Largest Cleanup in EPA History Proposed
April 14, 2014 08:14 AM - ENN Staff
In an historic action that will protect people's health and the environment, and benefit riverfront communities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a plan to remove 4.3 million cubic yards of highly contaminated sediment from the lower eight miles of the Passaic River in New Jersey. The sediment in the Passaic River is severely contaminated with dioxin, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals, pesticides and other contaminants from more than a century of industrial activity. Ninety percent of the volume of contaminated sediments in the lower Passaic are in the lower eight miles of the river.
Belgium crushes Ivory, condemning poaching and illegal trade in wildlife
April 12, 2014 07:41 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2
This week Belgium took a symbolic stand for elephants by crushing its entire stockpile of confiscated ivory in a move that condemns poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife. The event was hosted by Belgian Vice Prime Minister Laurette Onkelinx, who was joined by members of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), who helped organize the event, and officials from European and African countries, including elephant range states.
Who could EVER live in New Zealand's Kermadec Trench?
April 11, 2014 01:16 PM - Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institution Newsroom
An international team of researchers led by deep-sea biologist Tim Shank of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will use the world's only full-ocean depth, hybrid remotely operated vehicle, Nereus, and other advanced technology to explore life in the depths of the Kermadec Trench. The 40-day expedition, which begins on April 12th, kicks off an ambitious three-year collaborative effort funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The goal of the project, known as Hadal Ecosystem Studies (HADES), is to conduct the first-ever systematic study of life in ocean trenches, comparing it to the neighboring abyssal plain—flat areas of the seafloor usually found at depths between 3,000 and 6,000 meters.
EDGE List Released: Meet the 100 Strangest and Most Endangered Birds
April 11, 2014 08:01 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The comic dodo, the stately great auk, the passenger pigeon blotting out the skies, the giant moas reigning over New Zealand: human kind has wiped out nearly 200 species of birds in the last five hundred years. Birds we'll never get back. Now, if we don't act soon we'll add many new ones to the list: birds such as the giant ibis, the plains-wanderer, and the crow honeyeater. And these are just a few of the avians that appear today on the long-awaited EDGE list of the world's 100 strangest and most endangered birds.
2014 ten most endangered rivers
April 10, 2014 12:10 PM - ENN staff
American Rivers yesterday announced its annual list of America's Most Endangered Rivers®, naming California's San Joaquin River the Most Endangered River in the country. Outdated water management and excessive diversions, compounded by the current drought, have put the San Joaquin River at a breaking point.
City lights threaten rain forests by deterring bats
April 10, 2014 08:53 AM - Paul Sutherland, MONGABAY.COM
Fruit-eating bats play an important role in forest regeneration, collecting and spreading seeds far and wide. However, human development may be stymying bat-mediated dispersal. In a new study published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, researchers found that fruit bats avoid feeding in light-polluted areas, which may significantly affect forest growth. Scientists from the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin (IZW), undertook the study in Costa Rica, and focused on Sowell's short-tailed bats (Carollia sowelli), a species found throughout Central America and Mexico. The findings of their study indicate that artificial lights may deter these bats from feeding on fruit and spreading seeds by 25 to 50 percent.
Latest species discovery: the littlest crayfish from down under
April 9, 2014 11:08 AM - Rob McCormack, The Australian Aquatic Biology Pty.
Hidden in one of Australia's most developed and fastest growing areas lives one of the world's smallest freshwater crayfish species. Robert B. McCormack the Team Leader for the Australian Crayfish Project described the new species belonging to the genus Gramastacus, after 8 years of research in the swamps and creeks of coastal New South Wales, Australia. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.
From Seals to Starfish: Polar Bears Radically Shift Diets as Habitat Melts
April 9, 2014 10:37 AM - Andrew Mann, MONGABAY.COM
One of the most iconic species of the ongoing climate change drama, polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have dropped in numbers as their habitat melts, with previous estimates forecasting a further 30 percent reduction within three generations. However, their situation may not be as dire as it seems. A new study, published in the journals Polar Biology, Ecology and Evolution, and BMC Ecology, suggests that polar bears are able to resist the breakup of ice cover in Hudson Bay by shifting their diets to suit a warmer world.
At more than 23,000 feet, why don't bar-headed geese get hypoxic?
April 9, 2014 10:04 AM - ENN Staff
The bar-headed goose migratory path takes it over the Himalayan Mountains each year between China and Mongolia to their Indian breeding grounds. This flight path puts them at 23,917 feet above sea level. University of Exeter led study followed these birds to gain insight into their ability to survive these extreme altitudes in hopes that their findings might have future implications for low oxygen medical conditions in humans.
High Tech Trees!
April 8, 2014 01:20 PM - ENN Staff
Scientists at Oregon State University have found a way to convert tree cellulose into high-tech energy storage devices. Because cellulose is a key component of trees and the most abundant organic polymer on earth this discovery will have a profound impact in industry. Scientists were able to heat the tree cellulose in a furnace in the presence of ammonia to create the building block for supercapacitors for use in industrial electronic applications. Supercapacitors are extraordinarily, high-power energy devices for which production has been held back by cost and difficulty in producing high-quality carbon electrodes.