• Deep Ocean plumes of Iron

    Where do the iron and micronutrients in the oceans come from, and what are the factors that marine scientists use to estimate their levels? Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute reports that their scientists have discovered a vast plume of iron and other micronutrients more than 1,000 km long billowing from hydrothermal vents in the South Atlantic Ocean. The finding, soon to be published in the journal Nature Geoscience, calls past estimates of iron abundances into question, and may challenge researchers' assumptions about iron sources in the world's seas. "This study and other studies like it are going to force the scientific community to reevaluate how much iron is really being contributed by hydrothermal vents and to increase those estimates, and that has implications for not only iron geochemistry but a number of other disciplines as well," says Mak Saito, a WHOI associate scientist and lead author of the study. >> Read the Full Article
  • Illegally captured parrots finally free to fly

    In 2010, Bulgarian airport authorities confiscated 108 African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) from a smuggler. Last month, the 28 parrots who survived the stress of being stuffed into dog kennels, constantly handled by humans, and the absence of their native habitat, completed their three-year journey to freedom. >> Read the Full Article
  • Light Ordinance in France has Benefits for Wildlife

    Last month, France implemented one of the world's most comprehensive "lights out" ordinances. Conditions include turning off shop lights between 1 a.m. to 7 a.m., shutting off lights inside office buildings within an hour of workers leaving the premises, and waiting only until sunset before turning lights on, on building facades. Over the next two years, regulations restricting lighting on billboards will also go into effect. These rules are designed to eventually cut carbon dioxide emissions by 250,000 tons per year, conserve energy consumption, and cut the country's overall energy bill by 200 million Euros ($266 million). >> Read the Full Article
  • Small Fish Develop Disguises for Survival

    A recent study, performed by researchers from Australia’s ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) and James Cook University, reveals that particular tiny fish have developed deceiving behaviors and features to enhance their survival chances against predatory fish. The damsel fish, a tiny yellow fish with an eyespot on its tail, is capable of changing the size of its actual eye and eyespot in order to confuse and distract larger predators. This is the first study to document predator-induced changes in the size of eyes and eyespots in prey fish. >> Read the Full Article
  • Living with Urban Wildlife: Non-lethal Control

    The human population has surpassed seven billion and continues to increase by a quarter of a million people every day. That's 150 additional people every minute, all needing energy, water, food and space to inhabit. The inevitable and unrelenting urban expansion which results leaves precious few natural refuges for other species. No surprise then that habitat loss and degradation is the number one cause of global biodiversity loss. Yet, some versatile species - such as foxes, rats, pigeons and gulls - manage to not only survive but thrive in our artificial landscapes. Sadly, few people see these animals as triumphant vestiges of the natural world but rather unwelcome scroungers who dare to live in our midst. Toni V. Shephard notes that less and less of us are prepared to deal with 'pests' using the traditional method i.e. killing them, and offers her perspectives and solutions on human/wildlife conflict... >> Read the Full Article
  • Big Owls need big trees!

    The last great primary forests of Russia's Far East are known for their tigers and bears, but they are also the domain of giant owls. A new study finds that the health of the rare Blakiston’s fish owl is intrinsic to that of these northern forests. The birds rely on old-growth forests along streams for both breeding and to support healthy populations of their favorite prey: salmon. Large trees provide breeding cavities for the enormous bird, which has a 6-foot wingspan. When these massive trees die and topple into streams, they disrupt water flow, forcing the gushing river around, over, and under these new obstacles. The result is stream channel complexity: a combination of deep, slow-moving backwaters and shallow, fast-moving channels that provide important microhabitats critical to salmon in different developmental stages. >> Read the Full Article
  • Pesticide risks need more research and regulation

    Developing countries need stronger pesticide regulation and a better understanding of how pesticides behave in tropical climates, according to experts behind a series of articles published in Science today. They also need an international body to carry out regular pesticide safety assessments — ensuring they are used properly by farmers who are given thorough training in their use — and to monitor the safety of chemical levels in food, the experts say. >> Read the Full Article
  • West Antarctica warming during end of last ice age examined

    The Earth goes through natural cooling and warming trends, not to be confused with man's impact on climate. Ice Ages have occurred and waned. The pace of warming at the end of an ice age has been the subject of debate. It turns out that in Antarctica the pace of warming at the end of the last ice age was far from uniform. West Antarctica began emerging from the last ice age about 22,000 years ago – well before other regions of Antarctica and the rest of the world, according to a team of scientists who analyzed a two-mile-long ice core, one of the deepest ever drilled in Antarctica. Scientists say that changes in the amount of solar energy triggered the warming of West Antarctica and the subsequent release of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Southern Ocean amplified the effect and resulted in warming on a global scale, eventually ending the ice age. >> Read the Full Article
  • Antarctic Warmed Its Way Out of The Last Ice Age

    Since the dawn of time, Earth has constantly cycled through ice ages and warming periods due to its unsteady orbit about the sun. Previous studies believed the warming of the northern hemisphere was the sole trigger for the start of the deglaciation of the southern hemisphere during the last ice age about 18,000 years ago. Recent findings, however, show Antarctica started to warm 2,000 to 4,000 years before this. >> Read the Full Article
  • Eating More Fruits and Vegetables: An $11 Trillion Stimulus?

    Reading through a recently released Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report at first reveals the obvious: eating more fruits and vegetables is healthier for you. But the report, The $11 Trillion Dollar Reward, goes further in placing a dollar value on the benefits of a healthier society. The UCS study suggests a revamp of our nation's agriculture policy is in order to get more local fruits and vegetables on the table and less reaching out of a car window to grab another bagged fast food meal. >> Read the Full Article