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Category: Environment

96 percent of marine species, and 70 percent of terrestrial life died off in the Permian-Triassic extinction event, as geologists know it. It is also known as The Great Dying Event for obvious reasons.

This image shows chemosynthesis vs photosynthesis.
Cold seeps are places where hydrocarbons, mostly methane, emanate from the sea floor. Unlike the hydrothermal vents, the fluids and bubbles are no hotter than the surrounding seawater, thus the name.

Because the oceans absorb man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, its pH declines. Effects of this chemical change on tropical coral reefs can be examined in laboratory or short-term field experiments. However, a team led by Dr. Marlene Wall, marine biologist at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, chose a different approach: In the framework of the German research network BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification), they examined corals of the genus Porites, which grow at volcanic carbon dioxide vents in Papua New Guinea and have become a dominant species there.

Researchers surveyed 75 plant species to identify top performing enzymes that will help increase the yields of staple food crops such as wheat.
Plant scientists at Lancaster University, with support from the University of Illinois, have made an important advance in understanding the natural diversity of a key plant enzyme which could help us address the looming threat of global food security.

Results show that the transfer efficiency of organic carbon from the surface to the deep ocean
About the same amount of atmospheric carbon that goes into creating plants on land goes into the bodies of tiny marine plants known as plankton. When these plants die and sink, bacteria feed on their sinking corpses and return their carbon to the seawater. When plankton sink deep enough before being eaten, this carbon is taken out of circulation as a greenhouse gas to remain trapped in the deep ocean for centuries.

Coccolith morphology is shown as acidification and warming increases in the culture experiment.
Two new studies recently published in Limnology & Oceanography and Biogeosciences report that ocean warming may exacerbate the impacts of ocean acidification on calcareous phytoplankton, and its evolutionary success and physiological performance will be hampered.

Algae that live in and under the sea ice play a much greater role for the Arctic food web than previously assumed. In a new study, biologists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) showed that not only animals that live directly under the ice thrive on carbon produced by so-called ice algae. Even species that mostly live at greater depth depend to a large extent on carbon from these algae. This also means that the decline of the Arctic sea ice may have far-reaching consequences for the entire food web of the Arctic Ocean. Their results have been published online now in the journal Limnology & Oceanography.

Flux towers are equipped with inlets for "sniffing the air " above the forest, in addition to other instruments such as sonic anemometers for measuring wind.
For the first time, scientists have been successful in measuring the processes by which an entire forest "breathes," using sophisticated technology involving flux towers and new instrumentation that can precisely measure two different types (isotopes) of carbon dioxide in the air. A team led by Richard Wehr and Scott Saleska at the University of Arizona obtained detailed long-term measurements of the respiration and photosynthesis rates of a temperate deciduous forest during the day and the night.

A new study by Simon Fraser University marine ecologists Jessica Schultz, Ryan Cloutier and Isabelle Côté has discovered that a mass mortality of sea stars resulted in a domino effect on B.C.'s West Coast Howe Sound marine ecology.

Larval perch from the Baltic Sea that has filled its stomach with microplastic waste particles.
In a new study, published in Science, researchers from Uppsala University found that larval fish exposed to microplastic particles during development displayed changed behaviors and stunted growth which lead to greatly increased mortality rates. The researchers discovered that larval perch that had access to microplastic particles only ate plastic and ignored their natural food source of free-swimming zooplankton.

Purdue researchers found that honeybees collect pollen from a wide range of plants, even in areas dominated by corn and soybeans.
A Purdue University study shows that honeybees collect the vast majority of their pollen from plants other than crops, even in areas dominated by corn and soybeans, and that pollen is consistently contaminated with a host of agricultural and urban pesticides throughout the growing season.

This is an oyster at Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery in Netarts Bay, Oregon.
The ocean chemistry along the West Coast of North America is changing rapidly because of global carbon dioxide emissions, and the governments of Oregon, California, Washington and British Columbia can take actions now to offset and mitigate the effects of these changes.

Fishing boats at the harbor in Luderitz, Namibia. The small town is known for its crayfish industry.
New groundbreaking research shows that with improved fishing approaches -- compared to business as usual -- the majority of the world's wild fisheries could be at healthy levels in just 10 years and global fish populations could double by 2050.

A major coral bleaching event took place on this part of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
A study at Oregon State University has concluded that significant outbreaks of viruses may be associated with coral bleaching events, especially as a result of multiple environmental stresses.

Historical and modern photographs of Stone Island taken in a) 1915 (photographer unknown); b) 1994 (photographer A. Elliot © Commonwealth of Australia GBRMPA); c) 2012 (photographer H. Markham); and Bramston Reef taken in d) c.1890 (W. Saville-Kent); e) 1994 (photographer A. Elliot © Commonwealth of Australia GBRMPA); f) 2012 (photographer T. Clark). Landscape features in the background of the images helped to locate the same sites: Gloucester Island (GI) and Cape Gloucester (CG).

Source: Clark et al. 2016. The timing of significant Great Barrier Reef coral loss captured by a series of historical photos has been accurately determined for the first time by a University of Queensland)-led study.

Thirty percent of global fish catch may be unreported, according to new research.
Countries drastically underreport the number of fish caught worldwide, according to a new study, and the numbers obscure a significant decline in the total catch .

In terms of evolutionary history, less than a quarter of wrasse species receive minimum protection levels.
Marine scientists are calling for a re-think of how marine protected areas (MPAs) are planned and coordinated, following a global assessment of the conservation of tropical corals and fishes.

This is a scanning electron microscope image of a coccolithophore, which can measure from 5 to 15 microns across, less than a fifth the width of a human hair.
A microscopic marine alga is thriving in the North Atlantic to an extent that defies scientific predictions, suggesting swift environmental change as a result of increased carbon dioxide in the ocean, a study led a by Johns Hopkins University scientist has found.

This is an example of a healthy reef.
Almost every person has an appreciation for natural environments. In addition, most people find healthy or pristine locations with high biodiversity more beautiful and aesthetically pleasing than environmentally degraded locations. In a study which computed 'aesthetics' as it relates to coral reefs, a multidisciplinary group of researchers have shown that an objective computational analysis of photographic images can be used to assess the health of a coral reef.

This is a right whale calf washed up at Peninsula Valdes, Argentina. New research indicates a likely connection between the deaths of hundreds such calves starting in the mid-2000s and...
The baby whales suddenly began dying in 2005. And continued for several years running.

Food waste is today's hot topic. In fact, according to scientific surveys in Switzerland, 300 kg of perfectly good food ends up in the bin per person each year. However, this number encompasses the entire shopping basket, from yoghurt to drinkable leftover wine and two-day-old bread.

A small freshwater plant that has evolved to live in harsh seawater is giving scientists insight into how living things adapt to changes in their environment.

A world-first global analysis of marine responses to climbing human CO2 emissions has painted a grim picture of future fisheries and ocean ecosystems.

The globe's forests have shrunk by three per cent since 1990 - an area equivalent to the size of South Africa - despite significant improvements in conservation over the past decade.

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.

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