Global warming and mammal size linked
November 2, 2013 07:32 AM - University of Michigan via EurekAlert
Mammal body size decreased significantly during at least two ancient global warming events, a new finding that suggests a similar outcome is possible in response to human-caused climate change, according to a University of Michigan paleontologist and his colleagues. Researchers have known for years that mammals such as primates and the groups that include horses and deer became much smaller during a period of warming, called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), about 55 million years ago. Now U-M paleontologist Philip Gingerich and his colleagues have found evidence that mammalian "dwarfing" also occurred during a separate, smaller global warming event that occurred about 2 million years after the PETM, around 53 million years ago.
Safe passage at last for the Pronghorn
November 1, 2013 04:56 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
U.S. Highway 191 in Trapper's Point, Wyoming is safer today for motorists and pronghorns alike as a result of a newly built 8-part overpass/underpass system designed to facilitate the travel and migration of local populations of pronghorn, mule deer, moose, elk and other wildlife safely over the highway. While the overpass was completed in time for last year’s migration, the pronghorn were hesitant to use the system last year making researchers nervous. However, this year the pronghorn were less confused by the alteration and used the passages willingly.
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.
Impacts of climate change on soils
November 1, 2013 06:13 AM - Ollivier Girard/CIFOR, SciDevNet
The increased aridity expected this century as a result of climate 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 production, carbon storage and biodiversity, according to the Nature paper published today.
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.
Renewable energy revolution will require better management of metals
October 31, 2013 01:38 PM - Jeremey Hance, MONGABAY.COM
If we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, scientists say global society will need a rapid and aggressive replacement of fossil fuel energy for renewable, such as solar, wind, geo-thermal, and tidal. While experts say a renewable revolution would not only mitigate climate change but also likely invigorate economies and cut life-threatening pollution, such a revolution would not come without challenges.
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.
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.