Posted on July 10, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Steep downward trend poses threats to marine ecosystems
Pelagic bird populations are declining at an alarming rate. @bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Researchers with the University of British Columbia say that global seabird populations — including penguins, albatrosses, petrels and pelicans — have declined by 70 percent since the 1950s — a clear sign that marine ecosystems are in trouble.
The findings are based on an analysis of more than 500 seabird populations , representing about 19 per cent of the global seabird population. The 70 percent decline is equivalent to the loss of about 230 million birds in 60 years, said Michelle Paleczny, a UBC master’s student and researcher with the Sea Around Us project.
“Seabirds are particularly good indicators of the health of marine ecosystems,” said Paleczny. “When we see this magnitude of seabird decline, we can see there is something wrong with marine ecosystems. It gives us an idea of the overall impact we’re having.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, Environment, pelagic, seabird decline, seabirds, wildlife | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Wildlife advocates say arbitrary caps on population and habitat won’t allow for full recovery of the species
A Mexican gray wolf in the wilds of the Blue Range wolf recovery area. Photo courtesy of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team.
FRISCO — Wildlife advocates say a federal plan to cap the Mexican gray wolf population at 300 to 325 animals won’t ensure the long-term survival of the species, and they’re going to court to make sure the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adopts policies that give endangered Mexican gray wolves a fair shot at recovery in their historic U.S. range.
At issue is a final federal rule issued early this year that would likely prevent the wolves from recolonizing suitable habitat in northern Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah.
“Unfortunately, politics supplants wildlife biology in key parts of the USFWS Mexican gray wolf plan,” said John Mellgren, the Western Environmental Law Center attorney representing the advocacy groups in the lawsuit. “Our goal in this case is to put the science back into the management of Mexican wolves in the U.S.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Mexican gray wolf, wolves | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 29, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A spiny lobster in the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary, where protective management has helped rebuild fish stocks. Key Biscayne National Park hopes that a new protected area will help restore coral reefs. Photo courtesy NOAA.
No-fishing zone seen as key piece of new management plan
FRISCO — The National Park Service says a 10,000-acre no-fishing zone will help restore the heart of Key Biscayne National Park’s coral reef ecosystem and boost fish populations in surrounding waters.
The new marine reserve was announced earlier this month as part of an updated management plan for the popular park near Miami. The no–fishing zone covers about 6 percent of the park’s waters. Some other ecologically important shoreline areas will be protected by slow-speed, no-wake, and no-motor zones to benefit seagrass beds, manatees, mangroves and nesting birds. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment, Key Biscayne National Park, Marine Reserve | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
“Elegant Tern Bolsa Chica” by Regular Daddy. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Study tracks shift in nesting grounds as oceans warm
FRISCO — Scientist think climate change may be a key reason that thousands of seabirds are leaving their nesting grounds on an island in the Gulf of California and moving north.
In a new study, researchers from the University of California at Riverside looked at Isla Rasa, where more than 95 percent of the world’s population of elegant terns and Heerman’s gulls have traditionally nested.
In the past 20 years, the seabirds have abandoned the island and moved to other nesting grounds in Southern California including the San Diego Saltworks, Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, and Los Angeles Harbor. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: biodiversity, climate change, elegant terns, Environment, Gulf of California, Isla Rasa, seabirds | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Global warming is likely to cut native plant diversity in California, with cascading ecosystem effects, a new UC Davis study suggests. @bberwyn photo.
UC Davis study documents ‘direct loss’ of native wildflowers
FRISCO — California scientists say they’ve documented a loss in native wildflower diversity after with a string of dry winters, showing how climate change will affect the state’s grassland ecosystems.
The study is based on 15 years of monitoring on about 80 sampling plots at McLaughlin Reserve, part of the natural reserve system at the University of California at Davis. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming, wildflowers | Tagged: biodiversity, California drought, climate change, global warming, plant diversity, UC Davis | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Wildlife advocates say proposed hunt on Prince of Wales Island is unsustainable
FRISCO — A rare breed of wolves living on coastal islands in southeast Alaska is under the gun more than ever before, according to wildlife advocates who are protesting a state plan to allow hunting and trapping of an Alexander Archipelago wolf population on Prince of Wales Island.
The hunt is being permitted even though scientific data shows a 60 percent decline in the population in just one year. Based on the report, wolf advocates say there may only be about 50 wolves remaining on the island. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Alaska, Alexander Archipelago wolves, biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife, wolf hunting | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, a fungus that is afflicting snakes across the Midwest and Eastern US, shares many traits with Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats, researchers report.
Map courtesy Julie McMahon.
Numerous species, including rattlesnakes, affected by emerging fungal disease
FRISCO — Biologists say they’re tracking an emerging new fungal disease afflicting snakes that’s “eerily similar” to the fungus that has wiped out millions of bats across the eastern U.S.
The snake and bat pathogens emerged in North America in the mid-2000s. Both are moving from east to west across the United States and into parts of Canada. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, white-nose syndrome | Tagged: biodiversity, emerging wildlife pathogens, Environment, snake-killing fungus, white-nose syndrome | Leave a comment »