A new study warns that coral reefs are in danger of disappearing forever. According to U.N. research, the world’s coral reefs could die out completely by mid-century unless carbon emissions are reduced enough to slow ocean warming.
It’s estimated that five to thirteen million tons of plastic enters our oceans annually, where much of it can linger for hundreds of years. According to a report by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, scientists estimate that there is 165 million tons of plastic swirling about in the oceans right now. And we are on pace to have more plastic than fish (by weight) in the world’s oceans by 2050. That’s some scary stuff.
For the first time in a century, humpback whales have returned to the waters of New York harbor. These are not rare sightings, either. The whales are showing up in enough numbers that a company is taking tourists out into the harbor to see whales with a backdrop of Manhattan skyscrapers.
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.
A newly released report by the United Nations takes a strong stance against the use of industrial agrochemicals, saying that they are not necessary for feeding the world. The continued use of pesticides at the rate the world currently does in fact can have very detrimental consequences.
DNA analysis has become commonplace and inexpensive. Millions of people have their DNA tested to learn about their origins and family connections. And the technology has spread to biological research in the form of Environmental DNA or eDNA, which is such a powerful tool that it is transforming the field of wildlife biology.
High levels of an element found in coal ash have been detected in fish in two lakes where Duke Energy coal-fired power plants are located, according to a peer-reviewed study at Duke University. The element, selenium, occurs naturally but is concentrated in coal ash.
The world’s smallest porpoise – the vaquita – is in real trouble. According to a recent report by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (or CIRVA), the vaquita population has plummeted to just 30 individuals –a 90% plunge since 2011 – despite international conservation efforts. The vaquita, which is found only in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California, is the most endangered marine mammal on Earth and is on the doorstep of extinction.
As the oceans warm, many kinds of fish are on the move, seeking cooler and deeper water. Because of this, the fishing industry is struggling with antiquated regulations that are not moving as fast as the climate is changing.
According to a recent study published in the journal Global Change Biology, rising CO2 levels in the ocean can disrupt the sensory systems of fish and can even make them swim toward predators and ignore the sounds that normally deter them from risky habitats.
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.
The conventional aquaculture industry has often been associated with many of the same problems that beset land-based agriculture: creating sterile monocultures, fouling the environment with pesticides, antibiotics and organic pollutants, and spreading diseases.
Scientists estimate that there is more than 165 million tons of plastic swirling about in our oceans today. And another 8.8 million tons of plastic ends up in oceans every year. According to a recent report from the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there could be more plastic by weight than fish by 2050 if current trends continue.
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea. They can grow more than 40 feet in length, weigh up to 47,000 lbs, and have a lifespan of about 70 years. They can be found cruising in the open waters of tropical oceans. But despite being enormous, whale sharks are no threat to humans. The docile beasts, which feed almost exclusively on plankton, have often been referred to as “gentle giants.”
The majestic great white shark has been around for a very long time. Its evolutionary origin dates back 14 to 16 million years. And while great whites still enjoy decent populations off the coasts of Canada, Australia, and the United States, the same can’t be said for South Africa’s great whites.
Most recent news about coral reefs around the world has been bad news. There has been unprecedented coral bleaching in places like Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The effects of climate change – including warming temperatures and rising seas – as well as the recent El Niño event have led to damaged reefs across the globe.
We have talked before about the increasing problem of microplastics polluting the oceans. Much of the small plastic particles result from the breakdown of plastic litter such as plastic bags, packaging and other materials. Another source is microbeads, which are often found in health products such as face scrubs and even some toothpastes.