Ecologist Special Report: EU must back up its words with action on deforestation

Though the Earth loses forests at an alarming rate, the EU has yet to take decisive action against the most severe causes of deforestation. The EU must now act swiftly to ensure its consumption no longer drives forest destruction, writes SÉBASTIEN RISSO
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

The Latest Threat To Antarctica: An Insect And Plant Invasion

Ocean Leadership ~

Rise in tourism and warmer climate bring house flies – and the growth of mosses in which they can live. (Credit: Vincent van

(Click to enlarge) Rise in tourism and warmer climate bring house flies – and the growth of mosses in which they can live. (Credit: Vincent van Zeijst/Wikimedia commons)

Antarctica’s pristine ice-white environment is going green and facing an unexpected threat – from the common house fly. Scientists say that as temperatures soar in the polar region, invading plants and insects, including the fly, pose a major conservation threat.

(From The Guardian /  by Robin McKie) —  More and more of these invaders, in the form of larvae or seeds, are surviving in coastal areas around the south pole, where temperatures have risen by more than 3C over the past three decades. Glaciers have retreated, exposing more land which has been colonised by mosses that have been found to be growing more quickly and thickly than ever before – providing potential homes for invaders. The process is particularly noticeable in the Antarctic peninsula, which has been shown to be the region of the continent that is most vulnerable to global warming.

“The common house fly is a perfect example of the problem the Antarctic now faces from invading species,” said Dominic Hodgson of the British Antarctic Survey. “It comes in on ships, where it thrives in kitchens and then at bases on the continent. It now has an increasing chance of surviving in the Antarctic as it warms up, and that is a worry. Insects like the fly carry pathogens that could have a devastating effect on indigenous lifeforms.”

The Antarctic has several native species of insects. Together with its indigenous mosses and lichens, these are now coming under increased threat from three major sources: visiting scientists; swelling numbers of tourists; and global warming.

In 2015-6, more than 38,000 tourists visited Antarctica while around 43,000 were expected for the following season. “These tourists are often very scrupulous about not leaving waste or having mud – which could carry seeds or bugs from other areas – on their boots when they set foot on the Antarctic peninsula,” said Hodgson.

“However, it is still very difficult to avoid contamination. Camera bags are a particular problem. People take them from one continent to the next and rarely clean them. They put them on the ground and seeds picked up elsewhere get shaken loose. It is a real issue.”

Nevertheless, it is global warming that is the main driver of the greening of Antarctica. Temperatures have been rising steadily in the peninsula since meteorological data began to be collected there in the 1950s. This shows that over the past 60 years the region has warmed up by around half a degree Celsius every decade.

To read the full article, click here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/17/antarctica-insect-plant-invasion-house-flies-mosses-warmer-climate

 

The post The Latest Threat To Antarctica: An Insect And Plant Invasion appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Can animal diet mitigate greenhouse emissions?

A research of UPM and UPV has shown that the inclusion of agroindustrial by-products in pig feed can reduce the nitrous oxide emissions (N2O) of the slurry used as manures up to 65%.

The aim of this study carried out by UPM researchers with the collaboration of Institute for Animal Science and Technology of UPV was to influence the ingredients of pig diet to modify the composition of slurry used as manures and to assess the possible variations on N2O emissions.

ENN: Top Stories

Ecologist Special Report: Community Farm takes local council to High Court this Solstice

A local food-production scheme, dedicated to conservation and sustainability in East Sussex, has been crowdfunding to finance the legal battle that will see it in the High Court today. The Crossing – a micro-farm providing affordable and pesticide free food for the surrounding Forest Row community – is taking its local council to the High Court to challenge a decision to turn down its application for planning permission and, say the petitioners, to fight for the rights of small food growers. MATTHEW NEWSOME reports
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

NOAA Says 3-Year Global Coral Bleaching Event Is Ending, But It’s Too Early To Celebrate

Ocean Leadership ~

A massive bleaching event that damaged coral reefs across the globe now appears to be easing after three deadly years, NOAA revealed. However, an expert warns it's still too early to celebrate.  ( Credit: Phil Walter | Getty Images )

(Click to enlarge) A massive bleaching event that damaged coral reefs across the globe now appears to be easing after three deadly years, NOAA revealed. However, an expert warns it’s still too early to celebrate. ( Credit: Phil Walter | Getty Images )

After three deadly years, a massive bleaching event that struck coral reefs across the globe now appears to be ending, scientists announced on Monday, June 19.

(From Tech Times / by Alyssa Navarro) — Coral bleaching happens when corals are subjected to extreme changes in the environment. During coral bleaching, colorful coral reefs eject symbiotic algae from their tissue, which causes it to turn white or pale. This weakens the coral and makes it susceptible to disease.

In May 2014, rising water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic worsened the widespread coral bleaching in the Northern Hemisphere. This trend continued for three years and it was believed that it could lead to the mass deaths of corals.

Now, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that the global coral bleaching event is easing. In fact, data from satellites and modeling indicate that the unprecedented coral bleaching period has stopped after inflicting damage to coral reefs.

Mark Eakin, coral reef watch coordinator at NOAA, said the three-year bleaching event appears to have killed off nearly 95 percent of a species of tall, cucumber-shaped coral called pillar coral, weakening them enough for disease to kill them off.

“We’ve had an almost complete loss of pillar coral. It almost looks like the ruins of an old Greek building, said Eakin.

Eakin said the forecast damage does not look widespread in the Indian Ocean, while the Pacific and the Caribbean will still experience coral bleaching, although it will be less severe than recent years.

Places struck by the coral bleaching event have seen catastrophic effects.

For instance, in South Florida, experts witnessed the death of a 300-year-old coral off the coast of Hollywood. Coral reefs located in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have underwent several mass bleaching events and are threatened to become extinct. Guam, northwest Hawaii, and some parts of the Caribbean have also been hit by back-to-back coral bleaching, scientists said.

In recent years, El Niño has been pinpointed as the cause of the bleaching, but Eakin explained that global warming had increased ocean temperatures to the point that El Niño was only a small push that triggered the coral bleaching event.

Researchers say that coral reefs in the Northern Hemisphere are getting some relief from the intense ocean temperatures that caused the bleaching.

“This is really good news,” said Julia Baum, a coral reef scientist. “We’ve been totally focused on coming out of the carnage of the 2015-2016 El Nino.”

However, experts warn that although conditions are improving, it is still too early to celebrate. Eakin said the world may be at a new normal where coral reefs barely survive even during good conditions.

Another bleaching event may also be looming over reefs located in the United States. As a countermeasure, Eakin said the world must get climate change under control and confront local stressors.

“Neither is going to be sufficient without the other,” he added.

To read the full article, click here: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/210316/20170619/noaa-says-3-year-global-coral-bleaching-event-is-ending-but-its-too-early-to-celebrate.htm

The post NOAA Says 3-Year Global Coral Bleaching Event Is Ending, But It’s Too Early To Celebrate appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Colombian environmental protestors ‘see off’ one of the world’s biggest gold mining companies

Two months ago Colombia’s largest gold-mining project ‘La Colosa’ was called off after a small town said “NO” in a local referendum. A wave of public consultations against similar projects is now sweeping Colombia and beyond, while the Government hesitates to introduce rigorous environmental regulations for the industry writes BURAG GURDEN
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

U.S. total solar eclipse sparks spectator excitement

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – The first total solar eclipse across the continental United States in a century is expected to spark watching parties and traffic jams as it darkens skies from Oregon to South Carolina, authorities said on Wednesday.


Reuters: Environment

Great Opportunities For Marine Research With New Underwater Vehicle

Ocean Leadership ~

An autonomous underwater vehicle offers promise for advanced marine research use. This will make it possible to conduct detailed studies of the seabed at great depths and track the climate thousands of years back in time, say researchers. (Credit: Kongsberg AS)

(Click to enlarge) An autonomous underwater vehicle offers promise for advanced marine research use. This will make it possible to conduct detailed studies of the seabed at great depths and track the climate thousands of years back in time, say researchers. (Credit: Kongsberg AS)

The University of Gothenburg soon will have its first autonomous underwater vehicle for research use. This will make it possible to conduct detailed studies of the seabed at great depths and track the climate thousands of years back in time.

(From Science Daily) — After more than two years of preparation, the University of Gothenburg has signed a contract that will make Sweden’s first autonomous underwater vehicle for research use a reality.

“This underwater vessel will enable us to do research in areas that we have been unable to reach so far, such as underneath glaciers in Antarctica that are 500 metres thick and beneath the Arctic sea ice,” says Anna Wåhlin, a professor of oceanography at the University of Gothenburg.

The vessel is known as an AUV, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. It is an unmanned, autonomous submarine equipped with a range of instruments and sensors capable of mapping the marine environment and measuring the ocean’s chemistry, physics and biology.

With the craft, detailed studies can be carried out at great depths in the oceans. The submarine operates independently and can be sent out on missions under the control of a mothership, where scientists can also be working on other investigations.

“To measure the marine environment to the extent necessary for understanding how the ocean works, we must make use of autonomous observation platforms on a much larger scale. Future research vessels will serve as motherships for many different autonomous vehicles, with our AUV being one of the largest and most complex.”

The new underwater vessel will be able to descend to a depth of 3,000 metres and cover a range of about 200-300 km. It is equipped with a new state-of-the-art navigation system that makes it possible to operate for long distances under water and simultaneously know where it is, a major challenge for craft below the surface of the ocean since signals from satellites or GPS cannot penetrate water. It is equipped with instruments that can be used to survey large areas of the seabed and ice in great detail. It also will have sonar that penetrates the floor of the ocean and reveals the nature of sedimentation in the past.

To read the full article, click here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170620094545.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fearth_climate%2Foceanography+%28Oceanography+News+–+ScienceDaily%29

The post Great Opportunities For Marine Research With New Underwater Vehicle appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Conservation Exclusive: People’s Trust for Endangered Species complete a secret and successful hazel dormice release into the wild

Ecologist reporter, LAURA BRIGGS, joins the animal charities and volunteers gathered earlier this week on a secret mission – the release of 18 pairs of endangered dormice into the wild
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

A lover's touch eases pain as heartbeats, breathing sync, CU study says

Fathers-to-be, take note: You may be more useful in the labor and delivery room than you realize.

That’s one takeaway from a study released last week that found that when an empathetic partner holds the hand of a woman in pain, their heart and respiratory rates sync and her pain dissipates.

“The more empathic the partner and the stronger the analgesic effect, the higher the synchronization between the two when they are touching,” said lead author Pavel Goldstein, a postdoctoral pain researcher in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at CU Boulder.

The study of 22 couples, published in the journal Scientific Reports last week, is the latest in a growing body of research on “interpersonal synchronization,” the phenomenon in which individuals begin to physiologically mirror the people they’re with.

ENN: Top Stories