ENN: Ecosystems

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Why The World Needs to Rethink The Value of Water

Research led by Oxford University highlights the accelerating pressure on measuring, monitoring and managing water locally and globally. A new four-part framework is proposed to value water for sustainable development to guide better policy and practice.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Meadows Beat Out Shrubs When it Comes to Carbon Storage

Excess carbon dioxide, emitted by burning fossil fuels like coal and petroleum, is one of the most important factors in driving global warming. While the world is focused on controlling these emissions to limit climate change, less attention has been paid to the capacity of vegetation and soils to take up and store carbon.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Ribbed Mussels Could Help Improve Urban Water Quality

Ribbed mussels can remove nitrogen and other excess nutrients from an urban estuary and could help improve water quality in other urban and coastal locations, according to a study in New York City’s Bronx River. The findings, published in Environmental Science and Technology, are part of long-term efforts to improve water quality in the Bronx River Estuary.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Climate Change Models of Bird Impacts Pass the Test

A major study looking at changes in where UK birds have been found over the past 40 years has validated the latest climate change models being used to forecast impacts on birds and other animals.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Scientific team selected to conduct independent abundance estimate of red snapper in Gulf of Mexico

A team of university and government scientists, selected by an expert review panel convened by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, will conduct an independent study to estimate the number of red snapper in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

“American communities across the Gulf of Mexico depend on their access to, as well as the long term sustainability of, red snapper,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “I look forward to the insights this project will provide as we study and manage this valuable resource.”

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
New trap for mountain pine beetles could help weaken their spread

By tweaking the existing bait and changing up the spacing of pine trees used to trap and monitor the spread of the mountain pine beetle, UAlberta researchers caught greater numbers of the pest.

“As part of an operational control program, these methods could potentially weaken the spread of mountain pine beetle,” said lead researcher Jennifer Klutsch.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Albatrosses in decline from fishing and environmental change

The populations of wandering, black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses have halved over the last 35 years on sub-antarctic Bird Island according to a new study published today (20 November) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
In bee decline, fungicides emerge as improbable villain

When a Cornell-led team of scientists analyzed two dozen environmental factors to understand bumblebee population declines and range contractions, they expected to find stressors like changes in land use, geography or insecticides.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Three studies from UTA's clear lab detect harmful pathogenic bacteria in Texas groundwater near natural gas extraction sites

Three new research studies from the University of Texas at Arlington have found harmful pathogenic bacteria in Texas groundwater near unconventional natural gas extraction sites.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
NASA Links Port-City Sea Levels to Regional Ice Melt

A new NASA tool links changes in sea level in 293 global port cities to specific regions of melting land ice, such as southern Greenland and the Antarctic Peninsula. It is intended to help coastal planners prepare for rising seas in the decades to come.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Researcher seeks to protect where the wild things walk

UBC research is paving the way for a route that will serve as a pilot project to protect green space and allow wildlife to move throughout the Okanagan Valley.

Kelowna was identified in the 2016 Stats Canada census as one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada. With growth comes development and UBC Professor Lael Parrott says the region is in danger of fragmenting low-elevation ecosystems and losing the habitat and movement routes needed by wildlife, especially on the east side of Okanagan Lake.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Nebraska Approves Keystone XL, But Requires Different Route Through State

Nebraska regulators have given the final approval for the Keystone XL pipeline to run through their state, eliminating the last major regulatory obstacle preventing the completion of the 1,179-mile pipeline system that would help carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Texas.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Study Pinpoints Arctic Shorebird Decline

A new study co-authored by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) addresses concerns over the many Arctic shorebird populations in precipitous decline. Evident from the study is that monitoring and protection of habitat where the birds breed, winter, and stopover is critical to their survival and to that of a global migration spectacle.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Researchers pin down one source of a potent greenhouse gas

A study of a Lake Erie wetland suggests that scientists have vastly underestimated the number of places methane-producing microbes can survive—and, as a result, today’s global climate models may be misjudging the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Thinking Big by Burning Small

A recent paper by scientists from Wits University in South Africa shows how creative fire management can increase habitat for wildebeest and other grazing animals in national parks.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
As Oceans Warm, the World's Kelp Forests Begin to Disappear

A steady increase in ocean temperatures — nearly 3 degrees Fahrenheit in recent decades — was all it took to doom the once-luxuriant giant kelp forests of eastern Australia and Tasmania: Thick canopies that once covered much of the region’s coastal sea surface have wilted in intolerably warm and nutrient-poor water. Then, a warm-water sea urchin species moved in. Voracious grazers, the invaders have mowed down much of the remaining vegetation and, over vast areas, have formed what scientists call urchin barrens, bleak marine environments largely devoid of life.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Maps reveal landscape beneath Antarctica's weak underbelly

A UK team of researchers has produced high-resolution maps of the bed beneath a major glacier in West Antarctica, which will help them predict future sea-level rise from this region. Radar surveys of the land beneath Pine Island Glacier have revealed a diverse landscape under the ice with some surprises. The results are published today (20 November 2017) in the journal Nature Communications.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
How the Alaska Pipeline Is Fueling the Push to Drill in the Arctic Refuge

The war over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) — one of the most contentious and enduring environmental fights in U.S. history — is once again heating up. 

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Seagrass is a Key Fishing Ground Globally

New research demonstrates that seagrass meadows are important fishing grounds all around the globe. The work highlights that there is an urgent need to start appreciating and understanding this role to be able to build more sustainable fisheries. A study led by Dr Lina Mtwana Nordlund at Stockholm University, published in the scientific journal Fish & Fisheries, examines the global extent to which these underwater meadows support fishing activity.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
The Importance of Biodiversity in Forests Could Increase Due to Climate Change

Leipzig. Forests fulfil numerous important functions, and do so particularly well if they are rich in different species of trees. This is the result of a new study. In addition, forest managers do not have to decide on the provision of solely one service – such as wood production or nature conservation – as a second study demonstrates: several services provided by forest ecosystems can be improved at the same time. Both studies were led by scientists from Leipzig University and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), and published in the prestigious journal Ecology Letters.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Virginia Tech works to protect Africa's crops against invasive pests

As invasive and indigenous insect pests continue to wreak havoc on crops across Africa, a Virginia Tech-led project is intensifying its work to coordinate a response that looks beyond geographic and financial barriers.

Stopping crop losses requires working across borders, said Muni Muniappan, director of the Virginia Tech-led Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management. “Fighting these pests in just a few of these countries is futile, because it will continue to thrive in the countries where we are not working,” he said.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
University of Oregon research maps major shifts in Colorado River history

Geologists have long debated how and when the Colorado River made its first connection to the ocean. In a new study, a team led by the UO’s Becky Dorsey has helped pull the river’s story together.

The river did not, as many thought, simply roar down out of the Colorado Plateau and pour into the Gulf of California.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Pacific Island Countries Could Lose 50-80% of Fish in Local Waters Under Climate Change

Many Pacific Island nations will lose 50 to 80 percent of marine species in their waters by the end of the 21st century if climate change continues unchecked, finds a new Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program study published in Marine Policy. This area of the ocean is projected to be the most severely impacted by aspects of climate change.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Amazon's Recovery Limited by Climate Change

Deforested areas of the Amazon Basin have a limited ability to recover because of recent changes in climate, a study shows.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM
Low dose, constant drip: Pharmaceuticals & personal care products impact aquatic life

Traditional toxicity testing underestimates the risk that pharmaceutical and personal care product pollution poses to freshwater ecosystems. Criteria that account for ecological disruption – not just organism death – are needed to protect surface waters, which are under pressure from a growing population and escalating synthetic chemical use. So reports a new study published this week in Elementa.

11/24/2017 01:53 AM