Ecosystems

El NiƱo resulted in unprecedented erosion of the Pacific coastline, according to research
February 14, 2017 11:39 AM - Julie Cohen

Last winter’s El Niño might have felt weak to residents of Southern California, but it was in fact one of the most powerful climate events of the past 145 years.

Important to maintain a diversity of habitats in the sea
February 14, 2017 10:58 AM - University of Gothenburg

Researchers from University of Gothenburg and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) show that both species diversity and habitat diversity are critical to understand the functioning of ecosystems.

Important to maintain a diversity of habitats in the sea
February 14, 2017 10:58 AM - University of Gothenburg

Researchers from University of Gothenburg and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) show that both species diversity and habitat diversity are critical to understand the functioning of ecosystems.

Marine bacteria produce an environmentally important molecule with links to climate
February 13, 2017 06:00 PM - University of East Anglia

Scientists from the University of East Anglia and Ocean University China have discovered that tiny marine bacteria can synthesise one of the Earth’s most abundant sulfur molecules, which affects atmospheric chemistry and potentially climate.

This molecule, dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is an important nutrient for marine microorganisms and is the major precursor for the climate-cooling gas, dimethyl sulfide (DMS).

Desert Songbirds May Face Expanding Threat of Lethal Dehydration
February 13, 2017 04:13 PM - Janet Lathrop

AMHERST, Mass – A new study of songbird dehydration and survival risk during heat waves in the United States desert Southwest suggests that some birds are at risk of lethal dehydration and mass die-offs when water is scarce, and the risk is expected to increase as climate change advances.  

Banned chemicals from the 70s found in deepest reaches of the ocean
February 13, 2017 12:29 PM - Newcastle University

A study, led by Newcastle University’s Dr Alan Jamieson has uncovered the first evidence that man-made pollutants have now reached the farthest corners of our earth.

Long-term impacts of deep-sea mineral mining
February 13, 2017 10:19 AM - National Oceanography Centre

A new international study has demonstrated that deep-sea nodule mining will cause long-lasting damage to deep-sea life. This study, led by scientists at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), was the first to review all the available information on the impacts of small-scale sea-floor disturbances simulating mining activity. It found clear impacts on marine ecosystems from deep-sea nodule mining activities, which lasted at least for decades.

A warm relationship between corals and bacteria
February 10, 2017 02:48 PM - KAUST University of Science and Technology

Bacteria in certain microbiomes appear to help corals adapt to higher water temperatures and protect against bleaching, as shown by a KAUST-led research team.

Gas Hydrate Breakdown Unlikely to Cause Massive Greenhouse Gas Release
February 10, 2017 02:03 PM - US Geological Survey

A recent interpretive review of scientific literature performed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Rochester sheds light on the interactions of gas hydrates and climate.

The breakdown of methane hydrates due to warming climate is unlikely to lead to massive amounts of methane being released to the atmosphere, according to a recent interpretive review of scientific literature performed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Rochester.

Methane hydrate, which is also referred to as gas hydrate, is a naturally-occurring, ice-like form of methane and water that is stable within a narrow range of pressure and temperature conditions.  These conditions are mostly found in undersea sediments at water depths greater than 1000 to 1650 ft and in and beneath permafrost (permanently frozen ground) at high latitudes. Methane hydrates are distinct from conventional natural gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane reservoirs and are not currently exploited for energy production, either in the United States or the rest of the world. 

Evidence of Sea-level Change in Southeast Asia 6,000 Years Ago Has Implications for Today's Coastal Dwellers, Rutgers Study Finds
February 10, 2017 11:14 AM - Rutgers University

For the 100 million people who live within 3 feet of sea level in East and Southeast Asia, the news that sea level in their region fluctuated wildly more than 6,000 years ago is important, according to research published by a team of ocean scientists and statisticians, including Rutgers professors Benjamin Horton and Robert Kopp and Rutgers Ph.D. student Erica Ashe. That’s because those fluctuations occurred without the assistance of human-influenced climate change.

In a paper published in Nature Communications, Horton, Kopp, Ashe, lead author Aron Meltzner and others report that the relative sea level around Belitung Island in Indonesia rose twice just under 2 feet in the period from 6,850 years ago to 6,500 years ago. That this oscillation took place without any human-assisted climate change suggests to Kopp, Horton and their co-authors that such a change in sea level could happen again now, on top of the rise in sea level that is already projected to result from climate change. This could be catastrophic for people living so close to the sea.

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