Ecosystems

First Hookworm Vaccine Passes Brazilian Safety Trial
October 8, 2014 09:33 AM - SciDevNet, SciDevNet

A vaccine for parasitic intestinal worms has been shown to be safe in Brazilian clinical trials, according to its US developer. Hookworm parasites infect more than 600 million people worldwide, attaching themselves to the intestines to feed on blood. Infection can lead to iron deficiency and capillary damage, and may retard children’s growth and mental development.

Sea Turtles in Hawaii getting tumors and we are the cause
October 7, 2014 08:09 AM - University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

Hawai'i's sea turtles are afflicted with chronic and often lethal tumors caused by consuming non-native algae, "superweeds," along coastlines where nutrient pollution is unchecked. The disease that causes these tumors is considered the leading cause of death in endangered green sea turtles. The new research was just published in the scientific journal PeerJ. Turtles that graze on blooms of invasive seaweeds end up with a diet that is rich in a particular amino acid, arginine, which promotes the virus that creates the tumors. Scientists at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and their NOAA colleague estimate that adult turtles foraging at high-nutrient grazing sites increase their arginine intake 17—26 g daily, up to 14 times the background level.

Fish may not adjust to rising CO2 levels quickly
October 6, 2014 04:29 PM - Oliver Milman The Guardian, Organic Consumers Association

Rising carbon dioxide levels in oceans adversely change the behavior of fish through generations, raising the possibility that marine species may never fully adapt to their changed environment, research has found. The study, published in Nature Climate Change, found that elevated CO2 levels affected fish regardless of whether their parents had also experienced the same environment.

Does the public trust what scientists say?
October 6, 2014 03:58 PM - Princeton University

If scientists want the public to trust their research suggestions, they may want to appear a bit "warmer," according to a new review published by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The review, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), shows that while Americans view scientists as competent, they are not entirely trusted. This may be because they are not perceived to be friendly or warm.

How Air Pollution Affects River-Flow
October 6, 2014 10:13 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

Air pollution has had a significant impact on the amount of water flowing through many rivers in the northern hemisphere, according to the results of a new study. The paper shows how pollution, known as aerosols, can have an impact on the natural environment and highlights the importance of considering these factors in assessments of future climate change.

Lawrence Livermore finds ocean warming underestimated by past analyses
October 6, 2014 07:32 AM - Anne M Stark, LLNL

Using satellite observations and a large suite of climate models, Lawrence Livermore scientists have found that long-term ocean warming in the upper 700 meters of Southern Hemisphere oceans has likely been underestimated. "This underestimation is a result of poor sampling prior to the last decade and limitations of the analysis methods that conservatively estimated temperature changes in data-€sparse regions," said LLNL oceanographer Paul Durack, lead author of a paper appearing in the October 5 issue of the journal Nature Climate Change.

Sediment from melting Greenland glaciers visible in satellite images
October 3, 2014 08:52 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The glaciers on Greenland are melting, and this is releasing visible plumes of sediments to surrounding waters. NASA has released some new images showing these plumes. Toward the end of the 21st century, melting from the Greenland Ice Sheet could result in global sea level rise of 4-21 centimeters (2-8 inches), according to the Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Toward refining that estimate, some scientists are taking a close look at the colorful plumes that pepper the ocean around Greenland's perimeter. About half of the mass lost from the Greenland Ice Sheet is from icebergs calving from glaciers; the other half is lost via meltwater runoff either from the top of the ice or from below (subglacial). According to Vena Chu of University of California, Los Angeles, one of the biggest science questions relating to the ice sheet is: what is the contribution to sea level rise from meltwater?

No longer able to find sea ice, walruses turn to land
October 2, 2014 09:24 AM - Morgan Erickson-Davis, MONGABAY.COM

A mass of thousands of walruses were spotted hauled up on land in northwest Alaska during NOAA aerial surveys earlier this week. An estimated 35,000 occupied a single beach — a record number illustrating a trend in an unnatural behavior scientists say is due to global warming. Walruses (Odobenus rosmarus)—iconic arctic mammals that are only distantly related to seals—traditionally use sea ice to rest, breed, and give birth, and as a vantage from which to spot mollusks and other food sources. However, as their habitat warms and sea ice melts, walruses are forced to come to land more often and in greater numbers.

Dog waste contaminates our waterways
October 1, 2014 10:50 AM - American Chemical Society

Americans love their dogs, but they don't always love to pick up after them. And that's a problem. Dog feces left on the ground wash into waterways, sometimes carrying bacteria — including antibiotic-resistant strains — that can make people sick. Now scientists have developed a new genetic test to figure out how much dogs are contributing to this health concern, according to a report in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Yellowstone Aspen recovering thanks to the Wolves
October 1, 2014 08:47 AM - Oregon State University

Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park is undergoing dramatic shifts with consequences that are beginning to return the landscape to conditions not seen in nearly a century, according to a series of new studies. In the park's northeast section, elk have decreased in number in their historic winter range in the Lamar Valley and are now more numerous outside the park. This change in elk numbers and distribution can be traced back to the reintroduction of wolves in 1995-96. Scientists have hypothesized that wolves affect both the numbers and the behavior of elk, thereby reducing the impact of browsing on vegetation, a concept known as a "trophic cascade."

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