Environment

08/21/2014 - 12:00

Algae might seem easy to ignore, but they are the ultimate source of all organic matter that marine animals depend upon. Humans are increasingly dependent on algae, too, to suck up climate-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sink it to the bottom of the ocean. Now, by using a combination of satellite imagery and laboratory experiments, researchers have evidence showing that viruses infecting those algae are driving the life-and-death dynamics of the algae’s blooms, even when all else stays essentially the same, and this has important implications for our climate.

08/18/2014 - 14:01

Compromise solutions must be found when it comes to roads built through sensitive tropical and subtropical areas, say experts writing in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on August 18. While developing nations need to deploy adequate transportation infrastructure to develop mineral and energy resources, the researchers write, governments too often put development ahead of wildlife without thinking about the long-term consequences.

 

07/28/2014 - 10:52

Many studies have shown the potential for global climate change to cut food supplies. But these studies have, for the most part, ignored the interactions between increasing temperature and air pollution — specifically ozone pollution, which is known to damage crops.

 

07/23/2014 - 13:12

New research from North Carolina State University shows that urban “heat islands” are slowly killing red maples in the southeastern United States. One factor is that researchers have found warmer temperatures increase the number of young produced by the gloomy scale insect – a significant tree pest – by 300 percent, which in turn leads to 200 times more adult gloomy scales on urban trees.

 

06/27/2014 - 20:47

New research has revealed the causes and warning signs of rare tsunami earthquakes, which may lead to improved detection measures.Tsunami earthquakes happen at relatively shallow depths in the ocean and are small in terms of their magnitude. However, they create very large tsunamis, with some earthquakes that only measure 5.6 on the Richter scale generating waves that reach up to ten metres when they hit the shore. 

06/17/2014 - 20:12

The Antarctic shore is a place of huge contrasts, as quiet, dark, and frozen winters give way to bright, clear waters, thick with algae and peppered with drifting icebergs in summer. But as the planet has warmed in the last two decades, massive losses of sea ice in winter have left icebergs free to roam for most of the year. As a result, say researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on June 16, boulders on the shallow seabed—once encrusted with a rich assemblage of species in intense competition for limited space—now mostly support a single species. The climate-linked increase in iceberg activity has left all other species so rare as to be almost irrelevant.