Ecosystems

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.

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.

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