Study: Florida’s beach-hardening strategy threatens green sea turtle nesting areas

dfghdfg

A green sea turtle. Photo courtesy NOAA.

‘Smart’ adaptation plans needed to protect critical beach nesting habitat

Staff Report

FRISCO — Florida’s strategy of trying to “harden” beaches to prevent erosion poses a serious threat to sea turtles, university scientists said this week, outlining results of a study that tracked reproduction for 30 years.

Hardening beaches puts up barriers to wildlife and impacts sea turtles’ ability to nest,” the researchers said. Continue reading

Cameroon chimps face serious climate change threat

"Ngambe " is a chimpanzee rescued from illegal animal trafficking who now lives at the Limbe Wildlife Center in Cameroon. view more Credit: Paul Sesink Clee

“Ngambe ” is a chimpanzee rescued from illegal animal trafficking who now lives at the Limbe Wildlife Center in Cameroon. By Paul Sesink Clee.

Rare subspecies could lose nearly all its habitat by 2020

Staff Report

FRISCO — Some of the most endangered chimpanzees in the world could see most of their habitat disappear by 2020 because of global warming, scientists warned this week. Climate and habitat models show the drastic decline based on impacts to sensitive savanna-woodland habitat in central Cameroon. Continue reading

Oceans: Whale sharks get a little love from tuna fishermen

oj[

Whale sharks are getting some protection from purse-seining in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

New fishing regs protect world’s largest fish from harmful tuna netting practices

Staff Report

FRISCO — Whale sharks in the Pacific Ocean are getting a little help from an international fishing group that recently banned the practice of placing purse-seine tuna nets around the world’s largest fish.

Whale sharks are so docile that humans often swim alongside them without concern, snapping photographs of their incredible size. But it is exactly their enormous bulk that made them an accidental target of commercial fishermen, who know that tuna like to gather in schools around whale sharks (as well as other large floating objects).

Tuna fleets often use fish-aggregating devices to attract tuna to an area, making it easier to find and encircle the tuna in the purse seine nets much more efficient. When fishermen deploy nets around whale sharks to capture tuna swimming beneath it, the encircled whale sharks are often caught in the net, where they are injured or die. Continue reading

Oceans: What triggers phytoplankton blooms?

New study will deepen understanding of plankton’s role in global carbon cycle

A European Space Agency satellite image shows a phytoplankton bloom near the Falkland Islands.

A European Space Agency satellite image shows a phytoplankton bloom near the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Scientists working in the Gulf of Mexico are tracking BP's spilled oil as it works its way up the food web, from bacteria to plankton. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.

How does ocean phytoplankton respond to global warming?

Staff Report

FRISCO — It’s well-known that ocean phytoplankton are a key link in the global carbon cycle, and a new study this year will help expand that understanding.

A researcher with Oregon State University will lead a $30 million NASA-funded study to look at a phytoplankton hot spot stretching from Woods Hole, Massachusetts to the Azores and north to Greenland’s southern tip.

The research could challenge conventional wisdom about when and why phytoplankton bloom and help show how global warming will change the oceans. Continue reading

Study tracks history of dogs in North America

Ringo enjoys his first snow day of the season.

Dogs are relative newcomers to the Americas.

Dog DNA samples also help show migrations of ancient humans

Staff Report

FRISCO — Dogs may have been relative newcomers to North America, migrating across the Bering land bridge thousands of years after the first humans made the trek, according to a new genetic study by University of Illinois scientists.

The study looked at dog remains from 84 sites, including one in Colorado and found four never-before-seen genetic signatures in the new samples, suggesting greater ancient dog diversity in the Americas than previously thought. They also found unusually low genetic diversity in some dog populations, suggesting that humans in those regions may have engaged in dog breeding. Continue reading

Wildlife: Annual bison slaughter starts in Yellowstone

Wildlife advocates seek wider restoration

sadf

American bison, Black Hills of South Dakota. bberwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Despite polls showing widespread public support for relocating Yellowstone bison to start herds in appropriate locations across the state, the National Park Service has once again started rounding up wild bison for slaughter.

The animals wander out of the park each winter searching for food at lower elevations. This year’s killing program is slated to be the largest in seven years to cap the bison population in the park at 3,500, part of a settlement with the state of Montana over now-discredited concerns about brucellosis and carrying capacity.

The late-December poll showed that 67 percent of Montanans support relocating Yellowstone bison rather than killing them. It also also found that 68 percent of Montanans view bison as wildlife and 72 percent believe bison should be managed like the state’s other wildlife species. Continue reading

Research suggests sea turtles rely on magnetic imprints to find traditional nesting sites

Slight geomagnetic changes shift nesting areas

A loggerhead sea turtle off the coast of New England. Photo courtesy NOAA/Matthew Weeks.

A loggerhead sea turtle off the coast of New England. Photo courtesy NOAA/Matthew Weeks.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Sea turtle reproduction and survival are tenuous at best in the modern world, so it’s not surprising that multiple generations see out the same spots when it’s time lay eggs. Successful nesting requires a combination of environmental features that are relatively rare: soft sand, the right temperature, few predators and an easily accessible beach.

This week, scientists said they’ve learned that turtles are able to maneuver back to their traditional breeding sites by honing on on unique magnetic signatures along the coast. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,992 other followers