Caribbean coral reef decline predates damage from climate change

coralThe decline of Caribbean coral reefs has been linked to the recent effects of human-induced climate change. However, new research led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego suggests an even earlier cause. The bad news – humans are still to blame. The good news – relatively simple policy changes can hinder further coral reef decline.

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Earlier spring snowmelt decreases flowers, hurts butterflies

Mormon Fritillary butterfly on aspen daisy spring flower

A Mormon Fritillary butterfly feeding on an aspen fleabane daisy, a main nectar source. Credit: Carol Boggs, Stanford University

Early snowmelt caused by climate change in the Colorado Rocky Mountains snowballs into two chains of events: a decrease in the number of flowers, which, in turn, decreases available nectar. The result is decline in a population of the Mormon Fritillary butterfly, Speyeria mormonia.

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Nitrogen fertilisation by invasive species damages nutrient-poor ecosystems

Nitrogen fertilisation invasive species ecosystems

Nitrogen fertilisation invasive species damages nutrient-poor ecosystems. Picture shows the proliferating Australian Sydney golden wattle. Credit: Bielefeld University

Biologists at Bielefeld University have developed a new method for quantifying the effect of non-native species on ecosystem functioning.

They can now estimate whether native plants in the neighbourhood of invasive species incorporate the nitrogen fixed by the latter.

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