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Preview: Brightsurf Science News :: Ecosystem News

Ecosystem Current Events and Ecosystem News from Brightsurf

Ecosystem Current Events and Ecosystem News Events, Discoveries and Articles from Brightsurf

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Old fish few and far between under fishing pressure

Thu, 14 Sep 17 00:10:20 -0700

A new study by University of Washington scientists has found that, for dozens of fish populations around the globe, old fish are greatly depleted -- mainly because of fishing pressure. The paper, published online Sept. 14 in Current Biology, is the first to report that old fish are missing in many populations around the world.

Microbial mass movements

Thu, 14 Sep 17 00:04:00 -0700

Wastewater, tourism, and trade are moving microbes around the globe at an unprecedented scale. As we travel the world we leave billions of bacteria at every stop. As with rats, foxes, tigers and pandas, some microbes are winners, spreading around the world into new ecological niches we've created. Others are losing, and might face extinction. These changes are invisible, so why should we care?

'Superbug' bacteria gang up on us, fueled by antibiotic use, nursing home study suggests

Tue, 12 Sep 17 00:05:50 -0700

What's worse than getting exposed to a kind of bacteria that modern antibiotics can't kill? Getting exposed to more than one -- because they may work together to cause an infection, new research suggests. And trying different antibiotics to control one such 'superbug' may only encourage others. The researchers say it's time to think about such bacteria as members of an antibiotic-resistant ecosystem in healthcare environments -- not as single species that act and respond alone.

Biodiversity just as powerful as climate change for healthy ecosystems

Mon, 11 Sep 17 00:14:00 -0700

Biodiversity is proving to be one of humanity's best defenses against extreme weather. In past experiments, diversity has fostered healthier, more productive ecosystems, like shoreline vegetation that guards against hurricanes. However, many experts doubted whether these experiments would hold up in the real world. A study in this week's issue of Nature offers a decisive answer: biodiversity's power in the wild surpasses experimental predictions, in some cases topping even effects of climate.

Coral loss on Palm Islands long precedes 2016 mass bleaching on Great Barrier Reef

Mon, 11 Sep 17 00:07:40 -0700

Extensive loss of branching corals and changes in coral community structure in Australia's Palm Islands region over the past century has been revealed in a new study. Dr Tara Clark of The University of Queensland Radiogenic Isotope Facility in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences said these corals were highly sensitive to environmental change.

Who is eating who? How climate change is modifying fish predator prey interactions

Fri, 08 Sep 17 00:07:50 -0700

Climate change is expected to have many impacts on the oceans; one of them is where fish are located in the ocean. Ocean warming is expected to cause fish to shift to different locations that are cooler -- generally toward the poles and into deeper waters. But not all fish are moving in the same directions and at the same speeds. This is changing what fish are eating and who are eating them.

Due to climate change, one-third of animal parasites may be extinct by 2070

Wed, 06 Sep 17 00:03:20 -0700

The Earth's changing climate could cause the extinction of up to a third of its parasite species by 2070, according to a global analysis reported Sept. 6 in the journal Science Advances. Parasite loss could dramatically disrupt ecosystems, and the new study suggests that they are one of the most threatened groups of life on Earth.

18th century nautical charts document historic loss of coral reefs

Wed, 06 Sep 17 00:03:00 -0700

Researchers studying 18th century British nautical charts tracked the loss of coral reef habitat in the Florida Keys over the last two centuries. According to their analysis, entire sections of reef near the shore that were present prior to European settlement are now largely gone.

Invasive plants change ecosystems from the bottom up

Tue, 05 Sep 17 00:13:50 -0700

Research has shown that even when two different Phragmite lineages are grow side-by-side in the same ecosystem, the bacterial communities in the soil differ dramatically. It's a discovery that will aid in understanding how plant invasions get started and the conditions necessary for their success.

Experts call for added focus on the impact of glacier mass loss on downstream systems

Mon, 04 Sep 17 00:11:40 -0700

Researchers have warned of an 'urgent worldwide need' to address a broad spectrum of cascading impacts of glacier mass loss on downstream systems.

Diverse landscapes are more productive and adapt better to climate change

Mon, 04 Sep 17 00:02:00 -0700

Ecosystems with high biodiversity are more productive and stable towards annual fluctuations in environmental conditions than those with a low diversity of species. They also adapt better to climate-driven environmental changes. These are the key findings environmental scientists at the University of Zurich made in a study of about 450 landscapes harboring 2,200 plants and animal species.

Researchers find microbes key to reef survival

Fri, 01 Sep 17 00:02:10 -0700

A global consortium of marine biologists collaborates to help coral reef ecosystems adapt to climate change.

Can corals survive climate change?

Fri, 01 Sep 17 00:02:00 -0700

A group of international scientists, including scientists from Australia, have issued advice that more research is urgently required to determine whether corals can acclimate and adapt to the rapid pace of climate change.

Nature gem within the city: What grows in the biodiversity-rich Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve

Thu, 31 Aug 17 00:07:20 -0700

Being the oldest of its kind in Malaysia, Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve is a nature enclave, lying in the center of the busy capital city Kuala Lumpur. Researchers from the Forest Research Institute Malaysia have now teamed up to publish an extensive checklist of the flora of this urban nature enclave, while making use of the innovative 'ecosystem inventory' template available in the open-access journal One Ecosystem.

Day and night temperature differences influence global patterns in leaf size

Thu, 31 Aug 17 00:14:50 -0700

A comprehensive analysis of global patterns in leaf size offers an answer to one of the longest-standing questions in plant ecology -- why plant leaf size increases at lower latitudes -- scientists now report.

Century-old seal pelts reveal changes in Ross Sea ecosystem

Tue, 29 Aug 17 00:14:10 -0700

Scientists sampled a pile of frozen pelts left in a hut by Antarctic explorers for Weddell seal tissue from a century ago, at the very start of human activities in Antarctica. By using sophisticated isotope analysis to compare samples from modern and century-old seals, they were able to investigate human impacts on the Antarctic ecosystem.

Potential impacts of planned Andean Amazon dams outweigh benefits, scientists say

Thu, 24 Aug 17 00:11:10 -0700

An international team of scientists investigating the effects of six planned or potential Andean dams on the Amazon river system has found that major negative ecological impacts can be expected both above the dams and throughout the lowland floodplains and the Amazon Delta.

Understanding Caribbean mammal extinctions of the past spurs renewed focus on conservation

Wed, 23 Aug 17 00:04:20 -0700

A Johns Hopkins paleontologist and her collaborative team of scientists report they have clear evidence that the arrival of humans and subsequent human activity throughout the islands of the Caribbean were likely the primary causes of the extinction of native mammal species there. The evidence, they say, highlights the need for urgent human intervention to protect the native mammal species still inhabiting the region.

Climate change is luring Kodiak bears away from their iconic salmon streams

Wed, 23 Aug 17 00:05:00 -0700

Kodiak brown bears are abandoning salmon-their iconic prey-due to climate change, according to a new study.

What's the annual value of trees? $500 million per megacity, study Says

Tue, 22 Aug 17 00:04:30 -0700

In the megacities that are home to nearly 10 percent of the world's 7.5 billion people, trees provide each city with more than $500 million each year in services that make urban environments cleaner, more affordable and more pleasant places to live.

Post-whaling recovery of Southern Hemisphere

Mon, 21 Aug 17 00:15:10 -0700

By 2100 some Southern Hemisphere whale species will not have reached half their pre-whaling numbers, while other species are expected to recover by 2050.

Shocking gaps in basic knowledge of deep sea life

Mon, 21 Aug 17 00:11:50 -0700

Human interference in the deep sea could already be outpacing our basic understanding of how it functions. As a result, without increased research and an immediate review of deep ocean conservation measures, the creatures that live there face an uncertain future, Oxford University scientists have warned.

Right kind of collaboration is key to solving environmental problems

Fri, 18 Aug 17 00:01:50 -0700

Society's ability to solve environmental problems is tied to how different actors collaborate and the shape and form of the networks they create, says a new study from researchers at Stockholm Resilience Centre which is published in the journal Science.

Mosses used to evaluate atmospheric conditions in urban areas

Wed, 16 Aug 17 00:12:50 -0700

Researchers have developed a method to evaluate atmospheric conditions using mosses (bryophytes) in urban areas, a development that could facilitate broader evaluations of atmospheric environments.

A decade of monitoring shows the dynamics of a conserved Atlantic tropical forest

Wed, 16 Aug 17 00:00:10 -0700

Characterized with high levels of biodiversity and endemism, the Atlantic Tropical Forest has been facing serious anthropogenic threats over the last several decades. Having put important ecosystem services at risk, such activities need to be closely studied as part of the forest dynamics. Thus, a Brazilian team of researchers spent a decade monitoring a semi-deciduous forest located in an ecological park in Southeast Brazil. Their observations are published in the open-access Biodiversity Data Journal.

Tibetan Plateau gets wetter and greener in early summer in recent decades

Sat, 12 Aug 17 00:11:20 -0700

Known as the 'water tower of Asia,' the Tibetan Plateau (TP) is the source of the 10 largest rivers in Asia, supporting more than 1.4 billion people and exerting a substantial influence on the water resources, agriculture, and ecosystems of the downstream countries. A recent study shows that the TP has been getting significantly wetter in May since 1979.

What it takes to recover from drought

Wed, 09 Aug 17 00:09:00 -0700

According to a study published Aug. 10 in Nature, the length of drought recovery depends on several factors, including the region of the world and the post-drought weather conditions. The authors, including William Anderegg of the University of Utah, warn that more frequent droughts in the future may not allow time for ecosystems to fully recover before the next drought hits.

Incomplete drought recovery may be the new normal

Wed, 09 Aug 17 00:08:10 -0700

The amount of time it takes for an ecosystem to recover from a drought is an important measure of a drought's severity. During the 20th century, the total area of land affected by drought increased, and longer recovery times became more common, according to new research published by Nature by a group of scientists including Carnegie's Anna Michalak and Yuanyuan Fang.

Ants dominate waste management in tropical rainforests

Wed, 09 Aug 17 00:15:10 -0700

A study by the University of Liverpool has found that ants are responsible for moving more than half of food resources from the rainforest floor, playing a key role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

Extreme melt season leads to decade-long ecosystem changes in Antarctica's Dry Valleys

Tue, 08 Aug 17 00:08:30 -0700

An abnormal season of intense glacial melt in 2002 triggered multiple distinct changes in the physical and biological characteristics of Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys over the ensuing decade, new research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) shows.

Some land conservation measures unpopular among property owners

Mon, 07 Aug 17 00:11:40 -0700

While popular with conservation groups, coastal easements that prevent development in order to protect marshland from changes brought about by climate change and rising sea levels are not favored by property owners. The findings, based on the results of surveys conducted in 2015 of 1,002 owners of Connecticut coastal properties, suggest that relying on education about sea level rise and the ecosystem benefits of marshes alone will not protect land from future changes.

Extreme melt season leads to decade-long ecosystem changes in Antarctic polar desert

Mon, 07 Aug 17 00:03:40 -0700

An abnormal season of intense glacial melt in 2002 triggered multiple distinct changes in the physical and biological characteristics of Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys over the ensuing decade.

Extreme melt season leads to decade-long ecosystem changes in Antarctic polar desert

Mon, 07 Aug 17 00:03:40 -0700

An abnormal season of intense glacial melt in 2002 triggered multiple distinct changes in the physical and biological characteristics of Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys over the ensuing decade.

Afforestation with non-native trees alters island soils

Sun, 06 Aug 17 00:15:00 -0700

The influence of non-native trees on soil chemistry considered.

Payments to rural communities offer a new opportunity to restore China's native forests

Thu, 03 Aug 17 00:01:10 -0700

Despite massive efforts at reforestation, China's native forests continue to be displaced by plantations. A new study argues that rural communities could help reverse this trend if they were given incentives to protect and restore native forests on their own land. A proposed new umbrella policy for environmental protection in China currently falls short of the measures needed, but if amended, could provide a unique opportunity to benefit rural communities and the environment.

Species richness -- a false friend?

Wed, 02 Aug 17 00:05:10 -0700

Assessing the state of an ecosystem solely on the basis of short-term changes in the number of different species it contains can lead to false conclusions. This is the conclusion reached by an international team, published online in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Safely releasing genetically modified genes into the wild

Tue, 01 Aug 17 00:12:50 -0700

So, you've genetically engineered a malaria-resistant mosquito, now what? How many mosquitos would you need to replace the disease-carrying wild type? What is the most effective distribution pattern? How could you stop a premature release of the engineered mosquitoes? Applied mathematicians and physicists from Harvard and Princeton Universities used mathematical modeling to guide the design and distribution of genetically modified genes that can both effectively replace wild mosquitoes and be safely controlled.

New NOAA Fisheries research reveals ecosystem cascades affecting salmon

Tue, 01 Aug 17 00:16:10 -0700

New research reveals that shifts in ocean conditions in the Gulf of the Farallones leads to changes in bird predation, affecting the number of California salmon that return as adults.

Refuting the idea that mutations cause cancer

Mon, 31 Jul 17 00:10:20 -0700

Writing today in the journal Cancer Research, James DeGregori, Ph.D., deputy director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center offers evidence that it is forces of evolution driven by natural selection acting in the ecosystem of the body that, in the presence of tissue damage, allow cells with dangerous mutations to thrive.

Methane-eating bacteria in lake deep beneath Antarctic ice

Mon, 31 Jul 17 00:02:40 -0700

An interdisciplinary team of researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) has concluded that bacteria in a lake 800 meters (2,600 feet) beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may digest methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, preventing its release into the atmosphere.

Research at Lake Baikal -- for the protection of a unique ecosystem

Wed, 26 Jul 17 00:06:00 -0700

As part of the Helmholtz Russia Research Group LaBeglo, UFZ researchers are studying the impact of climate change and environmental toxins on the lake's fauna. In a recent study, together with researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and the University of Irkutsk, they addressed the question of how Baikal amphipods that fulfil important ecological functions in the lake react to pollutants in the water.

'Visionary' project to save the Belize coast provides valuable framework

Wed, 26 Jul 17 00:00:10 -0700

A coastal zone management plan designed to safeguard Belize's natural assets has produced a win-win opportunity for people and the environment, providing a valuable framework for other coastal nations around the world where overfishing, development, and habitat degradation are increasingly serious problems.

NUS scientists identify optimal areas for conservation and agriculture in the tropics

Wed, 26 Jul 17 00:05:40 -0700

A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has recently completed a global study on the trade-offs between the benefits provided by tropical forests and its conversion for agricultural use. The team examined deforestation activities of more than 50 countries in the tropics between 2000 to 2012, and identified regions where deforestation is most and least beneficial.

New non-photosynthesizing plant species discovered on Ishigaki island, Japan

Mon, 24 Jul 17 00:00:20 -0700

A new species of non-photosynthesizing parasitic plant has been discovered on the subtropical island of Ishigaki in Okinawa, Japan and named Sciaphila sugimotoi. The research team responsible for this discovery was led by Project Associate Professor SUETSUGU Kenji (Kobe University Graduate School of Science) and these findings will be published on July 25 in Phytotaxa.

The way rivers function reflects their ecological status and is rarely explored

Thu, 20 Jul 17 00:01:50 -0700

A study conducted by a UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country research group within the framework of the European Globaqua project proposes going beyond the study of river ecosystems and incorporating into the studies routinely carried out a set of processes that regulate not only the fluxes of matter but also the fluxes of energy within an ecosystem. In a recently published paper, the group is proposing a new working framework to study the status of rivers.

Shale gas development spurring spread of invasive plants in Pa. forests

Thu, 20 Jul 17 00:12:40 -0700

Vast swaths of Pennsylvania forests were clear-cut circa 1900 and regrowth has largely been from local native plant communities, but a team of researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has found that invasive, non-native plants are making significant inroads with unconventional natural gas development.

Mountain glaciers recharge vital aquifers

Thu, 20 Jul 17 00:02:00 -0700

Small mountain glaciers play a big role in recharging vital aquifers and in keeping rivers flowing during the winter, according to a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. The study also suggests that the accelerated melting of mountain glaciers in recent decades may explain a phenomenon that has long puzzled scientists -- why Arctic and sub-Arctic rivers have increased their water flow during the winter even without a correlative increase in rain or snowfall.

Invasive plant species can enhance coastal ecosystems

Mon, 17 Jul 17 00:04:10 -0700

Invasive plant species like seaweed can provide vital ecosystem functions in coastal areas where native habitats such as salt marshes and oyster reefs have severely declined. A Duke study finds that invasive species could be used to offset the loss of native habitats that provide storm protection, food production and other benefits to billions of people.

Low oxygen in Chesapeake Bay

Wed, 12 Jul 17 00:00:20 -0700

The BioScience Talks podcast ( features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.

Marine vessels are unsuspecting hosts of invasive species

Tue, 11 Jul 17 00:01:50 -0700

A new Tel Aviv University study finds that ships play an unknowing but dominant role in introducing and dispersing tough-shelled non-indigenous organisms into new environments.