaging nets. To capture one or two target commercial species, deep-sea bottom trawl fishing vessels drag huge nets armed with steel plates and heavy rollers across the seabed, plowing up and pulverizing everything in their path. For a few commercial target species, thousands of tons of coral are hauled up only to be thrown back dead or dying, along with huge quantities of unwanted bycatch. In a matter of a few weeks or months, bottom trawl fishing can destroy what took many thousands of years to create.

Scientists At MIT Unraveling The Secrets Of Red Tide
August 31, 2007 06:49 PM - Anne Trafton, MIT

Cambridge, Mass. - In work that could one day help prevent millions of dollars in economic losses for seaside communities, MIT chemists have demonstrated how tiny marine organisms likely produce the red tide toxin that periodically shuts down U.S. beaches and shellfish beds. In the Aug. 31 cover story of Science, the MIT team describes an elegant method for synthesizing the lethal components of red tides. The researchers believe their method approximates the synthesis used by algae, a reaction that chemists have tried for decades to replicate, without success.

NASA Study: Stronger But Fewer Storms
August 31, 2007 06:36 PM - NASA

WASHINGTON - NASA scientists have developed a new climate model that indicates that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common as Earth's climate warms. Previous climate model studies have shown that heavy rainstorms will be more common in a warmer climate, but few global models have attempted to simulate the strength of updrafts in these storms. The model developed at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies is the first to successfully simulate the observed difference in strength between land and ocean storms and is the first to estimate how the strength will change in a warming climate, including "severe thunderstorms" that also occur with significant wind shear and produce damaging winds at the ground.

Hotter Earth Implicated In Tropical Rainfall Rise
August 31, 2007 05:06 PM - Katherine Nightingale, Reuters

Washington DC - Rising global temperatures could be changing rainfall levels in the tropics, according to researchers. Scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center in the United States analysed the global rainfall record from 1979 to the present, logged by the Global Precipitation Climatology Project. They found that while there has been no overall global change, rainfall over oceans in tropical latitudes increased by five per cent over the period and decreased by one per cent over land — a total increase of four per cent for the entire tropics. The year 2005 saw the highest amount of rainfall on record over both tropical land and ocean. Two-thirds of all rain globally falls in the tropics. The study was published in the August edition of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate.

National Hurricane Center: Tropical Depression 6 Has Formed In Atlantic
August 31, 2007 02:28 PM - Reuters

NEW YORK - A well-organized tropical wave in the Atlantic Ocean about 250 miles east of the Windward Islands has formed into a tropical depression, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said late today. The NHC sent an Air Force hurricane hunter airplane to investigate the system early this afternoon to confirm if a depression had formed. It would be the sixth tropical depression of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season.

LSU professor looks for life in and under antarctic ice
August 31, 2007 02:01 PM - Louisiana State University

Antarctica is home to the largest body of ice on Earth. Prior to approximately 10 years ago, no one thought that life could exist beneath the Antarctic ice sheets, which can be more than two miles thick in places, because conditions were believed to be too extreme. However, Brent Christner, assistant professor of biological sciences at LSU, has spent a great deal of time in one of the world’s most hostile environments conducting research that proves otherwise. Christner’s discoveries of viable microbes in ancient ice cores and subglacial environments coupled with the realization that large quantities of liquid water exist beneath the Antarctic ice sheet have changed the way biologists view life in Antarctica.

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