World's largest whale shark slaughterhouse uncovered
February 3, 2014 08:17 AM - Sophie Morlin-Yron, The Ecologist
The world's biggest slaughterhouse for endangered whale sharks has been uncovered in southeast China, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron. It's products are being traded across the world in health and cosmetic products. The largest slaughtering facility for Whale sharks ever seen has been uncovered in southeastern China by Hong Kong based WildLife Risk. The slaughterhouse, operated by China Wenzhou Yueqing Marine Organisms Health Protection Foods Co Ltd, is estimated to butcher over 600 Whale sharks - an internationally protected endangered species - every year.
Comets and Woolly Mammoths
January 31, 2014 09:42 AM - Julie Cohen, UC Santa Barbara
New evidence suggests that a comet collision might have been the trigger for the Younger Dryas, contributing to North America's megafauna extinction. UC Santa Barbara's James Kennett, professor emeritus in the Department of Earth Science, posits that such an extraterrestrial event did occur killing off woolly mammoths, giant ground sloths and saber-tooth tigers 12,900 years ago.
Yellowstone Grizzlies Under Threat
January 31, 2014 08:06 AM - Anna Taylor, The Ecologist
Yellowstone's Grizzly bears are facing multiple threats, writes Anna Taylor - from proposals to remove their protection under the US Endangered Species Act, and shortages of key foods caused by climate change. Grizzly bear trophy hunting in Yellowstone National Park may resume in 2014 if the proposal to remove the bears from the protection of the Endangered Species Act is approved later this year.
Panama’s sloths harbor potential drugs
January 30, 2014 09:29 AM - Fred Fertado, SciDevNet
Sloths may be slow, apparently boring animals, but their hair is fast becoming an intriguing avenue for scientists seeking new drugs, including antibiotics and cancer-fighting compounds. A paper published in PLOS One this month (15 January) shows that sloth hair harbors a rich diversity of fungi whose extracts may contain a treasure trove of compounds active against bacteria, breast cancer cells and the parasites that cause malaria and Chagas’ disease.
Extreme Weather Events Create Uncertain Future for Penguins
January 30, 2014 05:34 AM - EurekAlert
Changes in average climatic conditions combined with the increasing frequency of unpredictable, extreme weather events may disrupt scientific predictions of the future penguin populations, according to a study published in PLOS ONE on January 29, 2014 by Amélie Lescroël from the Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CNRS), France and colleagues.
Slowing down the floodwaters
January 29, 2014 10:41 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Putting something called "Natural Engineering" to work in a five-year research project, Newcastle University in cooperation with the Environment Agency are discovering the benefits utilizing the land's natural defenses to slow river flow downstream and prevent flooding. Slowing down water in anticipation of flooding events is being tested all over the world. Strategies include the use of retention basins; wetlands development; levee systems and floodwalls but Newcastle University researchers directed by Dr. Mark Wilkinson are employing additional water retention strategies further up in the catchment system. The Belford Burn is a small catchment system located in Northumberland, a community just south of the Scottish border.
Amazing discovery in Antarctica: sea anemones found living upside down under ice
January 28, 2014 09:12 AM - Jeremey Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Sea anemones are supposed to sit on the bottom of the ocean, using their basal disc (or adhesive foot) to rest on a coral reef or sand. So, imagine the surprise of geologists in Antarctica when they discovered a mass of sea anemones hanging upside from the underside of the Ross Ice Shelf like a village of wispy ghosts.
Island Living Shapes Physiology and Lifestyle of Eastern Bluebirds
January 27, 2014 03:56 PM - ENN Staff
Island plants and animals often differ from their mainland relatives. Why? In general, isolated islands lack top predators and large herbivores, which can influence food chains and traits of island organisms. In addition, differences in human interactions and threats posed by pathogens and parasites can also contribute to variances in traits. In a case study involving eastern bluebirds, (Sialia sialis) researchers show just how island life shapes the physiology and life history of a species.
Mice and Moose and climate change
January 26, 2014 09:26 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
How do animals adjust to a warming climate? Do all animals respond in the same way? According to a new study by the University of Colorado at Boulder, if you were a shrew snuffling around a North American forest, you would be 27 times less likely to respond to climate change than if you were a moose grazing nearby. That is just one of the findings of a new University of Colorado Boulder assessment led by Assistant Professor Christy McCain that looked at more than 1,000 different scientific studies on North American mammal responses to human-caused climate change. The CU-Boulder team eventually selected 140 scientific papers containing population responses from 73 North American mammal species for their analysis. "If we can determine which mammals are responding to climate change and the ones that are at risk of disappearing, then we can tailor conservation efforts more toward those individual species," said McCain. "Hopefully, this potential loss or decline of our national iconic mammals will spur more people to curb climate impacts by reducing overuse of fossil fuels."
Control of the lion fish
January 24, 2014 09:32 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
A recent Oregon State University study shows that controlling the invasive lionfish in the western Atlantic Ocean is likely to allow for recovery of native fish. The lionfish is estimated to have wiped out 95% of native fish in some Atlantic locations. This Atlantic invasion is believed to have begun in the 1980s and now covers an area larger than the United States.