Current Ecosystems News and Events

Current Ecosystems News and Events, Ecosystems News Articles.
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Climate-friendly foam building insulation may do more harm than good
The use of the polymeric flame retardant PolyFR in 'eco-friendly' foam plastic building insulation may be harmful to human health and the environment, according to a new commentary in Environmental Science & Technology. The authors' analysis identifies several points during the lifecycle of foam insulation that may expose workers, communities, and ecosystems to PolyFR and its potentially toxic breakdown products. (2021-02-23)

Terrestrial laser scanning for monitoring hydrological cycle of trees
Water is an essential element for all living things. Understanding the dynamics of water in trees is crucial for understanding the consequences of climate change and altered water availability for forest ecosystems. A joint research project with Samuli Junttila PhD, and Professor Masato Katoh of Shinshu University's Institute for Mountain Science and others demonstrates a new laser scanning based method that can be used to monitor changes in leaf water content of tree communities. (2021-02-22)

Study reveals energy sources supporting coral reef predators
Since Charles Darwin's day, the abundance of life on coral reefs has been puzzling, given that most oceanic surface waters in the tropics are low in nutrients and unproductive. But now research, led by Newcastle University and published in in the journal Science Advances, has confirmed that the food web of a coral reef in the Maldives relies heavily on what comes in from the open ocean. (2021-02-19)

More than half of Earth's rivers strongly impacted by human activity
Few of Earth's freshwater areas remain untouched by humans. More than half of the planet's freshwater river basins have been heavily impacted by human activities, according to a new study, which presents a novel, multi-faceted approach for evaluating biodiversity change at a global scale. (2021-02-18)

Bacteria and algae get rides in clouds
Human health and ecosystems could be affected by microbes including cyanobacteria and algae that hitch rides in clouds and enter soil, lakes, oceans and other environments when it rains, according to a Rutgers co-authored study. (2021-02-16)

Observations at a shed light on how hard coral survives without light
French researchers have studied for the first time the distribution of hard corals in the French Polynesian archipelago, from the surface to 120 metres deep. As the amount of light decreases, this coral associates with other filamentous algae, in addition to zooxanthellae, which become inserted into its skeleton. These algae, the only ones found at this depth, could therefore play an important role in the coral's adaptation to life at depth. (2021-02-16)

Turf wars: Ocean acidification and feedback loops lock in turf algal systems
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba have found that seawater acidification locked marine communities of turf algae in a stable state, preventing the growth of kelp and coral species. The degraded turf algal systems were stabilized by feedback loops (control mechanisms in a system). This study will contribute to efforts to manage shifts from complex and diverse marine ecosystems to degraded ones, and better conserve coastal ecosystems and their contributions to human wellbeing. (2021-02-16)

New insights to past ecosystems are now available based on pollen and plant traits
Researchers have mined and combined information from two databases to link pollen and key plant traits to generate confidence in the ability to reconstruct past ecosystem services. The approach can help understand how plants performed different benefits useful for humans over the past 21,000 years, and how these services responded to human and climate disturbances. (2021-02-11)

Links between pollution and cancer in wild animals: what can we learn?
This recent review combines the information available on cancer occurrences in aquatic and semi-aquatic animals. Cancer is one of the pollution-induced diseases that should be at the centre of attention in ecological and evolutionary research. Authors suggest physiological mechanisms that link pollution and cancer, determine which types of aquatic animals are more vulnerable to pollution-induced cancer, which types of pollution are mainly associated with cancer in aquatic ecosystems, and which types of cancer pollution causes. (2021-02-10)

Collapsed glaciers increase third pole uncertainties: Downstream lakes may merge within a decade
According to researchers from the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, meltwater from ice avalanches has been filling downstream lakes in a way that may cause previously separated lakes to merge within the next decade, thus disrupting the function of ecosystems in the region. (2021-02-09)

Coral decline -- is sunscreen a scapegoat?
A recent paper in the journal of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C) summarizes the scientific literature assessing the impact of organic UV filters on coral ecosystems. The researchers concluded that while organic UV filters do occur in the environment, there is limited evidence to suggest their presence is causing significant harm to coral reefs. (2021-02-02)

Curtin study finds native bees under threat from growing urbanization
Residential gardens are a poor substitute for native bushland and increasing urbanisation is a growing threat when it comes to bees, Curtin University research has found. Published in 'Urban Ecosystems', the research looked at bee visits to flowers, which form pollination networks across different native bushland and home garden habitats. (2021-02-02)

Much to glean when times are rough
Stable seafood consumption amongst the world's poorer coastal communities depends on their local habitat characteristics, which influences how they fish at different times of the year. (2021-02-01)

Alpine plants at risk of extinction following disappearing glaciers
Nearly a quarter of Italian alpine plant species are threatened by glacier retreat, according to a new study from Stanford University. Glaciers around the world are predicted to disappear within the next decade and the consequences for the plants, animals and societies surrounding them are still uncertain. By combining historical records, current surveys and computational models, the researchers' findings may help guide conservation efforts. (2021-01-29)

Ecologists conducted a novel study on vegetation transpiration from a global network of 251 sites
An ecologist from RUDN University together with colleagues from 14 countries compared three methods for estimating ecosystem transpiration in a study. In the first ever research with such a comprehensive data-set, the team used land-atmosphere water vapor flux data of collected at 251 locations all over the planet, from Australia to Greenland. The outcome of the research help to understand the role of plants in the global water and carbon cycles in the current predicament of global warming. (2021-01-28)

New study unravels Darwin's 'abominable mystery' surrounding origin of flowering plants
The origin of flowering plants famously puzzled Charles Darwin, who described their sudden appearance in the fossil record from relatively recent geological times as an 'abominable mystery'. (2021-01-28)

Mangroves threatened by plastic pollution from rivers, new study finds
Mangrove ecosystems are at particular risk of being polluted by plastic carried from rivers to the sea. Fifty-four per cent of mangrove habitat is within 20 km of a river that discharges more than a tonne of plastic waste a year into the ocean, according to a new paper published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. Mangroves in southeast Asia are especially threatened by river-borne plastic pollution, the researchers found. (2021-01-26)

Invasive mussels now control a key nutrient in the American Great Lakes
The spread of quagga mussels across the American Great Lakes has transformed the supply of phosphorus - a key biological nutrient - to the ecosystem, according to research published this week in PNAS. (2021-01-26)

Climate change increases coastal blue carbon sequestration
Coastal wetlands are important ecosystems, especially in mitigating climate change. Prof. Faming Wang from South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Prof. Sanders from Southern Cross University,Australia worked together with several colleagues around the globe to examine coastal blue carbon burial rates. They showed that climate change will increase the carbon sequestration capacity of these systems around the world during this century. (2021-01-25)

Fish sex organs boosted under high-CO2
Research from Australia has found that some species of fish will have higher reproductive capacity because of larger sex organs, under the more acidic oceans of the future. (2021-01-21)

New management approach can help avoid species vulnerability or extinction
Research focuses on transient nature of species' and ecosystem stability; illustrates how prepare for possible flips. (2021-01-18)

New classification marks paradigm shift in how conservationists tackle climate change
A new study co-authored by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Global Conservation Program and the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Forestry introduces a classification called Resistance-Resilience-Transformation (RRT) that enables the assessment of whether and to what extent a management shift toward transformative action is occurring in conservation. (2021-01-14)

Earth to reach temperature tipping point in next 20 to 30 years, new NAU study finds
Postdoc Katharyn Duffy led an international team that looked at 20 years of data from throughout the world and found that record-breaking temperatures are contributing to a significant decrease in plants' ability to absorb human-caused carbon emissions. (2021-01-13)

Earth's terrestrial ecosystems may transition from carbon sinks to carbon sources within decades
Rising temperatures could trigger Earth's terrestrial ecosystems to transition from carbon sinks to carbon sources in the next 20 to 30 years, according to data from the world's largest continuous carbon monitoring network. The researchers suggest that up to half of land ecosystems could reach this tipping point - when plants begin to release carbon into the atmosphere. (2021-01-13)

Future too warm for baby sharks
As climate change causes the world's oceans to warm, baby sharks are born smaller, exhausted, undernourished and into environments that are already difficult for them to survive in. (2021-01-12)

Climate change caused mangrove collapse in Oman
Most of the mangrove forests on the coasts of Oman disappeared about 6,000 years ago. Until now, the reason for this was not entirely clear. A current study now sheds light on this: It indicates that the collapse of coastal ecosystems was caused by climatic changes. The results are published in the journal Quaternary Research. (2021-01-05)

Coastal ecosystems 'bright spots'
CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, has identified coastal 'bright spots' to repair marine ecosystems globally, paving the way to boost biodiversity, local economies and human wellbeing. (2020-12-21)

Land ecosystems are becoming less efficient at absorbing CO2
Land ecosystems currently play a key role in mitigating climate change. The more carbon dioxide (CO2) plants and trees absorb during photosynthesis, the process they use to make food, the less CO2 remains trapped in the atmosphere where it can cause temperatures to rise. But scientists have identified an unsettling trend - as levels of CO2 in the atmosphere increase, 86 percent of land ecosystems globally are becoming progressively less efficient at absorbing it. (2020-12-18)

How climate change is disrupting ecosystems
When it gets warmer, organisms rise higher from the lowlands. Swiss Researchers investigated what could happen to plant communities on alpine grasslands if grasshoppers from lower elevations settled there. (2020-12-17)

Fishing alters fish behaviour and features in exploited ecosystems
Not all specimens of the same species are the same: there is a marked variability within the same population and sometimes these morphological differences are translated into a different behaviour. (2020-12-16)

When dinosaurs disappeared, forests thrived
To understand how specific ecosystems were affected by the meteorite impact that led to the mass extinction of dinosaurs, a team of McGill scientists has analyzed the microscopic remains of plants from this period. They found that local plant communities and ecosystems experienced a long-term shift towards fewer aquatic plants and an increase in terrestrial plants, including trees such as birches and elms. Changes in rainfall patterns during the extinction event were relatively minor and short-lived. (2020-12-16)

Biologists clarify how three species of cephalopods coexist in the Arctic
By analyzing the content of stable heavy isotopes of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) in the beaks, the researchers studied three closely related cephalopod species: the highly boreal Rossia megaptera, the wide-boreal-Arctic Rossia palpebrosa, and the Arctic endemic Rossia moelleri, which are sympatric in the Arctic. (2020-12-15)

Silica the best environmental alternative to plastic microbeads, finds study
Following bans on plastic microbeads in wash-off cosmetics, a new study weighs up the environmental costs of alternatives. (2020-12-14)

Mapping corals from the sky guides reef conservation
Using a new airborne mapping approach developed by researchers at Arizona State University's Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science (GDCS), the geographic distribution of live corals was, for the first time, quantified to 16 meters (51 feet) of water depth across the main Hawaiian islands. (2020-12-14)

Artificial intelligence helps scientists develop new general models in ecology
The automation of scientific discoveries is here to stay. Among others, a machine-human cooperation found a hitherto unknown general model explaining the relation between the area and age of an island and the number of species it hosts. (2020-12-11)

Low oxygen levels in lakes and reservoirs may accelerate global change
Ultimately, this study is crucial for how researchers, and the general public, think about how freshwater ecosystems produce greenhouse gases in the future. With low oxygen concentrations increasing in lakes and reservoirs across the world, these ecosystems will produce higher concentrations of methane in the future, leading to more global warming. (2020-12-10)

Nature conservation requires more dynamic approach to weather impacts of climate change
A new hard-hitting paper, titled ''Post-2020 biodiversity targets need to embrace climate change'' argues that nature conservation strategies need to become more flexible and dynamic in how it addresses the impact of climate change on natural habitats, genetic resources of plants, the composition of species, and the functioning of ecosystems. If not, any apparent short-term gains in reversing biodiversity loss could be lost in the decades to follow, due to climate change. (2020-12-09)

Nature s contributions to people found to be in decline
Over the past 50 years, declining biodiversity has put many of nature s contributions to people at risk. This is the conclusion reached by fifteen leading international experts, including a French ethnoecologist at the CNRS. Based on the IPBES Global Assessment, their work is the subject of an article, published this week in the journal PNAS, which discusses the risks to human well-being and prosperity resulting from the continuing degradation of the environment. (2020-12-09)

UBCO researchers suggest stool transplants can battle serious infections
Could number two be number one when it comes to combating recurrent Clostridium difficile (CDI) infections? Using genetic material analysis and machine learning, UBC researchers have pinpointed several key factors to ensure successful fecal microbiota transplants (FMT), which have proven successful in treating bacterial infections in the gut including illnesses like C. difficile, Crohn's Disease, Colitis and even obesity, explains lead author Negin Kazemian. (2020-12-09)

How soil fungi respond to wildfire
When wildfires swept through the North Bay in 2017, graduate student Gabriel Smith saw a unique opportunity to study how fire affected his research subject: soil fungi. (2020-12-09)

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