Ecosystems

Bangladesh finds dead turtles on beach
January 17, 2008 02:46 AM - Reuters

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh (Reuters) - Bangladesh found at lest 40 dead turtles, some weighing 40 kg pounds) or more, on the beach of the Bay of Bengal over the past week, officials said on Thursday. At least 10 of them were found dead on Thursday.

Lucky Catch: New Techniques Save Sea Birds
January 16, 2008 12:16 PM - via NOAA

Fishing fleets on the high seas of the Atlantic and Pacific from more than 30 countries will now use new ways to avoid accidentally snaring seabirds going after bait on long lines. The new protections are the focus of strong international measures, promoted by NOAA, that go into affect this year. The measures will protect many albatross and seabird species that fly far from land and whose populations are declining faster than most birds around the world, in part due to their incidental catch in fishing long lines used to catch tuna, swordfish and other tuna-like fish.

In the Trenches for Clean Water
January 16, 2008 09:26 AM - Saul Garlick, Global Policy Innovations Program

Water, our most basic need, is poised to be the most baffling challenge of the 21st century. It is being ignored wantonly at a time when more than 1 million people per year die from its scarcity and contamination. Children under age five account for at least 90 percent of water-related deaths. Meanwhile, economic productivity and educational opportunities are lost to illness, leaving millions more in an impoverished state even if they do survive their first five years of life. Access to water is a human right. Yet that statement makes many people uncomfortable. Most in the developed world can hardly imagine water being anything more than a nominal expense that is easily drawn from a faucet. They think, "Surely it is a commodity to be bought and sold. It hardly costs anything, and it is even reusable, so what's the big deal?"

World Bank Pledges to Save Trees... Then Helps Cut Down Amazon Forest.
January 16, 2008 09:20 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

The World Bank has emerged as one of the key backers behind an explosion of cattle ranching in the Amazon, which new research has identified as the greatest threat to the survival of the rainforest. Ranching has grown by half in the last three years, driven by new industrial slaughterhouses which are being constructed in the Amazon basin with the help of the World Bank. The revelation flies in the face of claims from the bank that it is funding efforts to halt deforestation and reduce the massive greenhouse gas emissions it causes.

Starfish strike at coral kingdom

Outbreaks of the notorious crown of thorns starfish now threaten the “coral triangle” – the richest center of coral reef biodiversity on Earth. That’s the finding of recent scientific surveys by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the Wildlife Conservation Society based at the Bronz Zoo, USA.

Starfish outbreak destroying coral reefs in Asia
January 16, 2008 04:18 AM - Reuters

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Outbreaks of the notorious crown of thorns starfish is wreaking havoc in Asia's famous Coral Triangle, where it has destroyed large swathes of coral reefs, scientists in Indonesia and Australia said.

Air pollution at historic highs in China's Guangdong
January 15, 2008 11:37 PM - Reuters

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Air pollution in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong increased markedly last year, with 27 major cities and counties suffering a record number of hazy days, Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday. China's industrial heartland of Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong, recorded an average of 75.7 days of haze in 2007, the highest level since the Communists came to power in 1949 and a "marked increase" over normal years, according to a new report released by Guangdong's meteorological bureau, Xinhua said.

Greenland suffers from extreme ice melt
January 15, 2008 10:32 AM - University of Sheffield

An international team of scientists, led by Dr Edward Hanna at the University of Sheffield, has demonstrated that recent warm summers have caused the most extreme Greenland ice melting in 50 years. The new research provides further evidence of a key impact of global warming and helps scientists place recent satellite observations of Greenland's shrinking ice mass in a longer-term climatic context.

Sea otter study reveals striking variability in diets and feeding strategies
January 15, 2008 09:59 AM - University of California - Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ, CA--Ecologists have long observed that when food becomes scarce, animal populations exploit a wider range of food sources. So scientists studying southern sea otters at different sites in California's coastal waters were not surprised to find that the dietary diversity of the population is higher where food is limited. But this diversity was not reflected in the diets of individual sea otters, which instead showed dietary specialization in response to limited food.

Critically endangered porpoise is focus
January 15, 2008 09:28 AM - NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service

An international research team, including biologists from NOAA's Fisheries Service, reported in the scientific journal Conservation Biology, that the estimated population of vaquita, a porpoise found in the Gulf of California, is likely two years away from reaching such low levels that their rate to extinction will increase and possibly be irreversible. Scientists believe only about 150 vaquita remain.

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