Ecosystems

Fish Shrinking as Ocean Temperatures Rise
October 4, 2017 04:11 PM - Louisiana State University

One of the most economically important fish is shrinking in body weight, length and overall physical size as ocean temperatures rise, according to new research by LSU Boyd Professor R. Eugene Turner published today. The average body size of Menhaden — a small, silver fish — caught off the coasts from Maine to Texas — has shrunk by about 15 percent over the past 65 years.

In Times of Climate Change: What a Lake's Colour Can Tell About Its Condition
October 4, 2017 08:39 AM - Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB)

With the help of satellite observations from 188 lakes worldwide, scientists at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) have shown that the warming of large lakes amplifies their colour. Lakes which are green due to their high phytoplankton content tend to become greener in warm years as phytoplankton content increases. Clear, blue lakes with little phytoplankton, on the other hand, tend to become even bluer in warm years caused by declines in phytoplankton. Thus, contrary to previous assumptions, the warming of lakes tends to amplify their richness or poverty of phytoplankton.

To Breed or Not to Breed? Migratory Female Butterflies Face a Monsoonal Dilemma
October 3, 2017 10:28 AM - National Centre for Biological Sciences

What do CPUs, stockbrokers, and butterflies have in common? They are good at investing their resources in the right place at the right time so as to maximize their returns! Trade-offs are a way of life for butterflies and other small insects that must budget their energy between numerous morphological features and activities during their short lifespans. Time, food, and space are always at a premium, and optimizing resource use is particularly important for migratory butterflies that must prepare for arduous journeys in uncertain environments. A new study by researchers at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS-TIFR, Bengaluru) reports on butterfly migrations in peninsular India and explores the effect of migration on resource investment strategies of migratory butterflies. It reveals that migration affects the morphology and physiological states of female butterflies much more prominently compared to that of males.

To Breed or Not to Breed? Migratory Female Butterflies Face a Monsoonal Dilemma
October 3, 2017 10:28 AM - National Centre for Biological Sciences

What do CPUs, stockbrokers, and butterflies have in common? They are good at investing their resources in the right place at the right time so as to maximize their returns! Trade-offs are a way of life for butterflies and other small insects that must budget their energy between numerous morphological features and activities during their short lifespans. Time, food, and space are always at a premium, and optimizing resource use is particularly important for migratory butterflies that must prepare for arduous journeys in uncertain environments. A new study by researchers at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS-TIFR, Bengaluru) reports on butterfly migrations in peninsular India and explores the effect of migration on resource investment strategies of migratory butterflies. It reveals that migration affects the morphology and physiological states of female butterflies much more prominently compared to that of males.

Red Sea Gene Pool Follows Water Flow
October 3, 2017 10:00 AM - King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

A collaboration between KAUST and several UK institutes has revealed that surface currents are important pathways for gene flow in the Red Sea, a finding which will help guide marine management programs.

University of Saskatchewan hydrologist Howard Wheater to advise on U.S. national water future
October 3, 2017 08:20 AM - University of Saskatchewan

The panel of leading water science experts is charged with identifying America’s highest-priority water science and resource challenges over the next 25 years, and making recommendations on the strategic water science and research opportunities to address those challenges. It will report its finding in 2018.

“The loss of life and $180-billion damage from Hurricane Harvey is a wake-up call to the U.S. for the need to better manage water-related threats, including risks from climate change. And the hurricane’s effect on rising gas prices in Canada shows the far-reaching impacts of extreme events on the global economy,” said Wheater who attended the panel’s first meeting in Washington this week.

Scientists Find New Source of Radioactivity from Fukushima Disaster
October 2, 2017 04:14 PM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Scientists have found a previously unsuspected place where radioactive material from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster has accumulated—in sands and brackish groundwater beneath beaches up to 60 miles away. The sands took up and retained radioactive cesium originating from the disaster in 2011 and have been slowly releasing it back to the ocean.

“No one is either exposed to, or drinks, these waters, and thus public health is not of primary concern here,” the scientists said in a study published October 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But “this new and unanticipated pathway for the storage and release of radionuclides to the ocean should be taken into account in the management of coastal areas where nuclear power plants are situated.”

 

Stark Evidence: A Warmer World Is Sparking More and Bigger Wildfires
October 2, 2017 02:41 PM - Yale Environment 360

On a single hot, dry day this summer, an astonishing 140 wildfires leapt to life across British Columbia. “Friday, July 7 was just crazy,” says Mike Flannigan, director of the wildland fire partnership at the University of Alberta. A state of emergency was declared. By the end of summer, more than 1,000 fires had been triggered across the Canadian province, burning a record nearly 3 million acres of forest—nearly 10 times the average in British Columbia over the last decade. As the fires got bigger and hotter, even aerial attacks became useless. “It’s like spitting on a campfire,” says Flannigan. “It doesn’t do much other than making a pretty picture for the newspapers.”

Annual Southern Sea Otter Survey: Despite Small Population Dip, Species Moves a Step Closer to Recovery
October 2, 2017 08:05 AM - USGS

According to data released Friday by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners, the three-year average of the total counts of southern sea otters was down from last year’s high, although it still exceeded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting threshold for a second straight year.

Hunt is over for one of the 'Top 50 Most-Wanted Fungi'
September 29, 2017 05:07 PM - DOE / Los Alamos National Laboratory

In a step toward bridging the gap between fungal taxonomy and molecular ecology, scientists from several institutions including Los Alamos National Laboratory have characterized a sample of “mystery” fungus collected in North Carolina and found its home in the fungal tree of life.

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