Archives for May 2016

We must localise the EU and curb corporate power – but does that mean in or out?

The EU referendum debate is taking place between different wings of the corporate elite, dominated by assumptions in favour of big business, free trade and endless economic growth, write Helena Norberg-Hodge, Rupert Read & Thomas Wallgren. But to vote for a sustainable future we must adopt a very different, local perspective – one you’ll never find in UK’s ‘mainstream’ media.
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

Gorilla killing at Cincinnati zoo sparks probe into possible criminal charges

CINCINNATI (Reuters) – Police are investigating possible criminal charges in a Cincinnati Zoo incident in which a gorilla was killed in order to rescue a 4-year-old boy who had fallen into its enclosure, a prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Reuters: Environment

Nanoplastics Negatively Affect Aquatic Animals

Ocean Leadership ~

Microplastic poses a growing concern in oceans and other aquatic habitat (Credit: 5Gyres / Oregon State University)

(Click to enlarge) Microplastic poses a growing concern in oceans and other aquatic habitat (Credit: 5Gyres / Oregon State University)

Plastic accounts for nearly eighty per cent of all waste found in our oceans, gradually breaking down into smaller and smaller particles. New research from Lund University in Sweden investigates how nanosized plastic particles affect aquatic animals in different parts of the food chain.

(From Science Daily)– “Not very many studies have been done on this topic before. Plastic particles of such a small size are difficult to study,” says Karin Mattsson.

“We tested how polystyrene plastic particles of different sizes, charge and surface affect the zooplankton Daphnia. It turned out that the size of the nanoparticles that were most toxic to the Daphnia in our study was 50 nanometers,” says Karin Mattsson.

Because zooplankton like Daphnia are also food for many other aquatic animals, the researchers wanted to study the effect of plastic particles higher up in the food chain. They found that fish that ate Daphnia containing nanoplastics experienced a change in their predatory behaviour and poor appetite. In several studies, researchers also discovered that the nanoparticles had the ability to cross biological barriers, such as the intestinal wall and brain.

“Although in our study we used much larger amounts of nanoplastic than those present in oceans today, we suspect that plastic particles may be accumulated inside the fish. This means that even low doses could ultimately have a negative effect,” says Karin Mattsson.

Plastic breaks down very slowly in nature, and once the microscopically small plastic particles reach lakes and oceans they are difficult to remove. Plastic particles also bind environmental toxins that can become part of the food chain when consumed accidentally.

Read the full article here:

The post Nanoplastics Negatively Affect Aquatic Animals appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.

Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Wearable Computer Teaches Dogs New Tricks

Good boy! This custom dog harness consistently reinforces good behavior using sensors and a special algorithm.
Discovery News

Google Cars to Be Coated with Human Flypaper?

A patent application describes adhesive coating for reducing injuries in pedestrian accidents.
Discovery News

Evidence Of Ancient Tsunamis On Mars

Ocean Leadership ~

The red surface of Mars (Credit: NASA)

(Click to enlarge) The red surface of Mars (Credit: NASA)

Scientists think they see evidence of two huge tsunamis having once swept across the surface of Mars.

(From BBC / by Jonathan Amos)– They point to satellite data suggesting a major redistribution of sediments over a large region at the edge of the Red Planet’s northern lowlands. The US-led team argues that asteroid or comet strikes into an ocean of water could have triggered the giant waves.Such events could only have occurred more than three billion years ago when the planet was wetter and warmer. Today, Mars is dry and very cold, and any impact would merely dig out a dusty hole. But researchers have long speculated that the low, flat terrain in Mars’ northern hemisphere could have hosted an ocean if the climate conditions were just right. The nagging doubt with this theory has been the absence of an identifiable shoreline – something the new study could now help explain.

If tsunamis regularly inundated the “land”, dumping sediments and scouring new flow channels, they could over time have disguised what otherwise would have been an obvious “coast”. “Clearly, it’s one of the implications of this work: to have tsunamis, you must have an ocean,” said Alexis Palmero Rodriguez from the Planetary Science Institute in Tuscon, Arizona.

“So, we think this is going to remove a lot of the uncertainty that surrounds the ocean hypothesis. Features that have in the past been interpreted as relating to an ocean have been controversial; they can be explained by several, alternative processes. But the features we are describing – such as up-slope flows including large boulders – can only be explained in terms of tsunami waves,” he told BBC News. Dr Rodriguez and colleagues’ tsunami findings appeared on Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports. Their work centers on two connected regions of Mars, known as Chryse Planitia and Arabia Terra.

Read the full article here:

The post Evidence Of Ancient Tsunamis On Mars appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.

Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Antarctic seas defy global warming thanks to chill from the deep

OSLO (Reuters) – A persistent chill in the ocean off Antarctica that defies the global warming blamed for melting Arctic ice at the other end of the planet is caused by cold waters welling up from the depths after hundreds of years, scientists said on Monday.

Reuters: Environment

Institutes from around the world are making deposits to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

From sheep food to chili peppers – the new seed stores being deposited this week at the Arctic Vault take the world a step closer to future food security say the participating organisations
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

Mass coral bleaching cast shadow over future of Great Barrier Reef

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Mass coral bleaching has destroyed at least 35 percent of the northern and central Great Barrier Reef, Australian scientists said on Monday, a major blow to the World Heritage Site that attracts about A$ 5 billion ($ 3.59 billion) in tourism each year.

Reuters: Environment

Antarctic fossils show creatures wiped out by asteroid

A study of more than 6,000 marine fossils from the Antarctic shows that the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago was sudden and just as deadly to life in the Polar Regions.

Previously, scientists had thought that creatures living in the southernmost regions of the planet would have been in a less perilous position during the mass extinction event than those elsewhere on Earth.

ENN: Top Stories