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Posts Tagged ‘plankton’

Loss of top animal predators has massive ecological effects

July 23, 2011 Comments off

terradaily


When sea otters, which feed on sea urchins, were hunted to extinction in some coastal areas of the Pacific Ocean, sea urchins increased in abundance and decimated underwater kelp forests, also affecting other species that inhabit the kelp. Credit: Matt Knoth.

“Trophic Downgrading of Planet Earth,” a review paper that will be published on July 15, 2011, in the journal Science, concludes that the decline of large predators and herbivores in all regions of the world is causing substantial changes to Earth’s terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems.

The paper claims that the loss of apex consumers from ecosystems “may be humankind’s most pervasive influence on nature.” The research was funded primarily by the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University with support from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The paper is co-authored by the Institute’s executive director, Dr. Ellen K. Pikitch, and the lead author is Dr. James A. Estes, professor of ecology and evolution at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

The review, conducted by an international team of 24 scientists, illuminates the Read more…

Melting Arctic Ice Marks Possible Sea Change in Marine Ecosystems

June 27, 2011 Comments off

livescience

Arctic Sea Ice Extent in 2010
Arctic sea ice reached an abnormal low in summer 2010. Declines like this have made it possible for a long-lost species of plankton to return to the North Atlantic.
CREDIT: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

A single-celled alga that went extinct in the North Atlantic Ocean about 800,000 years ago has returned after drifting from the Pacific through the Arctic thanks to melting polar ice. And while its appearance marks the first trans-Arctic migration in modern times, scientists say it signals something potentially bigger.

“It is an indicator of rapid change and what might come if the Arctic continues to melt,” said Chris Reid, a professor of oceanography at the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science in the United Kingdom.

Arctic sea ice has been in decline for roughly three decades, and in several more recent summers, a passage has opened up between the Pacific and Atlantic. In as little as 30 years, Arctic summers are projected to Read more…

1,000 corpses from Japanese quake left uncollected because of fear of radiation

April 1, 2011 2 comments

www.dailymail.co.uk

The mother of one of the workers who are battling to stop a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant said today that they all expect to die from radiation sickness ‘within weeks’.

The so-called Fukushima 50 are all repeatedly being exposed to dangerously high radioactive levels as they attempt to restore vital cooling systems following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

And speaking tearfully through an interpreter by phone, the mother of a 32-year-old worker told Fox News: ‘My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation.

Too dangerous: This aerial photograph of the Fukushima plant shows the damaged reactors three and four at the which will now be entombed in concrete after the battle to contain radiation was lostToo dangerous: This aerial photograph of the Fukushima plant shows the damaged reactors three and four at the which will now be entombed in concrete after the battle to contain radiation was lost 

‘He told me they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term.’

‘They have concluded between themselves that it is inevitable some of them may die within weeks or Read more…