Wildlife

Canadian bats facing bleak future
October 29, 2014 06:54 AM - , Care2

With Halloween just days away, you’re undoubtedly seeing bat images everywhere, which is kind of perfect since it’s also National Bat Week. Too bad that in the real world, bats are suffering, sick and endangered, while governments can’t get their acts together to save bats from a truly monstrous disease: white-nose syndrome (WNS). Instead of fearing bats this holiday, we should be scared of a world without them.

Care2′s Alicia Graef let us know about the American bats that urgently need federal protection: the northern long-eared bat was hit hard by WNS. Our government hasn’t done anything to stop it, but that doesn’t mean that the disease will stop. After first appearing in New York in 2006, WNS has spread to our neighbors in Canada since 2010, and it’s devastating new bat species in its wake, like a real zombie apocalypse.

"Shrinking goats" another indicator that climate change affects animal size
October 29, 2014 06:36 AM - Durham University

Alpine goats appear to be shrinking in size as they react to changes in climate, according to new research from Durham University. The researchers studied the impacts of changes in temperature on the body size of Alpine Chamois, a species of mountain goat, over the past 30 years.  To their surprise, they discovered that young Chamois now weigh about 25 per cent less than animals of the same age in the 1980s.

Adélie penguin chick weights correlated to temperatures
October 28, 2014 01:11 PM - University of Delaware, via ScienceDaily.

Oceanographers have reported a connection between local weather conditions and the weight of Adélie penguin chicks. Adélie penguins are an indigenous species of the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), one of the most rapidly warming areas on Earth. Since 1950, the average annual temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula has increased 2 degrees Celsius on average, and 6 degrees Celsius during winter.

Adélie penguins are an indigenous species of the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), one of the most rapidly warming areas on Earth. Since 1950, the average annual temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula has increased 2 degrees Celsius on average, and 6 degrees Celsius during winter.

As the WAP climate warms, it is changing from a dry, polar system to a warmer, sub-polar system with more rain.

Using Microscopic Bugs to Save the Bees
October 27, 2014 02:49 PM - Brigham Young University

For decades, honeybees have been battling a deadly disease that kills off their babies (larvae) and leads to hive collapse. It’s called American Foulbrood and its effects are so devastating and infectious, it often requires infected hives to be burned to the ground. Treating Foulbrood is complicated because the disease can evolve to resist antibiotics and other chemical treatments. Losing entire hives not only disrupts the honey industry, but reduces the number of bees for pollinating plants. Now an undergraduate student at BYU, funded by ORCA grants, has produced a natural way to eliminate the scourge, and it’s working: Using tiny killer bugs known as phages to protect baby bees from infection.

Can the corridors under high-tension lines be important opportunities for conservation?
October 17, 2014 08:06 AM - richard conniff, Yale Environment360

Often mowed and doused with herbicides, power transmission lines have long been a bane for environmentalists. But that’s changing, as some utilities are starting to manage these areas as potentially valuable corridors for threatened wildlife. Nobody loves electrical power transmission lines. They typically bulldoze across the countryside like a clearcut, 150 feet wide and scores or hundreds integrated vegetation management in right-of-way scores or hundreds of miles long, in a straight line that defies everything we know about nature. They’re commonly criticized for fragmenting forests and other natural habitats and for causing collisions and electrocutions for some birds. Power lines also have raised the specter, in the minds of anxious neighbors, of illnesses induced by electromagnetic fields. So it's a little startling to hear wildlife biologists proposing that properly managed transmission lines, and even natural gas and oil pipeline rights-of-way, could be the last best hope for many birds, pollinators, and other species that are otherwise dramatically declining.

How Offshore Wind Farms Affect Marine Species
October 17, 2014 06:07 AM - University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Offshore wind power is a valuable source of renewable energy that can help reduce carbon emissions. Technological advances are allowing higher capacity turbines to be installed in deeper water, but there is still much unknown about the effects on the environment. In a recent paper, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science researcher Helen Bailey and colleagues review the potential impacts of offshore wind developments on marine species and make recommendations for future monitoring and assessment as interest in offshore wind energy grows around the world.

How Birds Cope with Turbulence
October 15, 2014 06:56 AM - University of Oxford

Researchers set out to examine how soaring birds such as eagles, vultures, and kites, are able to fly in 'gusty' turbulent flight conditions that would keep a light aircraft grounded. They gave a captive steppe eagle (Aquila nipalensis), called 'Cossack', its own flight recorder backpack — a 75g black box incorporating GPS that also measured acceleration, rotation rate, and airspeed — and recorded it soaring over the Brecon Beacons in Wales.

Fly genome could help us improve our health and environment
October 14, 2014 09:58 AM - BioMed Central via EurekAlert!

The house fly might be a worldwide pest, but its genome will provide information that could improve our lives. From insights into pathogen immunity, to pest control and decomposing waste, the 691 Mb genome has been sequenced and analyzed by a global consortium of scientists, and is published in the open access journal Genome Biology. The genome highlights detoxification and immune system genes that are unique to the insect, and could be subjects of further study to help humans deal with toxic and disease causing environments.

Why Cat Poop is Bad News for Sea Otters
October 13, 2014 09:19 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2

A parasite spread by cat poop is causing a big problem for endangered sea otters in California, and researchers have finally figured out how. Sea otters were nearly wiped out by the fur trade at one point, but they've been slowly making a comeback thanks to conservation efforts and protection under the Endangered Species Act. While they're on the road to recovery the latest numbers from the U.S. Geological Survey released last month shows they're population growth has stalled, with the biggest issue being that they're dying in record numbers.

Fish Forced Poleward
October 10, 2014 09:36 AM - The University of British Columbia

Large numbers of fish will disappear from the tropics by 2050, finds a new University of British Columbia study that examined the impact of climate change on fish stocks. The study identified ocean hotspots for local fish extinction but also found that changing temperatures will drive more fish into the Arctic and Antarctic waters.

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