A recent report published in the journal Nature Conservation has found that sea levels are rising at a higher rate than they have for thousands of years, putting many islands and the species living on them at risk. Global climate change is negatively affecting the Earth and its oceans in many ways, and these impacts are predicted to be the greatest cause of future species extinctions. The increasing temperature on Earth is melting the sea ice at the North and South Poles, which is increasing the amount of water in the oceans. The temperature of the ocean is also increasing, which raises the volume of the seawater due to the molecules requiring more space to move. “Sea level rise is one of the most certain consequences of global warming, yet it remains the least studied,” the study said. “Potential effects of sea level rise are of considerable interest because of its potential impact on biodiversity and society.”
In the News: Canada’s birds in declineAlmost half of Canada’s bird species are in serious decline, according to the first comprehensive report on the state of the country’s bird populations. The spotted owl, just one of Canada’s declining bird species. The report, entitled “The State of Canada’s Birds”, summarises the status of bird populations across eight regions, including the boreal forests, prairies and oceans. Drawing on 40 years of data, it presents an overview of how Canada’s bird species are faring. Overall, Canadian bird populations have declined by 12% since the 1970s, with particularly serious declines in grassland birds, shorebirds and aerial insectivores, which catch their insect prey on the wing. These groups have all decreased by over 40%, with some individual species falling by an alarming 90% or more.
AspenAspen Grove in Fall. Species These species are called aspens: Populus adenopoda: Chinese aspen (China, south of P. tremula)Populus grandidentata: Bigtooth aspen (eastern North America, south of P. tremuloides)Populus sieboldii: Japanese aspen (Japan)Populus tremula: Eurasian aspen (northern Europe and Asia)Populus tremuloides: Quaking aspen (northern and western North America) Habitat and longevity The aspens are all native to cold regions with cool summers, in the north of the Northern Hemisphere, extending south at high altitudes in the mountains.
Generation AnthropoceneSpecial Announcement (04 June 2013) The producers of Generation Anthropocene – Mike Osborne, Miles Traer, and Leslie Chang – are making a special announcement about the future of this show. We’re going to be expanding the scope of our storytelling as well as the types of material available on our website. The mouse brain detective (28 May 2013) Neuroscientist Nick Weiler discusses powerful new techniques used to map the brain at the molecular scale and how the manipulation of mouse whiskers can teach us how the brain changes as we learn. Nick also takes a moment to explain why the concept of consciousness is best left to the philosophers rather than the neuroscientists… but that won’t stop him from commenting on it too. The dawn of de-extinction (14 May 2013) Hank Greely and Jake Sherkow discuss the science, morals, and ethics of de-extinction: bringing extinct species back to life. Are you an environmentalist or do you work for a living?
In the News: Dodging bullets – lead still a menace for the California condorDespite years of costly conservation efforts, extremely rare California condors are still dying from lead poisoning as a result of scavenging on carcasses contaminated by lead bullets. The California condor has an impressive wingspan of just under three metres Conservation and contamination The California condor, the largest and most threatened wild bird species in the United States, has been teetering on the brink of extinction for more than three decades, with just 22 individuals remaining in 1982. Thanks to intensive conservation efforts, this iconic species has made a modest recovery in recent years, with the total population increasing to about 400 individuals, half of which are in captivity.
CrocodileEtymology The word "crocodile" comes from the Ancient Greek κροκόδιλος (crocodilos), "lizard," used in the phrase ho krokódilos tou potamoú, "the lizard of the (Nile) river". There are several variant Greek forms of the word attested, including the later form κροκόδειλος (crocodeilos) found cited in many English reference works. In the Koine Greek of Roman times, crocodilos and crocodeilos would have been pronounced identically, and either or both may be the source of the Latinized form crocodīlus used by the ancient Romans. Crocodilos or crocodeilos is a compound of krokè ("pebbles"), and drilos/dreilos ("worm"), although drilos is only attested as a colloquial term for "penis". It is ascribed to Herodotus, and supposedly describes the basking habits of the Egyptian crocodile.
San Juan Capistrano tries to seduce swallows backLos Angeles -- A bird's call rings endlessly inside the adobe walls at Mission San Juan Capistrano as tourists wander through the courtyard - ablaze with flowers in full bloom - and a handful of fourth-graders snap pictures and take notes for class projects. Hardly the sweet song of the nightingale, the sound is more like the croak of a distressed frog - or, by an expert's own description, a "rusty, squeaky door." It's a last-ditch effort to lure back the cliff swallow, which put San Juan Capistrano on the map but has snubbed the mission in recent years.
Ending "Shamu" stunts isn't enough to protect whales, activists saySAN DIEGO, Calif. — Animal rights activists applauded SeaWorld's plans to end its orca shows in San Diego. However, they said the marine park should stop keeping killer whales in captivity altogether. SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. made the announcement Monday about ending the shows. Visitors at the San Diego park made it clear they prefer seeing killer whales act naturally rather than doing tricks.Night herons settling down in downtown OaklandDowntown Oakland has no shortage of wildlife. Now it even has some of the nonhuman variety. A colony of giant, squawking, black-crowned night herons has taken up residence in the gritty urban core of Oakland, apparently thriving amid the tattoo parlors and Afghan restaurants, Occupiers and bus exhaust.