Ecosystems

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.

Germans and Spain warn EU on renewables plan
January 15, 2008 08:32 AM - Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Germany and Spain have warned the European Commission that an ambitious plan to boost the use of renewable energy sources, due to be unveiled next week, could be counter-productive and wreck existing successful schemes.

Nepal to run breeding centre to save vultures
January 15, 2008 12:46 AM - Reuters

Of the eight species of vultures found in Nepal, the white-rumped and slender-billed vultures are categorized as critically endangered.

Antarctica lost more ice in last 10 years: study
January 14, 2008 03:06 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Antarctica lost billions of tons of ice over the last decade, contributing to the rising seas around the world, a climate researcher said on Monday. The ice melted from two particular parts of the southern continent, according to Eric Rignot and colleagues, who wrote about the phenomenon in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Sierra Leone bans timber exports
January 14, 2008 10:22 AM - Reuters

Sierra Leone's government has banned the exportation of timber after "indiscriminate destruction" by Chinese and other foreign businessmen, a senior official said on Monday. Hassan Mohammed, deputy director of the forestry ministry, said Chinese loggers had wreaked havoc in the savannahs of northern Sierra Leone by chopping down fire-resistant trees for export.

Conflict in Sri Lanka Slows Tsunami Rebuilding
January 14, 2008 09:48 AM - , Worldwatch Institute

This Christmas marked the third anniversary of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004. While reconstruction has inched forward in the affected countries, in Sri Lanka, one of the hardest-hit areas, progress remains challenging. Unlike Indonesia’s Aceh province, which in the disaster’s aftermath was able to overcome a decades-long armed conflict, Sri Lanka actually lapsed back into internal fighting a little more than a year after the waves struck.

Antarctic ice loss increasing steadily
January 14, 2008 09:29 AM - University of Bristol

Increasing amounts of ice mass have been lost from West Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula over the past ten years, according to research from the University of Bristol and published online this week in Nature Geoscience. Meanwhile the ice mass in East Antarctica has been roughly stable, with neither loss nor accumulation over the past decade.

Britain Readies Itself for Future Jellyfish Attacks
January 13, 2008 11:19 AM -

After a massive swarm of mauve stinger jellyfish wiped out £1 million worth of salmon in a Northern Ireland fish farm, the British government has launched emergency measures to protect their citizens from the purple creatures. The government fears the swarms of jellyfish could return to British waters at any time, and they’re funding new scientific studies and programs to help prevent another catastrophe.

Beijing car ownership soars along with traffic woes
January 13, 2008 06:25 AM - Reuters

More than 400,000 new cars hit the roads in China's capital in 2006, state media said on Monday, or more than 1,000 a day, snarling Beijing's efforts to control the city's notorious traffic ahead of the 2008 Olympics. Beijing authorities expect the number of cars in the city to continue to grow by about 10 percent a year for the forseeable future, Xinhua news agency reported.

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