Should the Pacific walrus be considered a threatened species?
September 8, 2014 03:52 PM - USGS Newsroom
A recent U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the Pacific walrus population nearly halved between 1981 and 1999, the last year for which demographic data are available. The study notes that the decline was most severe in the mid-1980s, and then moderated in the 1990s. Currently, the USGS is working to obtain more recent population data of the Pacific walrus. This information will be vital because the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is expected to determine whether the Pacific walrus should be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2017.
Burning Natural Gas in Favor of the Environment
September 8, 2014 08:43 AM - Anastasio Carranza, ENN
Incineration or burning of any fuel leaves a series of residual gases that promote global warming; however Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA) agreed with the UN a methane gas burning system in its coal mines that greatly lessens the impact on the environment. AHMSA informs that to operate a coal deposit, methane gas is extracted in advance by drilling, to keep the safety of workers. If this gas is discharged into the atmosphere, will produce a warming effect...
Dairy - the case for greener, healthier cows
September 8, 2014 08:06 AM - Mark Eisler, Graeme Martin & Michael Lee, The Ecologist
With supermarket milk cheaper than spring water, it's time to rethink the modern dairy industry. It's not just the milk that's become a throwaway product - the high-octane Holstein cows that produce it are also in the knackers yard after just two or three lactations, the living waste of a loss-making, environment-trashing industry.
Monarch Butterflies losing critical habitat
September 7, 2014 09:57 AM - KEVIN PROFT/ecoRI News staff
Sandy Oliviera has raised monarch butterflies in her East Providence backyard for 25 years. In 1998, she helped 125 monarch caterpillars transform into butterflies, and then released them to the wind. "I began to feel like a butterfly factory that year," Oliviera said. Each time her husband or daughter collected milkweed to feed their captive caterpillars, they returned with more eggs or caterpillars to raise. Some days, Oliviera released a dozen newly emerged butterflies, to the pleasure of her 8-year-old grandson who let them rest on his head before they flew away. This summer, for the first time, Oliviera hasn't found a single monarch egg or caterpillar, and hasn't seen any monarch butterflies.
How can we make lawns more environmentally friendly?
September 6, 2014 08:12 AM - Rutgers University
Many homeowners strive to have the picture-perfect green lawn. But how can that be achieved in an environment where water in parts of the country is becoming scarce and the use of pesticides and fertilizer is being discouraged? Researchers from two Big Ten universities hope that they will be able to find an answer. Scientists from Rutgers University and the University of Minnesota, both members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation — an academic consortium of Big Ten universities — will be working together over the next five years to develop an environmentally friendly grass that is more resistant to disease and drought and a better economical choice for homeowners.
Block Island wind farm gets final approvals
September 5, 2014 06:00 PM - ecoRI News staff
Deepwater Wind has received the final federal approval needed to build the Block Island Wind Farm — a project that remains on-track to be the nation’s first offshore wind farm. The project’s lead federal permitting agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, granted its approval Sept. 5. With the Corps’ permit, the Block Island Wind Farm has now been completely reviewed, and approved, by nine state and federal agencies: Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Coast Guard, Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island State Historic Preservation Office.
How Pollutant Risk is Affected by Different Insect Stages
September 5, 2014 11:34 AM - Editor, ENN
The food chain is a hierarchical series of organisms that are interrelated in their feeding habits. The chain starts when the smallest being like an insect is fed upon a larger prey species, which in turn feeds an even larger species. So if a species among the lower ranks of the chain has accumulated toxins such as pesticides or other organic chemicals, there is potential for these toxic substances to affect the species that prey upon them. This is the subject of new research conducted by the US Geological survey that found when fish feed on insects and when other wildlife species feed on fish, harmful contaminants are transferred up the line.
Can outdoor activity be BAD for you?
September 5, 2014 10:13 AM - Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, via EurekAlert
Residential geography, time spent in the sun, and whether or not sunglasses are worn may help explain why some people develop exfoliation syndrome (XFS), an eye condition that is a leading cause of secondary open-angle glaucoma and can lead to an increased risk of cataract and cataract surgery complications, according to a study published on Sept. 4 in JAMA, Ophthalmology. Despite improvements in understanding the cause of this common yet life-altering condition, more work needs to be done. "The discovery that common genetic variants in the lysyl oxidase-like 1 gene (LOXL1) are associated with 99 percent of XFS cases represented a significant advance in our understanding of this condition," said the study's lead author, Louis Pasquale, M.D., Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and director of the HMS Glaucoma Center of Excellence and Mass. Eye and Ear Glaucoma Service and Telemedicine Service. "However, 80 percent of control individuals also harbor these variants and that ratio of cases to control individuals with trait-related variants is fairly similar in regions where XFS is very prevalent and in regions where the condition is relatively rare; this suggests that other genetic or environmental factors contribute to XFS."
UN licenses kick off search for underwater minerals
September 5, 2014 08:07 AM - Rodrigo de Oliveira Andrade, SciDevNet
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) has begun issuing exploration licenses for mining the yet untouched floor of international waters raising concerns about potential environmental impacts. The licenses, issued on 21 July, grant prospecting rights for underwater minerals to private and state-owned companies from Brazil, Cook Islands, Germany, India, Russia, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Ozone pollution in India kills crops that could feed starving population
September 4, 2014 03:23 PM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
In one year, India's ozone pollution damaged millions of tons of the country's major crops, causing losses of more than a billion dollars and destroying enough food to feed tens of millions of people living below the poverty line. These are findings of a new study that looked at the agricultural effects in 2005 of high concentrations of ground-level ozone, a plant-damaging pollutant formed by emissions from vehicles, cooking stoves and other sources. Able to acquire accurate crop production data for 2005, the study's authors chose it as a year representative of the effects of ozone damage over the first decade of the 21st century.