Ecosystems

Antidepressants found in fish brains in Great Lakes region
August 31, 2017 02:51 PM - University at Buffalo

Human antidepressants are building up in the brains of bass, walleye and several other fish common to the Great Lakes region, scientists say.

Teachers tackle ocean acidification with the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
August 31, 2017 08:11 AM - NOAA

Ocean acidification can be a daunting topic to cover in the classroom, but for Washington state’s coastal communities, the issue is often personal.

Ocean acidification can be a daunting topic to cover in the classroom, but for Washington state’s coastal communities, the issue is often personal. In 2005, billions of oysters died along the Northwest coast, and NOAA scientist Richard Feeley and other North American scientists have linked this and other shellfish die-offs deaths to falling ocean pH1. According to Washington State’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, Washington’s ocean waters are specifically susceptible to ocean acidification because of coastal upwelling. This brings water that is low in pH and rich in carbon dioxide up from the deep ocean and onto the continental shelf. Ocean acidification, also exacerbated by nutrient runoff and local carbon emissions, threatens Washington’s marine environment, the state and local economies, and tribes.

Soybean rust develops 'rolling' epidemics as spores travel north
August 30, 2017 05:07 PM - UIUC College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences

Although Midwestern soybean growers have yet to experience the brunt of soybean rust, growers in the southern United States are very familiar with the disease. Every year, the fungus slowly moves northward from its winter home in southern Florida and the Gulf Coast states, and eventually reaches Illinois soybean fields—often just before harvest.

Study negates concerns regarding radioactivity in migratory seafood
August 30, 2017 04:23 PM - Virginia Institute of Marine Science

When the Fukushima power plant released large quantities of radioactive materials into nearby coastal waters following Japan’s massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami, it raised concerns as to whether eating contaminated seafood might impair human health—not just locally but across the Pacific.

A new study by an international research team shows that those concerns can now be laid to rest, at least for consumption of meat from migratory marine predators such as tuna, swordfish, and sharks.

Tree's chemistry puts mountain pine beetle in sticky situation
August 30, 2017 08:35 AM - University of Alberta

A University of Alberta forestry professor has cracked a key mystery surrounding the mountain pine beetle.

After studying lodgepole pine trees in the Grande Prairie area that survived a pine beetle attack, U of A professor Nadir Erbilgin and his team discovered certain chemicals in the trees that produce high levels of resin—sticky sap—that overwhelms the insect.

Bahamian Songbirds Disappeared During Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition
August 29, 2017 02:19 PM - University of California – Riverside

Two species of songbirds that once made a home in the Bahamas likely became extinct on the islands because of rising sea levels and a warmer, wetter climate, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Riverside and the University of Florida, Gainesville. The study, which was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, presents a historical view of how climate change and the resulting habitat loss can affect Earth’s biodiversity.

Climate Change Could Cause Fish to Shrink in Size
August 29, 2017 01:55 PM - Yale Environment 360

In the coming decades, warming ocean temperatures could stunt the growth of fish by as much as 30 percent, according to a new study in the journal Global Change Biology.

The main driver behind this decline in size is that warmer water contains less oxygen. As Nexus Media explains, fish are cold-blooded animals and therefore cannot regulate their own body temperatures. So as oceans heat up, a fish’s metabolism accelerates to cope with the rising temperatures and they need more oxygen to sustain their body functions. But fish gills do not grow at the same pace as the rest of their body, resulting in a decline of oxygen supply and in growth.

Climate Change Could Cause Fish to Shrink in Size
August 29, 2017 01:55 PM - Yale Environment 360

In the coming decades, warming ocean temperatures could stunt the growth of fish by as much as 30 percent, according to a new study in the journal Global Change Biology.

The main driver behind this decline in size is that warmer water contains less oxygen. As Nexus Media explains, fish are cold-blooded animals and therefore cannot regulate their own body temperatures. So as oceans heat up, a fish’s metabolism accelerates to cope with the rising temperatures and they need more oxygen to sustain their body functions. But fish gills do not grow at the same pace as the rest of their body, resulting in a decline of oxygen supply and in growth.

Algae Fortifies Coral Reefs in Past and Present
August 29, 2017 01:51 PM - University of Texas At Austin

The Great Barrier Reef, and most other large reefs around the world, owe their bulk in large part to a type of red algae that grows on corals and strengthens them. New research led by Anna Weiss, a Ph.D. candidate at The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences, has found that ancient coral reefs were also bolstered by their bond with red algae, a finding that could help scientists better understand how reefs will respond to climate change.

“Coral reefs as we know them today are a product of that long term coral-coralline algae relationship,” Weiss said. “So if we want to preserve our coral reefs, we need to pay attention to the health of coralline algae as well.”

Caspian Sea evaporating as temperatures rise
August 29, 2017 01:45 PM - American Geophysical Union

Earth’s largest inland body of water has been slowly evaporating for the past two decades due to rising temperatures associated with climate change, a new study finds.

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