Nearly 1/3 of world's cacti species facing extinction
October 12, 2015 08:36 AM - University of Exeter

Thirty-one percent of cactus species are threatened with extinction, according to the first comprehensive, global assessment of the species group by IUCN and partners, published today in the journal Nature Plants. 

This places cacti among the most threatened taxonomic groups assessed on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ - more threatened than mammals and birds.

Ecotourism can put wild animals at risk
October 9, 2015 01:59 PM - UCLA Newsroom

Ecotourism, in which travelers visit natural environments with an eye toward funding conservation efforts or boosting local economies, has become increasingly popular in recent years. In many cases it involves close observation of or interaction with wildlife, such as when tourists swim with marine animals. Now, life scientists have analyzed more than 100 research studies on how ecotourism affects wild animals and concluded that such trips can be harmful to the animals, whose behaviors may be altered in ways that put them at risk.

Study of China's Yellow River yields unexpected information about the Earth's climate history
October 9, 2015 08:55 AM - Uppsala University via EurekAlert!

By meticulously examining sediments in China's Yellow River, a Swedish-Chinese research group are showing that the history of tectonic and climate evolution on Earth may need to be rewritten. Their findings are published today in the highly reputed journal Nature Communications.

Chernobyl considered unlikely nature reserve for some species
October 8, 2015 08:47 AM - Steve Williams, Care2

When you think of Chernobyl you probably think along the lines of “nuclear disaster” and a “no-go” area, but new research shows that with humans now absent from the region, several mammal species including wild boar and wolves, are increasing in number in this most unlikely nature reserve.

Arctic butterflies adapt to warming climate by getting smaller
October 7, 2015 06:39 AM - AARHUS UNIVERSITY via EurekAlert!

New research shows that butterflies in Greenland have become smaller in response to increasing temperatures due to climate change. 

It has often been demonstrated that the ongoing rapid climate change in the Arctic region is causing substantial change to Arctic ecosystems. Now Danish researchers demonstrate that a warmer Greenland could be bad for its butterflies, becoming smaller under warmer summers. 

Noise pollution harms wildlife, degrades habitats
October 5, 2015 09:11 AM - Shreya Dasgupta, MONGABAY.COM

Traffic noise is just another inconvenience for many of us. But for wildlife, noise from honking, and zooming vehicles can often be an insidious threat: it can degrade habitats without leaving any physical evidence of change, warns a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Road noise — even in moderate levels — pushes migrating birds away from their stopover habitats, researchers from Boise State University in Idaho found. Those that stay back become weak.

“I was initially surprised that even moderate road noise — comparable to a suburban setting — would have such a wide-ranging impact on migrating birds,” William Laurance, a professor at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, who was not involved in the study, told Mongabay. “On reflection, however, I guess such migrators have to be hyper-vigilent about noise, as they’re constantly moving to new areas where unseen predators could be lurking.”

Evidence confirms volcanic island collapses may trigger mega-tsunamis
October 5, 2015 08:46 AM - Bristol University

A pre-historical sudden collapse of one of the tallest and most active oceanic volcanoes on Earth — Fogo, in the Cape Verde Islands – triggered a mega-tsunami with waves impacting 220 metres (721 feet) above present sea level resulting in catastrophic consequences, according to a new University of Bristol study published in Science Advances.

Can Climate Change alter the shape of the Earth?
October 1, 2015 04:34 PM - University of British Columbia

Climate change is causing more than just warmer oceans and erratic weather. According to scientists, it also has the capacity to alter the shape of the planet.

Heat waves hit heat islands the hardest
October 1, 2015 09:13 AM - University of Wisconsin-Madison

Extreme summers like that of 2012 — which saw record temperatures in cities across the U.S. — may be atypical, but experts say they will return, especially as the planet warms under climate change. And as they do, cities will be especially vulnerable.

New water-tracing technology helps protect groundwater
September 30, 2015 04:18 PM - University of New South Wales via EurekAlert!

UNSW Australia researchers have used new water-tracing technology in the Sydney Basin for the first time to determine how groundwater moves in the different layers of rock below the surface.

The study provides a baseline against which any future impacts on groundwater from mining operations, groundwater abstraction or climate change can be assessed.

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