Ecosystems

Invasive Carp Look for Love in all the Right Places
March 13, 2015 03:53 PM - Victoria Van Cappellen, University of Waterloo

If you’re looking for love and there are ten bars in town, your chance of meeting someone is 10 per cent.  In a town with only one bar, your odds are 100 per cent. The same thing happens in nature and is called landmarking. Butterflies and other species find mates by gathering at easily identifiable locations such as the tallest tree or mountain.

Why post-fire logging is important
March 12, 2015 09:21 AM - US Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station

Harvesting fire-killed trees is an effective way to reduce woody fuels for up to four decades following wildfire in dry coniferous forests, a U.S. Forest Service study has found.

Warm Winter in Pacific Northwest means less snowpack and water worries
March 11, 2015 07:42 AM - Oregon State University

If it seemed like Oregon has had a lot of unseasonably warm days this winter, well, it’s because we have. Now the focus is on a very low snowpack – and the implications that may have later this year.

The meteorological winter – which is comprised of December, January and February – recently wrapped up and depending on where you live in Oregon, it was one of the warmest – if not the warmest – winters on record.

Wetland restoration can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions
March 10, 2015 03:31 PM - University of Gothenburg

Restoration of wetlands can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is shown in a report that has been written in part by researchers from the University of Gothenburg. Former wetlands that have been drained and which are currently used for forestry and agriculture give off 11.4 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. That can be compared with Sweden's total emissions of 57.6 million tons (when the land use sector is not included). But in Sweden's report to the Climate Convention, emissions from drained peatland are not visible since they are included with forest growth.

CO2 increase may intensify future droughts in tropics
March 9, 2015 03:37 PM - University of Texas at Austin via EurekAlert!

A new study suggests that increases in atmospheric CO2 could intensify extreme droughts in tropical and subtropical regions -- such as Australia, the southwest and central United States, and southern Amazonia -- at much a faster rate than previously anticipated, explains University of Texas at Austin professor Rong Fu in a commentary in the March 9 edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Is rain dependent on soil moisture?
March 6, 2015 03:16 PM - Inken De Wit, ETH Zurich

It rains in summer most frequently when the ground holds a lot of moisture. However, precipitation is most likely to fall in regions where the soil is comparatively dry. This is the conclusion reached by researchers at ETH Zurich following an analysis of worldwide data. Their study contributes to a better understanding of soil moisture, a little explored climatic factor.

What's a fish native to Japan doing in the ocean off the coast of Oregon?
March 6, 2015 08:07 AM - Oregon State University

A team of scientists from Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is studying an unusual fish captured alive in a crab pot near Port Orford this week called a striped knifejaw that is native to Japan, as well as China and Korea.

The appearance in Oregon waters of the fish (Oplegnathus fasciatus), which is sometimes called a barred knifejaw or striped beakfish, may or may not be related to the Japanese tsunami of 2011, the researchers say, and it is premature to conclude that this non-native species may be established in Oregon waters.

But its appearance and survival certainly raises questions, according to OSU’s John Chapman, an aquatic invasive species specialist at the university’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

Urban expansion could greatly increase flood risks
March 5, 2015 02:07 PM - Texas A&M University

A heads-up to New York, Baltimore, Houston and Miami: a new study suggests that these metropolitan areas and others will increase their exposure to floods even in the absence of climate change, according to researchers from Texas A&M University. The study presents first-ever global forecasts of how the exposure of urban land to floods and droughts may change due to urban expansion in the near future. In 2000, about 30 percent of the global urban land (over 75,000 square miles) was located in the high-frequency flood zones; by 2030, this will reach nearly 40 percent (280,000 square miles) as the global urban land grows from 250,000 square miles to 720,000 square miles, the authors say.

University of Oxford finds trees inhale less carbon when they are drought - impacted
March 5, 2015 07:34 AM - University of Oxford

For the first time, an international research team has provided direct evidence of the rate at which individual trees in the Amazonian basin 'inhale' carbon from the atmosphere during a severe drought. 

The researchers measured the growth and photosynthesis rates of trees at 13 rainforest plots across Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, comparing plots that were affected by the strong drought of 2010 with unaffected plots. They found that while growth rates of the trees in drought-affected plots were unchanged, the rate of photosynthesis – by which trees convert carbon into energy to fuel their activities – slowed down by around 10 percent over six months. Their paper, published in the journal, Nature, concludes that trees may be channelling their more limited energy reserves into growth rather than maintaining their own health. Computer simulations of the biosphere have predicted such responses to drought, but these are the first direct observations of this effect across tropical forests.  

Amazon deforestation 'threshold' causes species loss to accelerate
March 4, 2015 03:32 PM - University of Cambridge

One of the largest area studies of forest loss impacting biodiversity shows that a third of the Amazon is headed toward or has just past a threshold of forest cover below which species loss is faster and more damaging. Researchers call for conservation policy to switch from targeting individual landowners to entire regions.

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