Scientists have reported the discovery of the floor of the world's oldest forest. They are now piecing together a view of this ancient site, dating back about 385 million years and - because virtually all studies have to reference global warming these days - they note their research could shed new light on the role of modern-day forests and their impact on climate change.
The recent discovery was made in the same area in Schoharie County, New York where fossils of the Earth's oldest trees, the Gilboa stumps, were discovered in the 1850s, 1920 and again in 2010 and were brought to the New York State Museum. The Museum has the world's largest and best collection of Gilboa fossil tree stumps.
These days it's common to hear about "ecosystem services," but what are they, really? According to G.C. Daily, who coined the phrase in 1997, ecosystem services are "the conditions and processes through which natural ecosystems, and the species that make them up, sustain and fulfill human life." Various authors have tweaked the definition over the years, sometimes to make it more accurate or specific to particular ecosystems. Recently, for instance, researchers amended the idea of ecosystem services to be more applicable to forests; their proposed definition referred to the "components of forests that are enjoyed, consumed, or used to produce specific measurable human benefits."
Writing in the most recent issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, an international team of collaborators has described nitrogen (N) as "the largest pollution problem in coastal marine waters." Excessive amounts of N sometimes fuel blooms of algae that can outcompete or even poison other organisms, and evaporation of N into the atmosphere in the form of nitrous oxide can cause damage to our delicate ozone layer. Most of the nitrogen along our coasts is deposited there by rivers that pick up N-rich sewage, fertilizer runoff, and atmospheric deposits caused by the burning of fossil fuels; in other words, nitrogen is yet another form of anthropogenic pollution.
One of the most effective arguments for science solutions to agriculture issues is the misuse of pesticides. It's one area where activists and scientists agree.
Brown planthoppers are one of a rice farmer's worst fears. Considered a major scourge in rice-producing countries, planthoppers cause considerable damage by sucking sap from rice plants, causing them to wilt and die. They also transmit three viral diseases that stunt rice plants and prevent grain formation. The obvious solution of the past few decades has been to rely on pesticides but beneficial insects that prey on planthoppers are killed inadvertently when insecticides are misused or are used indiscriminately.
The last 65 million years of natural history in North America may be broken into six distinct, consecutive waves of mammal species diversity, or evolutionary faunas', according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
From a Press Release
by Yorkshire Water:
Trillions Of Fat-Busting Bugs To Be Deployed To Help Fight Sewer Fat
Trillions of fat busting bugs are being deployed from today (Thursday 22 December) by Yorkshire Water over the festive period as it bids to rid its sewers of fat blockages and prevent pollution.
Green solutions have made lofty claims in the last few decades but they have been optimistic hope more than reality. Simulations from the University at Buffalo may change that; they say it's possible for drivers to cut their tailpipe emissions without significantly slowing travel time.
In computer models of traffic in Upstate New York's Buffalo Niagara region, they found that green routing could reduce overall emissions of carbon monoxide by 27 percent for area drivers, though they did it by increasing the length of trips an average of 11 percent.
1. There are only three economies in the world that collectively account for about 55% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Identify them and explain why.
The economies are China 23%, the United States 18%, and the European Union 14%.
The latest issue of Conservation Biology marks the journal's 25th anniversary with a series of essays on the future of the field. One of these is a thought-provoking piece by Jon Waterhouse, the Executive Director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, and leader of a canoe trek called The Healing Journey. In both those capacities, and in his current essay, Waterhouse emphasizes the importance of nature--not only because of its ability to provide for our bodies, but also because of the contributions it makes to our hearts and minds.
The biodiversity of the ecological community may impact whether a species can evolve to survive climate change, according to a numerical model that simulates the effect of climate change on plants and pollinators.
The study in Evolutionary Applications seeks to address a looming concern; whether species that have survived large climatic change in the past can survive future climate change. In the study, researchers used computer simulations to examine the effect of climate change on populations of flowering plants and their insect pollinators.