Ocean Acidification and Deep-sea Organisms
May 23, 2013 04:17 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
Although the natural absorption of CO2 by the world's oceans help mitigate climate effects, the resulting decrease in pH causes ocean acidification which can have negative consequences for much of the marine life, specifically calcifiers such as corals and mollusks that construct their shells and skeletons from calcium carbonate.
New Anti-Staph Drugs
May 23, 2013 04:08 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Bugs and infections are growing ever stronger and more resistant to the antibiotics and the like. A team of Wisconsin scientists has synthesized a potent new class of compounds capable of curbing the bacteria that cause staph infections. They describe these new agents as effectively interfering with the quorum sensing behavior of Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium at the root of a host of human infections ranging from acne to life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia, toxic shock syndrome and sepsis.
Deforestation Dries Up Dams Threatening Hydropower
May 23, 2013 11:08 AM - María Elena Hurtado, SciDevNet
Deforestation may lead to electricity shortages in tropical rainforest regions that rely heavily on hydropower, as fewer trees mean less rainfall for hydropower generation, a study shows.
May 23, 2013 09:50 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Most home thermostats contain a few grams of mercury. Although they only contain small quantities of mercury and do not by themselves exceed any regulatory threshold, they contain enough mercury to potentially cause a significant health risk. The state of California has issued new rules that will greatly reduce the amount of dangerous mercury sent to landfills and incinerators each year due to the improper disposal of old mercury-laden thermostats. The new rules will require thermostat manufacturers to collect and recycle the vast majority of discarded mercury thermostats in California. Over the next five years, this will keep nearly 2 tons of the toxin out of garbage trucks, landfills and incinerators where the mercury can be released from crushing or burning, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the California Product Stewardship Council, and the California Sierra Club.
India's hornbill conservator is awarded the "Green Oscar"
May 23, 2013 08:54 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, MONGABAY.COM
The Whitley Awards is a prestigious international prize awarded annually to individuals working in nature conservation at a grassroots level. They were first awarded in 1994 and over the past two decades, the Whitley fund for nature has given almost £10 million ($15 million USD) to conservation and recognized 160 conservation leaders in more than 70 countries. These awards are known as the 'Green Oscars' and are often awarded to conservationists working in conflict-torn and developing countries. This year, the prestigious prize was awarded to Aparajita Datta's project, "threatened hornbills as icons for the conservation of the Himalayan forests of Arunachal Pradesh, India".
What is Causing the Big Shrimp Die-Off in Asian Shrimp Farms?
May 23, 2013 05:50 AM - Mike Ives, SciDevNet
A cause of a mysterious disease devastating shrimp farms across Asia since 2009 has been tracked back to a strain of a bacteria native to coastlines around the world. The shrimp early mortality syndrome has perplexed experts for years, in a region where roughly one million people depend on shrimp farming for survival. So far countries officially reporting the disease — also referred to as acute hepatopancreatic necrosis syndrome — include China, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, but potentially it could affect shrimp farming further afield in Asia, as well as parts of Latin America and Africa.
Sneaker Life Cycle Impact
May 22, 2013 04:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The American term sneakers refers to footwear with a flexible sole made of rubber or synthetic material and an upper part made of leather or canvas. Sneakers were originally sporting apparel, but today are worn much more widely as casual footwear. A typical pair of running shoes generates 30 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to keeping a 100-watt light bulb on for one week, according to a new MIT-led life cycle assessment. A life cycle measures the environmental impact of the raw materials, processing, and transport to the final market as well as waste disposal. But what’s surprising to researchers isn’t the size of a shoe’s carbon footprint, but where the majority of that footprint comes from.
African soil diversity mapped for the first time
May 22, 2013 10:19 AM - Bernard Appiah, SciDevNet
A team of international experts has drawn up the Soil Atlas of Africa — the first such book mapping this key natural resource — to help farmers, land managers and policymakers understand the diversity and importance of soil and the need to manage it through sustainable use. They say that despite soil's importance, most people in Africa lack knowledge about it, partly because information about it tends to be confined to academic publications read only by scientists.
May 22, 2013 09:39 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Wildfires occur on every continent except Antarctica. Wildfires are a common occurrence in Australia and the far US west. Concerns continue to grow about the effects of climate change on fire. Wildfires are expected to increase 50 percent across the United States under a changing climate, over 100 percent in areas of the West by 2050 as projected by some studies. A new article published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management by U.S. Forest Service scientists synthesizes recent findings on the interactions between fire and climate and outlines future research needs. Authored by research meteorologists Yongqiang Liu and Scott Goodrick from the Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) and Warren Heilman from the Northern Research Station, the article homes in on the effect of emissions from wildfires on long-term atmospheric conditions.
Arctic Ocean Rapidly Acidifying
May 22, 2013 08:44 AM - Thomas Schueneman, Global Warming is Real
After three years of ongoing research by an international team of scientists, a study commissioned by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme for a first-ever comprehensive assessment of Arctic Ocean acidification was presented last week at a meeting of Arctic Council Ministers in Bergen, Norway. The research show that the cold waters of the Arctic sea are more vulnerable to acidification. Cold water more readily absorbs CO2 and combined with the precipitous drop in summer sea ice extent, thus exposing more open water, northern oceans are rapidly acidifying.