• EU Hopes to Make Progress with Fishing Industry Reforms

    Overfishing has been an important environmental issue recently as catching too many fish in one area can lead to food chain imbalances and the overall degradation of that system. Christian Schwagerl for YaleEnvironment360 discusses Europe’s over-subsidized fishing industry and what members of the European Union (EU) are doing to change and protect Europe’s marine environment. >> Read the Full Article
  • Cropland expansion the culprit in biodiversity loss, says study

    Rapid cropland expansion is the main cause of biodiversity loss in tropical countries, a study by UNEP's (the UN Environment Programme) World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative has found. The study, published in PLOS ONE last month (9 January), highlights maize and soybean as the most expansive crops and as the main drivers of biodiversity loss in tropical regions. Other crops that pose a major threat to habitats and wildlife are beans, cassava, cowpea, groundnut, millet, oil palm, rice, sorghum, sugarcane and wheat, the study says. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Great Snail Tale

    The common name snail is also applied to most of the members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have a coiled shell that is large enough for the animal to retract completely into. When the word snail is used in this most general sense, it includes not just land snails but also thousands of species of sea snails and freshwater snails. They do not have a great reputation but the story goes that if a snail climbs a plant or post, rain is coming, research led by the University of York goes one better: it shows snails can provide a wealth of information about the prevailing weather conditions thousands of years ago. The researchers, including scientists from the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center (SUERC), analyzed the chemistry of snail shells dating back 9,000 to 2,500 years recovered from Mediterranean caves, looking at humidity at different times in the past. >> Read the Full Article
  • Crab's Metabolism May be Affected by Noise Pollution

    Sitting at the dock of the bay you might hear the crash of breaking waves and squawking seagulls flying overhead. As you take in all the sites and sounds, you next hear a speeding boat racing by and an oil tanker a mile away. Grinding engine noises and long, low, horn sounds can be deafening in any harbor. And while you can handle it for the hour or two you spend there, the continuous sounds of these noisy vessels are being found to have repercussions on marine life. >> Read the Full Article
  • Shell suspends Arctic oil drilling for the year

    Royal Dutch Shell announced yesterday that it was setting "pause" on its exploratory drilling activities in the Arctic for 2013. Shell's operations are currently under review by the federal government after the oil company suffered numerous setbacks during last year's opening attempt to drill exploratory wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, including running its drilling rig aground on Sitkalidak Island in southern Alaska in late December. >> Read the Full Article
  • Wasp Society

    Social wasps build an internal society or specialized workers. How do they do this on a genetic level? What makes a wasp do one task or another? The workers all support the queen of the colony. Scientists at the University of Bristol have sequenced the active parts of the genome – or transcriptome – of primitively eusocial wasps to identify which part makes a queen or a worker. The study, published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Genome Biology, shows that workers have a more active transcriptome than queens. This suggests that in these simple societies, workers may be the jack-of-all-trades in the colony, leaving the queen with a somewhat restricted set of work tasks. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Smartphone Technology Reveals US Stream and River Conditions

    Oh the things your smartphone can do! For the first time, data on current conditions on thousands of rivers and streams across the country, can be accessed from your smartphone, using USGS' latest system WaterNow. WaterNow makes the water conditions monitored by more than 16,000 stream gages and other sites across the country available via text or email. Stream gages refer to sites along a stream where information for streamflow, groundwater levels, springs, water quality, and lake levels are measured. They are used by hydrologists and scientists for monitoring purposes, although this data can be accessible to anyone who is interested. >> Read the Full Article
  • Rice Paddies and Fish Farming - Perfect Together!

    By combining aquaculture with wet paddy farming in its coastal areas Bangladesh can meet food security and climate change issues, says a new report. The approach promises more nutritious food, without causing environmental damage, and has the potential for a 'blue-green revolution' on Bangladesh’s existing crop areas extending to about 10.14 million hectares and an additional 2.83 million hectares that remain waterlogged for about 4–6 months. >> Read the Full Article
  • France Unveils Measures to Decrease Energy Use

    Even after the election of François Hollande as President of France, an energy conservation measure of the previous government will be implemented. The Sarkozy government wanted to require shops and offices to turn off their unnecessary lights at nights. This will be effective as of July 1, 2013. All nonresidential buildings will be required to shut off their lights an hour after the last worker leaves or by 1 a.m. each morning. Lights can be turned on again until 7 a.m. or just before they open. Similarly, the lights on building facades will have to be turned off. >> Read the Full Article
  • Why Long Necked Dinosaurs

    Dinosaurs often are depicted with very long necks. Nowadays we have the giraffe with a long neck who seem to have evolved this feature due to the need to eat leaves higher up. So why and how the dinosaur with its long neck? Researchers say the how is helped by hollow neck bones. The largest creatures to ever walk the Earth were the long-necked, long-tailed dinosaurs known as the sauropods. These vegetarians had by far the longest necks of any known animal. The dinosaurs' necks reached up to 50 feet in length, six times longer than that of the current world-record holder, the giraffe, and at least five times longer than those of any other animal that has lived on land. >> Read the Full Article