Posted on March 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New waterway could take a huge environmental toll
Preparations have started for construction of a new canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean across Nicaragua. Map courtesy Pedro Alvarez Grou.
FRISCO — Expediting construction of a planned transoceanic canal in Nicaragua raises a host of environmental and social issues, according to a panel of scientists who recently met at a conference to discuss the potential impacts of the project.
The scientists urged caution and international collaboration, saying that sediment discharges during construction will threaten aquatic species, Nicaragua’s lucrative ecotourism and the supply of fresh water for drinking, irrigation and power generation.
The Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal will cut through Lake Cocibolca , Central America’s main freshwater reservoir and the largest tropical freshwater lake of the Americas. The plan will force the relocation of indigenous populations and impact a fragile ecosystem, including species at risk of extinction, according to Rice University environmental engineer Pedro Alvarez and other members of the consortium. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, invasive species | Tagged: Central America, Environment, Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 15, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Meadow Creek wetlands, Frisco, Colorado.
‘Death by a thousand cuts’
FRISCO — Invasive wetlands species are likely to get a boost from climate change, resulting in long-term threats to key native ecosystems, according to new research from Duke University.
“Changing surface-water temperatures, rainfall patterns and river flows will likely give Japanese knotweed, hydrilla, honeysuckle, privet and other noxious invasive species an edge over less adaptable native species,” said Neal E. Flanagan, visiting assistant professor at the Duke Wetland Center, who led the research. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, invasive species, wetlands | Tagged: climate chane, Environment, global warming, invasive species, wetlands | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 25, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New research suggests that honeybee parasites spread faster as the Earth heats up. bberwyn photo.
Study tracks spread of invasive parasite
FRISCO —Global warming is very likely speeding up the spread of an invasive parasite that threatens honeybees in the UK, according to scientists with Queen’s University Belfast.
After studying the gut parasite Nosema ceranae, the scientists said its numbers could increase with climate change because its better able to adapt to warmer temperatures.
The parasite is native to Asia but has spread worldwide and is likely to cause increasing damage to bees as the Earth heats up. The findings were published this week in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
“This emerging parasite is more susceptible to cold than its original close relative, possibly reflecting its presumed origin in east Asia,” said Queen’s School of Biological Sciences Professor Robert Paxton. “In the face of rising global temperatures, our findings suggest that it will increase in prevalence and potentially lead to increased honey bee colony losses in Britain.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, invasive species | Tagged: climate change, Environment, global warming, honeybee decline, honeybee parasites, honeybees, pollinators | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 31, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation groups call on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to act decisively to protect U.S. populations
FRISCO — A skin-eating fungus that has spread via the commercial sale of salamanders could pose a serious new threat to amphibians around the world.
Researchers in the Netherlands identified the fungus last year as they investigated a huge crash in the population of fire salamanders. In just four years, the fungus nearly wiped out fire salamanders in the Netherlands. It kills the amphibians by eating through their skin, exposing them to lethal bacterial infections. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, global amphibian decline, invasive species | Tagged: amphibians, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, biodiversity, newts, salamanders, skin-eating fungus | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 3, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Native ecoystems at risk
Bullfrogs, native to eastern North America, have gained a firm foothold in the Yellowstone River, where they could put native species at risk. Photo courtesy USGS.
FRISCO — Big and pushy, invasive bullfrogs are expanding their range in the Yellowstone River floodplain in Montana at the expense of other native animals, biologists reported in a new study released in “Aquatic Invasions.”
“The impacts of bullfrogs on native amphibians in the Yellowstone River are not yet known, but native Northern leopard frogs are likely to be most vulnerable to bullfrog invasion and spread because their habitats overlap,” said Adam Sepulveda, USGS scientist and lead author of the study.
Bullfrogs are thought to be a cause in the declines of multiple amphibian and reptile species around the globe. They are big, mobile, omnivores with a voracious appetite, ability to reproduce rapidly, and carriers of amphibian diseases. This makes them an extremely successful invader and a threat to biodiversity. The study is the first of its kind to describe the rapid extent of bullfrog spread, as well as their preferred habitat along the Yellowstone River near Billings, Montana. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, invasive species | Tagged: biodiversity, bullfrogs, Environment, invasive species, Yellowstone River | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 19, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A juvenile rabbitfish, an invasive species blamed for wiping out huge areas of ocean habitat. Photo courtesy Zafer Kizilkaya.
Ocean ecosystems at risk from fish that kills algal forests
FRISCO — The spread of invasive tropical fish into previously temperate waters is also affecting the Mediterranean Sea, according to Australian scientist monitoring the spread of rabbitfish which have already devastated algal forests in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Global warming may help the fish spread into the entire Mediterranean Basin, researcher warned in a new paper published in the Journal of Ecology (Authors: Dr. Adriana Vergés, of the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Dr. Fiona Tomas of the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies in Spain). Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, invasive species | Tagged: climate change, global warming, invasive species, Mediterranean Sea, oceans, rabbitfish | 1 Comment »