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Ecology / Conservation posts

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  • February 6, 2014
  • 08:19 AM

Coastal flooding threatens to cost trillions in damage unless protective measures put in place

by Aileen Cudmore in Natural Reactions

Rising sea-levels will leave coastlines throughout the world vulnerable to huge losses from flooding every year, but the damage can be massively reduced if communities are willing to adapt to the increasing flood risk. ... Read more »

Jochen Hinkel, Daniel Lincke, Athanasios T. Vafeidis, Mahé Perrette, Robert James Nicholls, Richard S. J. Tol, Ben Marzeion, Xavier Fettweis, Cezar Ionescu, & Anders Levermann. (2014) Coastal flood damage and adaptation costs under 21st century sea-level rise. PNAS. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1222469111  

  • February 5, 2014
  • 02:48 PM

PAH Emissions From Canada’s Oil Sands Likely Underestimated

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

A new comprehensive modeling assessment of contamination in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region indicates that officially reported emissions of certain hazardous air pollutants have been underestimated.... Read more »

  • February 4, 2014
  • 10:01 AM

Think You’re Smart, Gamblers? Even Flowers Know How to Hedge Their Bets

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Nevada bookmakers took home $19.7 million in profits after this weekend’s Super Bowl, thanks to sports bettors. Maybe the unlucky gamblers on the other ends of those bets should have done some more hedging. Making a smaller bet against yourself to minimize your potential losses is a good strategy—and even brainless plants can do it. […]The post Think You’re Smart, Gamblers? Even Flowers Know How to Hedge Their Bets appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

  • February 3, 2014
  • 08:28 AM

Bright Night Lights: Tracking Light Pollution from Space

by Stephanie Swift in mmmbitesizescience

The creep and sprawl of artificial urban lighting is probably the most pervasive technological innovation of the 20th century. Keeping track of how artificial light is changing Europe’s nightscape is important, since more light is typically associated with greater economic … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 1, 2014
  • 08:40 AM

The hissing butterfly | @GrrlScientist

by GrrlScientist in GrrlScientist

If eyespots, famously used in a butterfly's "startle display", are good enough to scare off hungry birds, why then does the peacock butterfly hiss too? ... Read more »

  • February 1, 2014
  • 07:37 AM

Using Smartphones for Occupancy Sensing Can Save Energy

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Berkeley Lab researcher Bruce Nordman had an idea several years ago to take advantage of existing devices in office buildings by using them for energy efficiency purposes. In the United States buildings are responsible for 73 percent of electricity consumption and about 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.... Read more »

  • January 31, 2014
  • 09:00 AM

What happens when you poke, prod and pinch black widow spiders? You might be surprised…

by Chris Buddle in Expiscor

A research paper investigates what happens when black widow spiders are poked, prodded and pinched, experimentally. Not surprisingly (to Arachnologists!) they seldom bite.... Read more »

  • January 30, 2014
  • 02:53 PM

The Loss of Big Carnivores is a Big Problem

by Matt Soniak in

  The world’s monsters are in danger, and that’s a truly scary thing. Researcher have made a strong case over the last few decades that large carnivores are essential ecosystem managers  whose influence is felt throughout the food web and affects their prey, their competition and plant life (a ripple effect known as a trophic [...]... Read more »

Ripple W. J., Estes J. A., Beschta R. L., Wilmers C. C., Ritchie E. G., Hebblewhite M., Berger J., Elmhagen B., Letnic M., & Nelson M. P. (2014) Status and Ecological Effects of the World's Largest Carnivores. Science, 343(6167), 1241484-1241484. DOI: 10.1126/science.1241484  

  • January 30, 2014
  • 12:38 PM

Study: Aerated Lagoons Are Potential Sources of Biofuel

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Wastewater treatment lagoons have the potential to serve as a local energy source, according to a Clarkson University doctoral student.... Read more »

  • January 30, 2014
  • 07:21 AM

EU's PM2.5 Limit Festering: New Study Linked PM with Heart Attack

by Imtiaz Ibne Alam in Medical-Reference - A Pioneer in Medical Blogging

Air pollution is a significant determinant of human health. Over the past decades, studies conducted in various parts of the world documented a number of hazardous effects of ambient air pollution on health.

The adverse effects of particulate matter (PM) on health are especially well documented. However, while there is no evident and appropriate safe level of exposure, ...... Read more »

  • January 29, 2014
  • 04:13 PM

China Can Cut Energy Use by 22%, Study Finds

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Changes to China’s building codes could cut building energy use by 22%, according to a study by the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).... Read more »

  • January 29, 2014
  • 01:06 PM

Why are there so many plant species in tropical forests?

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

I decided to try communicating graphically instead of verbally this time. I haven’t done this sort of thing very much, …Continue reading »... Read more »

  • January 29, 2014
  • 08:14 AM

Badgers busy building more setts

by Aileen Cudmore in Natural Reactions

A new survey has found that the total number of badger setts across England and Wales has increased over the last 25 years, but what does this mean for actual badger numbers? ... Read more »

  • January 28, 2014
  • 10:21 AM

Communication among animals (aka, I wasn’t droppin’ no eaves sir, honest.)

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

I have terrible hearing. I’m not hearing-impaired in any actual way, but whenever there is a lot of background noise – terrible music at a bar, the burbling of friends at a big party – I just cannot understand what people are saying even when they’re right nearby. I honestly spend most of time responding […]... Read more »

Tobias JA, Planqué R, Cram DL, & Seddon N. (2014) Species interactions and the structure of complex communication networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(3), 1020-5. PMID: 24395769  

  • January 27, 2014
  • 12:04 PM

Pinpointing the Pollen: Honeybees and a Host Jumping Virus

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Lately I've been revisiting some of my past topics and continuing the story with new research. Such is the case today. A relatively popular post of mine from 2010 called The Buzz on the Bees described a study from that year by Jerry Bromenshenk et al. investigating Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD describes the mysterious, sudden and serious die-off seen honeybee (Apis mellifera) colonies across the U.S. It is characterized by sudden colony death with a lack of adult bees in front of the........ Read more »

  • January 27, 2014
  • 11:00 AM

We Discovered Too Late That Tortoises Are Expert Landscapers

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Countless biology students have dutifully learned to associate the Galapagos Islands with finches. Here Darwin noticed that birds on different islands had different beak shapes, and ta-da, theory of evolution. But galápago is Spanish for “tortoise,” and young Darwin also learned from watching these huge reptiles lumber across the archipelago. Today, the galápagos are only a fraction […]The post We Discovered Too Late That Tortoises Are Expert Landscapers appeared first on I........ Read more »

Froyd CA, Coffey EE, van der Knaap WO, van Leeuwen JF, Tye A, & Willis KJ. (2014) The ecological consequences of megafaunal loss: giant tortoises and wetland biodiversity. Ecology letters, 17(2), 144-54. PMID: 24382356  

  • January 24, 2014
  • 09:56 AM

Pollen protects honeybees against pathogens

by Rebecca Nesbit in The Society of Biology blog

We know that pollen ingestion can reduce honeybee susceptibility to pesticides and pathogens, which may be partly because pollen can increase the expression of particular genes. A compound within the cell wall of pollen is thought to increase the expression of certain genes required for defence against pesticides and pathogens.... Read more »

Mao W, Schuler MA, & Berenbaum MR. (2013) Honey constituents up-regulate detoxification and immunity genes in the western honey bee Apis mellifera. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(22), 8842-6. PMID: 23630255  

  • January 23, 2014
  • 05:27 PM

Electric Vehicles Would Not Significantly Reduce U.S. Pollutant Emissions

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

A new study from North Carolina State University indicates that even a sharp increase in the use of electric drive passenger vehicles (EDVs) by 2050 would not significantly reduce emissions of high-profile air pollutants carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides.... Read more »

  • January 23, 2014
  • 12:41 PM

When the heat is on, insect and plant communities display surprising endurance

by Perikis Livas in Tracing Knowledge

A study that transplanted a selection of Australian native plant species to a warmer climate has discovered that although changing environmental conditions impacts individual insect species, their communal roles will survive the heat.... Read more »

  • January 23, 2014
  • 09:00 AM

A master-class in bizarre biology: itchy, incestuous, parasitic mites with adult offspring

by Chris Buddle in Expiscor

Pyemotes mites are parasitic on many insects, some of which are themselves economically important. After hanging onto their hosts, feeding on their haemolymph, and being good little parasites, females become engorged and have significant abdominal swelling. The eggs hatch in the female ovaries and the immatures develop develop inside their mothers, hatching as adults. When they emerge from their mothers, males swarm around the area where emergence is occurring, waiting for adult females to come ........ Read more »

Broce AB, Zurek L, Kalisch JA, Brown R, Keith DL, Gordon D, Goedeke J, Welbourn C, Moser J, Ochoa R.... (2006) Pyemotes herfsi (Acari: Pyemotidae), a mite new to North America as the cause of bite outbreaks. Journal of medical entomology, 43(3), 610-3. PMID: 16739423  

Del Giudice P, Blanc-Amrane V, Bahadoran P, Caumes E, Marty P, Lazar M, Boissy C, Desruelles F, Izri A, Ortonne JP.... (2008) Pyemotes ventricosus dermatitis, southeastern France. Emerging infectious diseases, 14(11), 1759-61. PMID: 18976564  

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