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A Very Big Dead Zone
June 19, 2013 09:30 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Dead zones are hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world's oceans and large lakes, caused by excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors that deplete the oxygen required to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom water. In the 1970s oceanographers began noting increased instances of dead zones. These occur near inhabited coastlines, where aquatic life is most concentrated. The vast middle portions of the oceans, which naturally have little life, are not considered dead zones. Scientists are expecting a very large dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico and a smaller than average hypoxic level in the Chesapeake Bay this year, based on several NOAA-supported forecast models. NOAA-supported modelers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium are forecasting that this year's Gulf of Mexico hypoxic dead zone will be between 7,286 and 8,561 square miles which could place it among the ten largest recorded. That would range from an area the size of Connecticut, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia combined on the low end to the New Jersey on the upper end. The high estimate would exceed the largest ever reported, 8,481 square miles in 2002.
Hawaii's Fishermen: Scapegoats for Forces Outside their Control
June 19, 2013 09:26 AM - Andrew Burger, Global Warming is Real
Climate change is affecting fisheries in the Western Pacific and around the world, but a host of other factors, including land use, are threatening fisheries and the health and integrity of marine ecosystems. Aiming for sustainable fisheries, marine policymakers, resource managers, fishermen and other stakeholders are increasingly looking to take a more holistic, integrated approach to fisheries management, as evidenced during the latest meeting of the Western Regional Fishery Management Council (WRFMC) meeting, which was held in Oahu. Often blamed for overexploiting fish stocks, local fishermen in Hawaii are keenly aware of external impacts on the health and integrity of marine ecosystems and fish populations. At the latest WRFMC meeting in Honolulu, they argued in support of taking a more comprehensive ecosystems management approach, specifically zooming in on how land use and associated runoff from cities, agriculture and industry are harming marine ecosystems and fisheries.
Dams, The Whole Picture
June 18, 2013 04:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Dams are good for hydroelectric power. But just like figuring how to reduce waste or improve energy efficiency, one has to look at the whole picture and all of the potential media effects. Researchers conclude in a new report that a global push for small hydro-power projects, supported by various nations and also the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, may cause unanticipated and potentially significant losses of habitat and biodiversity.
Aquatic Environment Biodiversity Threatened by Pesticides
June 18, 2013 03:09 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
The use of pesticides have been debated for some time now, as research indicates their use can have a negative effect on the environment. As an agent meant to prevent, destroy or mitigate any pest, pesticides target unwanted plants and animals that can alter ecosystems, cause nuisance, or spread disease. Besides potentially being toxic to humans and other animals, new research conducted by an international team of scientists has revealed that pesticides are responsible for reducing regional biodiversity of invertebrates by up to 42 percent.
The Jet Stream and Greenland
June 18, 2013 08:02 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
There are many dynamics in the world. There are many global phenomena. Add the the jet stream to climate change. Research from the University of Sheffield has shown that unusual changes in atmospheric jet stream circulation caused the exceptional surface melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) in the summer 2012. An international team led by Professor Edward Hanna from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Geography used a computer model simulation (called SnowModel) and satellite data to confirm a record surface melting of the GrIS for at least the last 50 years - when on 11 July 2012, more than 90 percent of the ice-sheet surface melted. This far exceeded the previous surface melt extent record of 52 percent in 2010.
June 17, 2013 05:05 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Jets are quite loud especially if they fly over your home much less for those closer like passengers or those at an airport. When jet-powered passenger aircraft first went into service in the 1950s, their engines were as loud as rock bands. Times have changed, but public dismay over jet noise has not. EurActiv reports from the Paris Air Show. Today’s engines are on average 75% quieter than those produced at the dawn of the jet age. This is the result, manufacturers say, of steady technological improvements that along with more aerodynamic aircraft have reduced the nuisance of flying for passengers and those on the ground.
Memory Loss and Gain
June 17, 2013 08:35 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Would it not be nice to take a pill and regain that elusive memory? We are all forgetful at times and without a clue as to how to get it better. Memory improved in mice injected with a small, drug-like molecule discovered by UCSF San Francisco researchers studying how cells respond to biological stress. The same biochemical pathway the molecule acts on might one day be targeted in humans to improve memory, according to the senior author of the study, Peter Walter, PhD, UCSF professor of biochemistry and biophysics and a Howard Hughes Investigator.
Martian Dry Ice Gliders
June 14, 2013 08:43 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Glaciers move, or flow, downhill due to gravity and the internal deformation of ice on Earth. It is not the same when there is dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide). NASA research indicates hunks of frozen carbon dioxide -- dry ice -- may glide down some Martian sand dunes on cushions of gas similar to miniature hovercraft, plowing furrows as they go. Researchers deduced this process could explain one enigmatic class of gullies seen on Martian sand dunes by examining images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and performing experiments on sand dunes in Utah and California.
Some Invasive Species may be Judged Unfairly
June 14, 2013 06:02 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Non-native species are organisms that have been purposely or accidently introduced to an area outside its original geographic range. Often, these non-native species become invasive where they thrive in their new habitat and can aggressively start to take over the environment by outcompeting some of the native species. This alteration can not only cause harm to the environment, but to the economy as well.
The Flesh of Ancient Fish
June 13, 2013 03:26 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
It is hard to tell from just bones or a fossilized rock what a creature once looked like with muscles. Flesh does not survive well over the eons. Swedish, Australian and French researchers have presented for the first time miraculously preserved musculature of 380 million year old armored fish discovered in north-west Australia. This research will help scientists to better understand how neck and abdominal muscles evolved during the transition from jawless to jawed vertebrates. The scientific paper describing the discovery is published in the journal Science. The team of scientists who studied the fossilized fish was jointly directed by Prof. Kate Trinajstic, Curtin University, Perth, Australia and Prof. Per Erik Ahlberg of Uppsala University Sweden.