Top Stories

Biodiversity Richness

Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given species, ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions support fewer species. Researchers have now shown that part of Australia’s rich plant diversity was wiped out by the ice ages, proving that extinction, instead of evolution, can influence biodiversity. The research led by the University of Melbourne and University of Tasmania has shown that plant diversity in South East Australia was as rich as some of the most diverse places in the world, and that most of these species went extinct during the ice ages, probably about one million years ago. >> Read the Full Article

Syncing Heartbeats

It is said that when you're in love, your heart starts racing. Why? It's an adrenaline rush where our brains send signals to the adrenal gland, which secretes hormones that flow through the blood and cause our hearts to beat faster and stronger. Not only do our hearts race independently, but according to a University of California, Davis study, lovers' hearts indeed beat for each other, or at least at the same rate. >> Read the Full Article

Find your Eco-Soulmate this Valentine's Day!

Single this Valentine’s Day? Not to worry - a new dating site based on a collaboration between the Ecologist and launches today and calls for green, ethically minded singles. Online dating has increased in popularity the past couple of years as our busy society has progressed to an ever-present online world. And with sites for nearly every kind of person- from religious affiliations to ethnicities, to sites solely for military personnel, we are bound to have success in meeting the types of people we want to meet. And now with the launch of yet another dating site, we have the option to find our eco-soulmate. >> Read the Full Article

The Decline of the Arctic

New research using combined records of ice measurements from NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 satellite, airborne surveys and ocean-based sensors shows Arctic sea ice volume has declined 36 percent in the autumn and nine percent in the winter over the last decade. The work builds on previous studies using submarine and NASA satellite data, confirms computer model estimates that showed ice volume decreases over the last decade, and builds a foundation for a multiple decade record of sea ice volume changes. >> Read the Full Article

Not ALL Conservatives Doubt Climate Change

Republican Bob Inglis’ statement that he believed in human-caused climate change helped cost him his seat in Congress. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, Inglis explains why he is now trying to persuade his fellow conservatives that their principles can help save the planet. Heresy may have cost Bob Inglis his seat in the U.S. Congress. As a six-term Republican congressman from one of South Carolina’s most conservative districts, Inglis told an audience at a 2010 campaign event that he believed in human-caused climate change. The fallout from that comment helped ensure his defeat by a Tea Party-backed candidate. >> Read the Full Article

Is cloud seeding preventing further flooding in Indonesia?

Indonesia is banking on an unusual strategy to prevent further flooding in its inundated capital Jakarta, and officials claim that they are already seeing positive results. They are using cloud seeding — a weather modification technology often resorted to during drought. The method involves injecting clouds with substances that encourage the formation of ice crystals heavy enough to fall, thereby speeding up the production of rain. >> Read the Full Article

NASA Develops Aircraft Design that Uses 50 Percent Less Fuel

It seems like new, innovative technologies to reduce our carbon footprint are always 10 years away. It's hard to imagine there won't be another amazing technology just around the corner. In this case, NASA has developed a manufacturing method for wing-shaped aircraft. When combined with an uber-efficient jet engine called an "ultra-high bypass ratio engine", this new design promises to cut fuel consumptions by half. >> Read the Full Article

Time to eat the ugly ones...

Last week, MEPs (members of the European Parliament) voted overwhelmingly to end the wasteful practice of fish "discards". While a victory for those concerned about the future of our fisheries, what to do with the fish currently thrown overboard remains unknown. But a food distribution system taking North America by storm, championing collaborative communities and sustainable fresh food, may be part of the answer – Community Supported Fisheries. >> Read the Full Article

Poll Reveals American Attitude Towards Climate Change, Support for Clean Energy

Whether you believe climate change is occurring or not, according to a Duke University poll, the percentage of Americans who think climate change is occurring has reached its highest level since 2007. In recent years, the climate change debate has been a hot topic not only among scientists and experts in the field, but among political party lines. >> Read the Full Article

Music and the Brain

Music is an art that puts sounds together in a way that people like or find interesting. It may well teach too. Montreal researchers find that music lessons before age seven create stronger connections in the brain. If you started piano lessons in grade one, or played the recorder in kindergarten, thank your parents and teachers. The younger you started music lessons, the stronger the connections in your brain. A study published last month in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that musical training before the age of seven has a significant effect on the development of the brain, showing that those who began early had stronger connections between motor regions – the parts of the brain that help you plan and carry out movements. >> Read the Full Article