Posted on February 1, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Protection efforts pay off for the marine mammals
Federal biologists say manatees are on the road to recovery and they’re proposed to downlist the species from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
When scientists started tracking the gentle marine mammals, the Florida population was estimated at about 1,200. In the last 25 years that population has grown to about 6,300, with 13,000 across the species’ range, including Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America, South America, and Greater and Lesser Antilles. Continue reading
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Posted on January 29, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
A whitetip reef shark. Photo courtesy NOAA.
New research can guide conservation efforts
A four-year study that followed about 100 tagged sharks shows that commercial fishing operations overlap with shark hotspots in the ocean. The findings suggest that sharks are at risk of being overfished in some areas.
“Our research clearly demonstrates the importance of satellite tagging data for conservation,” said Neil Hammerschlag, director of the shark research program University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. “The findings both identify the problem as well as provide a path for protecting oceanic sharks,” Hammerschlag said. Continue reading
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Posted on January 22, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Can snowshoe hares survive global warming? Photo courtesy Kim Fenske.
‘That mismatch does indeed kill’
For millennia, snowshoe hares have camouflaged themselves from predators by blending in with their surroundings, turning pure white in the winter to blend in with the snow, then brown in the summer.
But climate change is shifting the timing of the snow season, and the hares may not be able to adapt in time, according to a North Carolina State University study published in the journal Ecology Letters.
Based on field research with radio-collared snowshoe hares in Montana, mismatched snowshoe hares suffer a 7 percent drop in their weekly survival rate when snow comes late or leaves early and white hares stand out to predators like “light bulbs” against their snowless backgrounds. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming, Snow and weather | Tagged: biodiversity, climate change, evolutionary adaptation, global warming, snowshoe hares | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 19, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
USFWS proposes to revamp endangered species listing process
By Bob Berwyn
In the age of climate change, rampant consumption and development, plants and animals are going extinct faster than ever before in the history of the planet — so fast that the Endangered Species listing process in the U.S. has been overwhelmed. Continue reading
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Posted on January 8, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Room to roam?
The wild mountains, plateaus and forests of northeastern California are becoming a stronghold for wolves dispersing from Oregon.
This week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported that yet another wolf — a three-year old male — appears to be “exhibiting dispersal behavior” in Modoc County. Continue reading
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Posted on December 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
How sustainable are current wolf management policies in the northern Rocky Mountains? Photo courtesy USFWS.
Management based mostly on politics, not science
As conservation advocates have long argued, policies governing the hunting of large carnivores are largely based on politics and not on science, according to a new study that examined how hunting affects populations of animals like wolves and lions.
The international research team said those politically driven policies do not always align with basic scientific data, which can undermine conservation efforts.
For example, theresearchers concluded that the current harvest levels for the recently de-listed population of gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States have led to decreased survival and reproduction, smaller packs, social disruption and a reversal from population growth to decline. Continue reading
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Posted on December 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The Southern Ocean’s pelagic birds may be vulnerable to global warming changes like melting sea ice. @bberwyn photo.
Study tracks sudden drop in numbers at important breeding site in Southern Ocean
Scientists with the British Antarctic Survey reported a big drop in the population of giant petrels at an important breeding site in the South Orkney Islands, northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula.
The long-term study found cyclical fluctuations in breeding success, showing that the birds defer breeding in less than optimal conditions. But the drop in numbers the past 10 to 15 years is alarming, according to the findings published in the journal Polar Biology online. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: biodiversity, climate change, giant petrels, pelagic birds, Southern Ocean | Leave a comment »