Wildlife

Ocean acidification changes balance of biofouling communities
January 30, 2015 08:45 AM - British Antarctic Survey

A new study of marine organisms that make up the ‘biofouling community’ — tiny creatures that attach themselves to ships’ hulls and rocks in the ocean around the world — shows how they adapt to changing ocean acidification. Reporting in the journal Global Change Biology, the authors examine how these communities may respond to future change.

How did the Zebra get its stripes?
January 30, 2015 08:28 AM - UCLA

One of nature’s fascinating questions is how zebras got their stripes.

A team of life scientists led by UCLA’s Brenda Larison has found at least part of the answer: The amount and intensity of striping can be best predicted by the temperature of the environment in which zebras live.

In the January cover story of the Royal Society’s online journal, Open Science, the researchers make the case that the association between striping and temperature likely points to multiple benefits — including controlling zebras’ body temperature and protecting them from diseases carried by biting flies.

Research shows loss of pollinators increases risk of malnutrition and disease
January 27, 2015 08:15 AM - Joshua E. Brown, University of Vermont

A new study shows that more than half the people in some developing countries could become newly at risk for malnutrition if crop-pollinating animals — like bees — continue to decline. Despite popular reports that pollinators are crucial for human nutritional health, no scientific studies have actually tested this claim — until now. The new research by scientists at the University of Vermont and Harvard University has, for the first time, connected what people actually eat in four developing countries to the pollination requirements of the crops that provide their food and nutrients.

Ebola impacting Chimps and Gorillas even more than humans
January 25, 2015 08:38 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

While the whole world is aware of the many human fatalities from the Ebola epidemic in Western Africa, you may not realize that the disease has claimed hundreds of thousands of other victims in the area. Unfortunately, Ebola is simultaneously working its way through gorilla and chimpanzee populations with no sign of stopping. In the past 25 years, Ebola has wiped out 33% of all apes, reports the Daily Beast.

Apes are already up against a number of obstacles that threaten their lives like poaching and habitat destruction. The last thing they need is to have a highly fatal disease reduce their numbers further. It’s even more devastating when you reflect on the fact that many of these primate species that are ravaged by Ebola were already officially listed as endangered.

Missouri River Sturgeon need more oxygen to reproduce. Dead zones, dams implicated.
January 24, 2015 08:32 AM - USGS

Pallid sturgeon come from a genetic line that has lived on this planet for tens of millions of years; yet it has been decades since anyone has documented any of the enormous fish successfully producing young that survive to adulthood in the upper Missouri River basin.

Now, fisheries scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, Montana State University and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have shown why, detailing for the first time the biological mechanism that has caused the long decline of pallid sturgeon in the Missouri River and led to its being placed on the endangered species list 25 years ago.

In a paper published this week in the journal Fisheries, the scientists show that oxygen-depleted dead zones between dams in the upper Missouri River are directly linked with the failure of endangered pallid sturgeon hatched embryos to survive to adulthood.

Warming seas decrease sea turtle basking
January 23, 2015 01:11 PM - Duke University

Green sea turtles may stop basking on beaches around the world within a century due to rising sea temperatures, a new study suggests. Basking on sun-warmed beaches helps the threatened turtles regulate their body temperatures and may aid their immune systems and digestion. By analyzing six years of turtle surveys and 24 years of satellite data, researchers from Duke University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and the University of Ioannina in Greece have found the turtles bask more often each year when sea surface temperatures drop.

Mystery Goo is Killing Seabirds in the San Francisco Bay
January 22, 2015 04:03 PM - Alicia Graef, Care2

Rescuers are working diligently to save birds who are being killed by a “mysterious goo” that has appeared in the San Francisco Bay, while officials remain perplexed about what the substance is and where it came from.

Exeter University study casts doubt on theory of dinosaur extinction
January 22, 2015 08:21 AM - UNIVERSITY OF EXETER via EurekAlert.

Pioneering new research has debunked the theory that the asteroid that is thought to have led to the extinction of dinosaurs also caused vast global firestorms that ravaged planet Earth.

A team of researchers from the University of Exeter, University of Edinburgh and Imperial College London recreated the immense energy released from an extra-terrestrial collision with Earth that occurred around the time that dinosaurs became extinct. They found that the intense but short-lived heat near the impact site could not have ignited live plants, challenging the idea that the impact led to global firestorms. 

These firestorms have previously been considered a major contender in the puzzle to find out what caused the mass extinction of life on Earth 65 million years ago.

Are Marine Mammals Adapting to Avoid Humans?
January 21, 2015 05:17 PM - Catherine Gill, Care2

Remarkable ocean research shows us that certain whale and seal species are reaching new depths and breaking records by diving so far away from the surface that experts are shocked that they can even survive the pressure. Some animals like the Cuvier’s beaked whales can dive almost 10,000 feet and hold their breath for 138 minutes.

India's Tiger Population on the Rise
January 21, 2015 07:14 AM - WWF Global

India’s tiger population has significantly increased according to the 2014-15 India tiger estimation report released today. Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in numbers– from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,226 in 2014. The increase in the tiger population can be largely attributed to better management and improved protection within tiger reserves and other tiger bearing protected areas. Poaching remains the greatest threat to wild tigers today with tiger parts in high demand throughout Asia.

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