Disease may wipe out the world's bananas
February 8, 2016 07:11 AM - Angelina Sanderson Bellamy, Cardiff University, The Ecologist
Bananas are at the sharp end of industrial agriculture's chemical war on pests and pathogens, writes Angelina Sanderson Bellamy. But even 60 pesticide sprays a year isn't enough to keep the diseases at bay. It's time to seek new solutions with little or no use of chemicals, working with nature, growing diverse crops on the same land - and breaking the dominance of the banana multinationals.
The uneven impacts of climate change
February 7, 2016 09:14 AM - Wildlife Conservation Society via ScienceDaily
A new study by University of Queensland and WCS shows a dramatic global mismatch between nations producing the most greenhouse gases and the ones most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
The study shows that the highest emitting countries are ironically the least vulnerable to climate change effects such as increased frequency of natural disasters, changing habitats, human health impacts, and industry stress.
Those countries emitting the least amount of greenhouse gases are most vulnerable.
Universtiy of Alaska studies how the melting Greenland glaciers are impacting sea levels
February 6, 2016 08:41 AM - University of Alaska Fairbanks via ScienceDaily
University of Alaska Fairbanks mathematicians and glaciologists have taken a first step toward understanding how glacier ice flowing off Greenland affects sea levels.
Andy Aschwanden, Martin Truffer and Mark Fahnestock used mathematical computer models and field tests to reproduce the flow of 29 inlet glaciers fed by the Greenland ice sheet. They compared their data with data from NASA's Operation IceBridge North aerial campaign.
The comparisons showed that the computer models accurately depicted current flow conditions in topographically complex Greenland.
Who would have guessed this? Study finds vacations can lead to weight gains!
February 5, 2016 03:38 PM - Universtiy of Georgia via EurekAlert
A week's vacation may leave many adults with a heavier midsection--extra weight that can hang around even six weeks post-vacation.
A faculty member in the University of Georgia's College of Family and Consumer Sciences found that adults going on a one- to three-week vacation gained an average of nearly 1 pound during their trips. With the average American reportedly gaining 1-2 pounds a year, the study's findings suggest an alarming trend.
"If you're only gaining a pound or two a year and you gained three-quarters of that on a one- to three-week vacation, that's a pretty substantial weight gain during a short period of time," said Jamie Cooper, an associate professor in the college's department of foods and nutrition.
Man-made underwater sound may have wider ecosystem effects than previously thought
February 5, 2016 07:21 AM -
Underwater sound linked to human activity could alter the behaviour of seabed creatures that play a vital role in marine ecosystems, according to new research from the University of Southampton.
The study, reported in the journal Scientific Reports published by Nature, found that exposure to sounds that resemble shipping traffic and offshore construction activities results in behavioural responses in certain invertebrate species that live in the marine sediment.
Kalligrammatid lacewings looked like butterflies, but lived millions of years before butterflies
February 4, 2016 01:00 PM - JOHN BARRAT Smithsonian News
New fossils found in Northeastern China have revealed a remarkable evolutionary coincidence: an extinct group of insects known as Kalligrammatid lacewings (Order Neuroptera) share an uncanny resemblance to modern day butterflies (Order Lepidoptera). Even though they vanished some 50 million years before butterflies appeared on earth, they possess the same wing shape and pigment hues, wing spots and eyespots, body scales, long proboscides, and similar feeding styles as butterflies.
A photo of the modern owl butterfly (“Caligo Memnon”) shown beside a fossilized Kalligrammatid lacewing (“Oregramma illecebrosa”) shows some of the convergent features independently evolved by the two distantly-related insects, including wing eyespots and wing scales. (Butterfly photo by James Di Loreto/fossil photo by Conrad Labandeira and Jorge Santiago-Blay)
In an incredible example of convergent evolution, both butterflies and kalligrammatids evol
Loss of wild flowers matches pollinator decline
February 4, 2016 07:15 AM - University of Leeds
The first Britain-wide assessment of the value of wild flowers as food for pollinators shows that decreasing resources mirror the decline of pollinating insects.
Seafood Consumption May Play a Role in Reducing Risk for Alzheimer's
February 3, 2016 07:01 AM - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
New research published Feb. 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that older adults with a major risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease known as APOEɛ4 who ate at least one seafood serving per week showed fewer signs of Alzheimer’s-related brain changes. In contrast, this association was not found in the brains of volunteers who ate fish weekly but did not carry the risk gene.
Air pollution in Europe and the EU lack of action
February 3, 2016 06:40 AM - Jean Lambert, Molly Scott Cato & Keith Taylor, The Ecologist
Air pollution from vehicles is killing tens of thousands of people every year in the UK alone, write Jean Lambert, Molly Scott Cato & Keith Taylor, an outrage set into stark focus by VW's 'test cheating'. The EU's response? To relax tests and allow cars to be more polluting - with the full support of the UK government.
Rather than clamping down on the car industry's irresponsible approach to pollution, EU governments and the Commission instead want to rewrite existing law, providing loopholes which will allow cars to legally pollute more.
Faced with a public health crisis, responsible for nearly half a million premature deaths in Europe each year, we would expect an emergency response.
How Modular Construction is Keeping Waste Out of U.S. Landfills
February 2, 2016 07:23 AM - Mark Meyers, Triple Pundit
When we think about the overflow of our nation’s landfills, we probably picture limiting our food waste; recycling plastics, glass and paper; and keeping out potentially harmful hazardous waste. What we probably don’t consider is one of the largest sources of waste generation, construction and demolition (C&D) waste. It is estimated that anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of the national solid waste stream is building-related waste, with only 20 percent of C&D waste being recycled.