Archive | May 2015

Great Barrier Reef Averts Endangered Site Listing

Australia has kept the Great Barrier Reef from being listed as endangered after Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government boosted efforts to protect the World Heritage site and popular tourist destination.

“This Country Just Banned Grocery Stores From Throwing Out Food”

Grocery stores in France will soon be banned from throwing away or destroying unsold food, under a bill passed unanimously by the French parliament last week.

Food waste costs countries around the world billions of dollars each year and is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, but France’s action was spurred by another type of crisis. Mired in an economic slump, France has seen a growing number of people living off food scavenged from waste bins outside grocery stores, which has prompted an outcry from aid workers and activists.


“What Global Warming Means For Old, Tall Trees”

As climate change drives up global temperature and increases the frequency of intense droughts, the world’s oldest, biggest trees might be the most vulnerable, according to a recent study published in Nature Climate Change.

Using Darcy’s law — an equation that describes the flow of water through a porous medium — researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory looked at what types of vegetation might survive best, and which would most likely die first, due to global warming. The researchers found that the plants that were most likely to survive were short plants with smaller leaf area. Tall trees with large leaf area, on the other hand, were the most likely to die.

“Octopus can use its skin to see”

Researchers recently found the same proteins used in human eyes are also present in the skin of the two spot octopus, a species found off the coast of California. The proteins help the octopus sense light, without the help of the eyes or the brain.

“You Just Lived Through The Earth’s Hottest January-April Since We Started Keeping Records”

It’s increasingly likely that 2015 will be the hottest year on record, possibly by a wide margin.

NASA reported Wednesday that this was the hottest four-month start (January to April) of any year on record. This was also the second-warmest April on record in NASA’s dataset.

“Serpent evolution uncoiled on land, not the ocean”

In looking at snake genomes, serpent anatomy and new clues from early snake fossils, researchers at Yale concluded the earliest ancestral snakes lived on land, not in the water.

“Single-Crop Farming is Leaving Wildlife with no Room to Turn”

Rolling plains of wheat, endless fields of flowering canola, row upon row of fruit trees: these agricultural landscapes are the stuff of stunning photographs.

Filling these paddocks with just one crop, known as monoculture, is a relatively easy, common and efficient way to produce food and fibre.

But international research shows that these monocultures can be bad for the environment and production through effects on soil quality, erosion, plants and animals, and ultimately declining crop yields. Research I have published this week in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability shows a possible link between monoculture landscapes and fewer wild pollinators.

Is there a better way to grow our food?

“A third of Europe’s birds under threat, says most comprehensive study yet”

One in three European birds is endangered, according to a leaked version of the most comprehensive study of Europe’s wildlife and natural habitats ever produced.

“Vast Antarctic ice shelf a few years from disintegration, says Nasa”

The last intact section of one of Antarctica’s mammoth ice shelves is weakening fast and will likely disintegrate completely in the next few years, contributing further to rising sea levels, according to a Nasa study released on Thursday.

“Beekeepers see 42% of US honeybee colonies die off in a single year”

More than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year, and surprisingly, the worst die-off was in the summer, according to a federal survey.

Since April 2014, beekeepers lost 42.1% of their colonies, the second-highest rate in nine years, according to an annual survey conducted by a bee partnership that includes the US Department of Agriculture.