Sea lions in California are under duress from a rather unassuming source: algae. Driven by higher water temperatures and pollution, toxic algae is leading to fatal brain damage in many California sea lions.
The changing climate has many effects upon the world’s ecosystems, some of which are surprising. One of these relates to the effect of the increasing melting of ice in the Arctic. The ice melt is leading to more life in the Arctic sea.
According to a new paper published in the journal Nature, global warming has damaged huge sections of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The authors of the paper warn that the resilience of the reef – which is the world’s largest living structure – is waning rapidly.
Islands around the world have a difficult time developing the infrastructure for electricity generation. Many are simply too small or too poor for conventional power plants. The most common electricity source on islands is diesel generators which are not environmentally friendly and result in some of the most expensive electricity in the world.
Microalgae biofuels may provide a viable alternative to fossil fuels. Algae efficiently use CO2 and can produce biomass very quickly. Some species can double their mass in as little as 6 hours. Such single-celled organisms are amenable to high-throughput techniques to evolve new strains, unlike terrestrial biomass sources like corn which can take years to modify.
Lake Baikal is an ancient and massive body of freshwater found in the mountainous Russian region of Siberia. Deep and voluminous, Lake Baikal holds 20% of the planet’s unfrozen freshwater. And it’s often been described as the world’s cleanest and most pristine lake.
Post-apocalyptic fiction is all the rage these days. There are numerous stories featuring an endless list of civilization-ending disasters: asteroid collisions, cataclysmic earthquakes, nuclear wars, supervolcanoes, pandemics… the list goes on and on. Most of the time, humanity either perishes entirely, is reduced to a handful of heroic and astonishingly resourceful souls, or ends up inexplicably as zombies staggering around the landscape in search of brains.
It’s no secret that there is a lot of plastic debris in our oceans. In fact, scientists estimate that there is more than 165 million tons of plastic trash swirling about in our oceans today, with an additional 8.8 million tons flowing in every year. And as the oceans swell with plastic litter, hundreds of marine species are ingesting the stuff – often with dire consequences.
Industries around the world are working to reduce their carbon emissions. One very carbon-intensive industry is the airline industry and it is struggling to find ways to reduce its emissions even while air travel continues to be on the rise worldwide.
The Carbon XPrize is a five-year, $20 million competition to identify ways to convert carbon emissions into successful, profitable and useful products. Forty-seven organizations from seven countries are competing for the prizes and include large companies, startups and university researchers.