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Falling fruit: A global collaborative foraging map
November 1, 2013 08:58 AM - Ruth Stokes, The Ecologist
Foraging for fruit just got easier, with a map bringing together foraging data around the world. Thought to be the first effort on such a large scale, Falling Fruit is a massive, collaborative urban harvesting map that aims to reduce waste while reconnecting people to their environments. Around 500 species are currently shown on the map, across locations as diverse as Australia, India, Mauritius, Israel and the Netherlands. It's just launched in the UK, collating more than 30 isolated maps from across Britain.
Wind Turbine Arrangement: Staggering Results
October 31, 2013 03:48 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Location and organization apparently matters after all! Or at least that is what Cristina Archer, Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware has discovered with regard to wind turbine efficiency. Dr. Archer headed up a team of researchers from UD's College of Earth, Ocean and Environment to conduct studies on the effects of various wind turbine organizational placement patterns. Using a wind farm near Sweden for the basis of their study, they compared existing tightly paced, grid-like layouts to six alternate configurations. They tried multiple spacing distances in various styles of rows: straight arrays, linear but equal offsets and a staggered theatre style where any turbine in front does not obstruct the view from any one behind.
Climate change to disrupt soil nutrients in drylands
October 31, 2013 11:36 AM - Jan Piotrowski, SciDevNet
The increased aridity expected this century as a result of change may disrupt the balance of key soil nutrients with a knock-on effect on soil fertility threatening livelihoods of more than two billion people, a study finds. The drop in nitrogen and carbon concentrations that occurs as soils become dryer could have serious effects on ecosystem services such as food, carbon storage and biodiversity, according to the Nature paper published today.
Rising Summer Temperatures Threaten Eastern Siberia
October 30, 2013 12:24 PM - Editor, ENN
The high cliffs of Eastern Siberia, have been eroding at a relatively fast pace which researchers are attributing to rising summer temperatures in the Russian permafrost regions as well as the retreat of the Arctic sea ice. In an effort to understand permafrost erosion, researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research have evaluated data and aerial photographs of Eastern Siberia coastal regions for the last 40 years.
The Great Latex Defense
October 30, 2013 10:48 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Latex from plants is a naturally occurring white opaque sap that emanates from a plant's point of damage. About 10% of plants use Latex as a method of defense. Latex is also an essential ingredient in natural rubber. But different plants use latex in different ways. Researchers at the University of Oxford wanted to understand the mechanical properties of natural latex in relation to their respective defense application. As a result, researchers tested two latex producing plant species that use it differently: the Euphorbia and the Ficus.
Lions under pressure in Uganda
October 30, 2013 06:38 AM - Wildlife Conservation Society
Conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of St. Andrews warn that Uganda’s African lions—a mainstay of the country's tourism industry and a symbol of Africa—are on the verge of disappearing from the country's national parks. According to the results of a recent survey, African lions in Uganda have decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years in some areas of the country, mostly the result of poisoning by local cattle herders, retaliations for livestock predation, and other human-related conflicts. The downward trend in lion numbers has conservationists concerned about the species' long-term chances in the country, often described as the "Pearl of Africa" for its natural wonders.
Sandy’s path of destruction felt in the Caribbean too
October 29, 2013 04:17 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Last year at this time much of the United States eastern seaboard was closely monitoring Super Storm Sandy. Hour by hour people watched with horror as she blew across the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas ultimately charging up the Atlantic, swinging west to crash into the Mid-Atlantic states at full force. Damage to New York and New Jersey was extensive to be sure, but the larger populations and greater affluence to the north have largely overshadowed recovery of the Caribbean nations.
Mercury Sediment Carried Forth by California Floods
October 29, 2013 01:59 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Mercury contamination in sediment has been a big concern in the Central Valley lowland areas of California. But associate researcher from the University of California, Michael Singer has unearthed new information and considerations utilizing modern topographic datasets and modeling to track mercury-laden sediment. Singer hypothesizes that the progradation process resulting from 10-year flooding events within the valleys below the Sierra Nevada Mountains are the key to understanding and tracking the presence of mercury. Singer has connected the mercury amalgamation process, which was used to extract gold from the mountains during the 19th century with the current high incidence of mercury in regional delta sediment.
Researchers link melting Arctic Sea ice to increased summer rainfall in Northwest Europe
October 29, 2013 10:54 AM - Editor, ENN
A new report conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter offers insight into why Northwest Europe experienced extraordinarily wet summers between 2007 and 2012, stating that melting sea ice and changes with the jet stream are to blame for these soggier summers. Jet streams are currents of strong winds high in the atmosphere that steer weather systems and their rain. Normally in summer the jet stream lies between Scotland and Iceland and weather systems pass north of Britain. However, the jet stream has shifted south in recent summers, bringing unseasonable wet weather to Britain and northwest Europe. The cause for the jet stream shift is being attributed to the loss of Arctic sea ice.
October 28, 2013 10:36 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Anthony Martin, paleontologist at Emory University in Atlanta, GA recently discovered two fossilized footprints presumably made by a landing bird during the Early Cretaceous period at Dinosaur Cove in Victoria, Australia. This discovery marks the oldest known bird tracks in Australia.