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What A Week It Was: Apocadocuments from
View By Scenario:
Species Collapse:(5)
Plague/Virus:(1)
Climate Chaos:(10)
Resource Depletion: (3)
Biology Breach:(6)
Recovery:(7)
This Week's Top Ten Very Scary Tags:
climate impacts  ~ global warming  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ stupid humans  ~ weather extremes  ~ smart policy  ~ contamination  ~ carbon emissions  ~ pandemic  ~ pesticide runoff  ~ sixth extinction  



ApocaDocuments (5) for the "Species Collapse" scenario from this week
[see full week] ~ [see full Species Collapse scenario and stories]
Sat, Aug 1, 2009
from London Daily Telegraph:
Plague strikes French oysters
Scientists have yet properly to determine what has caused up to 90 per cent of baby and juvenile oysters, due to be eaten by Christmas 2010, to have died. Producers in Normandy are so worried that last month they handed out free boxes of the shellfish near Caen chanting: "Take these oysters, they may be the last you'll ever eat." The deaths have come in two waves. The first, in May, hit the Mediterranean - including Corsica and the Etang de Thau, a salt-water lake near Montpellier and also the west coast in the bay of Arcachon. The second struck oyster farmers all the way as far as Normandy. ...


Sacrebleu!

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Wed, Jul 29, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Human activity is driving Earth's 'sixth great extinction event'
Earth is experiencing its "sixth great extinction event" with disease and human activity taking a devastating toll on vulnerable species, according to a major review by conservationists. Much of the southern hemisphere is suffering particularly badly, and Australia, New Zealand and neighbouring Pacific islands may become the extinction hot spots of the world, the report warns.... Researchers trawled 24,000 published reports to compile information on the native flora and fauna of Australasia and the Pacific islands, which have six of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Their report identifies six causes driving species to extinction, almost all linked in some way to human activity. "Our region has the notorious distinction of having possibly the worst extinction record on Earth," said Richard Kingsford, an environmental scientist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and lead author of the report. "We have an amazing natural environment, but so much of it is being destroyed before our eyes. Species are being threatened by habitat loss and degradation, invasive species, climate change, over-exploitation, pollution and wildlife disease." ...


Only one species matters... us!

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Tue, Jul 28, 2009
from Toronto Star:
Arctic's 'canary in a coal mine'
Without a microscope, most plankton are easy to miss. And when the tiny marine creatures do come into focus, they aren't much to look at. Until you peer closer, and listen to what they have to say. Way down near the bottom of the oceans' food chain, animals known as zooplankton drift on the currents, feeding on each other, eating still lower life forms such as bacteria and viruses, or in most cases, grazing on microscopic plant life, called phytoplankton. As tiny, and as hard to love, as plankton are, scientists studying them say that if global warming makes things go bad for these organisms, the pain will run all the way up the food chain to humans. ...


Arrrgghh, matey. We'll be forced to walk the plankton!

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Mon, Jul 27, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Polar bears on thinner ice
Longer ice-free seasons in the Canadian Arctic are leading to diet changes and increased contaminants in polar bears. Hudson Bay's polar bears are more contaminated with some pollutants now than in the past due to warmer temperatures that are melting ice sooner in the spring and forcing the bears to eat different food.... Fatty acid fingerprints revealed that the bears now eat more harbor and harp seals and fewer bearded seals than before. This shift in diet resulted in higher levels of PCBs and flame retardants (but not the pesticides DDT or chlordane) in their tissues. ...


I'll bet the bearded seals don't mind this change at all!

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Mon, Jul 27, 2009
from Wiley-Blackwell, via EurekAlert:
Disease threat may change how frogs mate
Ranavirus, which had its first reported case in England in the early 1980s, is one of many pathogens ravaging the amphibian community. Dr Teacher's pioneering new research looks at the genetic make-up of populations, and indicates that wild frog populations that have been infected with this virus may be choosing mates differently to those in healthy populations. As Ranavirus is typically associated with heavy death tolls in infected populations, there are often few frogs left alive to mate. This frequently leads to inbreeding, which causes an increase in relatedness in the population. However, Dr Teacher has uncovered startling results; finding that despite inbreeding there has been no subsequent increase in relatedness in these populations. Dr Teacher's conclusion is that this lack of relatedness has been caused by a change in the frogs' mating strategy. With diseased frogs struggling to mate, healthy frogs are likely to be mating more often with other healthy frogs, leaving diseased frogs to mate with each other. ...


Clearly, they're not drinking enough beer.

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