Time to Start Looking Up: Crocodiles Can Climb Trees
February 18, 2014 12:41 PM - S.E. Smith, Care2
If I were being attacked by a crocodile, I’d high tail it for high ground, preferably in the form of a nice, sturdy tree to climb up. With their stocky, solid bodies, crocodiles don’t look like they’re adapted for tree-climbing, and I figure I’d be pretty safe. As it turns out, though, I might be making a very poor life choice: a new study shows that crocodiles, despite all odds, can and do climb trees.
Fracking residual waters
February 18, 2014 09:40 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
As fracking amongst Marcellus Shale in the northeastern part of the United States increases so does the concern over its process. Fracking is done utilizing a hydraulic fracturing process, which pumps a high-pressure mixture of water, chemicals and sand deep into the sedimentary formations to extract naturally occurring gas. The resultant wastewater is then stored in large impoundment ponds and closed container tanks until it can be piped to wastewater treatment plants. Once cleaned it is discharged into local streams or trucked to Ohio to be pumped deep down into another injection well or into another fracking operation.
More contaminant troubles for West Virginia
February 13, 2014 09:18 AM - Judy Molland, Care2
On February 11, just one month after a chemical spill tainted drinking water for 300,000 people in and around the state's capital of Charleston, West Virginia experienced another environmental disaster: 100,000 gallons of coal slurry pour into stream.
Spotting Whales from Space!
February 13, 2014 08:05 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Counting individuals of a species is important in order to track wildlife trends. Absence or decline of a species could mean detrimental habitat modifications or that parts of the ecosystem are unbalanced. For marine populations though, trying to count and monitor these species is often a daunting and expensive task as finding these individuals in the vast ocean can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Thankfully, scientists lead by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have demonstrated how new satellite technology can be used to count whales, and ultimately estimate their population size.
Biodiversity conservationists get a little help with new online freshwater atlas
February 12, 2014 01:00 PM - Richa Malhotra, SciDevNet
An online repository of maps has been launched to make information on freshwater biodiversity available on a common platform for use by scientists, policymakers, conservationists and NGOs. The Global Freshwater Biodiversity Atlas will help developing countries identify biodiversity-rich areas for conservation. It was launched last month (29 January), as part of an EU-funded project called BioFresh, with the aim of putting together published maps and sharing them under a creative commons license.
Marine Protected Areas deemed largely ineffective
February 12, 2014 09:25 AM - Loren Bell, MONGABAY.COM
Protecting large, isolated areas of no-take zones for over 10 years with strong enforcement is the key to effective Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), according to a letter published this week in Nature. However, 59% of all MPAs meet less than three of the five criteria, making them protected in name only.
Urban Bees Start Using Plastic Waste to Build Hives
February 12, 2014 08:05 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
Urban bees have started using bits of discarded plastic bags and plastic building materials to construct their nests, according to a new study of their behavior. It's an important discovery because it shows bees' resourcefulness and flexibility in adapting to a human-dominated world, says lead author Scott MacIvor of the University of Guelph. "Plastic waste pervades the global landscape," said MacIvor. "Although researchers have shown adverse impacts of the material on species and the ecosystem, few scientists have observed insects adapting to a plastic-rich environment."
Millions of Birds Killed Annually due to Window Collisions
February 11, 2014 11:02 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
365-988 million birds are killed in the U.S. each year in collisions with buildings, estimates a review published last month in the journal The Condor: Ornithological Applications. The research, based on some 92,869 records across 23 studies, finds that low-rise buildings (56 percent) and residences (44 percent) rather than skyscrapers (1 percent) are responsible for most of the toll. The results suggest that building collisions are the second largest cause of death from anthropogenic sources in the United States after domesticated and feral cats, which kill 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds per year according to a study published last year.
Climate migration in the face of climate change
February 11, 2014 09:41 AM - Julie Cohen, University of California, Santa Barbara
As climate change unfolds over the next century, plants and animals will need to adapt or shift locations to follow their ideal climate. A new study provides an innovative global map of where species are likely to succeed or fail in keeping up with a changing climate. The findings appear in the science journal Nature.
African Monsoon Project to Benefit Crops and Healthcare
February 10, 2014 09:06 AM - Nick Kennedy, SciDevNet
Researchers unraveling the complexities of the West African monsoon say they are set to bring major agricultural and health benefits to people in the region — despite setbacks caused by terrorist threats and wars in the Sahel region. The African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) programme, a consortium of over 400 researchers from 30 countries that was started 14 years ago, has gathered a wealth of new data about the West African monsoon from across the Sahel, and is now inspiring similar projects elsewhere in Africa.