Yosemite Black Bears' Diet Surprises Researchers
August 24, 2015 03:21 PM - Kim McDonald, UC San Diego
Black bears in Yosemite National Park that don’t seek out human foods subsist primarily on plants and nuts, according to a study conducted by biologists at UC San Diego who also found that ants and other sources of animal protein, such as mule deer, make up only a small fraction of the bears’ annual diet.
More American shoppers becoming "locavores"
August 24, 2015 08:37 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
More Americans than ever before are supporting their local food markets, and new research has found it's not just because they believe the food is fresher and tastes better.
Is fracking water safe to irrigate crops?
August 24, 2015 06:35 AM - Crystal Shepeard, Care2
The race to find cleaner energy sources has led to a boon in hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in search of natural gas. Highly pressurized chemicals and water are pumped deep underground to break shale and release natural gas for harvesting. Residents and environmentalists have long been opposed to the process, which has seen an increase of health issues due to contaminated water. In drought stricken California, there is also concern about the amount of water being used in fracking operations, as well as what is done with the wastewater.
California farmers are frustrated with oil companies that have encroached on their areas. Fertile farm land is also filled with natural gas and there has been an increase in fracking operations. As the name implies, hyrdraulic fracturing is a water-intensive process. At the front-end, freshwater is infused with chemicals and is pumped into the shale. This has put farmers and oil companies in competition for the ever decreasing amount of water available.
How a warming climate is impacting wild boar in Europe
August 23, 2015 07:54 AM - Paul Brown, The Ecologist
Increasingly mild winters have caused an abundance of acorns and beech nuts in Europe's woodlands, writes Paul Brown, triggering a wild boar population explosion - just one of the effects of warming climate on wildlife populations.
”‹Wild boar populations in Europe are getting out of control - and scientists are blaming climate change.
There are now millions of wild boar spreading out from their preferred woodland habitat, moving into city suburbs, and even crossing national boundaries to countries that had thought they were extinct.
Cellphone location data shown to help track infectious disease
August 22, 2015 07:22 AM - B. Rose Huber, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
Tracking mobile phone data is often associated with privacy issues, but these vast datasets could be the key to understanding how infectious diseases are spread seasonally, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Princeton University and Harvard University researchers used anonymous mobile phone records for more than 15 million people to track the spread of rubella in Kenya and were able to quantitatively show for the first time that mobile phone data can predict seasonal disease patterns.
Harnessing mobile phone data in this way could help policymakers guide and evaluate health interventions like the timing of vaccinations and school closings, the researchers said. The researchers' methodology also could apply to a number of seasonally transmitted diseases such as the flu and measles.
Scientists Warn of Air Pollution Risks in West Africa
August 21, 2015 01:55 PM - University of York
New research by European and African scientists, including a team from the University of York, warns of the risks posed by the increasing air pollution over the cities of West Africa – amid fears it could have an impact on human health, meteorology and regional climate.
Is the California Drought Causing Land to Sink?
August 21, 2015 08:56 AM - Jet Propulsion Laboratory
As Californians continue pumping groundwater in response to the historic drought, the California Department of Water Resources today released a new NASA report showing land in the San Joaquin Valley is sinking faster than ever before, nearly 2 inches (5 centimeters) per month in some locations.
MIT analysis improves estimates of global mercury pollution
August 21, 2015 07:26 AM - MIT News
Once mercury is emitted into the atmosphere from the smokestacks of power plants, the pollutant has a complicated trajectory; even after it settles onto land and sinks into oceans, mercury can be re-emitted back into the atmosphere repeatedly. This so-called “grasshopper effect” keeps the highly toxic substance circulating as “legacy emissions” that, combined with new smokestack emissions, can extend the environmental effects of mercury for decades.
Now an international team led by MIT researchers has conducted a new analysis that provides more accurate estimates of sources of mercury emissions around the world. The analysis pairs measured air concentrations of mercury with a global simulation to calculate the fraction of mercury that is either re-emitted or that originates from power plants and other anthropogenic activities. The result of this work, researchers say, could improve estimates of mercury pollution, and help refine pollution-control strategies around the world.
China's carbon emissions may be lower than estimated
August 20, 2015 01:30 PM - Eliza Berlage, The Ecologist
The IPCC has over-estimated China's emissions since 2000 by 14%, almost 3 gigatonnes of carbon since 2000, while its energy consumption has been 10% higher than realised, writes Eliza Berlage. The country is far more carbon-efficient than we ever knew.
Mercury and Selenium are Accumulating in the Colorado River Food Web
August 20, 2015 09:01 AM - USGS Newsroom
Although the Grand Canyon segment of the Colorado River features one of the most remote ecosystems in the United States, it is not immune to exposure from toxic chemicals such as mercury according to newly published research in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. The study, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, found that concentrations of mercury and selenium in Colorado River food webs of the Grand Canyon National Park, regularly exceeded risk thresholds for fish and wildlife.