Sustainability

Warmer waters from climate change will leave fish shrinking, gasping for air
August 25, 2017 08:28 AM - University of British Columbia

Fish are expected to shrink in size by 20 to 30 per cent if ocean temperatures continue to climb due to climate change.

A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia provides a deeper explanation of why fish are expected to decline in size.

University of Saskatchewan, NASA team up on global water survey
August 25, 2017 08:28 AM - University of Saskatchewan

Pardon the pun, but Canada is practically overflowing with freshwater.

And, believe it or not, that abundance causes problems for water researchers.

“Canada is blessed with more freshwater than anywhere else in the world, but there’s no way you can put sensors in to monitor everything,” said Al Pietroniro, executive director of National Hydrological Services, an adjunct professor with the University of Saskatchewan and member of the Centre for Hydrology. “It’s too big.”

Spinning plant waste into carbon fiber for cars, planes
August 23, 2017 09:00 AM - American Chemical Society

Using plants and trees to make products such as paper or ethanol leaves behind a residue called lignin, a component of plant cell walls. That leftover lignin isn’t good for much and often gets burned or tossed into landfills. Now, researchers report transforming lignin into carbon fiber to produce a lower-cost material strong enough to build car or aircraft parts.

The researchers will present their work today at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, is holding the meeting here through Thursday. It features nearly 9,400 presentations on a wide range of science topics.

Destruction of small wetlands directly linked to algal blooms in Great Lakes
August 18, 2017 01:54 PM - University of Waterloo

Canada’s current wetland protection efforts have overlooked how the environment naturally protects fresh-water resources from agricultural fertilizer contaminants, researchers from the University of Waterloo have found.

In a recent study, researchers at Waterloo’s Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering found that small wetlands have a more significant role to play than larger ones in preventing excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer from reaching waterbodies such as the Great Lakes.

More Berries in the Box
August 15, 2017 08:03 AM - Dalhousie University

As Dalhousie’s Industry Chair in Wild Blueberry Physiology, David Percival had just one challenge: to put more berries in the box.

That was 20 years ago. Today, wild blueberry production in Nova Scotia has quadrupled to over 400 million pounds annually. And it’s a story that begins with Mr. Blueberry himself, John Bragg.

Study Finds Drought Recoveries Taking Longer
August 14, 2017 05:19 PM - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

As global temperatures continue to rise, droughts are expected to become more frequent and severe in many regions during this century. A new study with NASA participation finds that land ecosystems took progressively longer to recover from droughts in the 20th century, and incomplete drought recovery may become the new normal in some areas, possibly leading to tree death and increased emissions of greenhouse gases.

In results published Aug. 10 in the journal Nature, a research team led by Christopher Schwalm of Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts, and including a scientist from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, measured recovery time following droughts in various regions of the world. They used projections from climate models verified by observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite and ground measurements. The researchers found that drought recovery was taking longer in all land areas. In two particularly vulnerable regions -- the tropics and northern high latitudes -- recovery took ever longer than in other regions.

Case study suggests new approach to urban water supply
August 14, 2017 05:14 PM - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

If you live in the developed world, safe water is usually just a faucet-turn away. And yet, global warming, drought conditions, and population growth in coming decades could change that, ushering in an era of uncertain access to water.

Now an MIT-based research team has evaluated those potential problems and, based on a case study in Australia, suggested an alternate approach to water planning. In a new paper, the researchers find there is often a strong case for building relatively modest, incremental additions to water infrastructure in advanced countries, rather than expensive larger-scale projects that may be needed only rarely.

Technology tracks bee talk to help improve honey bee health
August 9, 2017 08:10 AM - Simon Fraser University

Simon Fraser University graduate student Oldooz Pooyanfar is monitoring what more than 20,000 honeybees housed in hives in a Cloverdale field are “saying” to each other—looking for clues about their health. 

Pooyanfar’s technology is gleaning communication details from sound within the hives with her beehive monitoring system—technology she developed at SFU. She says improving knowledge about hone

Ongoing monitoring program finds potato psyllids but no evidence of bacteria that causes zebra chip disease
August 4, 2017 08:23 AM - University of Lethbridge

University of Lethbridge biogeography professor Dr. Dan Johnson and his team have been monitoring Prairie potato fields for the past few years, looking for evidence of the potato psyllid insect and a bacterium it can carry that can lead to zebra chip disease in potato crops.

“We found hundreds of potato psyllids last year, but we have found under 10 so far this year and none have the bacteria that cause zebra chip,” says Johnson, who coordinates the Canadian Potato Psyllid and Zebra Chip Monitoring Network.

The truth about cats' and dogs' environmental impact
August 3, 2017 02:56 PM - University of California - Los Angeles

With many Americans choosing to eat less meat in recent years, often to help reduce the environmental effect of meat production, UCLA geography professor Gregory Okin began to wonder how much feeding pets contributes to issues like climate change.

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