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Fri, Feb

  • York study finds exposure to neonics results in early death for honeybee workers and queens

    Worker and queen honeybees exposed to field-realistic levels of neonicotinoid insecticides die sooner, reducing the health of the entire colony, a new study led by York University biologists has found.

    Researchers were also surprised to find the neonicotinoid-contaminated pollen collected by the honeybees came not from crops grown from neonicotinoid-treated seeds, but plants growing in areas adjacent to those crops.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Are your fireworks causing pollution?

    If you’re a fan of pyrotechnics shows, just thinking about fireworks probably conjures up a fond memory of oohing and aahing along with a crowd, as colors burst overhead and smoke drifts across the — hey, wait a minute.

    Sorry, but I’m here to rain on your fireworks, because those delightful explosions come with a hefty dose of pollution. It doesn’t have to be that way, though — in fact, many municipalities are seeking out alternatives that allow residents to enjoy the fun, minus the environmental impact.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Ten million tonnes of fish wasted every year despite declining fish stocks

    ndustrial fishing fleets dump nearly 10 million tonnes of good fish back into the ocean every year, according to new research.

    The study by researchers with Sea Around Us, an initiative at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and the University of Western Australia, reveals that almost 10 per cent of the world’s total catch in the last decade was discarded due to poor fishing practices and inadequate management.  This is equivalent to throwing back enough fish to fill about 4,500 Olympic sized swimming pools every year.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Canada +150: DNA Barcodes — Sci-Fi Tech to Safeguard Environment

    A Canadian technology that can identify a substance by scanning it — as a character in Star Trek might — could become a crucial tool to capture DNA data in the environment and protect it.

    DNA barcoding, developed at the University of Guelph by Professor Paul Hebert, uses genetic variations to identify different species. It’s similar to how a supermarket checkout scanner reads variations in a UPC barcode’s lines to identify a product you buy.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Lake Harvests are Likely More Fruitful than We Knew

    Harvests from freshwater fisheries such as the Great Lakes could total more than 12 million tons a year globally and contribute more to global food supplies and economies than previous estimates indicate, according to a study published today by Michigan State University and the U.S. Geological Survey.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Septic systems are a major source of emerging contaminants in drinking water

    A new analysis shows that septic systems in the United States routinely discharge pharmaceuticals, consumer product chemicals, and other potentially hazardous chemicals into the environment. The study, published June 15 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, is the most comprehensive assessment to date of septic systems as important sources of emerging contaminants, raising health concerns since many of these chemicals, once discharged, end up in groundwater and drinking water supplies.

    Known as contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), these types of pollutants are frequently detected in U.S. rivers, lakes, and drinking water supplies. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not currently regulate them in drinking water. Many emerging contaminants are hormone disruptors.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Lending plants a hand to survive drought

    A research team led by The Australian National University (ANU) has found a new way to help plants better survive drought by enhancing their natural ability to preserve water.

    The findings have helped some plants survive 50 per cent longer in drought conditions, and could eventually benefit major crops such as barley, rice and wheat, which are crucial to world food supplies.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • How the popularity of sea cucumbers is threatening coastal communities

    Coastal communities are struggling with the complex social and ecological impacts of a growing global hunger for a seafood delicacy, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.

    “Soaring demand has spurred sea cucumber booms across the globe,” says lead author Maery Kaplan-Hallam, who conducted the research as a master’s student with the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) at UBC.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Mathematical Biology Tackles Destructive Plant Virus

    Plant diseases pose a serious threat to global food security, especially in developing countries, where millions of people depend on consuming what they harvest.

    In sub-Saharan Africa, one plant disease in particular – maize lethal necrosis – is ravaging one of the region's preferred crops for food, feed and income. But understanding its biology in order to manage the disease is difficult because the disease arises from two viruses interacting – which is where mathematics comes into play.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Why the World's Rivers Are Losing Sediment and Why It Matters

    Vast amounts of river-borne sediment are trapped behind the world’s large dams, depriving areas downstream of material that is badly needed to build up the marshes and wetlands that act as a buffer against rising seas.

    In September 2011, after 20 years of planning, workers began dismantling the Elwha and Glines dams on the Elwha River in northwestern Washington state. At the time, it was the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, and it took nearly three years for both barriers to be dismantled and for the river to once again flow freely. 

    Over the course of their nearly century-long lives, the two dams collected more than 24 million cubic yards of sediment behind them, enough to fill the Seattle Seahawks football stadium eight times. And since their removal, the Elwha has taken back the trapped sediment and distributed it downstream, causing the riverine ecosystem to be rebuilt and transformed. Massive quantities of silt, sand, and gravel have been carried to the coast, resurrecting a wetlands ecosystem long deprived of sediment.

    >> Read the Full Article