Posted on March 16, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Artificial night lighting has a significant impact on plants and insects, according to a new study. bberwyn photo.
Yellow street lights stunt growth in some plant species
FRISCO — Light pollution is affecting natural ecosystems in far-reaching ways that are difficult to predict, according to University of Exeter scientists, who simulated the effects of street lighting on artificial grassland plots.
The artificial light affects the growth and flowering of plants and even the number of insects that depend on those plants for food, their study concluded. Due to the global extent of artificial light at night, there are concerns that these ecological impacts may be widespread. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: Environment, insects, light pollution | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 26, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Can monarch butterflies be saved?
Pesticides, habitat loss and GMO crops seen as main threats
FRISCO —As monarch butterfly populations dwindle to unprecedented low levels, activists say the colorful and far-ranging insects need protection of the Endangered Species Act to survive. In a formal listing petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a coalition of advocacy groups say the widespread use of pesticides and genetically modified crops are the biggest threats to the butterflies. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, GMO crops, insects, milkweed, monarch butterflies, Roundup Ready | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 26, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Beetle-killed trees near Frisco, Colorado.
State Forest Service warns against transporting firewood
FRISCO — It may be a little like the Dutch boy putting his finger in the leaky dike, but Colorado Forest Service officials are warning that transporting firewood from place to place may increase the spread of invasive tree-killing bugs.
Moving firewood even short distances increases the risk to Colorado’s native forests and urban trees. With the 2013 detection of the highly destructive emerald ash borer in the City of Boulder, and ongoing bark beetle epidemics in the state’s mountain forests, the Colorado State Forest Service wants to be sure people are aware of the risks associated with moving firewood. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, Forest health, forests, pine beetles and wildfires | Tagged: Colorado, emerald ash borer, firewood, forests, insects, trees | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
The little camera that ROCKS
Hummingbird moth in Breckenridge.
FRISCO —I am still amazed at how much I can do with the iPhone camera during a casual stroll. Friday morning in Breckenridge, I spotted several hummingbird moths feeding on planter flowers at the Riverwalk Center. Not expecting too much, I positioned myself at a good angle to the sun, held the camera close to the blooms and waited for a moth to enter the frame. The shutter speed wasn’t quite high enough to completely freeze the moth’s wingbeat (up to 50 beats per second) but I rather like the slightly blurred effect, giving the image a dynamic quality, and the rest of the frame is pretty darn sharp. Friday evening as the lightning rolled in from the West, I experimented with low-light exposure and, to my surprise, actually managed to catch a sky-brightening flash, leaving the silhouette of Peak 1 fairly sharp, but the foreground highly pixelated (next image). Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Morning photo, photography, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: hummingbird moth, insects, iPhone camera, iPhoneography, photography, Summit County photography | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Dragonflies are taking a big hit from pesticides, even at levels deemed “safe” by lab tests. Bob Berwyn photo.
Study documents dramatic regional decline of insect species
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — After studying ecosystems contaminated with pesticides, scientists say they’ve been able to measure a dramatic loss of invertebrate biodiversity in polluted streams and rivers.
The study is one of the first to document the toxic effects of pesticides at a regional ecosystem level, rather than exptrapolating toxicity from lab tests.
“The current practice of risk assessment is like driving blind on the motorway”, said ecotoxicologist Matthias Liess. “To date, the approval of pesticides has primarily been based on experimental work carried out in laboratories and artificial ecosystems.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: aquatic ecosystems, biodiversity, Convention on Biological Diversity, Environment, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, insects, pesticides | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Wild insect populations are critical to pollinating plant life. Bob Berwyn photo.
Honeybees augment, but don’t replace diverse insect populations
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — With a lot of recent concerns focused on the decline of honeybee populations, a new study shows that wild insects even even more important as pollinators for certain crops for crops stocked routinely with high densities of honey bees, including almonds, blueberries, mangos and watermelons.
“Our study shows that losses of wild insects from agricultural landscapes impact not only our natural heritage but also our agricultural harvests,” said Lucas A. Garibaldi, of the Universidad Nacional de Río Negro – CONICET, Argentina.
“We found that wild insects consistently enhanced the number of flowers setting fruits or seeds for a broad range of crops and agricultural practices on all continents with farmland,” Garibaldi said. “Long term, productive agricultural systems should include habitat for both honey bees and diverse wild insects. Our study prompts for the implementation of more sustainable agricultural practices.” Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: agriculture, honeybees, insects, Pollination | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 3, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A firefly closeup, courtesy of Firefly.org. Click on the image to see more great firefly shots.
Warming temps disrupt delicate cycles involving plants, insects and birds
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — If you miss this year’s synchronized firefly display in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can blame it on freakishly warm spring weather, perhaps linked to predicted weather extremes caused by global warming.
Because of the unseasonably warm spring, the synchronized fireflies in the park are displaying earlier than ever recorded, according to park officials.
Fireflies are in trouble as it is, with habitat loss and artificial night lighting cited as the main threats to their survival by Firefly.org. A rapidly changing climate probably won’t help their chances, as the timing of larval emergence and the blooming of plants the insects depend on changes. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, national parks, public lands, seasons | Tagged: climate, fireflies, global warming, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, insects | 5 Comments »