Plastic Pollution: An Emerging Threat Beneath Our Feet Biology Environment Health 

Plastic Pollution: An Emerging Threat Beneath Our Feet

By Emily Rhode @riseandsci Tiny plastic particles that can barely be seen by the human eye have made their way from our soil into everyday items we know—from earthworms to honey to the beer that we drink—bringing toxic chemicals with them wherever they go. The saying goes that what we can’t see can’t hurt us. Yet, what if these unseen particles are not only hurting us but also changing the entire course of biological evolution? Researchers in Germany have issued a new warning that these human-generated “microplastics” could potentially be…

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Fire Management in California's Chaparal: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District conducted a controlled burn of central marine chaparral at Fort Ord, Calif., Oct. 15, to expose unexploded ordnance at the formerly utilized defense site. The burn, carefully coordinated with local agencies, lasted less than two hours and was timed so that prevailing winds would help blow the smoke away from population centers. The controlled burns are part of a comprehensive ordnance removal program at Fort Ord, which closed in 1994 under recommendation from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. (U.S. Army photo/Released) Animals Biology Environment 

Fire Management in California’s Chaparral Harms Birds

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore California suffered its largest and most destructive wildfires in 2017. Victims included hundreds of wild animals. When the blazing fires were finally extinguished, the surviving animals—including birds—were forced to find new homes. Now, for the first time, researchers investigating the effect of fire management practices on birds in California’s chaparral have found that one practice known as mastication, which consists of mechanically crushing vegetation to remove fuel, threatens bird communities. “The best available science tells us that managing chaparral imperils wildlife and increases fire risk,” says…

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Honeybees Are Attracted to Fungicides and Herbicides Animals Environment 

Honeybees Are Attracted to Fungicides and Herbicides

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Whenever you eat fruits, vegetables, and nuts, take a moment to thank honeybees for their pollination services that contribute $17 billion to the US economy each year. In fact, almonds are almost solely dependent on honeybees for pollination. Populations of these much-needed pollinators have mysteriously plunged over the past decade, and many studies suggest a link to the use of neonicotinoid insecticides among other factors such as climate change and disease. Recently, scientists found that honeybees prefer sugar water laced with the fungicide chlorothalonil and the…

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California’s Urban Forests Have Lowest Tree Cover per Resident Botany Environment 

California’s Urban Forests Have Lowest Tree Cover per Resident

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore California’s urban forests are not just a pretty sight; they are an asset valued at a whopping $181 billion, finds a new study. But, according to the study, the state’s urban tree cover at 90.8 square meters (109 square yards) per city resident is the lowest among all US states. The good news is that there are 236 million spots available for more trees to be planted. The study finds that urban forests cover 15 percent of the urban area in California, consisting of 173 million…

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Do Humans Influence Jellyfish Populations along Coasts? Animals Environment Oceanography 

Do Humans Influence Jellyfish Coastal Populations?

By Laura Treible @aqua_belle Jellyfish are a common nuisance to beachgoers in the summertime, but why certain years have massive jellyfish blooms while others do not is often a mystery. In recent years, some areas appear to have larger and more frequent blooms, so it is important to determine the causes of blooms in general, as well as whether jellyfish blooms are increasing. How humans impact jellyfish Human activities such as changing our global climate, fishing, and increasing pollution or nutrients entering waterways influence the oceans in many ways. Some…

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Is Climate Change Causing These Moose to Shrink? Biology Environment 

Is Climate Change Causing These Moose to Shrink?

By Emily Rhode @riseandsci The effects of climate change are starting to show themselves in strange and unexpected ways. For the cold-adapted moose of Isle Royale, Michigan, a warming environment could literally be causing them to shrink. According to researchers at Michigan Technological University, the flourishing moose population at the heart of the world’s longest-running predator-prey relationship study is displaying alarming changes that may be most readily explained by environmental pressures. The soon-to-be-released 60-year study of the dynamics between the moose and wolf population of the tiny island in the…

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Citizen Science Promotes Environmental Engagement Citizen Science Environment 

Citizen Science Promotes Environmental Engagement

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Citizen science projects are rapidly gaining popularity among the public, in which volunteers help gather data on species that can be used by scientists in research. And it’s not just adults who are involved in these projects—even kids have collected high-quality data in the US. In addition to producing more data for scientific research, citizen science promotes interest in conservation and public awareness. Now, an Australian study has found that first-year university students can benefit from increased environmental engagement and greater understanding of their studies when…

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Sumatran Tigers Clinging to Survival Animals Environment 

Sumatran Tigers Clinging to Survival

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg For the past year, a research expedition has tracked endangered tigers through the Sumatran jungles and found the animals barely clinging to survival in low-density populations. The expedition findings have reawakened fears about the possible extinction of these elusive apex predators. What is the key to saving the Sumatran tigers? Protecting their habitat, researchers say. Tigers on the neighboring islands of Java, Bali, and Singapore went extinct in the twentieth century. Their extinction led to new antipoaching efforts by people hoping to help Sumatran tigers avoid…

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Renewable Energy and the Power of Diverse Sources Environment 

Renewable Energy and the Power of Diverse Sources

By Susannah Bruck As we continue to explore new forms of renewable energy, in order to decrease our dependence on oil and coal, researchers are beginning to see which energy sources are the cleanest and most efficient. We also need to consider which forms of renewable energy are viable options to power our homes, businesses, cars, and devices on a large scale. The use of renewable energy in the United States has steadily increased in recent years as the public’s awareness and interest has grown. However, in 2015, only 10…

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Artificial Night-Lights Are Growing, Getting Brighter Environment Technology 

Artificial Night-Lights Are Growing, Getting Brighter

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore As soon as it gets dark, street lights, which have become widespread in the developed world—and are rapidly expanding in the developing world—are switched on. Indeed, since the second half of the twentieth century, Earth has become brighter at night. Now, new satellite-based research shows that our outdoor artificial night-lights are still spreading to more areas on Earth and have gotten brighter over the past few years. How night-lights impact the world Outdoor lighting is regarded as a necessity, especially in highly populated areas, but artificial…

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