Why we need to keep rivers cool with riverside tree planting
August 10, 2016 02:21 PM - Ecologist reporter, Ecologist

With some climate predictions warning that river water temperatures will exceed safe thresholds for river fish, the Keep Rivers Cool (KRC) campaign is calling for more riverside tree planting.

Fish in Britain's rivers are under threat from warmer waters. Cold-water species such as Atlantic salmon and brown trout, are struggling to cope as climate change brings significant increases in temperature.

Today there's a call for urgent action to Keep Rivers Cool by planting broadleaf native trees alongside river banks, creating dappled shading and stopping water from warming up.

Shade can reduce temperatures in small rivers by on average 2- 3C compared to un-shaded streams; and by more on hot summer days.

Can the Alligator Gar Solve Our Asian Carp Problem?
August 10, 2016 11:54 AM - Steve Williams, Care2

The prehistoric-looking alligator gar was once driven out of its native waters, but recent reports are touting the top level predator as a possible solution to the influx of Asian carp that are devastating local fish stocks. But could reintroduction actually work?

The Associated Press reports:

But the once-reviled predator is now being seen as a valuable fish in its own right, and as a potential weapon against a more threatening intruder: the invasive Asian carp, which have swum almost unchecked toward the Great Lakes, with little more than an electric barrier to keep them at bay.

Efforts are underway to reintroduce the alligator gar to the northern part of its former range.

California Freeways to Go Greener by Generating Electricity
August 10, 2016 10:32 AM - Laura Goldman, Care2

Energy conservation is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about freeways jammed with idling vehicles.

But in California, which has some of the most congested freeways in the country, that’s about to change. The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved a pilot program in which piezoelectric crystals will be installed on several freeways.

Double whammy for important Baltic seaweed
August 9, 2016 12:47 PM - GEOMAR - Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel via EurekAlert!

Wherever ecosystems rich in species develop on the rocky shores of the Baltic Sea, the bladder wrack Fucus vesiculosus has provided perfect groundwork. By colonizing pebbles and rocks, it creates habitats for many other species. Other algae grow on the seaweed to be grazed by snails, isopods and amphipods. Crustaceans, mussels and predatory fish as well as many smaller organisms that are important for the Baltic Sea ecosystem thrive in submarineFucus forests. Fucus vesiculosus is one of the main producers of organic matter in the Baltic and plays a crucial role for its biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles. These functions could be lost due to a series of reactions triggered by climate change.

A Troubling Snag in the Comeback of the California Condor
August 8, 2016 04:40 PM - Matt Simon via

IN THE EARLY ’80s, the California condor almost scavenged its way to extinction. The grisly-looking birds survive off the remains of animals, often leftovers shot by hunters. But those hunters often used lead ammunition. Condors were dying of lead poisoning, their numbers dropping as low as 22.

In one of conservation’s greatest success stories, a frantic captive breeding program brought the huge, glorious scavenger roaring back; today, the condors number close to 450, over half of which are wild. While an outright ban on lead ammunition won’t kick in until 2019, aggressive public education has helped safeguard the species—inland at least. But scientists have found a new threat to the reestablished condors: extremely high levels of mercury and the pesticide DDT in the birds’ blood. This time, it’s an appetite for marine mammal flesh that may threaten the condor.

Drought conditions slow the growth of Douglas fir trees across the West
August 8, 2016 04:14 PM - University of California – DAVIS via via EurekAlert!

Whether growing along the rim of the Grand Canyon or living in the mist with California's coastal redwoods, Douglas fir trees are consistently sensitive to drought conditions that occur throughout the species' range in the United States, according to a study led by a researcher at the University of California, Davis.

The study, published Aug. 8 in the journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides direct evidence of the negative impact of water stress on forest ecosystems. It also pinpointed which conditions are causing low growth among Douglas fir trees.

Lake Tanganyika fisheries declining from global warming
August 8, 2016 03:47 PM - University of Arizona via EurekAlert!

The decrease in fishery productivity in Lake Tanganyika since the 1950s is a consequence of global warming rather than just overfishing, according to a new report from an international team led by a University of Arizona geoscientist.

The lake was becoming warmer at the same time in the 1800s the abundance of fish began declining, the team found. The lake's algae - fish food - also started decreasing at that time.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Javier form in the Eastern Pacific
August 8, 2016 02:06 PM - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center via EurekAlert!

Tropical Storm Javier formed on Aug. 7, 2016 in the Eastern Pacific Ocean off Mexico's western coast. Javier formed partially from the remnants of Hurricane Earl. NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement core satellite found that Javier contained heavy rain. On Aug. 8, Javier triggered hurricane and tropical storm warnings.

Landslides caused by heavy rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Earl caused the reported deaths of at least 39 people in eastern Mexico. That kind of rainfall was now seen in Tropical Storm Javier.

Okinawa mozuku: The treasure under the sea
August 8, 2016 01:57 PM - Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology via EurekAlert!

Mozuku is a unique Okinawan seaweed. Scientifically known as Cladosiphon okamuranus, this alga is popular in Japanese cuisine, and it has been farmed for more than 35 years. The cultivation of this seaweed is a key element in the economy of Okinawa: in 2006, the Japanese Cabinet Office estimated a 20,000 ton production, with an economic value of billions of Yen. 99% of this seaweed is produced in Okinawa, almost entirely farmed by humans. When in 2015 the production dropped for causes related with the higher temperature of the ocean, political institutions and research centres started to coordinate in order to develop a strategy to preserve this Okinawan treasure.

Making a solar energy conversion breakthrough with help from a ferroelectrics pioneer
August 8, 2016 01:32 PM - Drexel University via EurekAlert!

Designers of solar cells may soon be setting their sights higher, as a discovery by a team of researchers has revealed a class of materials that could be better at converting sunlight into energy than those currently being used in solar arrays. Their research shows how a material can be used to extract power from a small portion of the sunlight spectrum with a conversion efficiency that is above its theoretical maximum -- a value called the Shockley-Queisser limit. This finding, which could lead to more power-efficient solar cells, was seeded in a near-half-century old discovery by Russian physicist Vladimir M. Fridkin, a visiting professor of physics at Drexel, who is also known as one of the innovators behind the photocopier.

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