Environmental Protection

Ecosystems


New Plant Science Will Make Ground Level Ozone Predictions More Accurate

Predictions of the ground-level pollutant ozone will be more accurate in future according to research published by environment scientists at research centers including the University of Birmingham in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Emerging Contaminants Found in Narragansett Bay Waterhsed

A group of hazardous chemical compounds that are common in industrial processes and personal care products but which are not typically monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency have been detected throughout the Narragansett Bay watershed, according to a URI researcher.

The Hidden Power of Moss

Scientists at Cambridge University are exhibiting a prototype table that demonstrates how biological fuel cells can harness energy from plants.

Scientists Probe Indian Ocean for Clues to Worldwide Weather Patterns

An international team of researchers will begin gathering in the Indian Ocean next month to study how tropical weather brews there and then moves eastward along the equator with reverberating effects around the entire globe. They will use a vast array of tools ranging from aircraft and ships to moorings, radars, and numerical models.

Weather Patterns Sync Between El Nino and the Tropical Eastern Pacific

Phase synchronization is a phenomenon in which separate oscillatory systems develop joint coherent behavior by some nonlinear mechanism. First described in 1673 by Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens, this phenomenon occurs for instance when an applauding audience suddenly starts to clap in unison or when human breathing patterns lock to multiples of the heart beat.

New Approach Challenges Old Ideas About Plant Species and Biomass

For decades, scientists have believed that a relationship exists between how much biomass plant species produce and how many species can coexist. Stanley Harpole, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University, was part of the team researching productivity and richness, and he says the research doesn’t support that relationship.

New Study Finds Nitrate Levels Rising in Northwestern Pacific Ocean

Changes in the ratio of nitrate to phosphorus in the oceans off the coasts of Korea and Japan caused by atmospheric and riverine pollutants may influence the makeup of marine plants and influence marine ecology, according to researchers from Korea and the U. S.

Insight Into River Formation Came From Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

Geography professor Bruce Rhoads and geology professor Jim Best were conducting research where the Wabash River meets the Ohio River in the summer of 2008 when they heard about a new channel that had just formed, cutting off a bend in the winding Wabash just upstream from the confluence. That serendipity gave the researchers a rare view of a dynamic, little-understood river process that changed the local landscape and deposited so much sediment into the river system that it closed the Ohio River.



EPA Fines Ship Owners, Operators $44M for 53,000 Gallon San Francisco Bay Oil Spill

The federal and state natural resource trustees estimate that the spill killed 6,849 birds, affected 14 to 29 percent of the herring spawn that winter, oiled 3,367 acres of shoreline habitat and resulted in the loss of more than one million recreational user-days. A result of a multi-governmental effort by federal and state agencies, and municipal governments, the settlement is expected to fully compensate (in addition to previously reimbursed costs) for the natural resources and other damages and costs resulting from the spill.

Deforestation May Be Reducing Rainfall in Africa

Deforestation in the rainforests of West Africa reduces rainfall over the rest of the forest, according to new University of Leeds research published in Geophysical Research Letters. The study shows that changing land use from forest to crop land reduces rainfall over neighboring trees by about 50 percent due to changes in the surface temperature, which affects the formation of rain clouds.

Oceans May Mask Effects of Global Warming

The planet’s deep oceans at times may absorb enough heat to flatten the rate of global warming for periods of as long as a decade even in the middle of longer-term warming, according to a new analysis led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Researchers Spend 10 Days Underwater to Study Coral

A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology is using the Aquarius underwater laboratory off the coast of Florida to study how the diversity of seaweed-eating fish affects endangered coral reefs. The research mission, which began Sept. 13, may provide new information to help scientists protect and even restore damaged coral reefs in the Caribbean.

U.S. Takes Diplomatic Action Against Icelandic Whaling

U.S. President Barack Obama announced diplomatic measures the United States will take against Iceland to condemn its whaling activities.

'Underwater Windmills' Would Disrupt Sand's Flow Pattern

Farms of “underwater windmills” could affect how sand moves around our coastal seas, affecting beaches, sand banks and ultimately the risk of flooding, according to Bangor University oceanographer Dr. Simon Neill.

Planting Trees on Farms Can Greatly Improve Food Security

Restoring and preserving dryland forests and planting more trees to provide food, fodder and fertilizer on small farms are critical steps toward preventing the recurrence of the famine now threatening millions of people in the Horn of Africa, according to forestry experts from the CGIAR Consortium.

Researchers Examine How Invasive Plants Encourage Wildfires

The past decade has seen 77,951 fires burn about 6.7 million acres in the United States. One condition that facilitates the spread of wildfires is invasive plant species. Nonnative weeds can modify the vegetation of a landscape and provide a source of fuel that did not previously exist.

Scientists Claim Water Evaporated From Trees Cools Global Climate

Scientists have long debated about the impact on global climate of water evaporated from vegetation. New research from Carnegie's Global Ecology department concludes that evaporated water helps cool the earth as a whole, not just the local area of evaporation, demonstrating that evaporation of water from trees and lakes could have a cooling effect on the entire atmosphere.

Researchers Say Oceans' Increasing Acidity Will Likely Hurt Biodiversity

Stanford researchers have gotten a glimpse into an uncertain future where increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere will lead to higher levels in the ocean as well, leaving the water more acidic and altering underwater ecosystems.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center: La Niña is back

La Niña, which contributed to extreme weather around the globe during the first half of 2011, has re-emerged in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is forecast to gradually strengthen and continue into winter.

Researchers Find High Levels of Toxic PCBs in Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal

University of Iowa researchers have found high levels of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the deep sediments lining the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal (IHSC) in East Chicago, Ind.

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