'Blue-green algae' proliferating in lakes due to pollution
Published Feb 27, 2015 - 8:29:10 AM
The organisms commonly known as blue-green algae have proliferated much more rapidly than other algae in lakes across North America and Europe over the past two centuries - and in many cases the rate of increase has sharply accelerated since the mid-20th century, according to an international team of researchers led by scientists at McGill University.
'Ecosystem services' help assess ocean energy development
Published Feb 26, 2015 - 11:55:49 AM
With many projects under development in coastal regions such as New England, tidal power -- which extracts "hydrokinetic" energy from marine environments -- seems poised to join other U.S. commercial power sources. A new study finds that little is known of the impacts that tidal power projects may have on coastal environments and the people who depend on them, but that the perspective of "ecosystem services" could provide a promising framework for evaluating impacts.
Agricultural insecticides pose a global risk to surface water bodies
Published Feb 25, 2015 - 9:10:38 AM
Streams within approx. 40% of the global land surface are at risk from the application of insecticides. These were the results from the first global map to be modelled on insecticide runoff to surface waters, which has just been published in the journal Environmental Pollution by researchers from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Koblenz-Landau together with the University of Milan, Aarhus University and Aachen University. According to the publication, particularly streams in the Mediterranean, the USA, Central America and Southeast Asia are at risk.
BP says it expects global emissions of carbon dioxide to rise by a quarter in the next 20 years
Published Feb 24, 2015 - 11:32:31 AM
It may come as a shock, as governments ponder how to tackle climate change, to learn that the world is moving rapidly in the wrong direction. But BP, one of the world’s six biggest oil and gas companies, says it thinks that, on present trends, emissions of CO2 will be 25% greater within two decades than they are today.
Great Barrier Reef corals eat indigestible plastic
Published Feb 24, 2015 - 7:42:55 AM
Researchers in Australia have found that corals commonly found on the Great Barrier Reef will eat micro-plastic pollution. "Corals are non-selective feeders and our results show that they can consume microplastics when the plastics are present in seawater," says Dr Mia Hoogenboom, a Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.
Fur trade a suspect in Minnesota monument mercury contamination
Published Feb 23, 2015 - 2:03:31 PM
The Grand Portage National Monument is a former fur trading site full of conifers, wetlands and beaver dams – a history and landscape that may be behind the toxic mercury loads in the monument’s streams.
Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve Celebrates 25 Years As Stronghold for Jaguar and Other Threatened Species
Published Feb 20, 2015 - 8:52:48 AM
Conservationists in Guatemala and around the world celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, a successful safe haven for jaguars, peccaries, macaws and other species that have disappeared from much of Mesoamerica, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
Health, Environment, Animal-welfare Groups Applaud U.S. Dietary Guidelines' New Sustainability Focus
Published Feb 20, 2015 - 8:17:51 AM
A broad coalition of 49 health, environment and animal-welfare groups urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to embrace the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s sustainability recommendations that were submitted to the agency today.
Endangered marine species at risk from plastic entanglement and ingestion
Published Feb 19, 2015 - 9:11:04 AM
Nearly 700 species of marine animal have been recorded as having encountered man-made debris such as plastic and glass according to the most comprehensive impact study in more than a decade.
Cattle damage to riverbanks in the American West can be undone within decades
Published Feb 19, 2015 - 8:24:53 AM
Simply removing cattle may be all that is required to restore many degraded riverside areas in the American West, although this can vary and is dependent on local conditions. These are the findings of Jonathan Batchelor and William Ripple of Oregon State University in the US, lead authors of a study published in Springer's journal Environmental Management. Their team analyzed photographs to gauge how the removal of grazing cattle more than two decades ago from Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in eastern Oregon has helped to rehabilitate the natural environment.
Oregon Chub Declared First Fish Recovered by Endangered Species Act
Published Feb 18, 2015 - 8:53:09 AM
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing today that Endangered Species Act protections have successfully recovered the Oregon chub, a silvery, speckled minnow found only in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The fish earned protection in 1993 after its populations plummeted due to development of its wetland habitat and predation by introduced sports fish. Federal protection, including protection of some of its most important habitat, allowed the chub’s population to rebound from fewer than 1,000 fish in eight populations in 1993 to more than 140,000 fish in 80 populations today. The Oregon chub is the first fish species ever to be declared recovered from the federal list of endangered species.
Leading Bird Group Files Petition to Regulate the Wind Industry
Published Feb 17, 2015 - 7:58:49 AM
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has filed a formal petition with the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) calling for the agency to establish new regulations governing the impacts of wind energy projects on migratory birds.
Fertilizer Use to Surpass 200 Million Tonnes in 2018
Published Feb 16, 2015 - 9:24:43 AM
Global fertilizer use is likely to rise above 200.5 million tonnes in 2018, 25 percent higher than recorded in 2008.
World fertilizer consumption will grow by 1.8% a year through 2018, according to FAO's new report "World fertilizer trends and outlook to 2018."
Climate and health suffer as gas at oil production sites still goes up in smoke
Published Feb 16, 2015 - 7:24:54 AM
It’s like burning banknotes. Latest statistics from the World Bank (WB) indicate that the amount of gas flared each year is enough energy to supply electricity to several small countries or many millions of households.
Study: Global Rainfall Satellites Require Massive Overhaul
Published Feb 13, 2015 - 7:24:51 AM
Circling hundreds of miles above Earth, weather satellites are working round-the-clock to provide rainfall data that are key to a complex system of global flood prediction.
Advocates Urge FDA to Halt Risky GMO Mosquito Release
Published Feb 12, 2015 - 10:17:27 AM
Today, the national advocacy organization Food & Water Watch urged the FDA to prevent the British biotechnology company Oxitec from releasing millions of unregulated GMO mosquitoes in the Florida Keys this spring and to require the company to submit to a formal agency review. GMO mosquitoes are not adequately regulated, either by federal or local agencies, and may pose significant risks to human health and the environment.
Crude oil spill on the St. Lawrence would cost billions, report reveals
Published Feb 12, 2015 - 7:27:21 AM
A new report by the Council of Canadians and Équiterre says that an oil spill in Lac Saint-Pierre on the St. Lawrence River would cost billions to clean up – far more than the liability limit in Canada.
Study recommends closing the high seas to fishing
Published Feb 12, 2015 - 6:57:02 AM
SFU biologist Isabelle Côté has co-authored a new study that finds little would be lost by eliminating high seas fishing. The high seas globally should be closed to fishing argues a new study in the journal Scientific Reports, co-authored by Isabelle Côté, a Simon Fraser University professor of marine ecology and conservation.
Genetic Test Confirms Grand Canyon Wolf Shot in Utah
Published Feb 11, 2015 - 11:57:08 AM
Genetic tests show that a female wolf shot and killed in southwestern Utah on Dec. 28 was the same animal observed in October near the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials confirmed the wolf’s identity today after completing a DNA comparison using scat collected from the wolf spotted in the national park.
NASA study shows global sea ice diminishing, despite Antarctic gains
Published Feb 11, 2015 - 8:51:00 AM
Sea ice increases in Antarctica do not make up for the accelerated Arctic sea ice loss of the last decades, a new NASA study finds. As a whole, the planet has been shedding sea ice at an average annual rate of 13,500 square miles (35,000 square kilometers) since 1979, the equivalent of losing an area of sea ice larger than the state of Maryland every year.
Michigan's bald eagles full of flame retardants
Published Feb 9, 2015 - 8:11:04 AM
Michigan’s bald eagles are among the most contaminated birds on the planet when it comes to phased-out flame retardant chemicals in their livers, according to new research.
Report: Family Planning Is Cost-effective Strategy for Climate, Food Security
Published Feb 8, 2015 - 9:29:14 AM
A new report from the University of California, San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health states that access to family planning services is a cost-effective strategy to addressing population growth, food insecurity and climate change.
New Poll Shows Florida Voters Statewide Strongly Oppose a Black Bear Trophy Hunt
Published Feb 6, 2015 - 11:42:22 AM
A new statewide survey reveals Florida voters strongly oppose the trophy hunting of black bears in the state, with strong majorities in every demographic group and political affiliation supporting continued protection for Florida black bears. Nearly two-thirds of Florida voters (61 percent) said they oppose a bear hunting season, while only 25 percent support it.
Madagascar Creates Shark Park
Published Feb 5, 2015 - 9:54:55 AM
The Government of Madagascar has created the country’s first marine sanctuary for sharks as part of a new law to safeguard the country’s marine resources and the communities that rely on them, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Climate cranks up extinction threat to Borneo mammals
Published Feb 3, 2015 - 10:08:24 AM
One in three of the mammal species of Borneo could see their habitat reduced by a third by 2080 − just because of climate change alone. Given that the rainforests of Borneo are right now also being felled, burned and converted to commercial plantation, nearly half of all mammal species will lose more than a third of their remaining home range within the next 65 years.
Mercury Levels in Hawaiian Yellowfin Tuna Increasing
Published Feb 3, 2015 - 8:21:22 AM
Mercury concentrations in Hawaiian yellowfin tuna are increasing at a rate of 3.8 percent or more per year, according to a new University of Michigan-led study that suggests rising atmospheric levels of the toxin are to blame.
Tree species influence boreal forest fire behavior and subsequent effects on climate
Published Feb 2, 2015 - 8:44:23 AM
For a better understanding of how forest fires behave and interact with climate, scientists are turning to the trees. A new study out of UC Irvine shows that differences in individual tree species between Eurasia and North America alter the continental patterns of fire – and that blazes burning the hottest actually cool the climate.
Why do zebras have stripes?
Published Feb 2, 2015 - 8:10:46 AM
One of nature's fascinating questions is how zebras got their stripes. A team of life scientists led by UCLA's Brenda Larison has found at least part of the answer: The amount and intensity of striping can be best predicted by the temperature of the environment in which zebras live.
Urban taste for bushmeat poses threat to Amazonian wildlife
Published Feb 2, 2015 - 8:00:01 AM
Research has uncovered alarming evidence of an under-reported wild-meat crisis in the heart of Amazonia. Scientists from Lancaster University and Brazil interviewed households in two Brazilian ‘prefrontier’ cities – cities which are surrounded by more than 90 per cent of their original forest cover.
Researchers Capture, Document First Northern Saw-Whet Owl in Arkansas
Published Feb 2, 2015 - 6:55:38 AM
Wildlife biologists at the University of Arkansas have captured and documented the first northern saw-whet owl in Arkansas.
Between 1959 and 2010, only a dozen sightings of this rare bird – much smaller than screech, barred or great horned owls – had been recorded in the state prior to the adult female recently captured by Kimberly Smith, University Professor of biological sciences, and Mitchell Pruitt, an Honors College undergraduate student majoring in crop, soil, and environmental sciences.