Top Stories

New material has potential to cut costs and make nuclear fuel recycling cleaner
June 13, 2016 11:00 AM - Mary Beckman via PNNL

Researchers are investigating a new material that might help in nuclear fuel recycling and waste reduction by capturing certain gases released during reprocessing. Conventional technologies to remove these radioactive gases operate at extremely low, energy-intensive temperatures. By working at ambient temperature, the new material has the potential to save energy, make reprocessing cleaner and less expensive. The reclaimed materials can also be reused commercially.

Environmental crimes increasing according to the UN
June 13, 2016 06:44 AM - Lizabeth Paulat, Care2

A new report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Interpol has highlighted the sophistication and growth of environmental crimes across the world. These crimes range from the illegal trade of wildlife, illegal mining, illegal forestry and fishing. And despite our growing global attention towards conservation, these crimes have jumped 26 percent in the past two years alone. 

The report highlights the criminal fluidity of these trades. They say that transnational crime rings are no longer focusing on just one flow of illicit trade; rather, “criminals coordinate, evade or even shift their focus from drugs, human trafficking, counterfeit products and arms to any new opportunity – hazardous waste and chemicals, forest products, pangolins, giant clams, minerals and illegally extracted gold.”

According to the UNEP, the reasons behind this rise is linked to both increasing demand, primarily in Asia, as well as poverty in the regions where the smuggling of these goods take place. Local wildlife authorities across Africa, which often scrape by on a minimal budget, must constantly adapt to new methods and new extremes employed by poachers.

Fish use tools!
June 11, 2016 07:04 AM - s.e. smith, Care2

Fish: charming, but not terribly bright, right? That’s been the party line for years, but it turns out that it’s not quite accurate.

Some fish actually use tools, and as researcher Culum Brown points out, the lack of studies on fish populations means that we don’t actually know the extent this skill. Opening our eyes a little might reveal some fascinating new information about creatures we’ve traditionally identified as sitting at the lowest rung of animal life — even some vegetarians don’t see a conflict with including fish in their diets!

The first documented instance of tool use by a fish occurred in 2011, when a diver noticed a blackspot tuskfish doing something odd as he drifted along the Great Barrier Reef. When the diver investigated, he found that the fish was using a rock to crack open clam shells in order to access the meat inside. It showed a degree of resourcefulness that researchers hadn’t expected to see in fish — and it wasn’t the only intelligent tuskfish behavior.

 

Popcorn-like fossils provide evidence of environmental impacts on species numbers
June 10, 2016 04:31 PM - University of Southampton via ScienceDaily

The number of species that can exist on Earth depends on how the environment changes, according to new research led by the University of Southampton.

By analysing the fossil record of microscopic aquatic creatures called planktonic foraminifera, whose fossil remains now resemble miniaturised popcorn and date back millions of years, the research provided the first statistical evidence that environmental changes put a cap on species richness.

Thousands Ask Feds to Protect West Coast's Beloved Orcas Before It's Too Late
June 10, 2016 03:36 PM - Alicia Graef, Care2

Thousands of people spoke out this week to ask for more protection for a highly endangered and beloved population of orcas, otherwise known as the Southern Resident killer whales who live in the Pacific Northwest.

Thanks to whale watching tours, and organizations like the Orca Network and Center for Whale Research, which keeps an official census of their population, we have had the opportunity to glimpse into their daily lives. We’ve been able to celebrate births, mourn deaths and root for the elders among them, like Granny, who has been around long enough to see how drastically our actions have changed their home and families.

Thousands Ask Feds to Protect West Coast's Beloved Orcas Before It's Too Late
June 10, 2016 03:36 PM - Alicia Graef, Care2

Thousands of people spoke out this week to ask for more protection for a highly endangered and beloved population of orcas, otherwise known as the Southern Resident killer whales who live in the Pacific Northwest.

Thanks to whale watching tours, and organizations like the Orca Network and Center for Whale Research, which keeps an official census of their population, we have had the opportunity to glimpse into their daily lives. We’ve been able to celebrate births, mourn deaths and root for the elders among them, like Granny, who has been around long enough to see how drastically our actions have changed their home and families.

NOAA, USGS, partners predict an average 'dead zone' for Gulf of Mexico
June 10, 2016 10:53 AM - NOAA Headquarters

Scientists forecast that this year's Gulf of Mexico dead zone--an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and marine life - will be approximately 5,898 square miles or about the size of Connecticut, the same range as it has averaged over the last several years.

NOAA, USGS, partners predict an average 'dead zone' for Gulf of Mexico
June 10, 2016 10:53 AM - NOAA Headquarters

Scientists forecast that this year's Gulf of Mexico dead zone--an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and marine life - will be approximately 5,898 square miles or about the size of Connecticut, the same range as it has averaged over the last several years.

NOAA, USGS, partners predict an average 'dead zone' for Gulf of Mexico
June 10, 2016 10:53 AM - NOAA Headquarters

Scientists forecast that this year's Gulf of Mexico dead zone--an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and marine life - will be approximately 5,898 square miles or about the size of Connecticut, the same range as it has averaged over the last several years.

Low ice, low snow, both poles
June 10, 2016 09:12 AM - National Snow and Ice Data Center

Daily Arctic sea ice extents for May 2016 tracked two to four weeks ahead of levels seen in 2012, which had the lowest September extent in the satellite record. Current sea ice extent numbers are tentative due to the preliminary nature of the DMSP F-18 satellite data, but are supported by other data sources. An unusually early retreat of sea ice in the Beaufort Sea and pulses of warm air entering the Arctic from eastern Siberia and northernmost Europe are in part driving below-average ice conditions. Snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere was the lowest in fifty years for April and the fourth lowest for May. Antarctic sea ice extent grew slowly during the austral autumn and was below average for most of May.

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