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Wildlife Migration Detours
June 19, 2013 03:44 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
Migration is a strategy used by many mammals in order to take advantage of food, shelter, and water that vary with seasons. Interestingly, there is strong evidence that genetics plays a role in migratory behavior that animals inherit. Many species rely not only on their senses to help them navigate, but they can also use mental maps to guide them to where they are supposed to go. But with considerable human development, how are animals supposed to find their way? According to research conducted by the University of Washington, half a dozen areas could experience heavier migration traffic compared with the average species-movement across the Western Hemisphere in response to a warming climate.
Warming world hits fig wasps and figs
June 19, 2013 12:16 PM - Adam Andrus, MONGABAY.COM
Recent experiments concerning hugely-important fig plants (Ficus) and their relationship with small, short-lived fig wasps suggest dire potential consequences due to human induced climate change, finds a study published in the journal Biology Letters. The researchers, lead by Richard T. Corlett of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Center for Integrative Conservation in the Peoples Republic of China, collected four species of adult female fig wasps from the lowland tropical forests of Singapore to test their tolerance to gradually increased temperatures. The results of the experiment showed a steady decrease in fig wasp life-expectancy as temperatures rose, suggesting the vulnerability of these pollinator wasps to a warmer world.
A Very Big Dead Zone
June 19, 2013 09:30 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Dead zones are hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world's oceans and large lakes, caused by excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors that deplete the oxygen required to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom water. In the 1970s oceanographers began noting increased instances of dead zones. These occur near inhabited coastlines, where aquatic life is most concentrated. The vast middle portions of the oceans, which naturally have little life, are not considered dead zones. Scientists are expecting a very large dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico and a smaller than average hypoxic level in the Chesapeake Bay this year, based on several NOAA-supported forecast models. NOAA-supported modelers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium are forecasting that this year's Gulf of Mexico hypoxic dead zone will be between 7,286 and 8,561 square miles which could place it among the ten largest recorded. That would range from an area the size of Connecticut, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia combined on the low end to the New Jersey on the upper end. The high estimate would exceed the largest ever reported, 8,481 square miles in 2002.
Hawaii's Fishermen: Scapegoats for Forces Outside their Control
June 19, 2013 09:26 AM - Andrew Burger, Global Warming is Real
Climate change is affecting fisheries in the Western Pacific and around the world, but a host of other factors, including land use, are threatening fisheries and the health and integrity of marine ecosystems. Aiming for sustainable fisheries, marine policymakers, resource managers, fishermen and other stakeholders are increasingly looking to take a more holistic, integrated approach to fisheries management, as evidenced during the latest meeting of the Western Regional Fishery Management Council (WRFMC) meeting, which was held in Oahu. Often blamed for overexploiting fish stocks, local fishermen in Hawaii are keenly aware of external impacts on the health and integrity of marine ecosystems and fish populations. At the latest WRFMC meeting in Honolulu, they argued in support of taking a more comprehensive ecosystems management approach, specifically zooming in on how land use and associated runoff from cities, agriculture and industry are harming marine ecosystems and fisheries.
Dams, The Whole Picture
June 18, 2013 04:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Dams are good for hydroelectric power. But just like figuring how to reduce waste or improve energy efficiency, one has to look at the whole picture and all of the potential media effects. Researchers conclude in a new report that a global push for small hydro-power projects, supported by various nations and also the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, may cause unanticipated and potentially significant losses of habitat and biodiversity.
Aquatic Environment Biodiversity Threatened by Pesticides
June 18, 2013 03:09 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
The use of pesticides have been debated for some time now, as research indicates their use can have a negative effect on the environment. As an agent meant to prevent, destroy or mitigate any pest, pesticides target unwanted plants and animals that can alter ecosystems, cause nuisance, or spread disease. Besides potentially being toxic to humans and other animals, new research conducted by an international team of scientists has revealed that pesticides are responsible for reducing regional biodiversity of invertebrates by up to 42 percent.
Singapore chokes on haze from deforestation fires
June 18, 2013 08:58 AM - Rhett Butler
Singapore and Malaysian officials have asked Indonesia to take "urgent measures" to address forest fires in Sumatra that are sending choking haze northward, reports AFP. Singapore's air pollution index is at the worst level since 2006, when Sumatra last experienced severe fires. The city-state's Pollutant Standards Index on Monday topped 150, well above the "unhealthy" threshold of 100, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA) web site.
Industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef
June 18, 2013 06:33 AM - WWF
The Australian Marine Conservation Society and WWF-Australia said today that Australia’s governments are putting the Great Barrier Reef at risk by failing to implement the World Heritage Committee recommendations around rapid industrialisation. Australia's Richard Leck, who has been attending the World Heritage Meeting as an observer, said Australia had been put 'on notice' by the World Heritage Committee.
Logging in temperate zones may release more greenhouse gases than previously thought by destabilizing carbon stored in forest soils, argues a new paper published in the journal Global Change Biology-Bioenergy. The research involved analysis of carbon released from forest management practices in the northeastern United States. It found that while most models assume carbon stored in mineral soils to be relatively stable, in fact intensive logging operations, like clear-cutting, trigger release of carbon from various pools above and below ground.
Some Invasive Species may be Judged Unfairly
June 14, 2013 06:02 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Non-native species are organisms that have been purposely or accidently introduced to an area outside its original geographic range. Often, these non-native species become invasive where they thrive in their new habitat and can aggressively start to take over the environment by outcompeting some of the native species. This alteration can not only cause harm to the environment, but to the economy as well.