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Colorado: Trade mission heads for Scandinavia

Colorado businesses are looking for trade prospects in Scandinavia.

Colorado businesses are looking for trade prospects in Scandinavia. Photo courtesy NASA.

Bioscience and IT companies look for prospects in an economically strong part of Europe

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Colorado business leaders are looking to strengthen ties with Scandinavia with some help from the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade, which will will lead a delegation of Colorado bioscience and IT companies to Denmark and Sweden from May 13-17, 2013.

Participating companies will meet with foreign partners who will help the companies sell their products and services to the region. Biomedical products are already a huge part of Colorado’s exports.

The trade mission will help the companies to increase their international sales, leading to job retention and creation in Colorado. Companies participating in the trade mission are AD RescueWear, Couragent Inc, DH2i Company and Swan Valley Medical. Continue reading

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Study focuses on aquatic habitat in cold-weather regions

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It is difficult to be a fish when the bottom of the river is covered with ice. Winter image from the river Orkla in Norway. Photo courtesy Knut Alfredsen.

Most existing models are geared toward ice-free periods

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Norwegian and Swedish biologists have taken a closer look at how extreme winter conditions in streams and rivers in cold regions, with an eye toward climate change models that predict more frequent variations between freeze and thaw conditions.

“Today most models focus on the ice-free period … In order to be able to manage streams and rivers in a long-term sustainable manner, we need to pay attention to future changes in climate when we, for example, design restoration and conservation measures, the researchers wrote in a new paper published this month in the journal BioScience.

“The predictions made about what the winter climate will be like in the future say that there will be more back and forth between thaw and frost, entailing more unstable ice conditions, more rain, and flooding, and ultimately perhaps more challenges to the survival of fish in many waterways,” said Christer Nilsson, of Sweden’s Umeå University. Continue reading

Impacts from shrinking cryosphere are widespread

Global warming taking toll on ice- and snow-dependent ecosystems

Some animals are competing for shrinking patches of ice around the Antarctic Peninsula. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Decreasing snowfall and declining snow and ice cover are starting to take a toll on small burrowing mammals and makes the roots of some plants more susceptible to frost damage, according to a new study published in the April issue of BioScience that tracks global warming research by the Long Term Ecological Research Network.

Ecosystem changes due to shrinking sea ice, snow, and glaciers have already been well-documented, especially in high-latitude regions where water is frozen for at least a month each year. In this so-called cryosphere, scientists have recorded how some larger animals, such as penguins and polar bears, are responding to loss of their habitat. The BioScience article surveys some of the best recent science to paint a global picture. Find a link to the study here. Continue reading

Jellyfish not taking over the world — yet

Recent reports on jellyfish proliferation may be overstated

Researchers hope to unravel some jellyfish mysteries with a global monitoring project. PHOTO COURTESY ANNA FIOLEK, NOAA.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Much to SpongeBob’s chagrin, reports that jellyfish are taking over the world’s oceans may be exaggerated and unsupported by any hard evidence or scientific analyses, according to a research team with expertise on gelatinous organisms.

A new global collaborative study conducted at UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis suggests that jellyfish populations fluctuate on a decadal scale, but that more research is needed to determine whether there are other factors in play, and whether there are long-term trends on a global or regional scale.

The researchers don’t deny that blooms of jellyfish have clogged fising nets and choked intake lines for power plants. But they say that widespread reporting of those incidents has created a perception that the world’s oceans are experiencing increases in jellyfish due to human activities such as global warming and over-harvesting of fish. Continue reading

Oil Spill: New study outlines global species impacts

A Whale Shark. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.

Report: Oil spill assessments and studies should account for globally threatened species

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — As many as 53 species listed as threatened by the  International Union for the Conservation of Nature may have taken a big hit from last year’s Gulf of Mexico Deepwater oil well disaster.

The species on the IUCN Red List include whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, Atlantic bluefin tuna , 16 species of sharks, and eight corals. Many species are particularly vulnerable because they return to the Gulf of Mexico to spawn, and the oil spill coincided with peak spawning periods.

Whale sharks are uniquely at risk from oil and oil dispersants because their filter-feeding behavior; long lifespan and slow reproductive rate compound the threat to its recovery, according to University of New Hampshire professor Fred Short, co-author of a new paper in the journal BioScience. The paper placed the oil disaster in the context of global restoration efforts. Continue reading

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