Alpine meadows and subalpine meadows – equally beautiful and equally threatened by decreasing snowcover

Do you like to go for a hike in the mountains on a sunny summer day? Do you then enjoy stepping out of the forest into one of those flowery meadows? In many cases this would not be an actual … Continue reading

Nature study: population growth and ecological crises drive Earth to tipping point

Nature population growth ecological tipping point EarthA group of scientists from around the world is warning that population growth, widespread destruction of natural ecosystems, and climate change may be driving Earth toward an irreversible change in the biosphere, a planet-wide tipping point that would have destructive consequences absent adequate preparation and mitigation.

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Disturbence of long ecological chains: how planting palm trees can affect manta rays

Palm tree on beachDouglas McCauley and Paul DeSalles did not set out to discover one of the longest ecological interaction chains ever documented. But that’s exactly what they and a team of researchers — all current or former Stanford students and faculty — did in a new study published in Scientific Reports.

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Urban areas have more plant species than rural areas but they die younger

Singapore skylineCities in both, the US and Europe harbour more plant species than rural areas. However, plant species of urban areas are closer related to each other and often share similar functions. Consequently, urban ecosystems should be more sensitive towards environmental impacts than rural ecosystems.

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30 years of ecological research shows causes and consequences of climate change

As global temperatures rise, the most threatened ecosystems are those that depend on a season of snow and ice, scientists from the nation’s Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network say.”The vulnerability of cool, wet areas to climate change is striking,” says Julia Jones, a lead author in a special issue of the journal BioScience released today featuring results from more than 30 years of LTER, a program of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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Prey fish species worth twice as much in the water as out

Fishing for herring, anchovy, and other “forage fish” in general should be cut in half globally to account for their critical role as food for larger species, recommends an expert group of marine scientists in a report released today. The Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force conducted the most comprehensive worldwide analysis of the science and management of forage fish populations to date. Its report, “Little Fish, Big Impact: Managing a crucial link in ocean food webs,” concluded that in most ecosystems at least twice as many of these species should be left in the ocean as conventional practice.

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Diverse ecosystems vulnerable to extreme weather

Extreme weather such as hurricanes, torrential downpours and droughts will become more frequent in pace with global warming. Consequently, this increases the risk for species extinction, especially in bio diverse ecosystems such as coral reefs and tropical rainforests.

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Mediterranean biodiversity versus a globalising planet: from Suez Canal to your tuna pizza

“In reserves off Spain and Italy, we found the largest fish biomass in the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, around Turkey and Greece, the waters were bare” – Enric Sala, National Geographic Society.