Environment


3 April 2014

Fences causing "ecological meltdown," claims new study


A general belief by conservationists that fences can help prevent the spread of diseases, protect wildlife from poachers, and help manage populations of threatened species has been overturned by a new study that shows fences are actually causing extinctions and destroying ecosystems...

19 March 2014

Radiation risk from Chernobyl forest fire smoke worries scientists


According to a new study, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster decimated the microorganisms that would otherwise decompose fallen trees and leaves, making the area an extreme fire risk that could spread radiation throughout Eastern Europe...

12 March 2014

Unusual gem find provides evidence for vast underground oceans


The chance discovery of a sample of a mineral called ringwoodite provides strong evidence for scientific theories about vast volumes of water trapped 410 to 660 kilometers (250 - 400 miles) beneath the surface of the Earth...

22 October 2013

Flickr holiday snaps yield tourism data gold


Stanford scientists have been using the vast number of vacation photos on photo-sharing site Flickr to measure where and when people are using natural areas for recreation and tourism...

9 October 2013

Human longevity linked to loss of species


In a fascinating new study, human life expectancy - which is rarely included in analyses of human impacts on the environment - emerged as the key predictor of invasive species and extinctions...

7 October 2013

Giant channels discovered under Antarctic ice


Beneath the floating Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in West Antarctica, scientists have discovered huge ice channels that are 800 feet high and stretch for hundreds of miles...

22 September 2013

Pollution changing birdsong


Songbirds are exhibiting inconsistency in their songs and pollution appears to be the culprit, say ornithologists working in a region with high levels of PCB contaminants from decades of electronics manufacturing...

29 August 2013

Massive canyon discovered under Greenland ice sheet


A NASA airborne science mission has found a previously unknown canyon hidden under a mile of Greenland ice. Longer than the Grand Canyon, it has the characteristics of a winding river channel and is up to 2,600 feet deep...

26 August 2013

Legacy of acid rain threatens water supplies


The ongoing effects of river alkalinization - paradoxically caused by acid rain - are showing up across the East Coast of the U.S. and scientists are unsure how long they will persist...

23 June 2013

Dramatic images of Singapore haze from orbit


NASA satellites have captured striking images of vast palls of smoke billowing from illegal wildfires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra...

2 April 2013

Metallic flowers behind bee decline?


Researchers are investigating evidence that pesticides may be killing off bumblebees, but research at the University of Pittsburgh points toward another potential cause: flowers contaminated with metallic pollution...

14 February 2013

Flushed pharma fueling fearless fish


Widely prescribed anxiety-moderating drugs such as Serepax are persisting through wastewater treatment plants after being excreted and modifying fish behaviors, making them bolder and avoid other fish...

13 February 2013

Massive depletion of Middle East freshwater reserves


Already strained by water scarcity and political tensions, the arid Middle East along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is losing critical water reserves at a rapid pace, from Turkey upstream to Syria, Iran and Iraq below...

3 December 2012

Tap water implicated in rise of food allergies


Chemicals known as dichlorophenols, which are used in pesticides and to chlorinate water supplies, could be partially to blame for the rocketing number of food allergies affecting developed nations...

27 November 2012

Ancient microbes found beneath ice of Antarctic lake


Scientists have discovered a viable community of bacteria that survives in a pitch-black, salty, and sub-zero environment beneath nearly 20 meters of ice in one of Antarctica's most isolated lakes...

8 November 2012

Wild Arabica coffee facing extinction


Scientists who have predicted the possible extinction of wild Arabica coffee within 70 years say urgent conservation measures are needed to future-proof Arabica's genetic diversity and ensure the long-term sustainability of Arabica coffee production...

1 October 2012

Smaller fish on the menu as oceans warm


Warmer and less-oxygenated waters could see many fish species reduce in size by up to 20 percent over the next few decades, according to computer modeling carried out by Canadian scientists...

4 September 2012

Biodiversity backflip on warming climate


The notion that the planet's warming climate will result in widespread extinctions has been challenged by a new study that suggests that biodiversity on Earth generally increases as the planet warms...

16 July 2012

Marijuana farms impacting fragile ecosystems


Poisons used on illegal marijuana farms may be sickening and killing the fisher, a rare forest carnivore that makes its home in some of the most remote areas of California...

15 June 2012

Kitchens worse than city centers for pollutants


Examining indoor pollutant levels, UK researchers found that gas kitchens had pollutant concentrations "well above" the levels set by the government as its objective for outdoor air quality...

7 June 2012

Scientists tip 2025 for possible planetary collapse


A very large meta-review by an international group of scientists suggests the Earth is perilously close to a tipping point where resource consumption, climate change, biodiversity loss and population growth will, at best, trigger major shifts in the biosphere, and at worst, cause planetary collapse...

19 May 2012

Bird poo and manta rays: nature's intricate connectivity revealed


One of the longest ecological interaction chains ever documented sheds light on how human disturbance of the natural world may lead to widespread, yet largely invisible, disruption of ecosystems...

14 May 2012

Carbon emission levels from deforestation challenged


When trees are felled to create solid wood products - such as lumber for housing - the wood retains most of its locked-up carbon, say scientists who suggest that previous climate models for carbon emissions from deforestation need revision...

17 January 2012

La Niña cooking up mutated viruses?


The La Niña weather cycle is altering the migratory patterns of birds and scientists speculate that it could possibly be triggering the development of dangerous new strains of influenza...

9 December 2011

Tropical storms may be triggering earthquakes


The heavy rains associated with cyclones and hurricanes could be triggering earthquakes through landslides and soil erosion, both of which can change stress loads on fault lines due to the large quantities of soil they move...

14 November 2011

Air pollution causing more severe storms


Climatologists say that particulate pollution in the atmosphere dramatically affects cloud development in ways that reduce precipitation in dry regions while increasing the severity of storms...

9 November 2011

Narcotic effects of carbon monoxide keep city dwellers happy


Low levels of the gas carbon monoxide have a narcotic effect on city dwellers, say Tel Aviv University researchers, leading them to suggest that the pollutant is, in small doses, a boon to the well-being of urbanites...

26 October 2011

Flood-tolerant crop breakthrough


An international research team has identified the molecular mechanism plants use to sense low oxygen levels, a discovery that could lead to the production of high-yielding, flood-tolerant crops...

19 August 2011

Atmospheric analysis yields dog poop surprise


Microbiologists were surprised to find that the dominant airborne bacterial communities of several American cities most closely resembled the microbial communities found in dog poop...

26 July 2011

Predator-prey dynamics used to model cloud systems


Mathematical formulae that describe the population dynamics of prey animals such as gazelles and their predators have been used to model the relationship between cloud systems and rain...

7 June 2011

Rise of jellyfish "drastically" changing oceanic food webs


The increase in the size and frequency of jellyfish blooms in coastal and estuarine waters around the world is altering marine food webs by shunting food energy away from fish and toward bacteria...

25 May 2011

Bacteria make rain, bioprecipitation researchers say


There is growing evidence that the majority of precipitation events depend on a type of bacterium whose outer membrane binds water molecules in an ordered arrangement, providing a very efficient nucleating template which greatly enhances ice crystal formation...

23 May 2011

Wildlife extinction rates hugely over-reported


Calculating species extinction rates is a tricky business at the best of times, but a new research paper suggests the most widely used methods are "fundamentally flawed" and overestimate extinction rates by as much as 160 percent...

27 April 2011

Deforestation goes into hyperdrive with rising gold price


Deforestation in Peru has increased six-fold in recent years as miners, driven by record gold prices, blast and clear huge tracts of lowland rainforest...

11 April 2011

Naked chicks baffle penguin boffins


Large numbers of young penguins in colonies around the Atlantic are suffering what is known as feather-loss disorder and scientists are baffled as to what might be causing the condition...

25 February 2011

The Pill not to blame for estrogen in drinking water


The American Chemical Society says there is a widespread public misconception about the estrogen-related hormones detected in drinking water supplies...

18 February 2011

Blue-green algae affecting reproductive health


Algal blooms that occur in rivers and waterways have been found to produce a previously unrecognized estrogen-like compound that adversely affects fish, plants and humans by disrupting the normal activity of reproductive hormones...

4 February 2011

Report warns of possible disappearance of wild oysters


A comprehensive new survey that compared the past and present condition of oyster reefs around the globe has found that more than 90 percent of former reefs have been lost in most of the regions where the molluscs were formerly abundant...

5 January 2011

Size of oceanic plastic patch "grossly exaggerated"


There's a significant amount of plastic trash floating in the northern Pacific Ocean, but claims that the "Great Garbage Patch" between California and Japan is twice the size of Texas are grossly exaggerated, according to a new analysis...

2 November 2010

Evergreen agriculture emerges as Africa's key to food security


Crop production occurring under a full canopy of trees sounds counter-intuitive, but a unique acacia known as a "fertilizer tree" is allowing African farmers to triple maize yields...

28 October 2010

Noise doubles heart disease risk


A persistently noisy workplace more than doubles an employee's risk of serious heart disease, suggest new findings in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine...

24 September 2010

Groundwater depletion accelerating worldwide


A new assessment of the planet's subterranean reservoirs shows the highest rates of depletion in the world's major agricultural centers, including northwest India, northeastern China, Pakistan, California and the Midwestern United States. The researchers also found that extracted groundwater is adding significantly to sea-level rise...

9 August 2010

Last ditch appeal to save irreplaceable seed bank from bulldozers


A frantic appeal has been made directly to the Russian government to save an extraordinarily diverse seed collection located near St. Petersburg from real estate developers. Because the Pavlovsk Fruit and Berry Collection is "priceless," argue the developers, no monetary value can be assigned to it, thus it is essentially worthless...

25 May 2010

Soil bacterium enhances brain's ability to learn


Researchers say that the bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae, already believed to have antidepressant qualities, could also improve the brain's ability to learn new tasks...

6 April 2010

Birth control residual runoff threatens fish fecundity


Fish swimming in treated waste water may become infertile thanks to potent pharma residuals. One such contraceptive leftover, the hormone levonorgestrel, was found in higher concentrations in fish than in women who take the contraceptive pill...

31 March 2010

Toxic insects to blame for carnivorous plant decline?


British scientists say they have evidence that the consumption of insects contaminated with heavy metals may be a factor in the mysterious global decline of carnivorous plants...

25 March 2010

Showers releasing a pharma cocktail into environment


The morning shower or soak in the tub have for the first time been identified as significant sources of the hormones, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals that pollute the environment...

5 March 2010

Ozone hole could be lesser of two evils


Already classed as super-greenhouse gases, the chemicals that replaced the ozone-destroying CFCs once used in air conditioners and refrigerators also appear to break down in the upper atmosphere to form oxalic acid, one of the main culprits in acid rain...

18 December 2009

Fertilizer run-off disrupting food chain in unexpected ways


While human-induced nutrient enrichment in stream systems is causing a steady increase in numbers of organisms lower on the food chain, numbers of organisms at the top of the food chain are not changing...

4 December 2009

Biodiversity now a public health issue


Bringing epidemiology and ecology together is the only way to mitigate a surge in exotic and resurgent human diseases brought on by species loss and plummeting biodiversity, say researchers who have for the first time linked species and habitat loss with human disease...

5 November 2009

Midwest still shakin' all over - 200 years later


Seismologists now believe that the majority of modern earthquakes in the Midwest United States are merely aftershocks of a big quake that occurred two centuries ago...

12 October 2009

"Catastrophic decline" in freshwater biodiversity


Mismanagement and growing needs for water are causing freshwater ecosystems to collapse, making freshwater species the most threatened on Earth with extinction rates 4 to 6 times higher than their terrestrial and marine cousins...

1 October 2009

San Andreas Fault weakened by Sumatran quake


Seismologists say the 2004 earthquake that triggered tsunamis throughout the Indian Ocean weakened California's San Andreas Fault, suggesting that large earthquakes can weaken fault zones worldwide and may trigger periods of increased global seismic activity...

24 September 2009

New doomsday map shows planet's dire state


"The threats [to the planet] are so enormous that it is too late to be a pessimist," say an international group of scientists who have been mapping the scale of human activities that impact Earth's biophysical thresholds...

27 August 2009

Unique tree could help feed Africa


A type of acacia tree with an unusual growth habit - unlike virtually all other trees - holds particular promise for farmers in Africa as a free source of nitrogen for their soils that could last generations...

20 August 2009

Decomposing plastic refuse releasing BPA into oceans


Plastic waste in the ocean isn't just unsightly and a danger to marine animals. Scientists have now found that certain plastics breakdown rapidly in the ocean, releasing a heady cocktail of toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A which is known to interfere with mammalian reproductive systems...

18 August 2009

Asian food crisis looms


Asia's food demand is expected to double by 2050, requiring increases in land and irrigation that are simply not possible, finds a new report...

30 July 2009

Jellyfish significant contributors to large-scale ocean mixing


Climate change scientists may need to rethink the factors governing the interaction of the world's oceans, thanks to new findings that show the global power input from swimming creatures such as jellyfish is as much as a trillion watts of energy, comparable to that of wind and tidal forces...

6 July 2009

Processed foods linked to Alzheimer's and diabetes


A new study by US researchers has found a substantial link between increased levels of nitrates in our environment and food with increased deaths from diseases; including Alzheimer's, diabetes and Parkinson's...

18 May 2009

Cloud-seeding microorganisms go under the microscope


A new study is the first to yield direct data on how bacteria, fungal spores and plant material influence cloud formation at high altitudes...

14 May 2009

Back to the drawing board for North Atlantic circulation


The conveyor belt paradigm that is used to describe the North Atlantic Ocean's circulation has it that the Gulf Stream-warmed ocean releases heat to the atmosphere in the northern North Atlantic, leaving ocean water colder and denser as it moves north. But this is a vast oversimplification, say oceanographers...

1 April 2009

Disinfectant by-products create toxic cocktail


The disinfection of water stands out as possibly the most significant public health achievement, but a recent study shows that the chemicals used to purify the water we drink and use in swimming pools react with organic material in the water yielding a surprisingly toxic brew...

5 March 2009

Dead Sea dying?


The water levels in the Dead Sea are dropping at an alarming rate with serious environmental consequences, say German researchers...

24 February 2009

Biodiverse regions are hotspots for war


Over 80 percent of the world's major armed conflicts from 1950-2000 occurred in regions identified as the most biologically diverse and threatened places on Earth...

20 January 2009

Paradoxically, pollutants causing Nile fishery to grow dramatically


While many of the world's fisheries are in serious decline, the coastal Mediterranean fishery off the Nile Delta has expanded dramatically since the 1980s, thanks to sewage and fertilizer run-off which has caused an explosion in fish numbers...

More On The Environment...
Related:
Animal Kingdom
Biology
Evolution
Genetics
Humans
Mind/Brain
Prehistory