Environment

One of the questions raised by the prospect of climate change is whether it could cause more species of animals to interbreed. Two species of flying squirrel have already produced mixed offspring and those have somehow been blamed on climate change, along with a hybrid polar bear and grizzly bear cub (known as a grolar bear, or a pizzly). 

A paper in Nature Climate Change tallies the potential number of such pairings and across North and South America it estimates that only about 6 percent of closely related species whose ranges do not currently overlap are likely to come into contact by the end of this century. 


Researchers at the University of Georgia have a message for Southern tree farmers worried about unexplainable pine tree deaths: Don't panic.


Salmon are severely impacted by the loss of floodplain habitats near Oregon's Tillamook Bay, where nearly 90 percent of estuaries' tidal wetlands have been lost to development -- threatening the survival of coho salmon and the safety of the local community. Now, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, NOAA Fisheries, and others have come together to reduce flood risk, increase resiliency of the ecosystem, and restore salmon habitat in Tillamook Bay under the auspices of The Southern Flow Corridor project, as the proposed collaborative effort is known. It will reconnect over 500 acres of floodplain habitat to two of the Bay's most productive salmon-bearing streams -- the Wilson and Trask Rivers.


By Katharine, Gammon, Inside Science -- In California’s current historic drought, there’s one particularly easy target when it comes to pointing fingers: green golf courses. Courses around the U.S. suck up around approximately 2.08 billion gallons of water per day for irrigation. That’s about 130,000 gallons per day per course, according to the golf industry. 

In California, Governor Jerry Brown has announced a statewide mandate to reduce water consumption by 25 percent – but that number actually varies depending on the water district, signifying a reduction of anywhere between 4 and 36 percent.

With infectious diseases increasing worldwide, the need to understand how and why disease outbreaks occur is becoming increasingly important. Looking for answers, a team of biologists found broad evidence that supports the controversial 'dilution effect hypothesis,' which suggests that biodiversity limits outbreaks of disease among humans and wildlife. 

"The dilution effect hypothesis is important because it warns that human-mediated biodiversity losses can exacerbate disease outbreaks, yet it has been contentiously debated," said study lead author Dr. David Civitello, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Integrative Biology at University of South Florida. 


A comprehensive study of a major California estuary has documented the links between nutrient runoff from coastal land use, the health of the estuary as a nursery for young fish, and the abundance of fish in an offshore commercial fishery. The study focused on Elkhorn Slough and Monterey Bay on California's central coast. 


The worldwide demand for legumes, one of the world's most important agricultural food crops, is growing; at the same time, their production has been adversely affected by drought. In an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis research paper published today in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers provide information that could help agricultural planning and management to minimize drought-induced yield losses.


As the founder of Fitness Reloaded, a health and fitness company the most common questions I’ve received through the years is about food. Should we eat this or that? Vegetarian or Paleo? GMOs safe or not? And what about superfoods?

I always dodged the eating questions and preferred to talk about fitness instead. The reason was that I felt that since the “experts”, doctors, dieticians, etc, couldn’t agree on what we should really be eating, then how would I expect that I would give a good answer?

The "wheat belt" and "gold fields" of southern Western Australia are associated with a regional acid saline groundwater system. Groundwaters hosted in the Yilgarn Craton there have pH levels as low as 2.4 and salinities as high as 28%, which have greatly affected bedrock and subsurface sediments. This is manifested above ground as hundreds of shallow, ephemeral acid saline lakes.

In the June issue of GSA Today, Kathleen Benison of West Virginia University and Brenda Bowen of the University of Utah write that the limited volume of groundwater, in combination with its acidity, salinity, and high concentrations of some metals, make southern Western Australia a difficult place for human habitation.

Tropical rainforests have long been considered the Earth's lungs, sequestering large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and thereby slowing down the increasing greenhouse effect and associated human-made climate change. Scientists in a global research project now show that the vast extensions of semi-arid landscapes occupying the transition zone between rainforest and desert dominate the ongoing increase in carbon sequestration by ecosystems globally, as well as large fluctuations between wet and dry years. This is a major rearrangement of planetary functions.

A new study shows that semi-arid ecosystems, savannahs and shrublands, play an extremely important role in controlling carbon sinks and the climate-mitigating ecosystem service they represent.