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Category: Environment

Data scientists at the University of Warwick are starting a new project using innovative visualisation techniques, which they believe could transform how evidence is used to inform climate change adaptation initiatives.

A study by the University of Liverpool has found that the genetic diversity of wild plant species could be altered rapidly by anthropogenic climate change.


The study looked at Thaumarchaeota archaea, which are found throughout the world's oceans. These single-celled organisms have one membrane sac that encloses their bodies.
Understanding the planet's history is crucial if we are to predict its future. While some records are preserved in ice cores or tree rings, other records of the climate's ancient past are buried deep in the seafloor.


This image shows an abnormally low lake level at Horseshoe Lake in the high-elevation Mammoth Lakes Basin, Sierra Nevada Mountains, This photo was taken June 2015.
A new study says that global warming has measurably worsened the ongoing California drought. While scientists largely agree that natural weather variations have caused a lack of rain, an emerging consensus says that rising temperatures may be making things worse by driving moisture from plants and soil into the air. The new study is the first to estimate how much worse: as much as a quarter. The findings suggest that within a few decades, continually increasing temperatures and resulting moisture losses will push California into even more persistent aridity. The study appears this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Nutrient-rich water from melting Antarctic glaciers nourishes the ocean food chain, creating feeding "hot spots" in large gaps in the sea ice, according to a new study.


Coral habitats in the Bering Sea are home to a plethora of fish and marine mammals.
North of the Aleutian Islands, submarine canyons in the cold waters of the eastern Bering Sea contain a highly productive "green belt" that is home to deep-water corals as well as a plethora of fish and marine mammals.

Research has suggested yellow perch grow more rapidly during the short winters resulting from climate change, but a new study shows warmer water temperatures can lead to the production of less hardy eggs and larvae that have trouble surviving these early stages of life in Lake Erie.

The growing consumer demand for protein--and the lack of new farmland to raise more livestock--could make insects an attractive alternative to traditional protein sources, according to a July 13 symposium at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago.


Abandoned fishing line can injure corals.
A new and significant role for marine reserves on the Great Barrier Reef has been revealed, with researchers finding the reserves reduce the prevalence of coral diseases.


Historically, expansion of cattle pastures has driven deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, where these pastures cover about two-thirds of all the deforested land.
Expansion of cattle pastures has led to the destruction of huge swaths of rain forest in Brazil, home to the world's largest herd of commercial beef cattle. But a new study led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Holly Gibbs shows that market-driven "zero deforestation agreements" have dramatically influenced the behavior of ranchers and the slaughterhouses to which they sell.


Barley cultivation in Jiuzhaigou National Park hasn't changed much in nearly 2,000 years.
Climate change may be responsible for the abrupt collapse of civilization on the fringes of the Tibetan Plateau around 2000 B.C.

Casting a large interdisciplinary research net has helped Simon Fraser University archaeologist Dana Lepofsky and 10 collaborators dig deeper into their findings about ancient clam gardens in the Pacific Northwest to formulate new perspectives.


Parrot grind up coral during feeding and, after digesting the edible content, excrete the rest as sand, which can then be used in island building.
As well as being a beautiful species capable of changing its colour, shape and even gender, new research published today shows that parrotfish, commonly found on healthy coral reefs, can also play a pivotal role in providing the sands necessary to build and maintain coral reef islands.


In May 2014, a group of recreational divers spotted an adult lionfish -- the voracious invader Pterois volitans -- in the rocky reefs of southeastern Brazil.
A single fish caught with a hand spear off the Brazilian coast is making big waves across the entire southwestern Atlantic. In May 2014, a group of recreational divers spotted an adult lionfish--the voracious invader Pterois volitans--in the rocky reefs of southeastern Brazil. A group of researchers, including scientists from the California Academy of Sciences, used genetic analysis to link the lionfish to the infamous Caribbean population of invaders. In light of a separate study detailing the lionfish penchant for eating critically endangered Caribbean reef fish, news of lionfish in Brazilian waters raises alarm for Atlantic reefs and the region's already-threatened marine life. The discovery is published this week in PLOS ONE.


Predatory fish are extremely important for maintaining a balanced ecosystem on the Great Barrier Reef.
New research shows that fishing is having a significant impact on the make-up of fish populations of the Great Barrier Reef.


This mesh, which is covered in a coating invented at The Ohio State University, captures oil (red) while water (blue) passes through.
The unassuming piece of stainless steel mesh in a lab at The Ohio State University doesn't look like a very big deal, but it could make a big difference for future environmental cleanups.


This is a Polyrhachis sp ant with prey. Ants like this keep invertebrate numbers down.
Invertebrates perform essential functions for the smooth running of the ecosystems in tropical forests. For example, creatures such as termites and millipedes help dead leaves decompose and release their nutrients back into the soil, and carnivorous ants and spiders act as predators of herbivorous invertebrates that would otherwise munch through all the foliage.


A coral specimen exposed to oil and dispersant displays declining health over time. The picture on the furthest right is a healthy control sample.
The dispersant used to remediate the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is more toxic to cold-water corals than the spilled oil, according to a study conducted at Temple University. The study comes on the eve of the spill's fifth anniversary, April 20th.


This is a central chimpanzee. The number of gorillas and chimpanzees in Central Africa continues to decline due to hunting, habitat loss, and disease, combined with a widespread lack of...
The number of gorillas and chimpanzees in Central Africa continues to decline due to hunting, habitat loss, and disease, combined with a widespread lack of law enforcement and corruption in the judicial process, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF, and partners in a new conservation plan.


Study co-author Gonedele Sere, on left, holds a cocoa plant found at an illegal farm in the Dassioko Forest Reserve in Ivory Coast.
Researchers surveying for endangered primates in national parks and forest reserves of Ivory Coast found, to their surprise, that most of these protected areas had been turned into illegal cocoa farms, a new study reports.

The human-dominated geological epoch known as the Anthropocene probably began around the year 1610, with an unusual drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide and the irreversible exchange of species between the New and Old Worlds, according to new research published today in Nature.

The spread of exotic and aggressive strains of a plant fungus is presenting a serious threat to wheat production in the UK, according to research published in Genome Biology. The research uses a new surveillance technique that could be applied internationally to respond to the spread of a wide variety of plant diseases.


These are corals on the Great Barrier Reef.
Researchers in Australia have found that corals commonly found on the Great Barrier Reef will eat micro-plastic pollution.


The 192 countries with a coast bordering the Atlanta, Pacific and Indian oceans, Mediterranean and Black seas produced a total of 2.5 billion metric tons of solid waste. Of that,...
A plastic grocery bag cartwheels down the beach until a gust of wind spins it into the ocean. In 192 coastal countries, this scenario plays out over and over again as discarded beverage bottles, food wrappers, toys and other bits of plastic make their way from estuaries, seashores and uncontrolled landfills to settle in the world's seas.


Forest managers must balance concerns for wildlife habitat with reducing the chance for damaging wildfires.
Healthy forest ecosystems need dead wood to provide important habitat for birds and mammals, but there can be too much of a good thing when dead wood fuels severe wildfires. A scientist with the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW) compared historic and recent data from a forest in California's central Sierra Nevada region to determine how logging and fire exclusion have changed the amounts and sizes of dead wood over time. Results were recently published in Forest Ecology and Management.

Drawing on nearly five decades of experience, Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, one of the seminal scientific explorers of the Amazon rain forest in modern times, chronicles some of his most significant and fascinating expeditions in That Glorious Forest: Exploring the Plants and Their Indigenous Uses in Amazonia, now available from The New York Botanical Garden Press.

WCS scientists in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have discovered a new species of plant living in a remote rift valley escarpment that's supposed to be inside of a protected area. But an administrative mapping error puts the reserve's borders some 50 kilometers west of the actual location. Now the new species, along with 900 other plant varieties and 1,400 chimpanzees, are in limbo with no protection and threatened by cattle ranches and forest destruction.


Multiple fires are visible in in this image of the Para and Mato Grosso states of Brazil.
Multiple fires are visible in in this image of the Para and Mato Grosso states of Brazil. Many of these were most likely intentionally set in order to deforest the land. Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use. The herringbone-patterned tan lines cutting through the dark green of the Amazon Rainforest in the middle of the image are evidence of deforestation in the Brazilian state of ParĂ¡. The deforestation in ParĂ¡ follows the Brazialian national motorway BR 163, passing by cities such as Novo Progresso. The lower half of the image shows the state of Mato Grosso.

Genetic analysis of Antarctic fur seals, alongside decades of in-depth monitoring, has provided unique insights into the effect of climate change on a population of top-predators. Published in Nature this week, the findings show that the seals have significantly altered in accordance with changes in food availability that are associated with climate conditions. Despite a shift in the population towards 'fitter' individuals, this fitness is not passing down through generations, leaving the population in decline.

A study conducted by scientists in Brazil and the United Kingdom has quantified the impact that selective logging, partial destruction by burning, and fragmentation resulting from the development of pastures and plantations have had on the Amazon rainforest. In combination, these factors could be removing nearly 54 million tons of carbon from the forest each year, introduced into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases. This total represents up to 40% of the carbon loss caused by deforestation in the region.

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