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Global warming may decimate panda habitat

Study shows how climate change may wipe out bamboo understory

Some panda habitat like to be gone by the end of the century. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Some bamboo forests in China likely to disappear as climate warms.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Add climate change to the long list of existential threats facing panda bears. Scientists from Michigan State University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences worked together to show that, even under the most optimistic scenario, global warming is likely to wipe out huge swaths of prime panda habitat by the end of the 21st century.

“Understanding impacts of climate change is an important way for science to assist in making good decisions,” said Jianguo “Jack” Liu, director of MSU’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. “Looking at the climate impact on the bamboo can help us prepare for the challenges that the panda will likely face in the future.”

The scientists studied possible scenarios of climate change in the Qinling Mountains in ShaanxiProvince. At the northern boundary of China’s panda distributional range, the Qinling Mountains are home to around 275 wild pandas, about 17 percent of the remaining wild population. Continue reading

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Oceans: Study says sharks get a bad rap from media

Sensationalized shark attack stories favored by mass media outlets

A great white shark in California coastal waters. Photo courtesy NOAA.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Sharks have always been seen as the big, bad wolves of the sea, and despite their critical ecological role as apex predators, they’ve been treated especially harshly by the media.

A new study by Michigan State University researchers shows that the mass media — especially in the U.S. and Australia — favor scare stories about shark attacks over coverage of shark-related conservation issues.

Allowing such articles to dominate the overall news coverage diverts attention from key issues, like declining global shark populations and the risk of extinction, said Meredith Gore, MSU assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife and the School of Criminal Justice. Continue reading

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