Wildlife advocates will sue to protect Pacific walrus

PHOTO U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY: Melting Arctic sea ice is forcing walrus colonies into a shore-bound existence to which they aren’t adapted. Scientists say they’ve documented several cases of young calves being trampled in stampedes.

Wildlife advocates say science ignored in decision not to list species

Staff Report

The Trump administration’s reckless and irresponsible natural resource polices will once again be tested in court, as conservation advocates challenge the government’s denial of endangered species protection for the Pacific walrus.

The Center for Biological Diversity announced it will sue the U.S. Fish and Wildife Service, pointing out that the agency apparently ignored the best available climate science, which would violate the Endangered Species Act. Under the Obama administration, the agency found that the Pacific walrus warrants protection because of a dramatic loss of sea ice habitat. Continue reading “Wildlife advocates will sue to protect Pacific walrus”

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Changing ocean alters food web

Study documents shifts caused by warming seas, other stressors

A chemical analysis of dolphin skin cells helped scientists track changes in the ocean food chain. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Big fish eat little fish is the conventional wisdom of the sea, but it’s not always quite so simple. When Global warming and El Niño combined in 2015 and 2016 to warm the Pacific Ocean to new record-high temperatures, it shifted the food chain significantly, according to scientists with NOAA, the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

According to their new study, published in the journal Science Advances,  the food web “changed in response to various natural and anthropogenic related stressors,” said lead author Rocio I. Ruiz-Cooley, formerly of NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center and now at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. “This tells us that the food web is very dynamic, and reveals changes with the ecosystem around it.” Continue reading “Changing ocean alters food web”

Sunday set: Weinviertel

In the vines …

I had a chance to explore the heart of Austria’s wine country on a perfect autumn day, following an interpretive trail through neatly tended terraces in the Kamp River valley, north of Vienna. Most of the grapes were already harvested, but a few clusters were still ripening in the sun for a late harvest. Some will be left until they freeze on the vine. That late harvest yields a smaller amount of concentrated wine, its sweetness balanced by high acidity. Check out all the latest Summit Voice travel photography in our Sunday Set archive, and visit our online gallery or more landscape and nature images.

Sunday set: Seaside flashback

Climate change threatens The Med …

Haven’t had a chance to hang out near the ocean for a while, so it’s time to reach back into the archives for a seaside set from the coast of the Mediterranean, a region feeling the full impact of global warming. One recent climate study found that the current dry spell in the region is the most intense in the past 900 years, and just in the past couple of weeks, scientists said this past summer’s record heatwave across the region, dubbed Lucifer, had clear global warming fingerprints all over it. And along with direct heat impacts, there are other effects. In the eastern Mediterranean, warmer water has enabled  tropical fish to invade, and they are having a big impact on marine ecosystems. There are also clear signs that global warming will intensify droughts and the wildfire danger in the region. NOAA has also warned the region could become more susceptible to winter drought.

Will the GOP roll back Obama-era mining bans?

Attacks on public lands continue

The Grand Canyon. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

After more than a century of reckless mining that created a toxic legacy of pollution, the Obama administration finally started trying to prevent even more destruction by placing a few areas, including watersheds around the Grand Canyon, off-limits.

Even those modest restrictions are apparently too much for the mining industry and the politicians the industry has bought in Washington, D.C. Utah Republican Congressman Rob Bishop wants to reverse some of the mining bans enacted during the Obama era, says the Center for Biological Diversity, citing a letter from Bishop to Sec. Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Continue reading “Will the GOP roll back Obama-era mining bans?”

Sunday set: Re-view

Summer scenes …

A quickie photo trek through through parts of Austria reflecting the peak of the summer season, including building thunderstorms over Vienna and the Danube, one more of the poppy fields in full bloom, and some countryside shots. Check the Sunday Set archive for more travel pics, and visit our online gallery for fine art nature and landscape images, available printed on a wide range of mediums.

Scientists stunned by rapid fisheries changes in Pacific

Pacific Ocean sardine species. Photo via NOAA.

“Things are changing so much, it’s hard to say what’s normal these days”

Staff Report

Marine biologists have documented a rapid shift in key fish species in the Pacific Ocean. Anchovies, sardines and hake started spawning much earlier in the year off the coast of Oregon and Washington. Anchovies are also spawning for a longer period of time than documented previously, the scientists reported in a new study published in the journal Global Change Biology. Continue reading “Scientists stunned by rapid fisheries changes in Pacific”