Wildlife

Global climate target could net additional six million tons of fish annually
December 22, 2016 04:05 PM - The University of British Columbia

If countries abide by the Paris Agreement global warming target of 1.5 degrees Celsius, potential fish catches could increase by six million metric tons per year, according to a new study published in Science.

Could Rudolph and friends help to slow down our warming climate?
December 22, 2016 07:19 AM - IOP Publishing

Reindeer may be best known for pulling Santa’s sleigh, but a new study suggests they may have a part to play in slowing down climate change too.

A team of researchers, writing in the journal Environmental Research Letters, found that when reindeer reduce the height and abundance of shrubs on the Arctic tundra through grazing, the level of surface albedo – the amount of solar energy (shortwave radiation) reflected by the Earth back into space – is increased.

 

Rudolph's antlers inspire next generation of unbreakable materials
December 21, 2016 07:21 AM - Queen Mary University of London

The team looked at the antler structure at the 'nano-level', which is incredibly small, almost one thousandth of the thickness of a hair strand, and were able to identify the mechanisms at work, using state-of-the-art computer modelling and x-ray techniques.

First author Paolino De Falco from QMUL's School of Engineering and Materials Science said: "The fibrils that make up the antler are staggered rather than in line with each other. This allows them to absorb the energy from the impact of a clash during a fight."

El NiƱo fuelled Zika outbreak, new study suggests
December 19, 2016 03:34 PM - University of Liverpool

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have shown that a change in weather patterns, brought on by the 'Godzilla' El Niño of 2015, fuelled the Zika outbreak in South America. The findings were revealed using a new epidemiological model that looked at how climate affects the spread of Zika virus by both of its major vectors, the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).

The model can also be used to predict the risk of future outbreaks, and help public health officials tailor mosquito control measures and travel advice.

New study sets oxygen-breathing limit for ocean’s hardiest organisms
December 19, 2016 09:13 AM - MIT

Around the world, wide swaths of open ocean are nearly depleted of oxygen. Not quite dead zones, they are “oxygen minimum zones,” where a confluence of natural processes has led to extremely low concentrations of oxygen.

Only the hardiest of organisms can survive in such severe conditions, and now MIT oceanographers have found that these tough little life-forms — mostly bacteria — have a surprisingly low limit to the amount of oxygen they need to breathe.

New study sets oxygen-breathing limit for ocean’s hardiest organisms
December 19, 2016 09:13 AM - MIT

Around the world, wide swaths of open ocean are nearly depleted of oxygen. Not quite dead zones, they are “oxygen minimum zones,” where a confluence of natural processes has led to extremely low concentrations of oxygen.

Only the hardiest of organisms can survive in such severe conditions, and now MIT oceanographers have found that these tough little life-forms — mostly bacteria — have a surprisingly low limit to the amount of oxygen they need to breathe.

Scientists devise new method to give 'most robust' estimate of Maasai Mara lion numbers
December 13, 2016 12:19 PM - Oxford University

Scientists based at Oxford University have created a new method for counting lions that they say is the most robust yet devised.

Using the Maasai Mara National Reserve and surrounding conservancies in Kenya as a case study, they estimate there to be 420 lions over the age of one in this key territory. At almost 17 lions per 100 square kilometres, that represents one of the highest densities anywhere in Africa.

How noise pollution impacts marine ecology
December 13, 2016 07:14 AM - Laura Briggs, The Ecologist

Marine ecologists have shown how noise pollution is changing the behaviour of marine animals - and how its elimination will significantly help build their resilience. Laura Briggs reports.

Building up a library of sound from marine creatures including cod, whelks and sea slugs is important to helping build resilience in species affected by noise pollution, according to Exeter University's Associate Professor in Marine Biology and Global Change Dr Steve Simpson.

Human noise factors including busy shipping lanes, wind farms and water tourism can all impact on the calls of various species - including cod which relies on sound for finding a mate with their "song".

Wind turbines may have beneficial effects for crops
December 9, 2016 05:15 PM - Iowa State University

A multi-year study led by an Iowa State University scientist suggests the turbines commonly used in the state to capture wind energy may have a positive effect on crops.

Gene Takle, a Distinguished Professor of agronomy and geological and atmospheric sciences, said tall wind turbines disbursed throughout a field create air turbulence that may help plants by affecting variables such as temperature and carbon dioxide concentrations.

Trapdoor spiders disappearing from Australian landscape
December 9, 2016 09:32 AM - The University of Adelaide

Recent surveys by Australian scientists have identified an apparent significant decline in the numbers of trapdoor spiders across southern Australia. 

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