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Land and Sea Predators Create a Similar Ecological Effect on Their Environment
November 12, 2010 09:25 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
In ecology class, students are taught the effects of keystone species, the dominant species in the ecosystem. They are the top dogs, the big fish. The keystone species have a disproportionate effect on their environment and can determine the types and numbers of species in their ecosystem, not just their prey. A recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment shows that this keystone species effect is similar for both terrestrial and ocean-based predators.
November 11, 2010 09:43 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Mount Merapi(literally Mountain of Fire in Indonesian/Javanese), is an active stratovolcano located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548. It has erupted repeatedly this fall. The most recent eruption saw almost 200 killed and more than 360,000 people flee their homes. The Decade Volcanoes refer to the 16 volcanoes identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior as being worthy of particular study in light of their history of large, destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas. Now why do people live near such devastating potential natural disasters?
New Bomb-Sniffing Machine Able to Replace Dog
November 11, 2010 09:37 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Dogs have been used by the humans for many years. Their greatest tool, which has been prized by authorities in particular, is their incredibly sensitive nose. Some experts believe that their sense of smell is 100,000 times better than that of humans. However, their reputation as bomb-sniffers is now being put to the test with the development of a new electronic sensor that is more reliable at detecting explosives.
EPA and US Customs and Border Protection Team Up to Enforce Clean Air Act
November 10, 2010 10:31 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on ensuring that imported vehicles and engines comply with Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements. Such items are commonly imported from foreign countries, such as sports cars, motorcycles, and even electrical generators. These items can now be found on the list with other contraband like drugs and guns.
Arctic Melt and Export
November 10, 2010 10:01 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
A NASA analysis of satellite data has quantified, for the first time, the amount of older and thicker multi-year sea ice lost from the Arctic Ocean due to melting. Since the start of the satellite record in 1979, scientists have observed the continued disappearance of older multi-year sea ice that survives more than one summer melt season. Some scientists suspected that this loss was due entirely to wind pushing the ice out of the Arctic Basin -- a process that scientists refer to as export. Kwok and Cunningham, in their study, show that between 1993 and 2009, a significant amount of multi-year ice - 336 cubic miles) - was lost due to melt, not export.
The Food Chain in the Gulf
November 9, 2010 04:06 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Organisms in a food chain are grouped into trophic levels, based on how many links they are removed from the primary producers. Plants or phytoplankton are in the first trophic level; they are at the base of the food chain. Herbivores (primary consumers) are in the second level. Carnivores (secondary consumers) are in the third. Omnivores are found in the second and third levels. At the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama they decided to track a stable isotope of carbon from the BP oil spill and try and discover how quickly it was being incorporated into the food chain. Dr Monty Graham and his colleagues showed that as the oil approached northern Gulf coastal waters in pulses, there was a dramatic decrease in the carbon isotope weight signature over about a four week period. With all other possible sources of light carbon ruled out, they concluded that oil-carbon entered the plankton food web as micro-organisms fed upon the oil-consuming bacteria.
California’s Air Quality Plan to be Rejected by the EPA
November 9, 2010 09:33 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Yesterday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to disapprove plans developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The air quality plans aimed to bring areas with poor air quality such as the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley into attainment with national health standards for particulate emissions. The fine particulates, known as PM2.5 are notoriously bad in places like Los Angeles and the surrounding area.
New Era of Taxis
November 8, 2010 12:54 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
For those familiar with big cities, they are well aware of the ever present taxi sluggishly moving through the streets and making frequent stops. Obviously they emit plenty if air emissions. Better Place, who are a leading electric vehicles service provider with the support of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is planning on bringing a switchable battery, electric taxi program to the San Francisco Bay Area. San Francisco became in 2005 one of the first cities to introduce hybrids vehicles for taxi service, with a fleet of 15 Ford Escape Hybrids; the original Escape Hybrids were retired after 300,000 miles per vehicle. Meanwhile two electric taxi prototypes have recently debuted in London. They are based on vehicles from Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, two of Europe’s largest producers of taxi cabs. A third demonstration project is in Tokyo, a city that has some 60,000 taxis — more than London, Paris, and New York combined.
War-torn Vietnam Attempts to Replant its Forests
November 8, 2010 09:58 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
There are few regions around the world that have seen less battle in the last 50 years than Vietnam. The conflict during the 1960s and early 1970s left a huge impact of the country's natural ecosystems. Then after the war, agriculture and the logging industry destroyed even larger areas. Now, a consensus on how to replant the forests remains elusive.
Marine Microbes and Sulfur Regulation
November 5, 2010 03:43 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Scientists have sought for long to learn more about how the Earth’s oceans absorb carbon dioxide and generally exchange gases with the atmosphere so they can better understand the corresponding effects on climate. To that end, many researchers are turning their attention to the microscopic organisms that help recycle carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and other elements through the oceans. Finding out exactly how and to what degree they do that is an ongoing scientific challenge, and scientists may first have to learn more about how the microbes interact with their environment at the scale of the individual microbe. In recent work, an international team of scientists led by Professor Roman Stocker of the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering opened a window into that microbial world. The team studied how certain strains of marine microbes find and use sulfur, an element vital to many of this type of microbe. Some microbes ingest the sulfur, convert it and pass it back into the ocean in altered form, keeping the chemical moving through the Earth’s sulfur cycle.