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Plastic Pollutes Even the Remotest of Islands

24 May

Remote Henderson Island is the most polluted place in the world, according to a team of researchers.

Henderson Island is one of the most remote islands in the world. It sits in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, part of the UK’s Pitcairn Islands, more than 3,000 miles from the nearest major population centers. It’s also the world’s most polluted island. More than 17 tons of plastic litter the beaches of […]

Earthworms Being Harmed By Tillage Farming Practices

10 May

Populations of earthworms are being severely harmed by a common farming practice.

You may not think much about earthworms, but they are crucial to healthy soil. In fact, Charles Darwin called them “nature’s plough” because they are constantly eating and defecating soil, making it more nutritious and better aerated—and therefore more fertile. But a widely used farming practice is severely damaging those earthworm populations. Tillage farming, also […]

Wildfires Increasing in Frequency and Require Adaptive Strategies

26 Apr

We need to adapt to wildfires, because they are becoming as inevitable as floods and droughts.

Wildfires are an inevitable part of the American west, and, according to a new paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they’ve been increasing in frequency and severity since the 1970s. A record-breaking fire near Boulder, Colorado, that forced 1,000 people to evacuate their homes in March of 2017 is […]

Greater Income Inequality Means Greater Carbon Emissions

19 Apr

New research shows that income inequality is a contributor to carbon emissions.

Researchers from Boston College have found that evidence that links carbon emissions with income inequality. Scientists have known for some time that national wealth and carbon emissions have been linked, but this is the first study that explores this link within individual U.S. states. By exploring data from 1997 to 2012, the researchers learned that […]

North American Lakes Becoming Increasingly Salty

17 Apr

America's lakes are becoming increasingly salty due to use of road salt to de-ice highways.

Many lakes in North America are becoming saltier thanks to road salt. A recent study looked at 371 lakes in the Midwest and Northeast, and found that 44 percent of them were undergoing long-term salinization. This process means that these lakes have increasing amounts of chloride in them, which is bad for the ecosystems of […]

Researchers Develop New, Inexpensive Device to Detect Oil Spills

10 Mar

Researchers have developed a new, inexpensive device to detect oil spills and determine the type of oil that was spilled.

Oil spills present a lot of challenges, not the least of which is identifying the kind of oil that has been spilled, and determining the best way to clean it up. Another is tracking how contaminated a particular area has become. Early detection is necessary to respond before too much oil mixes into the water. […]

Humans Have Dramatically Increased Wildfire Damage

1 Mar

Humans have dramatically increased the extent and duration of wildfire season.

According to recent research from the University of Colorado Boulder, humans have dramatically increased the extent and duration of wildfire season. It used to be that wildfires happened most often in the summer and tapered off dramatically after that. However, it now seems like wildfire season lasts the entire year, with fires being started in […]

New Computer Model Predicts Location of Ocean Garbage Patches

24 Feb

ocean garbage patches

Garbage patches form in the world’s oceans when debris starts collecting in one area. It’s a phenomenon that we’ve known about for some time, but are only just starting to understand it. Researchers at the University of Miami Rosentiel School have developed a computer model which can help to explain how debris gets pulled into […]

Drones Don’t Bother Whales, but What About Birds?

22 Feb

Research has shown that drones don't bother marine mammals, but the jury is still out on whether and how much they might harm other mammals.

Drones are increasingly common tools for scientists who study wildlife, allowing them to get to places that might otherwise be physically or financially impossible to reach. But drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) don’t always go unnoticed by animals, and there is growing concern that drone flights might be disrupting the animals they’re being used […]

Aquatic Invasive Species Are An Increasing Concern

10 Feb

Aquatic invasive species like this Chinese mitten crab are transmitted by ships' ballast waters and cause damage to fisheries and aquaculture in the northeastern Atlantic.

We are quite familiar with invasive species on land: plants like milfoil and lupines, for example, take over fields and ponds and cause changes that lead to the extinction of local species. However, since the 1980s, it has also been recognized that there are numerous aquatic species transmitted far from their original homes via ships’ […]