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Two 'dragon' species discovered in Brazil

(01/24/2007) Two previously unknown species of lizard that are said to resemble miniature ground-dwelling dragons have been found in the threatened cerrado region of Brazil. The species, Stenocercus squarrosus and Stenocercus quinarius are described in the current issue of the South American Journal of Herpetology.

Rare fish from Madagascar named after renowned ichthyologist

(01/24/2007) An ichthyologist from the Wildlife conservation Society's New York Aquarium received the ultimate honor recently, when a freshwater fish discovered on the African island nation of Madagascar was named after him.

5 Komodo Dragons Hatch at British Zoo

(01/24/2007) Five immaculately conceived Komodo dragons hatched at the Chester Zoo in northern England. Scientists say the birth could have conservation implications for the endangered species of reptile.

Live fish trade causing massive depletion of coral reef species

(01/24/2007) According to a new study conducted by Cambridge University researchers off the northern coast of Borneo, the live reef fish trade is having a major impact on marine populations.

Unusual prehistoric shark beast captured in Japan

(01/24/2007) A rare frilled shark was captured live by fishermen off the coast of Japan. The toothy eel-like creature was taken to Awashima Marine Park in Shizuoka where it later died according to Reuters.

Congo guerrillas agree to protect rare gorillas

(01/24/2007) Rebels in eastern Congo have agreed to stop hunting mountain gorillas according to a report from the Associated Press.

Carnivorous 'terror bird' stalked America before isthmus formation

(01/23/2007) A prehistoric 7-foot-tall flightless 'terror bird,' arrived in North America from South America well before the formation of the Panamanian land bridge according to a study led by University of Florida (UF) researchers. The results will be published January 23 in the online version of the journal Geology.

Global warming cap to cost U.S. 0.26% of GDP says Energy Department

(01/23/2007) A proposed cap-and-trade system to curb U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions will cost the U.S. economy 0.26 percent of annual GDP according to a new study by the Department of Energy's Energy Information Agency (EIA). The EIA says that the plan would lead to higher energy prices inlcuding a 5 percent rise in the price of gasoline, an 8 percent climb in the price of heating-oil an 11 percent increase in the price of natural gas and electricity.

Early dinosaur flew like a biplane

(01/23/2007) Reanalysis of fossil remains suggests that the earliest flying dinosaurs used two sets of wings like a biplane. The research, published by Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University and R. Jack Templin in this week&aposs online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, argues that Microraptor gui, one of the earliest known gliders dating to 125 million years ago, utilized four wings to glide between treetops.

American industry jumps on global warming bandwagon

(01/23/2007) On the eve of President Bush's State of the Union address, American industry is fast-jumping on the global warming bandwagon, according to an article in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal. Yesterday the CEOs of 10 major corporations asked Congress to implement binding limits on greenhouse gases this year, arguing that voluntary efforts to fight climate change are inadequate.

Bush calls climate change a 'serious challenge'

(01/23/2007) In his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, President Bush called climate change a 'serious challenge' that needs to be met by reducing fossil fuel emissions. The president asked Americans to reduce their gasoline use by 20 percent over the next decade and called for increases in automobile fuel efficiency standards and use of alternative energy.

Ohio Valley, California have highest levels of carbon dioxide

(01/22/2007) The Ohio Valley and California have the high levels of carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuels combustion, while Colorado has the least, found a new study published in the January 23rd issue of Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

In Arctic Mud, Geologists Find Strong Evidence of Climate Change

(01/22/2007) How severe will global warming get? Jason P. Briner is looking for an answer buried deep in mud dozens of feet below the surface of lakes in the frigid Canadian Arctic. His group is gathering the first quantitative temperature data over the last millennium from areas in extreme northeastern sections of the Canadian Arctic, such as Baffin Island. Every spring, Briner, Ph.D., assistant professor of geology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Buffalo, travels to the region to sample Arctic lake sediments and glaciers and analyzes them to reconstruct past climates.

Geothermal energy could cut U.S. oil demand

(01/22/2007) Geothermal energy could eventually power some 25 million homes across the United States at a cost of $40 million per year according to a Department of Energy sponsored study released Monday. Lead by Jefferson Tester, a professor at MIT and lead author, the report argues that unlocking the heat stored in Earth's crust could improve American energy security while reducing emissions greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

Canada pledges $30 million for Great Bear Rainforest

(01/22/2007) Canada announced a $30 million plan to protect the Great Bear Rainforest, a 16-million-acre temperate rainforest on British Columbia's Pacific coast. The forest is the largest intact temperate rainforest left on Earth and is home to the 290-foot (90 meter) tall Sitka spruce, black bears, grizzlies and eagles.

Air pollution may reduce wind power, rainfall

(01/22/2007) Aerosolized particles and other pollution produced from vehicle exhaust may reduce wind speeds near Earth's surface, resulting in less wind for power generation as well as reduced precipitation, according to a study published in the December 27th online edition of Geophysical Research Letters by researchers at Stanford University and NASA.

Pesticides threaten cloud forests in Costa Rica - new study

(01/22/2007) Pesticides from coffee and banana cultivation are accumulating in Costa Rica's biodiverse cloud forests according to research published earlier this month in Environmental Science & Technology. The findings have implications for conservation efforts in both the Central American country and in other parts of the world.

Lost civilization found in Peru

(01/20/2007) Explorers have found ruins of a little known civilization deep in the cloud forests of the Peruvian Amazon. The Chachapoya, as the group is known, was a fierce tribe that battled the mighty Inca empire before the arrival of European conquistadors in the 16th century.

Lavender and symbiotic fungi key to Cypress reforestation in Morocco

(01/20/2007) Cypress reforestation efforts are unsuccessful without dual cultivation with lavender or mycorrhizal fungi, according to researchers studying replanting programs in Morocco.

Oil consumption by industrialized countries falls in 2006

(01/19/2007) Oil consumption by industrialized countries fell 0.6 percent in 2006, the first significant drop in more than 20 years according to the International Energy Agency.

Leaf study could produce better global warming models

(01/18/2007) A new study on rotting leaves could produce more accurate climate models say researchers writing in the January 19 issue of the journal Science.

Biomimicry of beetle could produce whiter teeth

(01/18/2007) A pure white beetle found in the forests of southeast Asia could eventually lead to brilliant white ultra-thin materials including whiter teeth and finer paper, according to research led by scientists at the University of Exeter.

China invests in $5.5B biofuels project in Borneo, New Guinea

(01/18/2007) China has agreed to invest in a $5.5 billion biofuels project on the islands of New Guinea and Borneo. The plan promises to be controversial among environmentalists who say that it will destroy some of the world's most biodiverse -- and threatened -- ecosystems on the planet.

Bush administration says polar bears under threat

(12/27/2006) Today the Bush Administration said polar bears are in need of protection. The reason? Global warming. The administration says that climate change is causing sea ice to melt, putting the polar bear in peril.

China uses snake-based earthquake prediction system

(12/27/2006) A province in southern China has come up with a unique way to predict earthquakes: snakes. According to China Daily and as reported by Reuters, the earthquake bureau in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi province, has set up a 24-hour video feed to monitor the behavior of snakes at snake farms. The scientists say that snakes are particularly sensitive to vibrations caused by impending earthquakes.

Warmer oceans reduce dispersal of shellfish larvae

(12/25/2006) In a study published in the Dec. 25 Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists show they can predict how the distance marine larvae travel varies with ocean temperature. The say that the findings have important implications for the conservation and management of fish, shellfish and other marine species in oceans increasingly effected by climate change.

Leaf-mimicking insects at least 47 million years old

(12/25/2006) With the discovery of a 47 million year old fossil of a lead insect, new research suggests that cryptic leaf-mimicking camoflauge is a time-tested strategy used by insects to avoid predators.

Antarctic ozone depletion exceeds that of Arctic

(12/25/2006) A new study comparing ozone depletion between the poles shows that the Antarctic is experiencing the most severe depletion of the ozone layer.

Madagascar plant may offer new treatment for malaria

(12/25/2006) A plant traditionally used by healers in Madagascar may offer a new way to treat malaria, a mosquito-borne illness that kills 2-3 million people -- mostly children in Sub-Saharan Africa -- per year.

Apes sing for protection

(12/25/2006) White-handed gibbons in Thailand use songs as a defense against predators according to a study by researchers at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Wildfires are linked to Atlantic Ocean temperatures

(12/25/2006) Scientists have linked the incidence of wildfires in the Western United States to Atlantic Ocean temperatures.

Madagascar conservation & Development journal launches

(12/25/2006) Madagascar Wildlife conservation, a Madagascar-based nonprofit, and the Jane Goodall Institute Switzerland have launched a new journal focused on conservation and development issues in Madagascar.

Evidence of massive simultaneous supervolcano eruption in NZ

(12/24/2006) Eruptions of supervolcanoes capable of causing planetary climate disruptions and mass extinctions can be worse than previously thought according researchers from Auckland University in New Zealand.

Giant squid captured!

(12/22/2006) Japanese researchers captured a small female giant squid near the Ogasawara islands, 1,000 km (620 miles) south of Tokyo. The squid, which measured 3.5 meters (11 ft 6 in) long and weighed 50 kg (110 lb), was hooked at a depth of 650 meters (2,150 ft). The capture comes a year after researchers produced the first photographs and video of living squid.

'Happy Feet' penguins declining fast in the Falklands

(12/22/2006) The rockhopper penguin, a species featured in the movie Happy Feet, has taken a suffered a 30 percent population decline over the past five years according to the latest survey figures from Falklands conservation, a conservation group with offices in Stanley, Falkland Islands and London, England.

Squirrels predict years of bounty

(12/22/2006) Squirrels are able to plan for the boom and bust seed production cycle of trees by producing an extra litter of babies in anticipation of a particularly rich season of tree seeds, according to new research published by scientists at the University of Alberta.

Satellite imagery to be used to detect illegal logging, determine sustainability

(12/21/2006) A new project aims to use advanced satellite imagery to monitor illegal logging activities and help certify the sustainability of timber harvesting in some of the world's most remote forests. The effort could reduce the cost of forest management and certification, while helping to crack down on illicit tree-felling.

Africa's rarest carnivore spotted in Tanzania

(12/21/2006) Africa's rarest carnivore, Jackson's mongoose, was spotted in the mountains of remote southern Tanzania by researchers with the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS). Until now the species has been only known from a few observations and museum specimens.

Giant dinosaur discovered in Spain - largest ever recorded in Europe

(12/21/2006) Researchers working in Teruel, Spain have discovered the fossil remains of a giant dinosaur that weighed between 40 to 48 tons and was 30-37 meters (100-120 feet) long -- the length of an NBA basketball court. It is the largest dinosaur ever found in Europe -- most giant dinosaurs have been found previously in the New World and Africa.

Impact of new forest law in India unknown

(12/21/2006) A new law giving land rights to millions of poor Indian forest dwellers is stirring debate in the conservation community according to a report from Reuters.

How did giant dinosaurs digest their food without molars?

(12/20/2006) The giant dinosaurs had a problem. Many of them had narrow, pointed teeth, which were more suited to tearing off plants rather than chewing them. But how did they then grind their food? Until recently many researchers have assumed that they were helped by stones which they swallowed. In their muscular stomach these then acted as a kind of 'gastric mill'. But this assumption does not seem to be correct, as scientists at the universities of Bonn and Tubingen have now proved. Their research findings can be found in the current issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society.

Paraguay extends deforestation law that has cut forest loss by 85%

(12/20/2006) The government of Paraguay has extended a law has helped deforestation rates in the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest by more than 85 percent according to environmental group WWF.

Virgin dragon to give birth this Christmas

(12/20/2006) A virgin Komodo dragon will give birth to offspring this Christmas (or thereabouts) at the Chester Zoo in Britain according to researchers. Flora, a female Komodo dragon, will reproduce asexually in a process called parthenogenesis, where eggs become embryos without male fertilization. The process is known to occur in about 70 reptile species but hadn't been observed in Komodo dragons -- the world's largest lizard species -- until this year. Another dragon, Sungai, had virginal conception earlier this year. Both cases are described in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature

Moles and shrews can smell underwater

(12/20/2006) Mammals can smell underwater according to a study published in the December 21 issue of the journal Nature. Kenneth Catania, an assistant professor of biology at Vanderbilt University, found that moles and shrews are capable of detecting prey underwater using their sense of smell.

Are Brazil nuts really sustainable?

(12/20/2006) A lot of rainforest conservation initiatives embrace sustainably harvested non-timber forest products (NTFPs) like seeds and nuts as a means to provide income to locals without harming the forest. Operating on the premise that such products are eco-friendly, hundreds of outfits ranging from Whole Foods to the Body Shop to Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream tout their use of sustainably harvested Brazil nuts and related products. But really, how sustainable are these products?

Europe's largest tropical rainforest invaded by gold miners

(12/19/2006) As Europe frets over climate change and deforestation, threats to "Europe's largest tropical rainforest" are mounting, according to reports from French Guiana. While French Guiana is best known for its infamous Devil's Island penal colony and as the main launch site for the European Space Agency, which is responsible for more than 50% of the state's economy activity, most of the territory is covered with lowland tropical rainforest. French Guiana's forests are biologically rich with some 1,064 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles, and 5,625 species of vascular plants according to figures from the World conservation Monitoring Center.

Time is running out for French Guiana's rainforests

(12/19/2006) Understanding relationships between plants and animals is key to understanding rainforest ecology. Dr. Pierre-Michel Forget of the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle in France is a renowned expert on the interdependency between rainforest trees and seed disperses. Author of dozens of papers on tropical forest ecology, Dr Forget is increasingly concerned about deforestation and biodiversity loss in forests of the Guiana Shield region of Northern South America. In particular he sees the invasion of informal gold miners, known as garimpeiros, as a significant threat to forests in French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana and Venezuela.

Pictures of species discovered in Borneo rainforest

(12/19/2006) Yesterday's announcement by WWF that 52 previously unknown species were discovered in the fast-disappearing rainforests of Borneo brings the total number of 'new' species found on the island to more than 400 since 1994.

Bush administration sued for failure to protect sea otter

(12/19/2006) A conservation group filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal district court in Washington, DC, seeking more protection for sea otters in Alaska. The Center for Biological Diversity, a national nonprofit conservation organization that aims to conserve endangered species and wild places, says that the Bush administration has failed to designate critical habitat for sea otters in southwest Alaska, despite the species' listing as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act in August 2005. Sea otter populations have decline by 90 percent in some areas according to the group.

New Zealand implements 'green timber' policy

(12/19/2006) New Zealand's government will only buy timber and wood products only from legally and sustainably managed forests according to a new policy paper put out Monday by the minstry of forestry.

Papua New Guinea log exports to China surge

(12/19/2006) Papua New Guinea (PNG) log exports surged in October according to the International Tropical Timber Organization's (ITTO) Tropical Timber Market Report.

China launches green buying policy

(12/19/2006) China's Ministry of Finance and the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) announced that starting in 2007, the country's central and provincial governments will prioritize their purchasing of environmentally friendly products and services.

52 species discovered in Borneo rainforest

(12/19/2006) In 2006 scientists discovered 52 species in the highly threatened rainforests of Borneo according to a new report from WWF, an environmental group working to preserve the biodiverse 'Heart of Borneo' from further destruction.

Worst coral reef die-off in 11,000 years

(12/18/2006) Two new studies by scientists at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University suggest that coral reefs may be in worse shape than previously thought. The first, appearing in the journal Geology indicates that the current large scale coral die-offs are now occurring more frequently than at any time in the last 11,000 years. The second, published in Current Biology, suggests that the loss of a single 'keystone' species can trigger a rapid shift in the health of a reef.

Marine protected areas boost fishing yields

(12/18/2006) A new study conducted on the reefs of Madagascar found that marine protected areas can benefit the fishing industry. The study, authored by Frances Humber, a scientist with conservation group Blue Ventures, found that implementing seasonal fishing closures for octopus boosted returns for fishermen when the closed areas were reopened to fishing after seven months. Octopus yields increased 13 times while the total weight of octopus caught jumped 25 times.

Audible warfare: how moths avoid bats

(12/18/2006) A new study published in Current Biology suggests bats and moths may be engaged in evolutionary warfare when it comes to their sense of hearing.

Coral reefs help protect from tsunami damage

(12/18/2006) Healthy coral reefs can help reduce the impact of tsunami waves relative to unhealthy or dead reefs, according to a new Princeton University study published in the December 14 edition of the journal Geophysical Review Letters.

Does green investing pay as well as conventional investing?

(12/18/2006) Socially responsible investing is now a major Wall Street trend. But the real question is this: Can you make as much dough when you're being virtuous?

China will continue search for 'extinct' baiji river dolphin

(12/18/2006) Chinese state media reports that scientists will continue to search for the baiji dolphin even after a 38-day search failed to produce any evidence of its existence in the Yangtze River.

Global warming improves sex life of seals

(12/15/2006) Climate change is enhancing the sex life of subordinate male grey seals on the remote Scottish Island of North Rona according to researchers at Durham University and the University of St Andrews.

2006 is third warmest year on record for the United States

(12/15/2006) 2006 will likely go down as the third warmest year on record for the United States according to scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina. Globally, 2006 will have the sixth highest annual global temperature since record keeping began in 1880 NCDC says that the 2006 annual average temperature for the contiguous United States (based on preliminary data) will likely be 2F (1.1C) above the 20th century mean, making 2006 the third warmest year on record, just cooler than 1998 and 1934. 2006 has been a record year for wildfires which researchers say will continue to increase in frequency and intensity as climate continues to warm.

2006 is sixth warmest year, but hurricanes below average

(12/15/2006) 2006 will be the sixth-warmest year on record according to the World Meteorological Organization (WHO). The United Nations weather agency said the ten hottest years have all occurred in the past 12 years. 2005 was the warmest year since record keeping began 150 years ago, according to the agency.

President Museveni needs to do what's best for Uganda

(12/15/2006) In recent months Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has moved to destroy some of Uganda's last remaining primary rainforests to give land to politically-connected plantation owners. Personally intervening in two disputes, one in Mabira Forest Reserve and the other on Bugala island in Lake Victoria, Museveni has argued that his country urgently needs such projects to industrialize and bring a better quality of life to Ugandans. He would be wrong.

Are biofuels good or bad for the environment?

(12/15/2006) Sometimes hailed as a savior from global warming and foreign oil dependence, biofuels are as often criticized for deforestation and pollution. So, are biofuels good or bad for the environment? Grist, an independent online environmental magazine, examines the question in a new series devoted to biofuels.

Sea levels may rise higher than predicted due to global warming

(12/15/2006) Global warming could cause sea levels to rise by four-and-a-half feet (140 cm) according to new projections published in Friday's issue of the jounral Science. Stefan Rahmstorf, a scietist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany, uses air temperature measurements and past sea level changes rather than computer models to calculate that ocean levels could rise by 50-140 cm by 2100, well above the 9-88 cm projected by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. A 140 cm rise in sea levels could swamp low-lying cities like New York and Venice while causing catastrophic flooding in Bengladesh and South Pacific island nations.

Looming desertification could spawn millions of environmental refugees

(12/14/2006) Africa may be able to feed just 25% of its population by 2025 if soil degradation on the continent continues at its current pace, according to a water expert presenting at an upcoming United Nations University (UNU) conference on desertification in Algiers, Algeria. Karl Harmsen, Director of UNU's Ghana-based Institute for Natural Resources in Africa, says that should soil conditions continue to decline in Africa, nearly 75% of the continent could come to rely on some sort of food aid by 2025.

Goodbye to the Baiji

(12/14/2006) After a short illness spurred by pollution, overfishing, boat traffic, and obstructions like dams, the Baiji was declared 'functionally extinct' last night. As a species, the river dolphin found only in China's Yangtze River was 20 million years. The Baiji is survived by other river dolphins, all themselves threatened, in the Ganges, Indus, Amazon, Orinoco, and La Plata rivers. No memorial service will be held.

Forests need good soil to sequester more carbon

(12/14/2006) Soil nutrition is key to helping forests absorb more carbon under elevated CO2 conditions according to new research by scientists with the USDA Forest Service and Duke University. "The researchers found that trees can only increase wood growth from elevated CO2 if there is enough leaf area to support that growth," reported the Southern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service in a statement. "Leaf area, in turn, is limited by soil nutrition; without adequate soil nutrition, trees respond to elevated CO2 by transferring carbon below ground, then recycling it back to the atmospheric through respiration."

Mammals may have flown before birds

(12/14/2006) Mammals may have flown before birds according to a fossil discovery by scientists working in China. Working in the Inner Mongolian region of China, a team of Chinese and American scientists discovered a 125 million year fossil that provides evidence that mammals were capable of gliding flight some 70 million years earlier than previously believed.

Circumcision reduces HIV/AIDS infection in men

(12/13/2006) Medical circumcision of men reduces their risk of acquiring HIV during heterosexual intercourse by 53 percent according to a University of Illinois at Chicago study. The results were so compelling researchers stopped the trial early to protect the health of participants. The study's safety board recommended that all men enrolled in the study who remain uncircumcised be offered circumcision.

Monkey trials for medical research should continue in Britain

(12/13/2006) British scientists support the use of primates in medical research to improve human health and reduce deaths from disease but only if no alternatives are available according to a report by the Academy of Medical Sciences. The report, which examines the scientific basis for recent, current and future use of non-human primates in biological and medical research, comes as a poll by the journal Nature reveals that most researchers have no ethical misgivings about the role of animals in their work.

Yellow Sea biodiversity needs protection says WWF

(12/13/2006) In response to worsening pollution in China's Yellow Sea, environmental group WWF is pushing for the establishment of a network of protected areas between China and South Korea.

Tigers can recover given protection, adequate food supplies

(12/13/2006) A new study says that if tigers are protected and have sufficient access to abundant prey, their populations can quickly stabilize. The findings have implications for conservation of the world's largest cat species which is fast-disappearing due to poaching for the animal parts trade.

African river basins are drying up says NASA

(12/13/2006) New satellite data from NASA show that the Mississippi and Colorado River basins are storing more water over the past five years, while the Congo, Zambezi and Nile basins are drying.

Asian pollution fuels rain in Australia

(12/12/2006) A new study says that the haze produced by fires in southeast Asia causes increased rainfall in Australia by lowering regional ocean temperatures. Particulate matter in the upper atmosphere has been shown to reflect sunlight, hence lowering temperatures.

President Museveni again moves against Uganda's forests

(12/12/2006) Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has again taken action against rainforest conservation in Uganda, moving to hand a protected forest reserve over to private agricultural interests intent on clearing trees, according to a report from Reuters.

Who pays for Amazon rainforest conservation?

(12/12/2006) Last Monday, Brazil created the world's largest rainforest protected area in the northern Amazon. Covering more than 15 million hectares (57,915 square miles) -- or an area larger than England -- the network of seven new protected reserves has been met with praise by environmental groups. Instrumental in the development of the conservation project has been an organization that most people wouldn't associate with rainforest conservation but certainly should: the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Unknown species of lizard discovered in Borneo

(12/11/2006) A previously unknown species of lizard was discovered in Borneo by Chris Austin, assistant curator of herpetology at Louisiana State University's Museum of Natural Science. Photos and the scientific name of the lizard, which was discovered while Austin was conducting field research in Sarawak, will be unveiled in the March 2007 edition of Journal of Herpetology.

Hotspot conservation will not protect global biodiversity

(12/11/2006) The concept of biological hotspots has served as a fundamental principle guiding conservation efforts over the past generation. A new study, published in the Dec. 15 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), argues this may be a mistake and that conservation efforts based on hotspots will not effectively preserve biodiversity.

ESA seeks to better understand impact of oceans on climate

(12/11/2006) The European Space Agency (ESA) said it is backing two projects that aim to better understand the impact of oceans on climate.

Small insects tell us Earth is warming

(12/11/2006) Small insects known as midges are telling scientists that Earth is warming, according to research to be presented December 15 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

Global warming could save NASA millions in fuel costs

(12/11/2006) Carbon dioxide emissions produced from the burning of fossil fuels will produce a 3 percent reduction in the density of Earth's outermost atmosphere by 2017, according scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Pennsylvania State University (PSU).

Melting glaciers, not ice sheets, primarily responsible for rising sea levels

(12/11/2006) A new study says that melting glaciers are contributing more to the global rise in sea levels than melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Of the estimated 650 billion tons of ice lost to the oceans annually, some 400 billion tons comes from the melting of small glaciers and icecaps, according to Professor Tad Pfeffer of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Only 250 billion tons -- or less than 40 percent -- comes from the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

'Loch Ness Monster' found in Antarctica

(12/11/2006) Paleontologists found a well-preserved fossil skeleton of a juvenile plesiosaur in Antarctica. Cryptozoologists say the plesiosaur resembles the legendary Loch Ness Monster, despite scientific evidence indicating that the marine reptile has been extinct for millions of years.

Global warming could make Arctic sea ice-free by 2040

(12/11/2006) Global warming is causing an abrupt retreat in Arctic sea ice that could leave the Arctic Ocean with ice-free summers by 2040 according to research published in the December 12 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

Butterfly biomimicry improves communications technology

(12/11/2006) A new DARPA-sponsored study says that biomimicry of butterfly wings can help researchers build complex photonic integrated circuits to improve communications technology. "By replicating the complex micron- and nanometer-scale photonic structures that help give butterfly wings their color, researchers have demonstrated a new technique that uses biotemplates for fabricating nanoscale structures that could serve as optical waveguides, optical splitters and other building blocks of photonic integrated circuits," stated a release from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Nuclear war could cause global cooling (i.e. block global warming)

(12/11/2006) Nuclear war would disrupt global climate for at least a decade according to new research presented Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. The research, based on findings from historic volcano eruptions, found that a small-scale, regional nuclear war could produce millions of tons of 'soot' particles that could block solar radiation, in effect, cooling the planet.

500 species found in census of marine life

(12/11/2006) Some 500 previously unknown species of marine life were discovered during the latest Census of Marine Life (CoML), a research effort involving some 2000 researchers from 80 countries. The discoveries, made during 19 ocean expeditions in 2006, included a gigantic 1-centimeter in diameter single-celled organism in the Nazare Canyon off Portugal, a "blonde-haired" lobster near Easter Island, a "chewing" squid, and a four-pound (1.8 kg) lobster off Madagascar.

4-pound lobster discovered off coast of Madagascar

(12/11/2006) Researchers with the Census of Marine Life discovered a 1.8 kg (4 lb) rock lobster that lives off the coast of Madagascar. Named Palinurus barbarae, the beast is half a meter (one-and-a-half feet) long.

Living fossil found in South Pacific

(12/11/2006) French scientists found a species of crustacean previously believed to have become extinct 60 million years ago, according to an update from the Census of Marine Life.

UN says man's global warming impact lower than thought

(12/10/2006) When it is released in 2007, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will report that man's impact on global climate is less than previously believed according to a story published in the Sunday edition of the UK-based Telegraph. The Telegraph says that the report will reduce its estimate of man's role in global warming by 25 percent. However, the IPCC will still project global temperatures to climb by 4.5 C druing the next century and rising sea levels, albiet by half the amount -- 17 inches instead of 34 inches by 2100 -- projected by the IPCC's 2001 report. It will also note that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have continued to climb over the past five years but that the overall human effect on global warming since the industrial revolution has been dampened by cooling caused by particulate matter and aerosol sprays, which accumulate in the upper atmosphere and reflect heat from the sun.

The Vaquita, the world's smallest cetacean, dives toward extinction

(12/10/2006) Accidental death in fishing nets is driving the world's smallest cetacean, the Vaquita (Phocoena sinus), towards extinction, according to a new study published in the current issue of Mammal Review, the official scientific periodical of the Mammal Society.

Biomimicry of native prairie yields more bioenergy than corn ethanol

(12/07/2006) Diverse mixtures of plants that mimic the native prairie ecosystem are a better source of biofuels than corn grain ethanol or soybean biodiesel according to a new paper published in the Dec. 8 issue of the journal Science. Led by David Tilman, a biology professor at the University of Minnesota, the research shows that "mixtures of native perennial grasses and other flowering plants provide more usable energy per acre than corn grain ethanol or soybean biodiesel and are far better for the environment," according to a release from the University of Minnesota.

Past global warming suggests massive temperature shift in our future

(12/07/2006) If past climate change is any indication, Earth could be in store for some significant global warming according to research published in the December 8, 2006, issue of the journal Science. The work suggests that climate change skeptics may be fighting a losing cause. The study, led by Mark Pagani, associate professor of geology and geophysics at Yale, looked at an episode of rapid climate change that occurred some 55 million years ago. Known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), the period was marked by a rapid rise in greenhouse gases that heated Earth by roughly 9 F (5 C), in less than 10,000 years. The climate warming caused widespread changes including mass extinction in the world's oceans due to acidification and shifts of plant communities due to changes in rainfall. The era helped set the stage for the "Age of Mammals," which included the first appearance of modern primates.

Ebola kills thousands of gorillas in African park

(12/07/2006) The Ebola virus, a nasty hemorrhagic fever that causes massive organ failure and bleeding, is killing thousands of endangered gorillas across Central African forests according to new research published in the journal Science. While the findings suggests that even in strictly protected wildlife sanctuaries gorillas are not safe, the research provides insight on how to control Ebola outbreaks among wild gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes).

Ancient hominid not our ancestor finds new study

(12/07/2006) Scientists have shown that ancient remains once thought to be a key link in man's evolutionary history are 400,000 years to young to be part of human evolution.

Bioprospecting links health and biodiversity conservation in Panama

(12/07/2006) The difference between bioprospecting and biopiracy as at times controversial, but a program run by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) suggests that training professionals in high-biodiversity regions can help bring benefits to local populations while promoting biodiversity conservation. The program, called the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG), is profiled in the December issue of the journal BioScience.

How to cut paper waste when printing web sites

(12/07/2006) A new service reduces paper waste when printing web sites according to a column by Walt Mossberg in today's Wall Street Journal. Mossberg highlights GreenPrint, software that analyzes documents before printing to minimize paper waste.

Global warming could reduce ocean productivity

(12/06/2006) Global warming could cause a rapid overall reduction in marine life resulting from diminished ocean productivity, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature. The researchers, led by Michael Behrenfeld of Oregon State University, say that the growth of phytoplankton -- the basis of the ocean food chain -- will likely be reduced by climate change.

Military technology used to catch poachers in Congo

(12/06/2006) conservationists are using military technology to catch poachers in the act, according to an article published in the December 9, 2006 issue of New Scientist. The article says wildlife managers are using small seismic detectors developed by New York City-based Wildland Security, a firm that builds sensors for detecting wildlife crime.

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