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Declining catch rates in Caribbean Nicaragua green turtle fishery

A 20-year assessment of Nicaragua's legal, artisanal green sea turtle fishery has uncovered a stark reality: greatly reduced overall catch rates of turtles in what may have become an unsustainable take, according to conservation scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and University of Florida.

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Diverse gene pool critical for tigers' survival, say Stanford scholars

New research by Stanford scholars shows that increasing genetic diversity among the 3,000 or so tigers left on the planet is the key to their survival as a species.

Iconic symbols of power and beauty, wild tigers may roam only in stories someday soon. Their historical range has been reduced by more than 90 percent. But conservation plans that focus only on increasing numbers and preserving distinct subspecies ignore genetic diversity, according to the study. In fact, under that approach, the tiger could vanish entirely.

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Study shows climate change disrupts natural relationships between species

A collaborative study released today involving scientists from the Cambridge Conservation Initiative has shown that climate change is altering species distributions and populations, seemingly through shifting interactions between species rather than direct responses to climate.

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'Problem wells' source of greenhouse gas at unexpected stage of natural gas production

High levels of the greenhouse gas methane were found above shale gas wells at a production point not thought to be an important emissions source, according to a study jointly led by Purdue and Cornell universities. The findings could have implications for the evaluation of the environmental impacts from natural gas production.

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Climate change a likely culprit in coqui frog's altered calls, say UCLA biologists

Changes in the Puerto Rican climate over the past three decades have caused small but significant changes to the coqui frog, the territory's national animal. UCLA biologists have found that not only have male coquis become smaller, but their mating call has also become shorter and higher pitched.

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Greenhouse gas emissions from today will greatly affect our descendants for at least 1000 years

In 1000 years, between 15 and 40 per cent of the CO2 we emit today will still be left in the atmosphere, says Professor Anders Hammer Strømman at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

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Fish from acidic ocean waters less able to smell predators

Fish living on coral reefs where carbon dioxide seeps from the ocean floor were less able to detect predator odor than fish from normal coral reefs, according to a new study.

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Sharks contain more pollutants than polar bears

The polar bear is known for having alarmingly high concentrations of PCB and other pollutants. But researchers have discovered that Greenland sharks store even more of these contaminants in their bodies.

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World-leading scientists develop new approach to bird conservation

World-wide, nearly 600 species of birds are currently in danger of becoming extinct. As human development pressures and environmental changes continue to threaten habitats, the need for proactive avian conservation is increasing.

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Research suggests Australian government should respond to shark bites with greater public education and non-lethal shark culling measures

In the wake of yet another fatal shark bite in Australia, groundbreaking new research released today by the SEA LIFE Conservation Fund has found little support for the Government on the hotly debated issue of culling sharks who have been responsible for causing injuries or death to swimmers.

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Putting a price on ecological restoration

Putting a price on clean water and soil fertility helps the UN set ecological restoration targets for degraded and deforested land.

Forests provide essential ecosystem services for people, including timber, food and water. For those struggling with the after-effects of deforestation, the main hope lies in rebuilding forest resources through ecological restoration.

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Early springs surprise many species

Spring is arriving earlier. This is not necessarily welcome news for Arctic creatures or the roe deer of France. It could be awkward for flower festival organisers as well.

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Corporates weigh risks, opportunities of changing climate

Europe's company board rooms are very much alive to the risks posed by climate change – and are also busy analysing business opportunities it might provide.

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Don't Fence Me In! Study Says Fences Cause "Ecological Meltdown"

Wildlife fences are constructed for a variety of reasons including to prevent the spread of diseases, protect wildlife from poachers, and to help manage small populations of threatened species. Human–wildlife conflict is another common reason for building fences: Wildlife can damage valuable livestock, crops, or infrastructure, some species carry diseases of agricultural concern, and a few threaten human lives. At the same time, people kill wild animals for food, trade, or to defend lives or property, and human activities degrade wildlife habitat. Separating people and wildlife by fencing can appear to be a mutually beneficial way to avoid such detrimental effects. But in a paper in the journal Science, published today, April 4th, 2014, WCS and ZSL scientists review the ‘pros and cons' of large scale fencing and argue that fencing should often be a last resort.

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Researchers: Act on climate change at any cost to keep a habitable world

Two researchers who tried to work out the economics of reducing global climate change to a tolerable level have come up with a perhaps surprising answer: essentially, we do not and cannot know what it would cost.

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24 percent of European bumblebee species threatened with extinction

Twenty four percent of European bumblebee species are threatened with extinction according to a recent study assessing the species group at the European level.

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Climate change forces flower festival forward a month since 1960s

Organisers of flower festivals are being forced to adapt to increasingly early first blooming dates in spring, according to a study by a Coventry University academic which is shortly due to be published in the journal Climate Research.

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Experts Demand Lead Ammunition Be Replaced by Steel in Shooting Sports

According to a research by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the University of Guelph, Canada, Olympic athletes specialising in shooting use one thousand cartridges per week and scatter some 1.3 tonnes of lead yearly, with harmful effects for surrounding animals and agricultural land. In the article, published in the journal AMBIO, the authors demand that lead ammunition be replaced with steel, which is non-toxic and contains similar technical characteristics.

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Oxygen depletion in the Baltic Sea is 10 times worse than a century ago

After several years of discussions, researchers from Aarhus University (Denmark), Lund University (Sweden) and Stockholm University (Sweden) have determined that nutrients from the land are the main cause of widespread areas of oxygen depletion. The results were published on 31 March in the prestigious American journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Using different scents to attract or repel insects

Flowering plants attract pollinating insects with scent from their flowers and bright colours. If they have become infested with herbivores like caterpillars, they attract beneficial insects like parasitic wasps with the help of scent signals from their leaves. The wasps then lay their eggs in the caterpillars and kill the parasites. Floral and foliar scents can, however, mutually reduce their attractiveness. That's why flowering plants face a dilemma: should they use their resources to attract pollinating insects and, by extension, for reproduction or should they invest in defence against herbivores? A Swiss-Italian research team headed by Florian Schiestl from the University of Zurich has now demonstrated that plants are able to adjust their scent bouquet to their needs at any given time and, in this way, to attract partner or useful insects in a more targeted manner.

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Threatened Listing for Lesser Prairie Chicken Riddled with Disturbing Loopholes

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it will list the lesser prairie-chicken – a species of grouse whose population decreased by 50% in 2013 alone – as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Protection for this species under the ESA is long overdue, but the threatened listing is weakened by overly broad exemptions for land uses that continue to threaten the struggling populations. These exemptions are included in the threatened listing regulation known as a special "section 4(d) rule", which allows excessive land use development to continue throughout the bird's habitat – weakening the protections provided by the ESA and further jeopardizing the lesser prairie chicken's survival. The section 4(d) rule waives key ESA protections for the lesser prairie chicken based upon untested voluntary conservation plans with inadequate conservation measures and minimal oversight and accountability by the Service. This listing decision comes more than 15 years after the Service first determined the bird warranted federal protection under the ESA, during which time the bird's population has continued to decline and development has continued to destroy its habitat.

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Pesticides make the life of earthworms miserable

Pesticides are sprayed on crops to help them grow, but the effect on earthworms living in the soil under the plants is devastating, new research reveals: The worms only grow to half their normal weight and they do not reproduce as well as worms in fields that are not sprayed.

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Study: Salamanders in North America shrinking due to climate change

Wild salamanders living in some of North America's best salamander habitat are getting smaller as their surroundings get warmer and drier, forcing them to burn more energy in a changing climate.

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Tortoises Suffer While BLM Allows Trespass Cattle to Eat for Free in Nevada Desert

Despite repeated U.S. District Court of Nevada rulings that the federal Bureau of Land Management has the right and duty to remove cattle trespassing in southeastern Nevada's Gold Butte area to protect desert tortoises and other imperiled species, cattle are once again grazing in the area this spring, according to BLM surveys.

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North Dakota Gas Flaring Doubles, Pumping CO2 Into Air

Fracking for crude oil is big business in North Dakota, but with that oil is coming a steadily increasing amount of wasted natural gas that is burned off, releasing large amounts of climate change-driving carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to new U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

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The scarcity of 'knowledgeable elders' may have devastating consequences on wildlife

Until the '50s, bluefin tuna fishing was a thriving industry in Norway, second only to sardine fishing. Every year, bluefin tuna used to migrate from the eastern Mediterranean up to the Norwegian coasts. Suddenly, however, over no more than 4-5 years, the tuna never went back to Norway. In an attempt to solve this problem, Giancarlo De Luca from SISSA (the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste) together with an international team of researchers (from the Centre for Theoretical Physics - ICTP – of Trieste and the Technical University of Denmark) started to devise a model based on an "adaptive stochastic network". The physicists wanted to simulate, simplifying it, the collective behaviour of animal groups. Their findings, published in the journal Interface, show that the number of "informed individuals" in a group, sociality and the strength of the decision of the informed individuals are "critical" variables, such that even minimal fluctuations in these variables can result in catastrophic changes to the system.

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Indochina Agricultural Fires Still Ongoing

Agricultural fires continue to burn in the Indochina region as evidenced by this Aqua image taken on March 18, 2014. This natural-color image was taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, MODIS, aboard the Aqua satellite.

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EU could afford to lead international climate action

Major emitting countries may have to join the EU's effort much earlier to avoid a temporary overshoot of the 2 degree target, but even if they joined only in 2030, the overshoot would be limited to roughly 0.2 to 0.4 degrees Celsius. The initial unilateral leadership could be achieved at little extra costs for the EU. Late-comers would have the benefit of lower costs while they delay action but would face higher transient costs once their turn to decarbonize comes.

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Regional warming triggers sustained mass loss in Northeast Greenland ice sheet

Northeast Greenland, where the glacier is found, is of particular interest as numerical model predictions have suggested there is no significant mass loss for this sector, leading to a probable underestimation of future global sea-level rise from the region.

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Climate change will reduce crop yields sooner than we thought

A study led by the University of Leeds has shown that global warming of only 2°C will be detrimental to crops in temperate and tropical regions, with reduced yields from the 2030s onwards.

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