Top Stories

City lights threaten rain forests by deterring bats
April 10, 2014 08:53 AM - Paul Sutherland, MONGABAY.COM

Fruit-eating bats play an important role in forest regeneration, collecting and spreading seeds far and wide. However, human development may be stymying bat-mediated dispersal. In a new study published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, researchers found that fruit bats avoid feeding in light-polluted areas, which may significantly affect forest growth. Scientists from the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin (IZW), undertook the study in Costa Rica, and focused on Sowell's short-tailed bats (Carollia sowelli), a species found throughout Central America and Mexico. The findings of their study indicate that artificial lights may deter these bats from feeding on fruit and spreading seeds by 25 to 50 percent.

REI Commits to Solar Energy to Reduce Climate Impact
April 10, 2014 08:09 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit

REI, the $2 billion national outdoor retailer, is committed to renewable energy. The company has 26 locations with solar power systems in eight states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Georgia).

LED Bulb Challenge ending soon!
April 9, 2014 01:34 PM - ENN Staff

The most inefficient light bulbs may now be off the market, in response to new federal standards, but nearly 70% of light bulb sockets in the U.S. still contain an inefficient bulb. Retailers across the country are stepping up to help change that, as part of the Energy Star LED Bulb Challenge.

Latest species discovery: the littlest crayfish from down under
April 9, 2014 11:08 AM - Rob McCormack, The Australian Aquatic Biology Pty.

Hidden in one of Australia's most developed and fastest growing areas lives one of the world's smallest freshwater crayfish species. Robert B. McCormack the Team Leader for the Australian Crayfish Project described the new species belonging to the genus Gramastacus, after 8 years of research in the swamps and creeks of coastal New South Wales, Australia. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

From Seals to Starfish: Polar Bears Radically Shift Diets as Habitat Melts
April 9, 2014 10:37 AM - Andrew Mann, MONGABAY.COM

One of the most iconic species of the ongoing climate change drama, polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have dropped in numbers as their habitat melts, with previous estimates forecasting a further 30 percent reduction within three generations. However, their situation may not be as dire as it seems. A new study, published in the journals Polar Biology, Ecology and Evolution, and BMC Ecology, suggests that polar bears are able to resist the breakup of ice cover in Hudson Bay by shifting their diets to suit a warmer world.

At more than 23,000 feet, why don't bar-headed geese get hypoxic?
April 9, 2014 10:04 AM - ENN Staff

The bar-headed goose migratory path takes it over the Himalayan Mountains each year between China and Mongolia to their Indian breeding grounds. This flight path puts them at 23,917 feet above sea level. University of Exeter led study followed these birds to gain insight into their ability to survive these extreme altitudes in hopes that their findings might have future implications for low oxygen medical conditions in humans.

World's first Water Stewardship Standard is released
April 9, 2014 08:07 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

The first international Water Stewardship Standard, a global framework to promote sustainable freshwater use, has been released by the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS). The Standard defines globally applicable, consistent criteria for sustainable management and use of the world's limited freshwater resources. "We are excited to see global leaders join us on the journey towards sustainable and equitable water use," said Michael Spencer, Chair of AWS's board and representative of Water Stewardship Australia.

High Tech Trees!
April 8, 2014 01:20 PM - ENN Staff

Scientists at Oregon State University have found a way to convert tree cellulose into high-tech energy storage devices. Because cellulose is a key component of trees and the most abundant organic polymer on earth this discovery will have a profound impact in industry. Scientists were able to heat the tree cellulose in a furnace in the presence of ammonia to create the building block for supercapacitors for use in industrial electronic applications. Supercapacitors are extraordinarily, high-power energy devices for which production has been held back by cost and difficulty in producing high-quality carbon electrodes.

Shifting bird and reptile distributions
April 8, 2014 12:23 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

With climate change come several dramatic shifts in species distribution within the United States. The U.S. Geological Survey in concert with the University of New Mexico and Northern Arizona University have recently projected distribution losses for nearly half of the 5 examined reptile species including the locally famed chuckwalla. Breeding bird ranges, however exhibited broader expansions and contractions within their breeding habitats.

Fences May Cause 'Ecological Meltdown' of Wildlife
April 8, 2014 08:04 AM - Wildlife Conservation Society

Wildlife fences are constructed for a variety of reasons including to prevent the spread of diseases, protect wildlife from poachers, and to help manage small populations of threatened species. Human—wildlife conflict is another common reason for building fences: Wildlife can damage valuable livestock, crops, or infrastructure, some species carry diseases of agricultural concern, and a few threaten human lives. But in a paper in the journal Science, published April 4th, WCS and ZSL scientists review the 'pros and cons' of large scale fencing and argue that fencing should often be a last resort.

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