[About the Project]
[About the ApocaDocs]
[About Equal Share]
[TwitterFollow: apocadocs]


SEARCH

More than 6,000 stories!

OUR BOOK
IS NOW
IN PRINT!

The ApocaDocs have a Book!
Humoring the Horror
of the
Converging Emergencies
94 color pages
$24.99
Read FREE online!

Explore:

Play:

It's weekly, funny, and free!
Play:

Click for paper-free fun!

Ads for potentially
microfunding this site:


Apocadocument
Weekly Archives:
Sep 26 - Dec 31, 1969
Sep 19 - Sep 26, 2011
Sep 12 - Sep 19, 2011
Sep 5 - Sep 12, 2011
Aug 29 - Sep 5, 2011
Aug 22 - Aug 29, 2011
Aug 15 - Aug 22, 2011
Aug 8 - Aug 15, 2011
Aug 1 - Aug 8, 2011
Jul 25 - Aug 1, 2011
Jul 18 - Jul 25, 2011
Jul 11 - Jul 18, 2011
Jul 4 - Jul 11, 2011
Jun 27 - Jul 4, 2011
Jun 20 - Jun 27, 2011
Jun 13 - Jun 20, 2011
Jun 6 - Jun 13, 2011
May 30 - Jun 6, 2011
May 23 - May 30, 2011
May 16 - May 23, 2011
May 9 - May 16, 2011
May 2 - May 9, 2011
Apr 25 - May 2, 2011
Apr 18 - Apr 25, 2011
Apr 11 - Apr 18, 2011
Apr 4 - Apr 11, 2011
Mar 28 - Apr 4, 2011
Mar 21 - Mar 28, 2011
Mar 14 - Mar 21, 2011
Mar 6 - Mar 14, 2011
Feb 27 - Mar 6, 2011
Feb 20 - Feb 27, 2011
Feb 13 - Feb 20, 2011
Feb 6 - Feb 13, 2011
Jan 30 - Feb 6, 2011
Jan 23 - Jan 30, 2011
Jan 16 - Jan 23, 2011
Jan 9 - Jan 16, 2011
Jan 2 - Jan 9, 2011
Dec 26 - Jan 2, 2011
Dec 19 - Dec 26, 2010
Dec 12 - Dec 19, 2010
Dec 5 - Dec 12, 2010
Nov 28 - Dec 5, 2010
Nov 21 - Nov 28, 2010
Nov 14 - Nov 21, 2010
Nov 7 - Nov 14, 2010
Nov 1 - Nov 7, 2010
Oct 25 - Nov 1, 2010
Oct 18 - Oct 25, 2010
Oct 11 - Oct 18, 2010
Oct 4 - Oct 11, 2010
Sep 27 - Oct 4, 2010
Sep 20 - Sep 27, 2010
Sep 13 - Sep 20, 2010
Sep 6 - Sep 13, 2010
Aug 30 - Sep 6, 2010
Aug 23 - Aug 30, 2010
Aug 16 - Aug 23, 2010
Aug 9 - Aug 16, 2010
Aug 2 - Aug 9, 2010
Jul 26 - Aug 2, 2010
Jul 19 - Jul 26, 2010
Jul 12 - Jul 19, 2010
Jul 5 - Jul 12, 2010
Jun 28 - Jul 5, 2010
Jun 21 - Jun 28, 2010
Jun 14 - Jun 21, 2010
Jun 7 - Jun 14, 2010
May 31 - Jun 7, 2010
May 24 - May 31, 2010
May 17 - May 24, 2010
May 10 - May 17, 2010
May 3 - May 10, 2010
Apr 26 - May 3, 2010
Apr 19 - Apr 26, 2010
Apr 12 - Apr 19, 2010
Apr 5 - Apr 12, 2010
Mar 29 - Apr 5, 2010
Mar 22 - Mar 29, 2010
Mar 15 - Mar 22, 2010
Mar 7 - Mar 15, 2010
Feb 28 - Mar 7, 2010
Feb 21 - Feb 28, 2010
Feb 14 - Feb 21, 2010
Feb 7 - Feb 14, 2010
Jan 31 - Feb 7, 2010
Jan 24 - Jan 31, 2010
Jan 17 - Jan 24, 2010
Jan 10 - Jan 17, 2010
Jan 3 - Jan 10, 2010
Dec 27 - Jan 3, 2010
Dec 20 - Dec 27, 2009
Dec 13 - Dec 20, 2009
Dec 6 - Dec 13, 2009
Nov 29 - Dec 6, 2009
Nov 22 - Nov 29, 2009
Nov 15 - Nov 22, 2009
Nov 8 - Nov 15, 2009
Nov 1 - Nov 8, 2009
Oct 26 - Nov 1, 2009
Oct 19 - Oct 26, 2009
Oct 12 - Oct 19, 2009
Oct 5 - Oct 12, 2009
Sep 28 - Oct 5, 2009
Sep 21 - Sep 28, 2009
Sep 14 - Sep 21, 2009
Sep 7 - Sep 14, 2009
Aug 31 - Sep 7, 2009
Aug 24 - Aug 31, 2009
Aug 17 - Aug 24, 2009
Aug 10 - Aug 17, 2009
Aug 3 - Aug 10, 2009
Jul 27 - Aug 3, 2009
Jul 20 - Jul 27, 2009
Jul 13 - Jul 20, 2009
Jul 6 - Jul 13, 2009
Jun 29 - Jul 6, 2009
Jun 22 - Jun 29, 2009
Jun 15 - Jun 22, 2009
Jun 8 - Jun 15, 2009
Jun 1 - Jun 8, 2009
May 25 - Jun 1, 2009
May 18 - May 25, 2009
May 11 - May 18, 2009
May 4 - May 11, 2009
Apr 27 - May 4, 2009
Apr 20 - Apr 27, 2009
Apr 13 - Apr 20, 2009
Apr 6 - Apr 13, 2009
Mar 30 - Apr 6, 2009
Mar 23 - Mar 30, 2009
Mar 16 - Mar 23, 2009
Mar 9 - Mar 16, 2009
Mar 1 - Mar 9, 2009
Feb 22 - Mar 1, 2009
Feb 15 - Feb 22, 2009
Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2009
Feb 1 - Feb 8, 2009
Jan 25 - Feb 1, 2009
Jan 18 - Jan 25, 2009
Jan 11 - Jan 18, 2009
Jan 4 - Jan 11, 2009
Dec 28 - Jan 4, 2009
Dec 21 - Dec 28, 2008
Dec 14 - Dec 21, 2008
Dec 7 - Dec 14, 2008
Nov 30 - Dec 7, 2008
Nov 23 - Nov 30, 2008
Nov 16 - Nov 23, 2008
Nov 9 - Nov 16, 2008
Nov 2 - Nov 9, 2008
Oct 27 - Nov 2, 2008
Oct 20 - Oct 27, 2008
Oct 13 - Oct 20, 2008
Oct 6 - Oct 13, 2008
Sep 29 - Oct 6, 2008
Sep 22 - Sep 29, 2008
Sep 15 - Sep 22, 2008
Sep 8 - Sep 15, 2008
Sep 1 - Sep 8, 2008
Aug 25 - Sep 1, 2008
Aug 18 - Aug 25, 2008
Aug 11 - Aug 18, 2008
Aug 4 - Aug 11, 2008
Jul 28 - Aug 4, 2008
Jul 21 - Jul 28, 2008
Jul 14 - Jul 21, 2008
Jul 7 - Jul 14, 2008
Jun 30 - Jul 7, 2008
Jun 23 - Jun 30, 2008
Jun 16 - Jun 23, 2008
Jun 9 - Jun 16, 2008
Jun 2 - Jun 9, 2008
May 26 - Jun 2, 2008
May 19 - May 26, 2008
May 12 - May 19, 2008
May 5 - May 12, 2008
Apr 28 - May 5, 2008
Apr 21 - Apr 28, 2008
Apr 14 - Apr 21, 2008
Apr 7 - Apr 14, 2008
Mar 31 - Apr 7, 2008
Mar 24 - Mar 31, 2008
Mar 17 - Mar 24, 2008
Mar 10 - Mar 17, 2008
Mar 2 - Mar 10, 2008
Feb 24 - Mar 2, 2008
Feb 17 - Feb 24, 2008
Feb 10 - Feb 17, 2008
Feb 3 - Feb 10, 2008
Jan 27 - Feb 3, 2008
Jan 20 - Jan 27, 2008
Jan 13 - Jan 20, 2008
Jan 6 - Jan 13, 2008
Dec 30 - Jan 6, 2008
Dec 23 - Dec 30, 2007
Dec 16 - Dec 23, 2007
Dec 9 - Dec 16, 2007
Dec 2 - Dec 9, 2007
DocWatch
massive die-off
Twitterit?
News stories about "massive die-off," with punchlines: http://apocadocs.com/d.pl?massive+die-off
Related Scary Tags:
ecosystem interrelationships  ~ anthropogenic change  ~ climate impacts  ~ ocean acidification  ~ global warming  ~ contamination  ~ oil issues  ~ holyshit  ~ habitat loss  ~ death spiral  ~ ocean warming  



Thu, Apr 14, 2016
from NYTimes, via DesdemonaDespair:
The Looming 'Planetary Crisis': Mass Bleaching of the Coral Reefs
The damage off Kiritimati is part of a mass bleaching of coral reefs around the world, only the third on record and possibly the worst ever. Scientists believe that heat stress from multiple weather events including the latest, severe El Nińo, compounded by climate change, has threatened more than a third of Earth's coral reefs. Many may not recover. Coral reefs are the crucial incubators of the ocean's ecosystem, providing food and shelter to a quarter of all marine species, and they support fish stocks that feed more than one billion people. They are made up of millions of tiny animals, called polyps, that form symbiotic relationships with algae, which in turn capture sunlight and carbon dioxide to make sugars that feed the polyps. An estimated 30 million small-scale fishermen and women depend on reefs for their livelihoods, more than one million in the Philippines alone. In Indonesia, fish supported by the reefs provide the primary source of protein. "This is a huge, looming planetary crisis, and we are sticking our heads in the sand about it," said Justin Marshall, the director of CoralWatch at Australia's University of Queensland.... ...


Surely we can devise a few million floating solar-powered water coolers to stabilize those reefs!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Sep 1, 2015
from BBC:
Seabirds 'blighted by plastic waste'
About 90 percent of seabirds have eaten plastic and are likely to retain some in their gut, a new analysis estimates. The study concludes that matters will only get worse until something is done to stem the flow of waste to oceans. Research co-author Erik Van Sebille says oceans are now filled with plastic and it is "virtually certain" that any dead seabird found in 2050 "will have a bit of plastic in its stomach".... To the foraging bird, a discarded plastic cigarette lighter or a shiny bottle top can look like a fish. If ingested, this litter may simply stay in the gut, unable to pass through, putting the animal's health at risk. As more and more plastic waste finds its way into the oceans - about eight million tonnes a year in one recent estimate - so the hazards to wildlife increase. ...


No heartbeat. I'm pretty sure this is a disposable lighter.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Aug 22, 2015
from Science, via Vice Motherboard:
Every Forest Biome on Earth Is Actively Dying Right Now
Forests are ecological superheroes--they ventilate the planet, nurture the most biodiverse habitats on Earth, and regulate global climate and carbon cycles. From the poles to the equator, our survival is completely dependent on healthy woodlands. But according to the latest issue of Science, which is devoted to forest health, every major forest biome is struggling. While each region suffers from unique pressures, the underlying thread that connects them all is undeniably human activity.... "The health of the immense and seemingly timeless boreal forest is presently under threat, together with the vitality of many forest-based communities and economies," the researchers said. Temperate forests aren't faring much better, according to another study from the issue written by US Geological Survey ecologists Constance Millar and Nathan Stephenson. Temperate forests are primarily composed of deciduous trees that shed their leaves seasonally, and are common in mid-latitude regions around the world.... ...


If a tree falls, and then its forest, and everyone pretends not to hear it, does it make a sound?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jan 14, 2015
from Science:
Plan to save monarch butterflies backfires
It started with the best of intentions. When evidence emerged that monarch butterflies were losing the milkweed they depend on due to the spread of herbicide-resistant crops in the United States, people across the country took action, planting milkweed in their own gardens. But a new paper shows that well-meaning gardeners might actually be endangering the butterflies' iconic migration to Mexico. That's because people have been planting the wrong species of milkweed, thereby increasing the odds of monarchs becoming infected with a crippling parasite. ...


Sorry!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Dec 31, 2014
from Associated Press:
More Monarchs return to Mexico, but now face cold
More Monarch butterflies appear to have made the long flight from the U.S. and Canada to their winter nesting ground in western Mexico, raising hopes after their number dropped to a record low last year. But experts still fear that unusual cold temperatures will threaten the orange and black insects. While an official census won't be ready until mid-January, observers are seeing healthy populations of butterflies bunched together on fir and pine trees in protected sanctuaries... Mexico's National Meteorological Service predicts 55 cold fronts for the country through May, a 15 percent increase from the average, and with the possibility for repeated cold systems to extend into March and April. ...


We're going to have to knit them little hats, coats and mittens.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Dec 30, 2014
from Reuters:
Monarch butterfly eyed for possible U.S. endangered species protection
Monarch butterflies may warrant U.S. Endangered Species Act protection because of farm-related habitat loss blamed for sharp declines in cross-country migrations of the orange-and-black insects, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said on Monday. Monarch populations are estimated to have fallen by as much as 90 percent during the past two decades because of destruction of milkweed plants they depend on to lay their eggs and nourish hatching larvae, according to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. ...


No crying over spilled milk(weed).

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Dec 29, 2014
from Los Angeles Times:
State's drought having pronounced effect on wildlife
...aby squirrels are just one of many animals fleeing their homes and risking their lives to search for food sources that have been diminished by drought. California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said drought has forced more bears and deer to venture onto mountain highways, where many are struck and killed by vehicles. ...


Let them drink cake.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Nov 19, 2014
from Reuters:
Virus implicated in massive die-off of North American starfish
Scientists investigating a huge die-off of starfish along North America's Pacific coast have identified a virus they say is responsible for a calamitous wasting disease that has wiped out millions of the creatures since it first appeared last year. The scientists said on Monday they identified the pathogen as the Sea Star Associated Densovirus, or SSaDV, after ruling out other possible culprits including certain bacteria, protozoans and fungi. More than 20 species of starfish, also called sea stars, from southern Alaska to Baja California are dying from a wasting disease that causes white lesions to appear before the animal's body sags, ruptures and spills out its internal organs. ...


SSaD indeed.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Nov 19, 2014
from Los Angeles Times:
40 percent decline in polar bears in Alaska, western Canada heightens concern
The number of polar bears in eastern Alaska and western Canada has declined by 40 percent, according to a scientific study that raises more questions about the impact of global warming on the creature that has become the symbol of some of its worst effects. ...


Po' polar bears

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Nov 12, 2014
from NPR:
Regulators Ban Cod Fishing In New England As Stocks Dwindle
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is shutting down cod fishing, from Provincetown, Mass., up to the Canadian border, in an effort to reverse plummeting numbers of the iconic fish in the Gulf of Maine. Starting Thursday, no fishermen -- commercial or recreational -- may trawl or use certain large nets that might catch cod for the next six months. Local cod fishermen, who now face an uncertain future, say the government hasn't done enough to maintain cod populations, and they challenge NOAA's cod counts. "This is uncalled for," says Joseph Orlando, a fishermen who trawls for cod off the coast of Gloucester, Mass., just north of Boston. Orlando and a friend had had been looking forward to fishing heavily for cod for the next two months, when holiday demand boosts prices. Now, that's off the table. "There's more codfish out there. There's always been," he says. " I mean, their science is just absurd." ...


Fish cod more? Is that what you're saying?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 4, 2014
from David Suzuki:
The New 'F' Word
While dithering over neonicotinoids -- bee-killing pesticides banned in Europe -- Canadian regulators are poised to approve a closely-related poison called flupyradifurone. We call it the new "F"-word. Like neonics, flupyradifurone attacks the nervous system of insect pests. Both are systemic pesticides that are taken up by plants and move through their tissues into pollen, fruits and seeds. Both are also persistent, sticking around in the environment and, with repeated applications, building up over time. Health Canada says flupyradifurone may pose a risk to bees, birds, worms, spiders, small mammals and aquatic bugs -- familiar words to anyone following Canada's slow-motion review of neonics. Dust from corn seed treated with neonics is implicated in large-scale bee die-offs during planting season in Ontario and Quebec. Not only is this is alarming in its own right; the dead bees are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine, signalling broader ecological consequences. ...


Flupyradifurone -- let's just call it "Fatal Flu."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 13, 2014
from London Guardian:
Drugs flushed into the environment could be cause of wildlife decline
Potent pharmaceuticals flushed into the environment via human and animal sewage could be a hidden cause of the global wildlife crisis, according to new research. The scientists warn that worldwide use of the drugs, which are designed to be biologically active at low concentrations, is rising rapidly but that too little is currently known about their effect on the natural world. Studies of the effect of pharmaceutical contamination on wildlife are rare but new work published on Monday reveals that an anti-depressant reduces feeding in starlings and that a contraceptive drug slashes fish populations in lakes. ...


We are fouling our planetary nest.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 13, 2014
from National Geographic:
As Dwindling Monarch Butterflies Make Their Migration, Feds Try to Save Them
... The North American monarch population has declined by 90 percent over the past two decades. At its high in the winter of 1996-1997, there were a billion monarchs. Today, there are only about 35 million, according to a petition filed in August by scientists from several environmental organizations asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to classify the monarch as "threatened" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The classification provides various protections including the authority for the agency to purchase habitat, and prohibitions on killing or injuring an animal or destroying its habitat without a permit, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service. ...


I bet the Feds contract this out to Halliburton.

ApocaDoc
permalink


Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
Fri, Oct 3, 2014
from George Monbiot, in The Guardian:
It's time to shout 'stop' on this war on the living world
... We care ever less for the possessions we buy, and dispose of them ever more quickly. Yet the extraction of the raw materials required to produce them, the pollution commissioned in their manufacturing, the infrastructure and noise and burning of fuel needed to transport them are trashing a natural world infinitely more fascinating and intricate than the stuff we produce. The loss of wildlife is a loss of wonder and enchantment, of the magic with which the living world infects our lives.... A system that makes us less happy, less secure, that narrows and impoverishes our lives, is presented as the only possible answer to our problems. There is no alternative - we must keep marching over the cliff. Anyone who challenges it is either ignored or excoriated. And the beneficiaries? Well they are also the biggest consumers, using their spectacular wealth to exert impacts thousands of times greater than most people achieve. Much of the natural world is destroyed so that the very rich can fit their yachts with mahogany, eat bluefin tuna sushi, scatter ground rhino horn over their food, land their private jets on airfields carved from rare grasslands, burn in one day as much fossil fuel as the average global citizen uses in a year.... Is this not the point at which we shout stop? At which we use the extraordinary learning and expertise we have developed to change the way we organise ourselves, to contest and reverse the trends that have governed our relationship with the living planet for the past 2m years, and that are now destroying its remaining features at astonishing speed? Is this not the point at which we challenge the inevitability of endless growth on a finite planet? If not now, when? ...


But what if you shouted "STOP" in a crowded theatre, and everybody came?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jul 28, 2014
from Mother Jones:
Halliburton Fracking Spill Mystery: What Chemicals Polluted an Ohio Waterway?
On the morning of June 28, a fire broke out at a Halliburton fracking site in Monroe County, Ohio. As flames engulfed the area, trucks began exploding and thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals spilled into a tributary of the Ohio River, which supplies drinking water for millions of residents. More than 70,000 fish died. ... This episode highlights a glaring gap in fracking safety standards. In Ohio, as in most other states, fracking companies are allowed to withhold some information about the chemical stew they pump into the ground to break up rocks and release trapped natural gas.... According to a preliminary EPA inquiry, more than 25,000 gallons of chemicals, diesel fuel, and other compounds were released during the accident, which began with a ruptured hydraulic line spraying flammable liquid on hot equipment. The flames later engulfed 20 trucks, triggering some 30 explosions that rained shrapnel over the site and hampered firefighting efforts. ...


Sounds like a summer blockbuster!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jul 25, 2014
from CBC:
More than half of Ontario bees died during harsh winter
About 58 per cent of Ontario bees died during what was an especially long winter, while other provinces lost on average about 19 per cent of their swarm, according to the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists survey. That means Ontario lost bees at a rate three times that of the other provinces. While the report fingers the weather -- this year's polar vortex -- as the main culprit for the bee deaths, acute and chronic pesticide damage or insufficient recovery from pesticide exposure last year have also been cited by hive-minders as contributing factors.... The Ontario bee group says nearly all corn seeds and about two-thirds of soy seeds sold in the province are pretreated with neonicotinoid coatings, though only a minority of the crops are at risk from pests the insecticide is meant to stop. It did its own winter survey earlier this year and found more than a quarter of beekeepers lost 75 to 100 per cent of their colonies. ...


That's a better survival rate than my peaches and cherry trees. Toughen up, Apis mellifera!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 8, 2014
from Reuters, via HuffingtonPost:
Pope Francis Calls Exploitation Of Nature The Sin Of Our Time
"This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation," he told students, struggling farmers, and laid-off workers in a university hall. "When I look at America, also my own homeland (South America), so many forests, all cut, that have become land ... that can longer give life. This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to her give us what she has within her," the Argentine pope said in unprepared remarks. Francis, who took his name from Francis of Assisi, the 13th century saint seen as the patron of animals and the environment, is writing an encyclical on man's relationship with nature. ...


You mean God didn't place us on the earth to use it up as fast as possible?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jun 24, 2014
from GOC, via CommonDreams:
Global Ocean Commission says rescue needed within five years
The world's oceans face irreparable damage from climate change and overfishing, with a five-year window for intervention, an environmental panel said Tuesday. Neglecting the health of the oceans could have devastating effects on the world's food supply, clean air, and climate stability, among other factors. The Global Oceans Commission, an environmental group formed by the Pew Charitable Trust, released a report (PDF) addressing the declining marine ecosystems around the world and outlining an eight-step "rescue package" to restore growth and prevent future damage to the seas. The 18-month study proposes increased governance of the oceans, including limiting oil and gas exploration, capping subsidies for commercial fishing, and creating marine protected areas (MPAs) to guard against pollution, particularly from plastics.... Government subsidies for high seas fishing total at least $30 billion a year and are carried out by just ten countries, the report said. About 60 percent of such subsidies encourage unsustainable practices like the fuel-hungry "bottom trawling" of ocean floors -- funds that could be rerouted to conservation efforts or employment in coastal areas. ...


Five whole years? We have time for far more study, I think.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jun 12, 2014
from GuyMcPherson.com:
Guy McPherson Sings Sad Songs without Solace
... American actress Lily Tomlin is credited with the expression, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up." With respect to climate science, my own efforts to stay abreast are blown away every week by new data, models, and assessments. It seems no matter how dire the situation becomes, it only gets worse when I check the latest reports.... I'm not implying conspiracy among scientists. Science selects for conservatism. Academia selects for extreme conservatism. These folks are loathe to risk drawing undue attention to themselves by pointing out there might be a threat to civilization. Never mind the near-term threat to our entire species (they couldn't care less about other species). If the truth is dire, they can find another, not-so-dire version.... Gradual change is not guaranteed, as pointed out by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in December 2013: "The history of climate on the planet -- as read in archives such as tree rings, ocean sediments, and ice cores -- is punctuated with large changes that occurred rapidly, over the course of decades to as little as a few years." ...


This article changes my perspective entirely on my credit score.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jun 3, 2014
from Earth Institute, via Science Daily:
Modern ocean acidification is outpacing ancient upheaval: Rate may be ten times faster
Some 56 million years ago, a massive pulse of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere sent global temperatures soaring. In the oceans, carbonate sediments dissolved, some organisms went extinct and others evolved. Scientists have long suspected that ocean acidification caused the crisis -- similar to today, as humanmade CO2 combines with seawater to change its chemistry. Now, for the first time, scientists have quantified the extent of surface acidification from those ancient days, and the news is not good: the oceans are on track to acidify at least as much as they did then, only at a much faster rate.... "We are dumping carbon in the atmosphere and ocean at a much higher rate today -- within centuries," said study coauthor Richard Zeebe, a paleoceanographer at the University of Hawaii. "If we continue on the emissions path we are on right now, acidification of the surface ocean will be way more dramatic than during the PETM." ...


Evolution needs to up its game if it wants our respect. Faster! Ten times faster!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, May 23, 2014
from New Orleans Advocate:
BP plans to appeal oil spill settlement ruling to the Supreme Court
After a federal appeals court denied a request to rehear its case, international energy company BP will seek relief with the nations highest court. The decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit this week would close the door on BP's attempt to have a court redefine the terms of a settlement agreement that governs the criteria in which claims are paid. For much of the past year, the company has disputed the current standard, arguing that failing to require claimants to show "direct evidence of causation" essentially expands the class of people eligible to receive payments. ...


They selected a president, why not come to the aid of poor BP.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, May 6, 2014
from New York Times:
Still Counting Gulf Spill's Dead Birds
After the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew out in the Gulf of Mexico some 50 miles from the nearest land, responders were left to cope with a search area of nearly 40,000 square miles, as well as wind and currents that kept evidence of damage away from the more easily searchable coastline. Patrollers recovered fewer than 3,000 dead birds. But some had suspected that many more were unaccounted for. Now a team of scientists has tried to quantify the extent of damage inflicted on the gulf's bird population from the oil spill caused by the explosion. Based on models using publicly available data, the studies estimated that about 800,000 birds died in coastal and offshore waters. ...


If only birds voted.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 4, 2014
from Reuters:
A quarter of Europe's bumblebees, vital to crops, face extinction: study
Almost a quarter of Europe's bumblebees are at risk of extinction due to loss of habitats and climate change, threatening pollination of crops worth billions of dollars, a study showed on Wednesday. Sixteen of 68 bumblebee species in Europe are at risk, the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said. It is preparing a global study of the bees, whose honeybee cousins are in steep decline because of disease. ...


Beetastrophe!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 4, 2014
from London Guardian:
Japan's biggest online retailer, Rakuten, ends whale meat sales
The Japanese online retailer Rakuten is to end all online sales of whale and dolphin meat by the end of April after the international court of justice ordered Japan to immediately halt its annual whale hunts in the southern ocean. The decision by Rakuten comes soon after the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) exposed the company as the world's biggest online retailer of whale products and elephant ivory. ...


Just so I can still get my dolphin sticks.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Mar 21, 2014
from NASA, via The Guardian:
Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'?
The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth: "Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion." The NASA-funded HANDY model offers a highly credible wake-up call to governments, corporations and business - and consumers - to recognise that 'business as usual' cannot be sustained, and that policy and structural changes are required immediately. ...


Well, as long as we don't have to hurry too fast.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Mar 12, 2014
from London Guardian:
California considers trucking live salmon to the ocean due to drought
Wildlife officials said they will consider a plan to move millions of hatchery-raised salmon by tanker trucks to the ocean if the Sacramento River and its tributaries prove inhospitable due to the drought. Officials fear the rivers could become too shallow and warm, affecting food supply and making salmon easier to catch by predators, the Sacramento Bee reported. State and federal officials said Monday they were watching conditions and would be ready to implement the plan next month, barring heavy rains. ...


Hopefully they drive up-highway to their destination.

ApocaDoc
permalink


You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Fri, Mar 7, 2014
from New York Times:
Minnesota Mystery: What's Killing the Moose?
For moose, this year's winter-long deep freeze across the Upper Midwest is truly ideal weather ... Yet moose in Minnesota are dying at an alarming rate, and biologists are perplexed as to why... In Northeast Minnesota, the population has dropped by half since 2006, to 4,300 from more than 8,800... Seth Moore, a wildlife biologist in Grand Portage, theorizes that recent years of warmer, shorter winters and hotter, longer summers have resulted in a twofold problem. The changing climate has stressed out the moose, compromising their immune systems. And warmer temperatures have allowed populations of white-tailed deer, carriers of brain worm -- which is fatal to moose -- to thrive. ...


Our moose is cooked.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 3, 2014
from WKMS:
White Nose Syndrome Shows Up In Mammoth Cave National Park
Staff at Mammoth Cave National Park in south central Kentucky say a fatal bat disease has now shown up in visitor passageways. The disease was found in remote sections of the cave system last year.... "Every visitor walks over a bio-control mat after their tour that will hopefully clean their shoes off and keep them from potentially moving those fungal spores to someplace else." Of all of the tour trails, the disease has been most noticed at the entrance to the Historic Cave tour. Since it was first introduced White Nose Syndrome has killed about seven million cave-dwelling bats. ...


Hopefully, this will potentially keep cave tourism healthy.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Mar 2, 2014
from EcoWatch:
Melting starfish are 'keystone species' for their ecosystem
['Keystone species'] refers to particular organisms that keep the relationships between the ecosystem's other plants and animals functioning properly. Without them, ecosystems collapse--like an arch would without its center block. Well, as it so happens, when ecologist Robert T. Paine first coined the term back in 1969, he got the idea by messing around with a bunch of starfish. Paine crawled along the tidal plains of Washington's Tatoosh Island, pulling up all the ochre stars (Pisaster ochraceus) he could find and tossing them out into the ocean beyond his study area. He played this game of starfish Frisbee for three years, and discovered that without the seastars, his study area became so thick with mussels that little else could survive. Ochres mow down mussel beds like it's closing time at Old Country Buffet. What was once a rich community of 28 species of animals and algae along Tatoosh Island, Paine turned into a mussel monoculture. And today, more of this mussel dominance could be on its way, since ochres are one of the 15 starfish species currently turning into mush. ...


Not to worry -- today those mussels are losing the battle with ocean acidification.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Feb 26, 2014
from Huffington Post:
10 Million Scallops Dead In B.C. Waters
Rising acidity in the sea water around Qualicum Beach has led to the death of 10 million scallops -- equivalent to three years' product, and every scallop the company put in the ocean from 2009-2011, Island Scallops CEO Rob Saunders told The Parksville Qualicum Bay News. "I'm not sure we are going to stay alive and I'm not sure the oyster industry is going to stay alive," Saunders told the newspaper. "It's that dramatic." The disaster constitutes a $10-million loss to the business once so successful, they were featured on The Food Network. ...


Scalldowns.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Feb 2, 2014
from PBS:
Mysterious epidemic devastates starfish population off the Pacific Coast
KATIE CAMPBELL: As a diver and underwater videographer, James was equipped to do something. She decided to take her camera to a spot popular among both divers and starfish. These pilings are usually covered with a rainbow of starfish. On a recent dive, James discovered a scene from a horror film.
LAURA JAMES: There were just bodies everywhere. And they were just like splats. To me, it always looked like somebody had taken a laser gun and just zapped them and they just vaporized.
KATIE CAMPBELL: Starfish, also known as sea stars, are wasting away by the tens of thousands, not just in Puget Sound, but up and down North America's Pacific Coast. And nobody knows why....
BEN MINER: One of them was very sick, and the other two individuals started ripping themselves apart. The arms just crawl away from the particular body.
KATIE CAMPBELL: You heard that right. The arms crawl in opposite directions, until they tear away from the body and their insides spill out. And unlike most starfish, the arms don’t regenerate. Stars that came in with symptoms died within 24 hours. ...


Nature is tearing itself apart, and 'nobody knows why.'

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Feb 1, 2014
from New York Times:
Migration of Monarch Butterflies Shrinks Again Under Inhospitable Conditions
Faltering under extreme weather and vanishing habitats, the yearly winter migration of monarch butterflies to a handful of forested Mexican mountains dwindled precipitously in December, continuing what scientists said was an increasingly alarming decline. The migrating population has become so small -- perhaps 35 million, experts guess -- that the prospects of its rebounding to levels seen even five years ago are diminishing. At worst, scientists said, a migration widely called one of the world's great natural spectacles is in danger of effectively vanishing. The Mexican government and the World Wildlife Fund said at a news conference on Wednesday that the span of forest inhabited by the overwintering monarchs shrank last month to a bare 1.65 acres -- the equivalent of about one and a quarter football fields. Not only was that a record low, but it was just 56 percent of last year's total, which was itself a record low. At their peak in 1996, the monarchs occupied nearly 45 acres of forest. ...


Children of the future will thank Monsanto and RoundupReady™ for the enhanced shareholder value.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jan 9, 2014
from Huffington Post:
Why 100,000 Dead Bats Fell From The Sky In Australia
Something unusual rained down on residents of Queensland, Australia, over the weekend. In a bizarre incident, thousands of bats reportedly fell from the sky in the northeastern state. While the mass deaths may seem baffling, it appears Australia's heat wave is to blame. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals confirmed that about 100,000 bats recently died as the likely result of extreme heat in the region, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ...




ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jan 2, 2014
from Planet Ark:
West Nile virus blamed for death of bald eagles in Utah
An unprecedented wintertime outbreak of West Nile virus has killed more than two dozen bald eagles in Utah and thousands of water birds around the Great Salt Lake, state wildlife officials said on Tuesday... The eagles, whose symptoms included leg paralysis and tremors, are believed to have contracted the disease by preying on sick or dead water birds called eared grebes that were infected by the West Nile virus... McFarlane said Utah had an unusually warm fall that extended the breeding season for mosquitoes to late October. But scientists may ultimately be unable to determine if grebes infected by West Nile virus migrated to Utah or if they contracted it there, she said.... the epidemic in Utah may be unprecedented in North America for the masses of birds killed over a broad geographic area and for the number of bald eagles affected... ...


I guess I better lay off the McEared Grebes, eh?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Dec 14, 2013
from Scientific American:
Banana Fungus Creeps Closer to World's Key Plantations
A variant of a fungus that rots and kills the main variety of export banana has been found in plantations in Mozambique and Jordan, raising fears that it could spread to major producers and decimate supplies. The pathogen, which was until now limited to parts of Asia and a region of Australia, has a particularly devastating effect on the popular Cavendish cultivar, which accounts for almost all of the multibillion-dollar banana export trade. Expansion of the disease worldwide could be disastrous, say researchers. ...


Orange you glad we won't have to say banana again?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Nov 24, 2013
from New York Times Review:
The Year the Monarch Didn't Appear
ON the first of November, when Mexicans celebrate a holiday called the Day of the Dead, some also celebrate the millions of monarch butterflies that, without fail, fly to the mountainous fir forests of central Mexico on that day. They are believed to be souls of the dead, returned. This year, for or the first time in memory, the monarch butterflies didn't come, at least not on the Day of the Dead. They began to straggle in a week later than usual, in record-low numbers. Last year's low of 60 million now seems great compared with the fewer than three million that have shown up so far this year. Some experts fear that the spectacular migration could be near collapse. "It does not look good," said Lincoln P. Brower, a monarch expert at Sweet Briar College.... Another major cause is farming with Roundup, a herbicide that kills virtually all plants except crops that are genetically modified to survive it. As a result, millions of acres of native plants, especially milkweed, an important source of nectar for many species, and vital for monarch butterfly larvae, have been wiped out. One study showed that Iowa has lost almost 60 percent of its milkweed, and another found 90 percent was gone. "The agricultural landscape has been sterilized," said Dr. Brower. ...


If we don't sterilize it, how can we be sure that Nature is clean?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Nov 23, 2013
from Washington Post:
Sea stars are wasting away in larger numbers on a wider scale in two oceans
Sea stars off the nation's eastern and western coasts are dying in large numbers and in the most undignified ways. Their colorful limbs are curling up at the tips. Squiggly arms are detaching from dying bodies like tails from lizards and wiggling until they also drop dead. Ulcers are opening holes in tissue, allowing internal organs to ooze out. Marine scientists say the sea stars are under attack by an unknown wasting disease that turns their bodies to goo, and the results are gruesome, nasty and grisly. ...


Sounds like a black hole to me.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 19, 2013
from AP, via WHTI:
Zooplankton decline reported in North Atlantic
The microscopic creatures that make up a critical link in the ocean food chain declined dramatically the first half of this year in the North Atlantic as ocean temperatures remained among the warmest on record, federal scientists say. Springtime plankton blooms off the coast of northern New England were well below average this year, leading to the lowest levels ever seen for the tiny organisms that are essential to maintaining balance in the ocean food chain, said Kevin Friedland, a marine scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The absence of the normal surge of plankton in the spring is a concern because that's when cod and haddock and many other species produce offspring, Friedland said.... "The first six months of 2013 can be characterized by new extremes in the physical and biological environment," Friedland said from his office in Rhode Island. The findings come after temperatures off the Northeast U.S. hit an all-time high in 2012. ...


I had no idea the zooplankton-bone was connected to the cod-bone.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Nov 14, 2013
from New York Times, via DesdemonaDespair:
Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene
... Geological time scales, civilizational collapse and species extinction give rise to profound problems that humanities scholars and academic philosophers, with their taste for fine-grained analysis, esoteric debates and archival marginalia, might seem remarkably ill suited to address. After all, how will thinking about Kant help us trap carbon dioxide? Can arguments between object-oriented ontology and historical materialism protect honeybees from colony collapse disorder? Are ancient Greek philosophers, medieval theologians, and contemporary metaphysicians going to keep Bangladesh from being inundated by rising oceans? Of course not. But the biggest problems the Anthropocene poses are precisely those that have always been at the root of humanistic and philosophical questioning: "What does it mean to be human?" and "What does it mean to live?" In the epoch of the Anthropocene, the question of individual mortality -- "What does my life mean in the face of death?" -- is universalized and framed in scales that boggle the imagination. What does human existence mean against 100,000 years of climate change? What does one life mean in the face of species death or the collapse of global civilization? How do we make meaningful choices in the shadow of our inevitable end?... ...


A realist dies a thousand deaths. A denier dies but one.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Nov 11, 2013
from Wired Science:
Dolphin-Killing Virus Spreads South, May Be Infecting Whales Too
A viral outbreak that's killing bottlenose dolphins is moving down the U.S. East Coast as the animals migrate south for the winter. Between July 1 and November 3, at least 753 animals have died.... The outbreak began along the coast between New York and Virginia this summer. Now, carcasses are washing ashore in the Carolinas and Florida. Researchers have identified the cause as dolphin morbillivirus, a pathogen that's related to human measles and canine distemper. Morbillivirus infects dolphins' lungs and brains, causing weird behaviors and skin lesions and pneumonia (but the marine mammals can't pass it on to humans).... Indeed, there's something in the mix this time around that could be even more worrying. Other species have been showing up dead with dolphin morbillivirus in their tissues. Since July, three out of four dead humpback whales (in Massachusetts, Virginia, and North Carolina), and a two out of three dead pygmy sperm whales (in Georgia and Massachusetts) have tested positive for the pathogen. Dolphin morbillivirus isn't often reported in these species. Whether the whales are dead because of a morbillivirus infection - or simply exposed to it - is still unknown. ...


Bottlenose going viral? I didn't even know they had the Internet down there!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
As people live longer, threats to wildlife increase, study finds
As countries' human life expectancy grows, so do their numbers of invasive and endangered species, according to a new study by University of California, Davis researchers. The researchers examined social, economic and ecological information for 100 countries to determine which factors are most strongly linked to endangered and invasive birds and mammals. Human life expectancy is rarely included in such studies but turned out to be the best predictor of invasions and endangerment in these countries, according to the study published in Ecology and Society. "Increased life expectancy means that people live longer and affect the planet longer; each year is another year of carbon footprint, ecological footprint, use of natural resources, etc. The magnitude of this impact is increased as more people live longer," the authors wrote. ...


Who ya calling an old fart?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from Climate News Network:
Ocean Deteriorating More Rapidly Than Thought
Marine scientists say the state of the world's oceans is deteriorating more rapidly than anyone had realized, and is worse than that described in last month's U.N. climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They say the rate, speed and impacts of ocean change are greater, faster and more imminent than previously thought -- and they expect summertime Arctic sea ice cover will have disappeared in around 25 years. ...


Seas the day.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 7, 2013
from Canadian Press, via HuffingtonPost:
Starfish Deaths Alarm Vancouver Scientists
Last month, a diver alerted Vancouver Aquarium staff that he had found a number of dead and decaying sunflower sea stars in the cold Pacific waters of a popular dive spot just off the shore of West Vancouver. Within weeks, the tentacled orange sea stars had all but disappeared in Howe Sound and Vancouver Harbour, disintegrating where they sat on the ocean floor.... "Where the population density had been highest in summer of 2012, on the western shore of Hutt Island, all the sunflower sea stars are gone from that area, with rivers of ossicles (a hard body part) filling ledges and crevices," Marliave wrote in his blog.... The Howe Sound research team have heard from veterinarians and other marine experts that similar die-offs have taken place in Florida and California.... In July, researchers at the University of Rhode Island reported that sea stars were dying in a similar way from New Jersey to Maine, and the university was working with colleagues at Brown and Roger Williams universities to figure out the cause. ...


I didn't know the Ebola virus could jump phyla!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Sep 25, 2013
from CBC:
Monarch butterfly numbers drop to new lows
Monarch butterflies appear headed for a perhaps unprecedented population crash, according to scientists and monarch watchers who have been keeping tabs on the species in their main summer home in Eastern and Central North America. There had been hope that on their journey north from their overwintering zone in Mexico, the insects' numbers would build through the generations, but there's no indication that happened. Only a small number of monarchs did make it to Canada this summer to propagate the generation that has now begun its southern migration to Mexico, and early indications are that the past year's record lows will be followed by even lower numbers this fall.... "Based on what I saw this year, I'm very concerned they're not going to bounce back that well, and my fear is I'm going to see them extinct within my lifetime," Burkhard said.... Taylor says that "in the Midwest, we're seeing a tremendous loss of habitat due to the type of agriculture that been adopted here, Roundup-ready corn and soybeans, which has taken the milkweeds out of those row crops, and we're seeing overzealous management of roadside marshes, excessive use of herbicides here and there." ...


Guess that means fewer hurricanes this season!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Sep 24, 2013
from The Independent:
Coral alert: destruction of reefs 'accelerating' with half destroyed over past 30 years
The rapid decline of the world's coral reefs appears to be accelerating, threatening to destroy huge swathes of marine life unless dramatic action is swiftly taken, a leading ocean scientist has warned. About half of the world's coral reefs have already been destroyed over the past 30 years, as climate change warms the sea and rising carbon emissions make it more acidic.... "Our oceans are in an unprecedented state of decline due to pollution, over-fishing and climate change. The state of the reefs is very poor and it is continuing to deteriorate," said Professor Hoegh-Guldberg, of the University of Queensland. "This is an eco-system that has been around for tens of millions of years and we are wiping it out within a hundred. It's quite incredible." ...


Do you get it yet, Nature? We can kick your ass until we're dead.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Sep 16, 2013
from Washington Post:
Bats and snakes are the latest victims of mass killers in the wild
...The mass killer of bats under Coleman's microscope, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, has a lot in common with Chytridiomycosis, a mass killer of frogs and other amphibians. The culprits resemble a third killer, Ophidiomyces, which kills and disfigures snakes. They are fungi, and they arrived in the United States from overseas with an assist from humans -- through travel and trade. They prefer cold conditions and kill with precision, so efficiently that they're creating a crisis in the wild. The death toll among amphibians, bats and snakes from fungi represents "potential extinction events," said Coleman, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife research biologist... ...


Just because we didn't plan this invasion doesn't mean we're innocent.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Sep 16, 2013
from Scientific American:
Royal Pains: Why Queen Honeybees Are Living Shorter, Less Productive Lives
What's killing the bees? If you've been watching the news, you might answer: "Colony collapse disorder." Yet after the winter of 2011-2012, beekeepers only attributed 8 percent of their wintertime honeybee-hive losses to colony collapse disorder. Other reasons for hive deaths were much more common, including ailing queen bees, to which beekeepers attributed 32 percent of their dead hives. At one recent pollination research conference, nobody seemed to be looking for the disorder's cause anymore.... Queens just don't seem as long-lived and fecund as they used to be, says David Tarpy, who researches beekeeping at the University of North Carolina. Sometimes worker bees even kill their own queens. This behavior, called supersedure, is part of a healthy colony's life cycle, but beekeepers say they're seeing it occur at an accelerated rate, which stresses hives. ...


Even being a queen ain't what it used to be.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Sep 15, 2013
from Seattle Sun-Times:
Actual journalism on ocean acidification
Imagine every person on Earth tossing a hunk of CO2 as heavy as a bowling ball into the sea. That's what we do to the oceans every day.... Scientists once considered that entirely good news, since it removed CO2 from the sky. Some even proposed piping more emissions to the sea. But all that CO2 is changing the chemistry of the ocean faster than at any time in human history. Now the phenomenon known as ocean acidification -- the lesser-known twin of climate change -- is helping push the seas toward a great unraveling that threatens to scramble marine life on a scale almost too big to fathom, and far faster than first expected.... "There's a train wreck coming and we are in a position to slow that down and make it not so bad," said Stephen Palumbi, a professor of evolutionary and marine biology at Stanford University. "But if we don't start now the wreck will be enormous."... Roughly a quarter of organisms studied by researchers actually do better in high CO2. Another quarter seem unaffected. But entire marine systems are built around the remaining half of susceptible plants and animals.... [T]he winners will mostly be the weeds."... The pace of change has caught everyone off guard. ...


... the weeds, the vermin, the generalists that reproduce quickly. Plague of rats, weeds, and insects, anyone?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Sep 12, 2013
from Honolulu Civil Beat:
Molasses Spill Could Cause Substantial Damage to Marine Life
State officials are rushing to head off an environmental and health disaster in Honolulu Harbor, where nearly a quarter million gallons of molasses from a ruptured pipeline have caused a massive marine die-off. On Wednesday, colorful surgeonfish, pufferfish and eels were swaying limp or lifeless in the currents. How much damage the molasses spill has caused was still being assessed. But health officials estimate that it's killing thousands of fish and damaging coral reefs. ...


Honey, I killed all the fish!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Aug 21, 2013
from Vancouver Sun:
Pine beetle epidemic may be to blame for drop in moose numbers
The "most-plausible"¯ explanation for a serious decline in moose populations in the Cariboo is the mountain pine beetle epidemic, especially the large-scale salvage logging that followed, a report for the B.C. government finds. The consultant's report said the "vulnerability of moose could have increased due either to the change in habitat (dead trees) or to increased salvage logging removal of cover) or to the change in access associated with salvage logging (more roads)." In other words, vast clearcuts left moose exposed on the landscape -- to human and wild predators -- and a proliferation of logging roads made it easier for hunters on motorized vehicles to get at them. ...


Not fair! Let's give moose ATVs to use.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jul 27, 2013
from Forbes:
Baby Oysters In 'Death Race' With Acidifying Oceans
Scientists at Oregon State University have pinpointed a reason for the mysterious die-offs of young oysters in the Pacific Northwest, a phenomenon that threatens the survival of one of America's prime seafood delicacies. Pacific oyster larvae, two days old or younger, are among the shellfish most at risk as the oceans become more acidic, according to a study released in a June issue of Geophysical Research Letters. The release of carbon into the atmosphere, caused by humans' burning of fossil fuels, is in turn adding carbon to the ocean, changing its chemistry and endangering entire marine food webs. During the first two days of life, an oyster's prime directive is to build a shell of calcium carbonate to protect itself against predators. To do this, it relies entirely on energy from its own egg, as it has not yet developed the ability to feed.... Many of America's favorite seafoods, including mussels, crabs, scallops, abalone and lobster, are at risk for perishing in coming decades as their shells fail to develop properly in more acidic ocean water. The scourge also affects tiny plankton that are the base of the food web that produces prized Alaskan salmon. ...


It's all about us, and our gullets.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jun 4, 2013
from Reuters:
Honeybee food may contribute to U.S. colony collapse - study
Bee keepers' use of corn syrup and other honey substitutes as bee feed may be contributing to colony collapse by depriving the insects of compounds that strengthen their immune systems, according to a study released on Monday.... A bee's natural food is its own honey, which contains compounds like p-coumaric acid that appear to help detoxify and strengthen a bee's immunity to disease, according to a study by scientists at the University of Illinois. Bee keepers, however, typically harvest and sell the honey produced by the bees and use substitutes like sugar or high-fructose corn syrup to feed them. ...


Let them eat Coke.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jun 3, 2013
from Montreal Gazette:
US Atlantic puffin population in peril as fish stocks shift, ocean waters heat up
The Atlantic puffin population is at risk in the United States, and there are signs the seabirds are in distress in other parts of the world. In the Gulf of Maine, the comical-looking seabirds have been dying of starvation and losing body weight, possibly because of shifting fish populations as ocean temperatures rise, according to scientists. ...


Puffins go ... poof

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, May 6, 2013
from Agence France-Press:
Hong Kong risks losing its pink dolphins
Conservationists warned on Monday that Hong Kong may lose its rare Chinese white dolphins, also known as pink dolphins for their unique colour, unless it takes urgent action against pollution and other threats. Their numbers in Hong Kong waters have fallen from an estimated 158 in 2003 to just 78 in 2011, with a further decline expected when figures for 2012 are released next month, said the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society. ...


With whom will the blue dolphins mate?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Apr 30, 2013
from Reuters:
No trace left of three types of butterflies native to south Florida
After six years of searching, an entomologist has concluded that three varieties of butterflies native to south Florida have become extinct, nearly doubling the number of North American butterflies known to be gone....Besides the three varieties which Minno concluded are extinct, two more native butterflies no longer exist in Florida but are living in the Caribbean, and two more are heading toward extinction, he said. ...


I'm not sure I want to live in a world without butterflies.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 12, 2013
from Scientific American:
Bat-killing Fungus Reaches South Carolina; Now Found in 21 States and 5 Provinces
A dead tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) found at Table Rock State Park in South Carolina has tested positive for Geomyces destructans, the deadly and mysterious fungus that has killed millions of bats since it was first observed in February 2006. The fungus has now been found in 21 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. When visible, G. destructans manifests as a fuzzy white patch on bats' noses, wings and other hairless parts of their body, a condition that yielded the name white-nose syndrome (WNS). Scientists do not yet know if the fungus itself is killing the bats or if it is just a symptom of whatever else is causing the deaths. What we do know is that bat populations that contract the fungus have a 70 to 100 percent mortality rate. There is no known cure or treatment. The fungus thrives only in cold conditions, so WNS appears to threaten only hibernating bats at this time.... ...


Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous batsie, O what a panic's in thy breastie!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Feb 6, 2013
from Wildlife Conservation Society:
11,000 Elephants Slaughtered in National Park Once Home to Africa's Largest Forest Elephant Population
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced February 6 that a national park, once home to Africa's largest forest elephant population, has lost a staggering 11,100 individuals due to poaching for the ivory trade. The shocking figures come from Gabon's Minkebe Park, where recent surveys of areas within the park revealed that two thirds of its elephants have vanished since 2004. The majority of these losses have probably taken place in the last five years. Gabon contains over half of Africa's forest elephants, with a population estimated at over 40,000. ...


We don't deserve this planet!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jan 29, 2013
from USDA Forest Service ā€‘ Southern Research Station:
Climate Change Projected to Alter Indiana Bat Maternity Range
...Due to conservation efforts, researchers saw an increase in Indiana bat populations in 2000 to 2005, but with the onset of white-nose syndrome populations are declining again, with the number of Indiana bats reported hibernating in the northeastern United States down by 72 percent in 2011. The study predicts even more declines due to temperature rises from climate change, with much of the western portion of the current range forecast to be unsuitable for maternity habitat by 2060. ...


Methinks all mothers will be suffering by then.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 21, 2013
from Washington Post:
Erratic bat behavior at Great Smoky park may be linked to lethal syndrome
In the dead of winter, bats should be in a deep sleep. But at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, they're out and about, flying erratically in many cases, acting crazy. Out of nowhere, they've launched their mouse-sized bodies at unsuspecting visitors, forcing people to shoo them off with fishing poles, walking sticks and their bare hands. At least one bat flew smack into a trail walker's forehead. ...


Doesn't sound erratic to me. Sounds intentional!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jan 18, 2013
from New York Times:
Bat Fungus Spreads in Kentucky
Officials have confirmed the presence of a deadly bat fungus in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. The fungus has already killed millions of bats across the Northeast and in the Midwest.... Sarah Craighead, the park superintendent, said that on Jan. 4, a biologist harvested a bat near the entrance to Long Cave with the telltale symptoms. "I am incredibly sad to report that the bat was infected with white nose syndrome," she said. "And that this is a condition that is deadly to bats." First discovered in an upstate New York cave in 2006, white nose syndrome has killed 5.5 million bats across 19 eastern states and four Canadian provinces, scientists say. ...


Assault and battery.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jan 1, 2013
from University of Wisconsin-Madison:
As Climate Warms, Bark Beetles March On High-Elevation Forests
Trees and the insects that eat them wage constant war. Insects burrow and munch; trees deploy lethal and disruptive defenses in the form of chemicals. But in a warming world, where temperatures and seasonal change are in flux, the tide of battle may be shifting in some insects' favor, according to a new study. ...


Can we all get along?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Dec 18, 2012
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Deadly fungus outlives bats, Wisconsin study finds
The deadly fungus decimating bat populations across a growing swath of North America appears to be a more hardy foe than previously thought, able to live in the soil of caves long after all of the bats have died, according to a new study by Wisconsin researchers. The disease caused by the fungus, white-nose syndrome, has killed an estimated 5.5 million bats in the eastern United States since it was identified in the winter of 2006-'07... The new research, published last week in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, deals a blow to the theory that after the disease has killed off its hosts, bats might be able to recolonize the same caves and rebuild their populations. ...


Permanent quarantine.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from New York Times:
Mighty Old Trees Are Perishing Fast, Study Warns
The death rate of many of the biggest and oldest trees around the world is increasing rapidly, scientists report in a new study in Friday's issue of the journal Science. They warned that research to understand and stem the loss of the trees is urgently needed... The research team found that big, old trees are dying at an alarmingly fast clip around the world at all latitudes -- Yosemite National Park in California, the African savanna, the Brazilian rain forest, Europe and the boreal forests around the world. ...


I think I shall never see an old poem as lovely as an old tree.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 27, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
In Hawaii, a coral reef infection has biologists alarmed
...Since June, a mysterious milky growth has been spreading rapidly across the coral reefs in Hanalei and the surrounding bays of the north shore -- so rapidly that biologist Terry Lilley, who has been documenting the phenomenon, says it now affects 5 percent of all the coral in Hanalei Bay and up to 40 percent of the coral in nearby Anini Bay. Other areas are "just as bad, if not worse," he said. The growth, identified by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey as both a cyanobacterial pathogen -- a bacteria that grows through photosynthesis -- and a fungus, is killing all the coral it strikes, and spreading at the rate of 1 to 3 inches a week on every coral it infects. ...


It's white nose syndrome for coral reefs!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 27, 2012
from BusinessInsider:
Jeremy Grantham: We're Headed For An Economic Disaster Of Biblical Proportions
What Malthus did not foresee was the discovery of oil and other natural resources, which have (temporarily) supported this population explosion. Those resources are now getting used up... The story for metals, by the way, is the same as for oil: The low-hanging fruit has been picked. Despite the use of new technologies, the yield per ton of metal ores continues to drop.... The fact is that no compound growth is sustainable. If we maintain our desperate focus on growth, we will run out of everything and crash. We must substitute qualitative growth for quantitative growth. ...


Perhaps cataclysmic, or globally catastrophic. But not Biblical. Let's not exaggerate!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 13, 2012
from Discovery Channel:
Pandas Threatened by Climate Change
Climate change is likely to decimate bamboo populations in an isolated region of China that serves as home for nearly 20 percent of the world's wild giant pandas. As a result, according to new projections, between 80 and 100 percent of livable panda habitat will disappear from the region in China's Qinling Mountains by the end of the 21st century. With fewer than 1,600 individuals left living in the wild, giant pandas are one of the most endangered species in the world. ...


At least we'll always have zoos.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Nov 5, 2012
from Yale Environment 300:
How Fishing Gear is Killing Whales in the North Atlantic
In early August, a small minke whale washed up on a beach in Chatham, Massachusetts. It was less than nine months old, not even weaned, and the cause of death soon became clear to Michael Moore, a veterinarian and biologist with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who came to perform a necropsy. Fishing line snarled the whale's snout, threading in and out of its baleen. Skull-bone fractures indicated that it had struggled in the rope underwater.... Entanglement has become a fact of life for large whales. Scientists examining scars on whale skin estimate that 82 percent of North Atlantic right whales and about half of endangered humpbacks between Cape Cod and Nova Scotia have become entangled at least once. Each year an unknown number die. Many of them manage to free themselves. ...


Fear gear.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 22, 2012
from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council:
Combined Pesticide Exposure Affects Bumblebee Colony Success
Individual worker behaviour and colony success are both affected when bees are exposed to a combination of pesticides, according to research conducted by Dr Richard Gill and Dr Nigel Raine at Royal Holloway, University of London. This research, published in Nature, investigated social bumblebee colonies which rely on the collective performance of numerous individual worker bees. It showed that chronic exposure to two commonly-used pesticides (a neonicotinoid and a pyrethroid), at concentrations approximating field-level exposure, impaired natural foraging behaviour and increased worker mortality. This led to significant reductions in colony success, and increased rates of colony failure. ...


It never ceases to amaze me that pesticides could be harmful to insects.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Oct 9, 2012
from Associated Press:
Hog farm to plant trees, pay fine in fish kill
RIDGEVILLE, Ind. -- An eastern Indiana hog farm tied to a large fish kill would plant more than 500 trees as an air emissions buffer and pay a $5,000 fine under a settlement proposed by the state environmental agency. State officials say Aaron Chalfant Farms sprayed 200,000 gallons of hog manure onto a field upstream of the June 2010 fish kill near the Randolph County town of Ridgeville. An estimated nearly 108,000 fish died in the Mississinewa (mis-ih-SIHN'-uh-wah) River and a tributary. ...


Not sure how trees are going to comfort the bereaved families of the dead fish.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Oct 2, 2012
from FOX News:
Half of Great Barrier Reef has vanished, study finds
Australia's Great Barrier Reef is a glittering gem -- the world's largest coral reef ecosystem -- chock-full of diverse marine life. But new research shows it is also in steep decline, with half of the reef vanishing in the past 27 years. Katharina Fabricius, a coral reef ecologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science and study co-author, told LiveScience that she has been diving and working on the reef since 1988 -- and has watched the decline. "I hear of the changes anecdotally, but this is the first long-term look at the overall status of the reef. There are still a lot of fish, and you can see giant clams, but not the same color and diversity as in the past."... The biggest factors are smashing from tropical cyclones, crown-of-thorns starfish that eat coral and are boosted by nutrient runoff from agriculture, and coral bleaching from high-temperatures, which are rising due to climate change. ...


Relax! That reef is still half-full!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 1, 2012
from Wall Street Journal:
Ocean acidification emerges as new climate threat
...In the past five years, the fact that human-generated carbon emissions are making the ocean more acidic has become an urgent cause of concern to the fishing industry and scientists. The ocean absorbs about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide we put in the air through fossil fuel burning, and this triggers a chemical reaction that produces hydrogen, thereby lowering the water's pH. The sea today is 30 percent more acidic than pre-industrial levels, which is creating corrosive water that is washing over America's coasts. At the current rate of global worldwide carbon emissions, the ocean's acidity could double by 2100. ...


Buck up, mollusks, or you're history.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 1, 2012
from New York Times:
Honey Producers Lament a Bad Season for Bees
Both excess rainfall and drought in various parts of Europe have reduced honey production by as much as 90 percent, according to some producers, while the erratic course of America's parasite-afflicted "zombie beesā€¯ this week reached as far north as Washington State.... Climate change, disease and increased use of pesticides have been blamed as factors in dramatic declines in numbers of bee colonies worldwide -- by more than half in 20 years in the case of Britain, according to a recent study by Friends of the Earth, the environmental lobby organization. ...


If the hive don't thrive, honey won't bring you money.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 1, 2012
from London Guardian:
US polar bear researcher cleared of scientific misconduct
The Obama administration has wound up its controversial investigation of a government polar bear researcher without finding any evidence of scientific wrongdoing, campaign groups said late Friday... The investigation was launched in March 2010 just as Obama announced he would open up the Arctic to offshore drilling and expand oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. ...


While we fiddled with this, polar bears went up in flames.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Aug 27, 2012
from New York Times:
Intriguing Habitats, and Careful Discussions of Climate Change
... With many zoos and aquariums now working with conservation organizations and financed by individuals who feel strongly about threatened habitats and species, managers have been wrestling with how aggressive to be in educating visitors on the perils of climate change. Surveys show that American zoos and aquariums enjoy a high level of public trust and are ideally positioned to teach. Yet many managers are fearful of alienating visitors -- and denting ticket sales -- with tours or wall labels that dwell bleakly on damaged coral reefs, melting ice caps or dying trees. ...


We could wait til we're extinct!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Aug 13, 2012
from Reuters:
Parasites may get nastier with climate swings: study
Parasites, which include tapeworms, the tiny organisms that cause malaria and funguses, may be more nimble at adapting to climatic shifts than the animals they live on since they are smaller and grow more quickly, scientists said. ...


And the eeeek! shall inherit the earth.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Aug 13, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
U.S. asked to list great white sharks as endangered
Environmental groups have petitioned the federal government to list the declining population of great white sharks off the coast of California as an endangered species. The northeastern Pacific Ocean population of great whites is genetically distinct and in danger of extinction, according to the petition. Researchers have estimated that there are about 340 individuals in the group that are mature or nearly so. "There could be fewer than 100 breeding females left," said Geoff Shester, the California program director of Oceana, an international group focused on protecting the world's oceans. "Numbers in this range are lower than most species currently listed as endangered." ...


Dear last great white shark: We did everything we could to save you -- we even filed a petition!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Aug 13, 2012
from Scientific American:
Invasive Fungi Wreak Havoc on Species World-Wide
...Fungi have afflicted species as varied as amphibians, bats, arabica coffee, mangrove crabs, wheat, coral, bees, oak trees, sea turtles and even humans. (For instance, infectious meningitis is caused by a fungus.) ... Long thought to reproduce asexually through mitosis, where each offspring is the identical clone of its parent, scientists have discovered fungi can also reproduce sexually, via meiosis. By nimbly changing their reproductive strategy in response to new environmental conditions, fungi transfer genetic advantages from both parents--just like humans do--giving their offspring a better shot at survival. They also readily hybridize (interbreed between different species), outcross (selectively breed with individuals of different strains within a species) and recombine (exchange genetic material during cell division). ...


Fungi aren't just bisexual, they're, like, quintsexual!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Aug 9, 2012
from University of Alberta :
Hibernation Altered by Climate Change Takes a Toll On Rocky Mountain Animal Species
... A University of Alberta-led international research team examined data on a population of Columbian ground squirrels and found a trend of late spring snow falls has delayed the animals' emergence from hibernation by 10 days over the last 20 years. "Losing just 10 days during their short active period reduces their opportunity to eat enough food so they can survive through the next hibernation period of eight to nine months," said [U of A Evolutionary Ecologist Jeff Lane]... The period of plant growth, their food supply, is only three to four months long on their home turf, skirting the Rocky Mountains. ...


Sounds like they better binge.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Aug 6, 2012
from Queen's University:
Situation Dire for Threatened Rhino Species, Researcher Finds
Peter de Groot (Biology) hopes his recent finding confirming the extinction of the Javan rhinoceros in Vietnam pushes the public to protect the last remaining group of these prehistoric creatures living in Indonesia... Dr. de Groot, Peter Boag (Biology) and colleagues confirmed the demise of the Javan rhinoceros population living in Vietnam by analyzing animal dung collected with the assistance of special dung detection dogs. Using genetic tools developed at Queens and Cornell, they determined only one Javan rhinoceros was living in Vietnam in 2009. That rhinoceros was found dead the following year. ...


From prehistoric... to posthistoric.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 24, 2012
from Toronto Star:
Monarch butterfly population at risk as habitat declines due to climate change
The poster child for conservation is at risk of being at risk. Environmental groups across the country are stepping up efforts to increase the population of monarch butterflies as the insects face being designated as a species at risk. They're currently an international species of concern. The monarch butterfly is like the canary in the coal mine of climate change and conservation, said Maxim Larrivee, the University of Ottawa professor who developed ebutterfly.ca, an online database of butterfly observation. "The monarch is a huge flag bearer for conservation, education and science. The impact it has on advocating or teaching aspects of science to young kids is enormous," he said. But they also have an important role in nature. ...


Poster child ... canary in the coalmine ... flag bearer ... so much to bear for those diaphanous wings!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 17, 2012
from CBC Canada:
Pacific Ocean acid levels jeopardizing marine life
The Pacific Ocean is growing more acidic at a much faster rate than anticipated, scientists say, putting everything from corals to mussels in jeopardy. Researchers say carbon dioxide from the atmosphere forms carbonic acid in the ocean, changing the seawater enough that it can dissolve the shells of coral and shellfish. The water off the west coast of Vancouver Island is changing at an unprecedented rate, meaning vulnerable life forms in the ocean's food chain must adapt or die. ...


We knew the oceans would boil.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jun 11, 2012
from Chemical & Engineering News:
Bee-Linked Pesticide Under Fire
A Syngenta pesticide, thiamethoxam, is likely to be banned in France because of concerns about the compound's effects on honeybees. Thiamethoxam is an active ingredient in the Swiss firm's Cruiser OSR neonicotinoid pesticide, which is used as a seed coating for the oilseed crop rapeseed. The proposed ban follows research by French scientists showing that bees exposed to thiamethoxam in nectar have trouble returning to their hive after foraging (C&EN, April 2, page 10). French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll says he based his decision on a review of the research by the French Agency for Food, Environmental & Occupational Health & Safety. ...


What a meth.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jun 5, 2012
from BBC Nature:
'Starving' crown-of-thorns starfish in mass stranding
Hundreds of crown-of-thorns starfish found on a beach in southern Japan in January stranded themselves because they were starving, say researchers. More than 800 were discovered on a 300m stretch of sand on Ishigaki island.... The reason for the starfish population boom is not clear, but the strange behaviour has shown marine scientists what can happen when these slow-moving creatures completely deplete their food source. ...


Born to suffer.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jun 4, 2012
from Mongabay:
After damning research, France proposes banning pesticide linked to bee collapse
Following research linking neonicotinoid pesticides to the decline in bee populations, France has announced it plans to ban Cruiser OSR, an insecticide produced by Sygenta. Recent studies, including one in France, have shown that neonicotinoid pesticides likely hurt bees' ability to navigate, potentially devastating hives. France has said it will give Sygenta two weeks to prove the pesticide is not linked to the bee decline, known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). France's decision comes after its National Agency for Food, Safety, and the Environment (ANSES) confirmed the findings of two recent studies published in Science. The two studies found that neonicotinoid pesticides, although not immediately lethal, likely hurt bee colonies over a period of time. ...


I think we ought to ban France.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, May 29, 2012
from New York Times:
Expert Links Dolphin Deaths to Sonar Testing
Did offshore oil exploration play a role in the recent deaths of nearly 900 dolphins off the northern Peruvian coast? Peru's fisheries minister said last week that government scientists had ruled that out as a possibility and that the dolphins probably died of natural causes. But a marine veterinarian and conservationist who examined many of the corpses contends they were probably harmed by sound waves from seismic tests used to locate oil deposits. ...


(muffled)

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, May 4, 2012
from The Sunbreak, via DesdemonaDespair:
'A Staggering Mess' as Tsunami Debris Hits Alaska Coast Early
In my opinion, this is the single greatest environmental pollution event that has ever hit the west coast of North America. The slow-motion aspects of it have fooled an unwitting public. It far exceeds the Santa Barbara or Exxon Valdez oil spills in gross tonnage and also geographic scope.... NOAA's latest estimate is that 1.5 million tons of largely plastic debris will hit the western United States coast. That is 30 billion pounds. We expect Alaska to get the largest percentage of that with much of it lodging on northern Gulf of Alaska beaches. Most of this will be plastic which is full of inherent toxic chemicals that will leach into the environment for generations. Possibly worse are the millions of containers full of anything from household chemicals to toxic industrial chemicals that are floating our way. They will eventually burst upon our shores... in sensitive inter-tidal spawning and rearing habitat, endangering shorebirds, marine mammals, fish and everything in between. ...


I hope we've learned the lesson to throw everything away before the tsunami hits.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 30, 2012
from Waterville Morning Sentinel:
Mild winter could lead to huge honeybee die-off come fall
Beekeepers need to be especially careful this year. A mild winter and unseasonably warm early spring have created conditions reminiscent of 2010, when beekeepers were caught off guard from an explosion of mite populations that killed off many honeybee colonies, according to a state expert. ...


Bees just can't catch a break these days.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Apr 24, 2012
from New Yorker:
Silent Hives
Over the last few weeks, several new studies have come out linking neonicotinoids to bee decline. As it happens, the studies are appearing just as "Silent Spring," Rachel Carson's seminal study of the effect of pesticides on wildlife, is about to turn fifty: the work was first published as a three-part series in The New Yorker, in June, 1962. It's hard to avoid the sense that we have all been here before, and that lessons were incompletely learned the first time around. In the first of the new studies, published online in the journal Science, British scientists raised bumblebees on a diet of pollen, some of which had been treated with a widely used neonicotinoid called imidacloprid. Those colonies that had received the treated pollen suffered significantly reduced growth rates and produced dramatically fewer new queens. In the second, also published in Science, French researchers equipped honeybees with tiny radio-frequency tags. They fed some of the bees sucrose treated with thiamethoxan, another commonly used neonicotinoid. Then they let the bees loose to go foraging. The bees that had been exposed to thiamethoxan were much less likely to return to their hives. "We were quite surprised by the magnitude of the effect," said one of the study's authors, Mickael Henry, of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research in Avignon. In a third study, to be published soon in the Bulletin of Insectology, seemingly healthy honey colonies were fed high-fructose corn syrup that had been treated with imidacloprid. Within six months, fifteen out of the sixteen hives that had been given the treated syrup were dead. In commercial beekeeping operations, bees are routinely fed corn syrup, and corn is routinely treated with neonicotinoids. ...


Nicotinoids haven't yet been proven to cause lung cancer. And don't forget about farmers' rights.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 9, 2012
from PNAS, via HuffingtonPost:
White-Nose Bat Deaths: Fungus Behind Mysterious Deaths In U.S. And Canada Came From Europe
The mysterious deaths of millions of bats in Canada and the United States over the past several years were caused by a fungus that hitchhiked from Europe, scientists reported Monday. Experts had suspected that an invasive species was to blame for the die-off from "white nose syndrome." Now there's direct evidence the culprit was not native to North America. The fungal illness has not caused widespread deaths among European bats unlike in the U.S. and Canada. In North America more than 5.7 million bats have died since 2006 when white nose syndrome was first detected in a cave in upstate New York. The disease does not pose a threat to humans, but people can carry fungal spores. It's unclear exactly how the fungus crossed the Atlantic, but one possibility is that it was accidentally introduced by tourists. Spores are known to stick to people's clothes, boots and caving gear. ...


In other contexts, that's called "globalism."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 9, 2012
from San Francisco Bay Citizen:
Despite Deadly Fungus, Bullfrog Imports Continue
About 5 million live American bullfrogs are imported every year into the U.S., nearly two-thirds of which carry the chytrid fungus disease ... The chytrid skin fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or B.d., is harmless to humans but may have wiped out hundreds of amphibian species.... The disease appears to affect only amphibians, and some species are immune to its effects while others succumb rapidly. It causes the amphibians' skin to thicken and leads to cardiac arrest .... Scientists and conservationists fear that the global trade could lead to the extinction of countless species of frogs and salamanders. ...


My thick skin ensures my survival.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Apr 1, 2012
from AFP, via Yahoo:
Scientists warn of 'emergency on global scale'
In a "State of the Planet" declaration issued after a four-day conference, the scientists said Earth was now facing unprecedented challenges, from water stress, pollution and species loss to spiralling demands for food. They called on the June 20-22 followup to the 1992 Earth Summit to overhaul governance of the environment and sweep away a fixation with GDP as the sole barometer of wellbeing. "The continuing function of the Earth system as it has supported the wellbeing of human civilisation in recent centuries is at risk," said the statement issued at the "Planet Under Pressure" conference. "These threats risk intensifying economic, ecological and social crises, creating the potential for a humanitarian emergency on a global scale." ...


Astonishingly, Lindsay Lohan still hasn't slept with Justin Bieber.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Mar 29, 2012
from Science, via The Guardian:
Neonicotinoid Pesticides linked to honeybee decline
The new research strongly links the pesticides to the serious decline in honey bee numbers in the US and UK -- a drop of around 50 percent in the last 25 years. The losses pose a threat to food supplies as bees pollinate a third of the food we eat such as tomatoes, beans, apples and strawberries. Scientists found that bees consuming one pesticide suffered an 85 percent loss in the number of queens their nests produced, while another study showed a doubling in "disappeared" bees -- those that failed to return from food foraging trips. The significance of the new work, published Science, is that it is the first carried out in realistic, open-air conditions.... The pesticides investigated in the new studies - insect neurotoxins called neonicotinoids - are applied to seeds and flow through the plants' whole system. The environmental advantage of this is it reduces pesticide spraying but chemicals end up in the nectar and pollen on which bees feed. Goulson's group studied an extremely widely used type called imidacloprid, primarily manufactured by Bayer CropScience, and registered for use on over 140 crops in 120 countries.... "There was a staggering magnitude of effect," said Goulson. "This is likely to have a substantial population-level impact." ...


This stings.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 27, 2012
from PhysOrg:
100,000 Egypt cattle hit by foot-and-mouth: vets
Nearly 100,000 head of cattle are believed to have been struck by foot-and-mouth disease in Egypt, where a major new outbreak is threatening the entire region, veterinary sources warned on Tuesday. Essam Abdel Shakur, the head of Egypt's central quarantine service, said 93,734 head of cattle are believed to have been hit by the disease since February, of which 9,022 had died. The highest rate of infection is in the Nile Delta region, he said, cited by the official MENA news agency. On Thursday, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned that a major new foot-and-mouth outbreak in Egypt could threaten the whole of North Africa and the Middle East. ...


Another day, another malady.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Mar 22, 2012
from Reuters:
New foot and mouth disease strain hits Egypt -- FAO
A new strain of foot and mouth disease (FMD) has hit Egypt and threatens to spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, jeopardising food security in the region, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Thursday. There have been 40,222 suspected cases of the disease in Egypt and 4,658 animals, mostly calves, have already died, the FAO said in a statement citing official estimates. "Although foot-and-mouth disease has circulated in the country for some years, this is an entirely new introduction of a virus strain known as SAT2, and livestock have no immune protection against it," the Rome-based agency said. Vaccines are urgently needed as 6.3 million buffalo and cattle and 7.5 million sheep and goats are at risk in Egypt, the FAO said. ...


The new foot and mouth strain slips in like hand in glove.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 20, 2012
from Wits End:
A Hike Through Hell - The Union of Concerned Scientists Exposes "Pernicious" Corruption...and Nobody Notices
A stunning visual and intellectual meander through a dying forest. Heard of ground-level ozone? Nope, but you are breathing it, just as all the trees and plants are... and suffering for it. Gail at Wit's End tirelessly, artfully, and personally documents what ozone is doing to our forests and trees. Read it, weep, and then read more of her stuff. She's a treasure. ...


O, zone.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Mar 7, 2012
from New York Times:
Shark Fins Are Loaded With a Neurotoxin, Study Finds
Shark fins contain high levels of a potent neurotoxin that scientists have linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, according to a recent study published in the journal Marine Drugs.... The study provides another reason not to eat shark fins or shark fin soup, an expensive delicacy prized in Asia for its taste and supposed health benefits. Growing demand for the product drives a global hunt that kills an estimated 73 million sharks a year; the animals are often brutally definned and tossed back into the water to slowly die. Several species are on the brink of extinction, and the loss of so many sharks spells trouble for marine ecosystems. ...


I myself have always avoided shark fins.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Mar 1, 2012
from AFP, via Google:
Ocean acidification may be worst in 300 million years: study
High levels of pollution may be turning the planet's oceans acidic at a faster rate than at any time in the past 300 million years, with unknown consequences for future sea life, researchers said Thursday. The acidification may be worse than during four major mass extinctions in history when natural pulses of carbon from asteroid impacts and volcanic eruptions caused global temperatures to soar, said the study in the journal Science. An international team of researchers from the United States, Britain, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands examined hundreds of paleoceanographic studies, including fossils wedged in seafloor sediment from millions of years ago. They found only one time in history that came close to what scientists are seeing today in terms of ocean life die-off -- a mysterious period known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum about 56 million years ago.... "But if industrial carbon emissions continue at the current pace, we may lose organisms we care about -- coral reefs, oysters, salmon." ...


Luckily, we don't care about phytoplankton!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Feb 29, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Global warming feeds bark beetles: Are they unstoppable?
Hear the sound of chewing out in our vast forests of lodgepole pine, spruce and fir, the chewing that's already destroyed half the commercial timber in important regions like British Columbia? That's the sound of climate change, says biologist Reese Halter. Global warming in the form of a bark beetle... As winters grow warmer and summers drier, the West's evergreen forests are being eaten alive. And the infestation is not showing any signs of slowing. The most disturbing part? Halter puts the blame squarely on climate change, of which the infestations are not only a symptom but a cause -- a feedback loop. ...


"Feedback loop" has multiple meanings here.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Feb 28, 2012
from New York Times:
Pacific Sea Otters' Failure to Thrive Confounds Wildlife Sleuths
...For the wildlife biologists, a clear explanation for the sea otters' failure to thrive is proving just as elusive. Almost wiped out by fur traders, the species rebounded after an international ban on commercial otter hunting in 1911. But today, the otter population in California is just 2,700, in a mosaic of small, separate colonies off the coast, down from perhaps as many as 16,000 in the past. Multiple factors are stalling the recovery. One popular view, supported by veterinary pathologists who study dead otters, primarily blames coastal pollution -- in the form of parasites, bacteria, toxins and chemicals. But Dr. Tinker and other biologists say that, at least in the areas where the sea otter population is highest, off Monterey and nearby Big Sur, the underlying problem is simply that the otters are running out of food. ...


Or, perhaps, they're just giving up.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jan 31, 2012
from Associated Press:
Study: Pythons, other big snakes apparently killing off huge numbers of mammals in Everglades
A burgeoning population of huge pythons - many of them pets that were turned loose by their owners when they got too big - appears to be wiping out large numbers of raccoons, opossums, bobcats and other mammals in the Everglades, a study says. The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that sightings of medium-size mammals are down dramatically - as much as 99 percent, in some cases - in areas where pythons and other large, non-native constrictor snakes are known to be lurking. Scientists fear the pythons could disrupt the food chain and upset the Everglades' environmental balance in ways difficult to predict. ...


Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherf&*king snakes in this motherf&*king Everglades!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 30, 2012
from Wit:
Dead Trees, Dying Forests
Since the mid-20th century, scientific research has demonstrated conclusively that tropospheric ozone is toxic to vegetation, entering plants through stomates in foliage and needles as they absorb CO2 to photosynthesize. Naturally occurring stratospheric ozone is beneficial, it protects the earth's surface from too much solar radiation. By contrast ground-level ozone is formed through complex chemical reactions when volatile organic compounds react with precursors from burning fuel, reactive nitrogen from agriculture, and methane in the presence of UV radiation from the sun...and it's poisonous to all forms of life.... That trees are dying is empirically verifiable by a cursory inventory. The photos here and on the blog exhibit characteristic symptoms readily located in any woods, suburban yard, park or mall; and include stippled, singed foliage with marginal burn (on the edges) and chlorosis - a loss of normal pigmentation from reduced photosynthesis producing chlorophyll; yellowing coniferous needles; thinning, transparent crowns; cracking, splitting, corroded, oozing and stained bark; early leaf senescence; loss of autumn radiance; holes; cankers; absence of terminal growth; breaking branches; rampant lichen growth and ultimately, death. ...


If a forest dies and nobody screams, does it make a sound?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jan 20, 2012
from Duke University via ScienceDaily:
Harp Seals On Thin Ice After 32 Years of Warming
Warming in the North Atlantic over the last 32 years has significantly reduced winter sea ice cover in harp seal breeding grounds, resulting in sharply higher death rates among seal pups in recent years, according to a new Duke University-led study."The kind of mortality we're seeing in eastern Canada is dramatic. Entire year-classes may be disappearing from the population in low ice years -- essentially all of the pups die," said David W. Johnston, research scientist at the Duke University Marine Lab. "It calls into question the resilience of the population." ...


Climate change is like a giant, brutal hakapik.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jan 15, 2012
from Glasgow Herald:
Scientists link mass death of British bees to farm pesticides
Nicotine-based pesticides in widespread use by farmers are implicated in the mass deaths of bees, according to a new study by US scientists. The authoritative, peer-reviewed research undermines the pesticide industry's long-repeated arguments that bees are not being harmed, and piles pressure on UK and US authorities to follow other countries by introducing bans on the chemicals. Pesticide companies have been trying to protect their multi-billion pound businesses by lobbying internationally against bans on neonicotinoids, a group of toxic chemicals designed to paralyse insects by attacking their nervous systems. ...


Innocent beestanders.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jan 5, 2012
from TED, via The Oil Drum:
Jeremy Jackson talks about How We Wrecked the Ocean

Jeremy Jackson is the Ritter Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. ...


You can tell me, but you can't force me to see!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jan 4, 2012
from New Scientist:
Parasitic fly could account for disappearing honeybees
Parasitic flies that turn honeybees into night-flying zombies could provide another clue to cracking the mystery of colony collapse disorder. Since 2007, thousands of hives in the US have been decimated as bees inexplicably go missing overnight. The best explanation so far is that multiple stresses, perhaps parasitic mites, viruses or pesticides, combine to tip the bees over the edge. John Hafernik of San Francisco State University in California and colleagues discovered that hosting Apocephalus borealis, a parasitic fly found throughout North America, makes bees fly around in a disoriented way at night, when they normally roost in the hive, before killing them.... "They seem to leave their hives in the middle of the night on what we call the 'flight of the living dead'," he says. ...


The bees call it 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hive.'

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Dec 28, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Drought Leads to Stray Donkey Deluge
Law-enforcement agencies in Texas are grappling with an unusual problem: stray donkeys, which are roaming roads and fields in growing numbers and overwhelming animal shelters. The donkey predicament is one of the odder ramifications of the record-setting drought that has dried up Texas. Hay supplies have shriveled, causing prices for a bale to more than double over the past year. Now, authorities say, owners who no longer can afford to feed their donkeys are turning them loose. "The donkey problem is epidemic," said Patrick Bonner, senior sergeant at the Dallas County Sheriff's Department. "We're inundated." ...


This is way beyond political symbolism.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Dec 22, 2011
from Reuters:
Texas drought kills as many as half a billion trees
The massive drought that has dried out Texas over the past year has killed as many as half a billion trees, according to new estimates from the Texas Forest Service. ...


Trees just cause pollution anyway.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Dec 6, 2011
from PLoS One -- IU-Bloomington:
Study finds climate changes faster than species can adapt
The ranges of species will have to change dramatically as a result of climate change between now and 2100 because the climate will change more than 100 times faster than the rate at which species can adapt, according to a newly published study by Indiana University researchers. The study, which focuses on North American rattlesnakes, finds that the rate of future change in suitable habitat will be two to three orders of magnitude greater than the average change over the past 300 millennia, a time that included three major glacial cycles and significant variation in climate and temperature. ...


Let's feed 'em steroids, caffeine and sugar to speed 'em up.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 22, 2011
from Seattle Times:
State scrambles to fight massive tree die-offs
So many pine, fir and spruce trees in the Northwest are riddled with bugs and disease that major tree die-offs are expected to rip through a third of Eastern Washington forests -- an area covering nearly 3 million acres -- in the next 15 years, according to new state projections. Because Washington's forests are deteriorating so quickly, the state commissioner of public lands last week said he'll appoint an emergency panel of scientists and foresters to seek ways to stabilize or reverse the decline. ...


What will I hug when the trees are gone?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 22, 2011
from Yale Environment 300:
Northwest Oyster Die-offs Show Ocean Acidification Has Arrived
... Ocean acidification -- which makes it difficult for shellfish, corals, sea urchins, and other creatures to form the shells or calcium-based structures the need to live -- was supposed to be a problem of the future. But because of patterns of ocean circulation, Pacific Northwest shellfish are already on the front lines of these potentially devastating changes in ocean chemistry. Colder, more acidic waters are welling up from the depths of the Pacific Ocean and streaming ashore in the fjords, bays, and estuaries of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, exacting an environmental and economic toll on the region's famed oysters. ...


All I can say is Oy.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Oct 26, 2011
from Yale Environment 300:
A Rise in Fungal Diseases is Taking Growing Toll on Wildlife
In an increasingly interconnected world, fungal diseases are spreading at an alarming rate and have led to deadly outbreaks in amphibian, bat, and bee populations. And in the last decade, researchers note, some of the most virulent strains have infected people. On the southeastern outskirts of Washington, D.C., inside the Smithsonian Institution's cavernous Museum Support Center, one can see some frogs that no longer exist. Alcohol-filled glass jars hold preserved specimens of Incilius periglenes, the Monte Verde golden toad; the Honduran frog Craugastor chrysozetetes, which in life was olive-brown with purple palms and soles; its Costa Rican cousin, Craugastor escoces; and Atelopus ignescens, a black toad not seen in the wild for decades. All of these extinct species are likely victims of the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which attacks the outer skin layers of amphibians, disrupting their water and electrolyte intake so severely that infected animals can die of cardiac arrest. ...


The fungus among us is ruinous.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Oct 13, 2011
from Mobile Press-Register:
4 dead dolphins wash up on Gulf Coast beaches in 5 days; deaths part of 'unusual mortality event'
DAUPHIN ISLAND, Alabama -- A dolphin carcass, bloated and violet in the morning sun, was found on Fort Morgan early Saturday, bringing the number lost since the BP oil spill to more than 400. Three other dolphins have washed up in Alabama in the past week, including a pregnant female on Dauphin Island and a mother and calf pair on Hollingers Island in Mobile Bay. "We should be seeing one (death) a month at this time of year," said Ruth Carmichael, a Dauphin Island Sea Lab scientist tasked with responding to reports of dead dolphins. "We're getting one or more a week. It's just never slowed down." An examination of the Gulfwide death toll, broken down by month, reveals that dolphins continue to die at rates four to 10 times higher than normal. ...


Are those darn dolphins eating cantaloupe again?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Oct 4, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Big catches mask dwindling numbers of sea bass
As reliably as masses of sea bass gather off the Southern California coast each summer, boatloads of anglers arrive to reel them in. But their bountiful catches are an illusion, scientists say. The populations of kelp bass and barred sand bass, two of the most popular -- and easy to catch -- saltwater fishes in Southern California, have plummeted 90 percent since 1980, according to a study led by a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Overfishing and warmer ocean temperatures are blamed for the stunning decline. ...


A bass exodus.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Sep 28, 2011
from New York Times:
Climate Change and the Exodus of Species
To most humans, so far, climate change is still more of an idea than an experience. For other species, it is an immediate reality. Many will be left behind as the climate alters, unable to move quickly enough or with nowhere to move to. Others are already adapting. An iconic example of these swift changes is the recent discovery that Atlantic and Pacific populations of bowhead whales -- long kept apart by the frozen Arctic -- are now overlapping in the open waters of the Northwest Passage. A team of scientists from the University of York examined the movement of 2,000 animal and plant species over the past decade. According to their study, published in Science last month, in their exodus from increasing heat, species have moved, on average, 13.3 yards higher in altitude -- twice the predicted rate -- and 11 miles higher in latitude -- three times faster than expected. These changes have happened most rapidly where the climate has warmed the most. Chris Thomas, an author of the study, says, these changes "are equivalent to animals and plants shifting away from the equator at around 20 centimeters per hour" for the past 40 years. ...


Eat. my. dust.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Sep 13, 2011
from London Daily Telegraph:
Mass starvation of dugongs and turtles on Great Barrier Reef
Along hundreds of miles of beaches and on the shore of small islands, the rotting carcasses of green turtles and dugongs have are being washed ashore in alarming numbers - victims, scientists believe, of the after effects of the cyclone and floods that have afflicted this part of Australia in the past year. Now naturalists fear that up to 1,500 dugongs -- a species of sea cows -- and 6,000 turtles along the Reef are likely to die in the coming months because their main food source, sea grass, which grows on the ocean floor, was largely wiped out by the floods and cyclone....Mark Read, a protected species expert at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, said turtles and dugongs were the "lawnmowers of the sea" and their losses could have a damaging impact on the overall marine ecology. ...


Would that make jellyfish "the weed whackers of the sea"?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Sep 8, 2011
from London Independent:
Woodland birds join extinction danger list
Two of Britain's most charming woodland birds, widespread until relatively recently, appear to be on the road to extinction. Populations of the lesser-spotted woodpecker and the willow tit have fallen so far and so fast that their populations are now to be monitored by a special panel of experts charting the UK's rarest breeding birds... The willow tit's fall in numbers appears to be linked to loss of suitable wet scrub habitat, Dr Charman said, while that of the lesser-spotted woodpecker appears to be linked to poor breeding success, although the reason for that was not yet known. Lesser-spotted woodpeckers also needed extensive wooded landscapes to flourish, and it was possible that changes in woodland management were also a factor in their decline... ...


And the worms shall inherit the earth.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Aug 31, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
Mass extinctions linked to climate change are already underway.
New evidence confirms what scientists have long suspected: that climate change is already having major effects on many of the world's species. Researchers report for the first time that the documented species responses -- migration to a higher or cooler climate or changes in population -- suggest actual extinction risks linked to climate change are almost double those that were predicted. Just as grim are future outlooks -- almost one-third of species will be threatened by 2100. Temperature, ocean acidity and other climate-related changes can set the stage for widespread extinctions by adding even more pressure to ecosystems already stressed by habitat loss, pollution, disease and other human-related impacts....The results of the study do not bode well for the species slated for extinction. These organisms are the ones most sensitive to temperature, precipitation and other environmental changes. ...


I wonder if it's possible to get unslated for extinction.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Aug 28, 2011
from EPOCA:
Warming of the Mediterranean Sea hampers the resistance of corals and mollusks to ocean acidification
Some calcifiers (mussels, gastropods and corals) protect their shell or skeleton from the corrosive effects of increasing ocean acidification. They can therefore resist some of the damaging effects of increasing ocean acidity generated by the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere through human activities. This resistance is diminished when organisms are exposed to extended period of elevated temperature (28.5 deg C). This is a result of an international study (1), co-led by Jean-Pierre Gattuso, research scientist at Laboratoire d'océanographie de Villefranche (CNRS/UPMC), published in the journal Nature Climate Change. These results suggest that the ongoing and future warming of the Mediterranean combined with the rise of its acidity will increase the frequency of mass-mortality events.... The tissues and organic layers covering the shells and skeletons play a major role to protect them from the corrosive action of high-acidity seawater. However, the areas of shells and skeletons that are not protected by tissues or organic layers are vulnerable and more prone to dissolution. The higher the acidity, the faster dissolution is. The scientists have shown that this capacity to resist is much lower when the organisms are subject to an extended period of elevated temperature (28.5°C). At this temperature, mortality is increasing with increasing acidity. Some Mediterranean invertebrates already live at their upper limit of temperature tolerance and have already experienced mass-mortality events. The combined effect of warming and increased acidity will likely increase the frequency of these events in the future. ...


That'll just leave more beach, right?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Aug 5, 2011
from London Daily Telegraph:
Was pollution responsible for mass stranding of pilot whales?
Scientists are probing whether pollution may have caused 70 pilot whales to strand in north west Scotland last month. The whales may have been poisoned by years of toxic waste. Experts have now asked the UK government for £20,000 to carry out the first such major diagnostic tests on a super pod in Scotland - which could show the legacy of decades of pouring toxic chemicals into the sea. No such link between strandings and pollution has ever been proved before - but scientists say they are now finding killer whales with toxic readings "hundreds" of times over the limit. There are growing fears that Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB's) - which are now banned - are so prevalent in the marine environment that over a period of time they have entered the food chain widely. ...


Turns out those so-called killer whales are softies.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jul 18, 2011
from SciDev.net:
Forecasters 'warned of Horn of Africa drought' last year
Forecasting systems were warning about a serious drought in the Horn of Africa as much as a year ago -- but communication problems between scientists and decision-makers meant the alerts went largely unheeded, according to forecasters. Warnings about the drought -- which the United Nations says is the worst in 60 years -- were issued last August, when the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) released a brief on food security in East Africa following the declaration of a La Nińa event, a cooling of the sea surface in the Pacific Ocean known to affect weather in Africa. "We were very confident that the October to December rains were going to be poor," Chris Hillbruner, a food security early warning specialist with FEWS NET, told SciDev.Net. "And there was an increased likelihood that the March to May rains were going to be poor as well."... Chris Funk, a climatologist with FEWS NET, said that the organisation's experts have been "a little frustrated that we provided this information quite early" but not enough has been done to make good use of it. ...


If they'd just predict good news, then scientists might get listened to.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jul 11, 2011
from George Monbiot, in the Guardian:
Have jellyfish come to rule the waves?
Last year I began to wonder, this year doubt is seeping away, to be replaced with a rising fear. Could it really have happened? Could the fishing industry have achieved the remarkable feat of destroying the last great stock? Until 2010, mackerel were the one reliable catch in Cardigan Bay in west Wales. Though I took to the water dozens of times, there wasn't a day in 2008 or 2009 when I failed to take 10 or more. Once every three or four trips I would hit a major shoal, and bring in 100 or 200 fish: enough, across the season, to fill the freezer and supply much of our protein for the year.... I pushed my kayak off the beach and felt that delightful sensation of gliding away from land almost effortlessly - I'm so used to fighting the westerlies and the waves they whip up in these shallow seas that on this occasion I seemed almost to be drifting towards the horizon. Far below me I could see the luminous feathers I used as bait tripping over the seabed. But I could also see something else. Jellyfish. Unimaginable numbers of them. Not the transparent cocktail umbrellas I was used to, but solid, white rubbery creatures the size of footballs. They roiled in the surface or loomed, vast and pale, in the depths. There was scarcely a cubic metre of water without one. Apart from that - nothing. It wasn't until I reached a buoy three miles from the shore that I felt the urgent tap of a fish, and brought up a single, juvenile mackerel. ...


In every gaping void there is an opportunity, right? Right?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 5, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Going beyond the IPCC 'worst case'
In order to see how climate models react over a wide range of greenhouse gas concentrations, researchers in the US have modelled emissions scenarios that are significantly higher than the IPCC's "worst case" scenarios. They found - perhaps unsurprisingly - that the extent of climate change will be significantly worse than for the IPCC's A1FI scenario. "Relative to the A1FI scenario, our highest scenario results in an additional 2 deg C (3.6F) of global mean warming above A1FI levels by 2100, a complete loss of Arctic summer sea ice by 2070 and an additional 43 percent sea level rise due to thermal expansion above A1FI levels by 2100," said Ben Sanderson from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the US.... The team also assumed that the shares of primary energy derived from different fuel sources remain fixed over time at 2000 levels; that is, the carbon intensity of energy supply is assumed to remain constant. In the second scenario (AllCoal), the researchers make more extreme assumptions. They maintain the A1FI per capita energy projection, but assume population follows the UN high scenario as implemented in the IPCC A2 scenario, reaching 15 billion by 2100. They also make the bounding assumption that all new demand for primary energy is satisfied by coal. "This assumption is not intended to represent a plausible future, but a useful thought experiment that could help inform the exploration of upper bounds on emissions," said Sanderson. "It is astounding, for example, that this combination of assumptions leads to emissions in 2100 that are about four times those in the A1FI scenario, or about 105 gigatonnes of carbon per year." ...


"Astounding" only if you believe in common sense directing the actions of societies.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jun 25, 2011
from SightlineDaily:
Trouble on the Half Shell
Four summers ago, Sue Cudd couldn't keep a baby oyster alive. She'd start with hundreds of millions of oyster larvae in the tanks at the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery in Netarts, Oregon. Only a handful would make it.... A hatchery that has supplied seafood businesses for three decades had virtually nothing to sell for months, said Cudd, who owns the hatchery. "They would just sort of fade away... It was really devastating. We're kind of the independent growers' hatchery, and we had always been reliable up until that point. People were just shocked. I heard a lot of times how it was ruining people's businesses." It's tough to say with scientific certainty that ocean acidification is the sole cause of the die-offs that have plagued two of the Northwest's three major oyster hatcheries in the last few years. But this much seems clear: young oysters have a hard time surviving in conditions that will only become more widespread as carbon dioxide from cars, coal plants and other industries cause the fundamental chemistry of the ocean to become more acidic. ...


Thankfully, there's news about the Royal Couple I can focus on!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jun 20, 2011
from BBC:
World's oceans in 'shocking' decline
The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists. In a new report, they warn that ocean life is "at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history". They conclude that issues such as over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognised. The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity.... "The findings are shocking," said Alex Rogers, IPSO's scientific director and professor of conservation biology at Oxford University. "As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the oceans, the implications became far worse than we had individually realised. "We've sat in one forum and spoken to each other about what we're seeing, and we've ended up with a picture showing that almost right across the board we're seeing changes that are happening faster than we'd thought, or in ways that we didn't expect to see for hundreds of years." ...


I hear Britney is showing off plenty of skin on her new "Femme Fatale" tour!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, May 19, 2011
from Associated Press:
Feds unveil plan to combat bat-killing fungus
The Interior Department launched a national plan Tuesday to combat a mysterious disease that has killed more than a million bats in the Eastern and Southern United States and is spreading west. The disease, called white-nose syndrome, is caused by a fungus. The disease has spread to 16 states, including West Virginia, and three Canadian provinces. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the new plan provides a road map for more than 100 federal, state and tribal agencies and scientific researchers tracking the disease and attempting to combat it. ...


As if the "road map" worked out with Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Apr 28, 2011
from Houston Chronicle:
Congress puts limits on lead in cross hairs
Aiming squarely at guarding the rights of sportsmen and America's ammo, bait and tackle shops, a powerful group of congressmen is pushing back against environmentalists and any federal regulation that would restrict the use of lead in outdoor gear... The bill's sponsors have drawn support from the nearly 300-strong Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, created to serve as "the sportsmen's ally and first line of defense in Washington promoting and protecting the rights of hunters, trappers and anglers." Environmentalists see it differently; they say residual deposits of lead left by hunters and fisherman are being ingested by waterfowl, raptors and mammals, killing eagles, swans, cranes, endangered California condors and countless other wild animals. ...


Animals dying before you have a chance to shoot 'em just kinda takes the sport out of hunting.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Apr 27, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Siberia's boreal forests 'will not survive climate change'
The boreal forests of Siberia are a vast, homogenous ecosystem dominated by larch trees. The trees survive in this semi-arid climate because of a unique symbiotic relationship they have with permafrost - the permafrost provides enough water to support larch domination and the larch in turn block radiation, protecting the permafrost from intensive thawing during the summer season. This relationship has now been successfully modelled for the first time, revealing its sensitivity to climate change. Ningning Zhang and colleagues from Nagoya University, Japan, have predicted that the larch trees will not be able to survive even the most optimistic climate change scenario of a 4 degree C increase in summer temperature in Siberia by the year 2100. "We found that the larch-dominated boreal forest-permafrost coupled system in Siberia would be threatened by future warming of 2 degrees C or more," Zhang told environmentalresearchweb. "However, our simulations also show that, even with 4 degree C warming, some tree species can still survive, but with considerable loss of biomass." ...


Sounds like a great place for a palm oil plantation!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 25, 2011
from London Observer:
Spring may lose song of cuckoos, nightingales and turtle doves
Some of Britain's most cherished spring visitors are disappearing in their thousands. Ornithologists say species such as the cuckoo, nightingale and turtle dove are undergoing catastrophic drops in numbers, although experts are puzzled about the exact reasons for these declines. The warning, from the RSPB, comes as the songs of the cuckoo, nightingale and wood warbler herald the return of spring...There is almost certainly a significant problem caused by climate change. Migrant birds arrive and breed and then have chicks at times which are no longer synchronised with the best periods when food, such as insects, is available. ...


That sound you hear is the rejoicing of worms.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 18, 2011
from BBC:
BP oil spill: Fishermen woes persist, one year on
He has brought me out on his boat, a couple kilometres from the Gulf of Mexico, to show me why. He winches up a basket full of oysters and sifts through each one, shaking his head. "This one's dead. This one's dead. All of them empty shells. All of them, beautiful oysters, and they're dead. And all because of BP's oil spill one year ago," he says. Everything he has caught, he has to throw back. "It's heartbreaking," he says. "This is the biggest oyster kill in Louisiana history, probably in the Gulf coast's history. "I wish I wasn't part of it. I wish I wasn't here. It's heartbreaking."... Back at the headquarters of Collins Oyster Company, Nick's father Wilbert stands in the driveway, taking a long drag on a cigarette. At 73 years old, he is the head of the family business. "We used to have some of the best oysters in the country," he says. "They used to line up here for three hours at a time to get a bag full."... Now there are no cars lining up. Without any oysters, Wilbert has put up a sign on his front lawn. It reads: "Collins Oyster Company - Out of Business After 90 Years Due to BP Oil Spill." ...


But the oysters that do survive will be that much stronger!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Apr 16, 2011
from New Scientist:
Acidic ocean robs coral of vital building material
CARBON dioxide has pillaged the Great Barrier Reef of a compound that corals and many sea creatures need to grow. The finding, from the first survey of ocean acidification around one of the world's greatest natural landmarks, supports fears that the ecosystem is on its last legs. Bizarrely, the reef doesn't appear to be suffering from the effects of ocean acidification just yet. But that may be because it is balanced on a knife-edge between health and decay. Oceans become acidic when they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Once dissolved, the gas reacts with carbonate to form bicarbonate, stripping seawater of the compound that many marine organisms including coral, shrimp and crabs need to build their shells or skeletons.... Studies in the Red Sea have found that some species of coral start to dissolve at a [aragonite] saturation of 2.8. "Almost every bit of water we sampled was below 3.5," says Tilbrook, who presented his findings at Greenhouse 2011 in Cairns this week. Close to the shore, to the south of the reef, the saturation was 3.... ...


All those corals need to do is find a better contractor.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 15, 2011
from Guardian:
Emails expose BP's attempts to control research into impact of Gulf oil spill
BP officials tried to take control of a $500m fund pledged by the oil company for independent research into the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, it has emerged. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show BP officials openly discussing how to influence the work of scientists supported by the fund, which was created by the oil company in May last year.... Other documents obtained by Greenpeace suggest that the politics of oil spill science was not confined to BP. The White House clashed with officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last summer when drafting the administration's account of what has happened to the spilled oil.... Another email, written by Karen Ragoonanan-Jalim, a BP environmental officer based in Trinidad, contains minutes of a meeting in Houma, Louisiana, in which officials discussed what kind of studies might best serve the oil company's interests.... Under agenda item two, she writes: "Discussions around GRI and whether or not BP can influence this long-term research programme ($500m) to undertake the studies we believe will be useful in terms of understanding the fate and effects of the oil on the environment, eg can we steer the research in support of restoration ecology?" ...


What'd'you expect? BP pays the piper, BP calls the tune!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Apr 14, 2011
from ScienceDaily:
Invasive Mussels Causing Massive Ecological Changes in Great Lake
The ongoing spread of non-native mussels in the Great Lakes has caused "massive, ecosystem-wide changes" throughout lakes Michigan and Huron, two of the planet's largest freshwater lakes, according to a new University of Michigan-led study. The blitzkrieg advance of two closely related species of mussels -- the zebra and quagga -- is stripping the lakes of their life-supporting algae, resulting in a remarkable ecological transformation and threatening the multibillion-dollar U.S. commercial and recreational Great Lakes fisheries.... "These are astounding changes, a tremendous shifting of the very base of the food web in those lakes into a state that has not been seen in the recorded history of the lakes," said Mary Anne Evans, lead author of a paper scheduled for publication in the April 15 edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology. "We're talking about massive, ecosystem-wide changes." ...


It's exciting to be at a premiere!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 11, 2011
from Center for Biological Diversity, tip via DesdemonaDespair:
Bat-killing White-nose Disease Spreads to Ohio, New Brunswick
Bats in Ohio have now been found with white-nose syndrome, a disease that has been sweeping through bat populations in the eastern United States since 2006. In Maryland, biologists found the disease in a second county, after it first appeared in that state last winter. Also this week, Canadian officials reported the first discovery of the lethal bat malady in New Brunswick. White-nose syndrome, or the pathogenic fungus associated with it, has now been confirmed in 17 states and three provinces. The fast-moving disease has already killed more than 1 million bats in North America. "This disease is burning through our bat populations like a five-alarm fire," said Mollie Matteson, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, which has pushed for additional research funding of the disease and urged widespread bat-cave closures. "But right now, all we've got from our wildlife agencies is the equivalent of a couple of rusty fire trucks barely out of the station."... "What a lot of people don't realize is that there's much more than just bats at stake, and we don't have a moment to spare in saving them," said Matteson.... To date, the bat-killing fungus has been found as far west as western Oklahoma, bringing it closer to Seattle and Los Angeles than the disease's initial epicenter near Albany, N.Y. ...


These bats are canaries in a coal fire.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 8, 2011
from St. Petersburg Times:
USF study concludes that common fungicide is deadly to frogs
Two years ago some University of South Florida researchers began studying the effects of the most widely used fungicide in the country to see if it might kill more than just fungus. Turns out it's also a pretty effective frog-icide... The fungicide, chlorothalonil, sold under such names as Bravo, Echo and Daconil, is used to treat farmers' fields, lawns and golf courses and is an ingredient in mold-suppressing paint. It's part of the same chemical family, organochlorines, as the banned pesticide DDT. It is known to cause severe eye and skin irritation in humans if handled improperly. ...


Bravo, indeed, for our unending creativity when it comes to the mindless destruction of the habitat!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 4, 2011
from Edmonton Journal:
Mountain pine beetles could infect forests across Canada
Mountain pine beetles have successfully made the species jump from lodgepole pine to jack pine, increasing concerns that the pest could infect forests from British Columbia to the East coast, according to a University of Alberta-led research team. The group of U of A tree biologists and geneticists discovered that, as the mountain pine beetle spread eastward from central B.C., it successfully jumped species from its main host, the lodgepole pine, to the jack pine. Jack pine is the dominant pine species in Canada's boreal forest, which stretches east from Alberta all the way to the Maritime provinces.... "Mountain pine beetle is not (native) to the boreal forest and therefore should be considered an invasive species and managed as such. Forest ecosystems in North America have already been challenged with numerous pest invasions that represent a considerable threat. When we factor in climate change, the vulnerability of ecosystems such as the boreal forest to disturbance is further increased putting an extremely important ecosystem in jeopardy." ...


Some days I feel like I'm being borealed alive.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 1, 2011
from Reuters, via WHNT, from DesdemonaDespair:
Government tightens lid on dolphin death probe
The U.S. government is keeping a tight lid on its probe into scores of unexplained dolphin deaths along the Gulf Coast, possibly connected to last year's BP oil spill, causing tension with some independent marine scientists. Wildlife biologists contracted by the National Marine Fisheries Service to document spikes in dolphin mortality and to collect specimens and tissue samples for the agency were quietly ordered late last month to keep their findings confidential. The gag order was contained in an agency letter informing outside scientists that its review of the dolphin die-off, classified as an "unusual mortality event (UME)," had been folded into a federal criminal investigation launched last summer into the oil spill. "Because of the seriousness of the legal case, no data or findings may be released, presented or discussed outside the UME investigative team without prior approval," the letter, obtained by Reuters, stated. A number of scientists said they have been personally rebuked by federal officials for "speaking out of turn" to the media about efforts to determine the cause of some 200 dolphin deaths this year, and about 90 others last year, in the Gulf. ...


When they try to gag scientists, it's usually because bad news is coming back up.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 29, 2011
from Science News:
Big Fishing Yields Small Fish
Sharks, billfish, cod, tuna and other fish-eating fish -- the sea's equivalents to lions on the Serengeti -- dominated the marine world as recently as four decades ago. They culled sick, lame and old animals and kept populations of marine herbivores in check, preventing marine analogs of antelopes from overgrazing their environment. But the reign of large predators now appears over -- probably forever. ...


There's plenty of (small) fish in the sea.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Mar 12, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Toxin found in dead sardines
Sardines that suffocated and died en masse this week in King Harbor have tested positive for a powerful neurotoxin that scientists believe may have distressed 1 million or more fish off the Los Angeles coastline and caused them to swim chaotically into the Redondo Beach marina. Researchers still believe critically low oxygen levels, not the toxin or an algae bloom, caused the fish to suddenly die Monday night in the Redondo Beach marina. But the discovery of domoic acid in dead fish -- reported Friday by USC biologists -- could help explain why millions of sardines swam into the harbor in the first place... Domoic acid is often found in the stomachs of fish that have been feeding on plankton on the ocean's surface during toxic algae blooms. The toxin has been linked to neurological disorders, illnesses and deaths of seabirds, sea lions, sea otters and whales. When it accumulates in edible fish and shellfish, it can sicken humans. ...


Arrrrr! We made these sardines walk the plankton.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Mar 2, 2011
from The Independent:
Oil spill link suspected as dead dolphins wash ashore
The dead dolphins began appearing in mid-January along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in the United States. Although none of the carcasses appeared to show outward signs of oil contamination, all were being examined as possible casualties of the petrochemicals that fouled the sea water and sea bed after BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded last April.... nearly five billion barrels of crude oil before it was capped in July.... The remains of 77 animals - nearly all bottlenose dolphins - have been discovered on islands, in marshes and on beaches along 200 miles of coastline. This figure is more than 10 times the number normally found washed up around this time of year, which is calving season for some 2,000 to 5,000 dolphins in the region.... One of the more disturbing aspects of the deaths is that nearly half - 36 animals so far - have been newborn or stillborn dolphin calves. In January 2009 and 2010, there were no reports of stranded calves, and because this is the first calving season since the BP disaster, scientists are concerned that the spill may be a cause. ...


Maybe it's everything Mom ate.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Feb 21, 2011
from Washington Post:
Predator fish in oceans on alarming decline, experts say
Over the past 100 years, some two-thirds of the large predator fish in the ocean have been caught and consumed by humans, and in the decades ahead, the rest are likely to perish, too. In their place, small fish such as sardines and anchovies are flourishing in the absence of the tuna, grouper and cod that traditionally feed on them, creating an ecological imbalance that experts say will forever change the oceans. ...


The answer to the prey's prayers.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Feb 20, 2011
from AP, via PhysOrg:
Scientist finds Gulf bottom still oily, dead
Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a top scientist's video and slides that she says demonstrate the oil isn't degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor. That report is at odds with a recent report by the BP spill compensation czar that said nearly all will be well by 2012. At a science conference in Washington Saturday, marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia aired early results of her December submarine dives around the BP spill site. She went to places she had visited in the summer and expected the oil and residue from oil-munching microbes would be gone by then. It wasn't. "There's some sort of a bottleneck we have yet to identify for why this stuff doesn't seem to be degrading," Joye told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington. Her research and those of her colleagues contrasts with other studies that show a more optimistic outlook about the health of the gulf, saying microbes did great work munching the oil. "Magic microbes consumed maybe 10 percent of the total discharge, the rest of it we don't know," Joye said, later adding: "there's a lot of it out there." ...


Samantha is such a kill-Joye.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Feb 13, 2011
from Reuters:
Climate change keenly felt in Alaska's national parks
Thawing permafrost is triggering mudslides onto a key road traveled by busloads of sightseers. Tall bushes newly sprouted on the tundra are blocking panoramic views. And glaciers are receding from convenient viewing areas, while their rapid summer melt poses new flood risks. These are just a few of the ways that a rapidly warming climate is reshaping Denali, Kenai Fjords and other national parks comprising the crown jewels of Alaska's heritage as America's last frontier. These and some better-known impacts -- proliferation of invasive plants and fish, greater frequency and intensity of wildfires, and declines in wildlife populations that depend on sea ice and glaciers -- are outlined in a recent National Park Service report. ...


These kinds of new excitements should increase tourism!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Feb 9, 2011
from Associated Press:
APNewsBreak: Endangered decision delayed on walrus
Pacific walrus need additional protection from the threat of climate warming but cannot be added to the threatened or endangered list because other species are a higher priority, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday. Walrus will be added to the "warranted but precluded" list, said agency spokesman Bruce Wood, a designation under the Endangered Species Act that allows delays in listing if the agency is making progress listing other species and does not have resources to make a decision on others. "The threats to the walrus are very real, as evidenced by this 'warranted' finding," said Geoff Haskett, the service's Alaska region director, in a statement. "But its greater population numbers and ability to adapt to land-based haulouts make its immediate situation less dire than those facing other species such as the polar bear." ...


I can't even understand "warranted but precluded," how can a walrus?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jan 27, 2011
from Reuters:
Castration seen as climate change aid for reindeer
Indigenous Sami peoples in the Arctic may have found a way to help their reindeer herds cope with climate change: more castration. Research by Sami experts shows that sterilised males can grow larger and so are better at digging for food -- as Arctic temperatures vary more, thawing snow often refreezes to form thick ice over lichen pastures. Neutered males are more able to break through ice with their hooves or antlers, and seem more willing than other males to move aside and share food with calves that can die of starvation in bad freeze-thaw winters like 2000-01. ...


Something about this solution ... just doesn't seem sustainable.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jan 23, 2011
from London Independent:
Fish threatened by global warming to be moved north
Fish from the Lake District will be moved to cooler waters in Scotland under radical plans -- which will be unveiled this week -- aimed at coping with climate change. The first seven of more than 100 reports by government agencies and utility companies will set out how Britain needs to change to cope with hotter summers and wetter winters. They will highlight the risks -- and potential costs -- of more landslides, buckled railway lines, crumbling water pipes and rising sea levels threatening lighthouses around the coast. Officials say the studies are needed because levels of carbon emissions mean climate change over the next four decades is unavoidable. The dangers to wildlife have triggered the most extreme solutions: the Environment Agency is poised to catch and transfer thousands of vendace and schelly, both freshwater white fish, from the lakes of Cumbria to Scottish lochs. ...


Ideally, there is so much Prozac in the water the fish won't even care they're being abducted!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jan 22, 2011
from New York Times:
For Many Species, No Escape as Temperature Rises
...Over the next 100 years, many scientists predict, 20 percent to 30 percent of species could be lost if the temperature rises 3.6 degrees to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If the most extreme warming predictions are realized, the loss could be over 50 percent, according to the United Nations climate change panel. Polar bears have become the icons of this climate threat. But scientists say that tens of thousands of smaller species that live in the tropics or on or near mountaintops are equally, if not more, vulnerable. These species, in habitats from the high plateaus of Africa to the jungles of Australia to the Sierra Nevada in the United States, are already experiencing climate pressures, and will be the bulk of the animals that disappear. ...


Fortunately, we will always have electric sheep and other animatronic animals.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jan 8, 2011
from The ApocaDocs:
2010 not yet forgotten
Since its release in the waning weeks of 2010, The ApocaDocs 2010 Year in Review -- a "year's 100 worst" cavalcade of catastrophes and comedy -- has consistently been our site's second most popular page, after the home page. If you haven't skimmed it, please do. If you have skimmed it, and remember what that felt like, please pass it on to others, or link to it, or tweet it. We don't have much time left to come to our senses. ...


Let's hope past is not precursor.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jan 5, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Dead Birds Fall From Sky In Sweden, Millions Of Dead Fish Found In Maryland, Brazil, New Zealand
Millions of dead fish surfaced in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay in the U.S., Tuesday, while similar unexplained mass fish deaths occurred across the world in Brazil and New Zealand. On Wednesday, 50 birds were found dead on a street in Sweden. The news come after recents reports of mysterious massive bird and fish deaths days prior in Arkansas and Louisiana.... ParanaOnline reports that 100 tons of sardines, croaker and catfish have washed up in Brazilian fishing towns since last Thursday. The cause of the deaths is unknown, with an imbalance in the environment, chemical pollution, or accidental release from a fishing boat all suggested by local officials. In New Zealand, hundreds of dead snapper fish washed up on Coromandel Peninsula beaches, many found with their eyes missing, The New Zealand Herald reports. A Department of Conservation official allegedly claims the fish were starving due to weather conditions. While all three events are likely unrelated, they come after recent reports of mysterious dead birds falling from the sky in both Arkansas and Louisiana. Thousands of dead birds were found in Beebe, Arkansas on New Year's Eve, and a few days later, around 500 of the same species were found 300 miles south in Louisiana. A Kentucky woman also reported finding dozens of dead birds scattered around her home. In the days prior to New Year's, nearly 100,000 fish surfaced in an Arkansas river 100 miles west of Beebe. ...


Let's hope this isn't Nature counting coup.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jan 2, 2011
from Associated Press:
More than 1,000 dead birds fall from sky in Ark.
Wildlife officials are trying to determine what caused more than 1,000 blackbirds to die and fall from the sky over an Arkansas town. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Saturday that it began receiving reports about the dead birds about 11:30 p.m. the previous night. The birds fell over a 1-mile area of Beebe, and an aerial survey indicated that no other dead birds were found outside of that area. Commission ornithologist Karen Rowe said the birds showed physical trauma, and she speculated that "the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail." The commission said that New Year's Eve revelers shooting off fireworks in the area could have startled the birds from their roost and caused them to die from stress. ...


Or maybe... they were sacrificing themselves as an apocalyptic metaphor.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jan 1, 2011
from Associated Press:
Japanese whalers, activists clash off Antarctica
SYDNEY - Japanese whalers shot water cannons at anti-whaling activists on Saturday, the conservationist group's founder claimed, hours after the activists tracked down the hunting fleet in the remote and icy seas off Antarctica. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is chasing the fleet in the hopes of interrupting Japan's annual whale hunt, which kills up to 1,000 whales a year. The two sides have clashed violently in the past, including last year, when a Sea Shepherd boat was sunk after its bow was sheared off in a collision with a whaling ship.... New Zealand-based Glenn Inwood, spokesman for Japan's Tokyo-based Institute of Cetacean Research, which sponsors the whale hunt, said he had no comment. ...


I'd like to do a little "research" on their asses.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Dec 28, 2010
from Associated Press:
Farmers, pecan growers say coal plant kills plants
Along a stretch of Highway 21, in Texas' pastoral Hill Country, is a vegetative wasteland. Trees are barren, or covered in gray, dying foliage and peeling bark. Fallen, dead limbs litter the ground where pecan growers and ranchers have watched trees die slow, agonizing deaths. Visible above the horizon is what many plant specialists, environmentalists and scientists believe to be the culprit: the Fayette Power Project - a coal-fired power plant for nearly 30 years has operated mostly without equipment designed to decrease emissions of sulfur dioxide, a component of acid rain. ...


Coal plant creates good firewood. Sounds like a win-win!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Dec 26, 2010
from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via ScienceDaily:
Growing Hypoxic Zones Reduce Habitat for Billfish and Tuna
Billfish and tuna, important commercial and recreational fish species, may be more vulnerable to fishing pressure because of shrinking habitat, according to a new study published by scientists from NOAA, The Billfish Foundation, and University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. An expanding zone of low oxygen, known as a hypoxic zone, in the Atlantic Ocean is encroaching upon these species' preferred oxygen-abundant habitat, forcing them into shallower waters where they are more likely to be caught. ...


...as if we'd planned it all along.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Dec 26, 2010
from Science News:
Flower sharing may be unsafe for bees
Wild pollinators are catching honeybee viruses, possibly from pollen... Eleven species of wild pollinators in the United States have turned up carrying some of the viruses known to menace domestic honeybees, possibly picked up via flower pollen. Most of these native pollinators haven't been recorded with honeybee viruses before, according to Diana Cox-Foster of Penn State University in University Park. The new analysis raises the specter of diseases swapping around readily among domestic and wild pollinators, Cox-Foster and her colleagues report online December 22 in PLoS ONE. ...


Just like needles.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Dec 23, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Polar bear status pits environmentalists vs. administration
A dispute about how much the government should protect polar bears has turned into a battleground for environmentalists and some of the country's most powerful business organizations over the larger question of global warming. On Wednesday, the Interior Department filed arguments in federal court defending its decision to classify polar bears as "threatened" rather than "endangered" despite widespread shrinkage of the sea ice that forms the bears' natural habitat. What makes the issue so sensitive is that, if polar bears received the stricter endangered classification, the Obama administration would be pressured to attack the problem at its source: the petroleum, coal and manufacturing companies that emit the greenhouse gases scientists say are a major factor in climate change. ...


I propose a third category for polar bears: screwed.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Dec 13, 2010
from Fast Company:
Wik-Bee Leaks: EPA Document Shows It Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees
Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists. The document, which was leaked to a Colorado beekeeper, shows that the EPA has ignored warnings about the use of clothianidin, a pesticide produced by Bayer that mainly is used to pre-treat corn seeds. The pesticide scooped up $262 million in sales in 2009 by farmers, who also use the substance on canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat, according to Grist.... The document invalidates a prior Bayer study that justified the registration of clothianidin on the basis of its safety to honeybees: "Clothianidin's major risk concern is to nontarget insects (that is, honey bees). Clothianidin is a neonicotinoid insecticide that is both persistent and systemic. Acute toxicity studies to honey bees show that clothianidin is highly toxic on both a contact and an oral basis. Although EFED does not conduct RQ based risk assessments on non-target insects, information from standard tests and field studies, as well as incident reports involving other neonicotinoids insecticides (e.g., imidacloprid) suggest the potential for long-term toxic risk to honey bees and other beneficial insects." The entire 101-page memo is damning (and worth a read). But the opinion of EPA scientists apparently isn't enough for the agency, which is allowing clothianidin to keep its registration. ...


I wonder which part of the name got changed: "Environmental" to "Economic", or "Protection" to "Pretension"?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Dec 9, 2010
from The ApocaDocs:
2010 Year in Review from the ApocaDocs
The shocking truth ripped from the headlines! An appalling sense of humor in full display! The TOP 100 STORIES selected from the 1600+ news items archived and bequipped by the ApocaDocs in 2010, our The Year in Review displays not just the most holy shit, death-spiral-ish stories of the year, but also many of our favorite quips ("holy shit" stories tend to bring out the quipsters in both of us). All displayed in staggering CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER to help recap the year. You'll find yourself asking "What, all this, and it's only June!?!" Groans, grimaces, and guffaws abound in this rollercoaster reprise of a most eventful year. ...


How could you keep it to only a hundred?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Dec 6, 2010
from Yale360:
Is the End in Sight for The World's Coral Reefs?
You may well feel that dire predictions about anything almost always turn out to be exaggerations. You may think there may be something in it to worry about, but it won't be as bad as doomsayers like me are predicting. This view is understandable given that only a few decades ago I, myself, would have thought it ridiculous to imagine that reefs might have a limited lifespan on Earth as a consequence of human actions. It would have seemed preposterous that, for example, the Great Barrier Reef -- the biggest structure ever made by life on Earth -- could be mortally threatened by any present or foreseeable environmental change. Yet here I am today, humbled to have spent the most productive scientific years of my life around the rich wonders of the underwater world, and utterly convinced that they will not be there for our children's children to enjoy unless we drastically change our priorities and the way we live.... In a long period of deep personal anguish, I turned to specialists in many different fields of science to find anything that might suggest a fault in my own conclusions. But in this quest I was depressingly unsuccessful.... The early stages of acidification have now been detected in the Southern Ocean and, surprisingly perhaps, in tropical corals. On our current trajectory of increasing atmospheric CO2, we can expect that by 2030 to 2050 the acidification process will be affecting all the oceans of the world to some degree.... The atmospheric levels of CO2 we are already committed to reach, no matter what mitigation is now implemented, have no equal over the entire longevity of the Great Barrier Reef, perhaps 25 million years. And most significantly, the rate of CO2 increase we are now experiencing has no precedent in all known geological history. ...


Sounds like you're expecting us to believe you, just because you've spent a lifetime studying marine science.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Dec 6, 2010
from University of Guelph, via EurekAlert:
Northern wildfires threaten runaway climate change, study reveals
Climate change is causing wildfires to burn more fiercely, pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than previously thought, according to a new study to be published in Nature Geosciences this week. This is the first study to reveal that fires in the Alaskan interior - an area spanning 18.5 million hectares - have become more severe in the past 10 years, and have released much more carbon into the atmosphere than was stored by the region's forests over the same period. "When most people think of wildfires, they think about trees burning, but most of what fuels a boreal fire is plant litter, moss and organic matter in surface soils," said University of Guelph professor Merritt Turetsky, lead author of the study. "These findings are worrisome because about half the world's soil carbon is locked in northern permafrost and peatland soils. This is carbon that has accumulated in ecosystems a little bit at a time for thousands of years, but is being released very rapidly through increased burning."... "This includes longer snow-free seasons, changes in vegetation, loss of ice and permafrost, and now fire, which is shifting these systems from a global carbon sink toward a carbon source."... "Over the past 10 years, burned area has doubled in interior Alaska, mostly because of increased burning late in the fire season," said co-author Eric Kasischke, a University of Maryland professor. ...


Statistically, don't most runaways return home?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Nov 29, 2010
from Chicago Tribune, via Portland Press-Herald:
Great Lakes bird die-off still a mystery
The hunt is on in the upper reaches of Lake Michigan to count what's believed to be thousands of bird carcasses that have washed ashore this fall -- a staggering toll blamed on the disruptive powers of invasive species that have taken root in the Great Lakes. All invasive species bring consequences that few can predict, leading scientists to ponder the thousands of gulls, loons, mergansers and other migratory birds whose remains wash ashore along the beaches in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's upper peninsula each fall. There is a somewhat controversial theory for this annual die-off, which by some estimates has claimed more than 100,000 birds in the past 15 years, involving a type of naturally occurring but deadly botulism linked to the spread of invasive zebra and quagga mussels, which entered the Great Lakes decades ago aboard ocean vessels. "There's still a lot about this we don't know," said Joe Kaplan, of the Michigan-based nonprofit Common Coast Research & Conservation. "The one thing we do know is that it's killing a lot of birds that are important to us."... The first sizable bird die-off count came in 1999, when researchers recorded 311 birds off the shores of Lake Erie. The following year, they found 8,000 around the Great Lakes and the death counts have remained in the thousands every year since. ...


Those are naturally occurring invasive species, y'know.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Nov 25, 2010
from Associated Press:
Groups sue EPA over lead ammo, tackle
Three environmental groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday to force it to prevent lead poisoning of wildlife from spent ammunition and lost fishing tackle. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court by the Center for Biological Diversity, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the hunters group Project Gutpile. It comes after the EPA denied their petition to ban lead ammunition and lead fishing tackle, which the groups say kills 10 million to 20 million birds and other animals a year by lead poisoning...The groups' original petition cited nearly 500 peer-reviewed scientific articles that they said document the toxic effects of lead on wildlife, and the lawsuit argues that large amounts of lead continue to be deposited into the environment. According to the lawsuit, animals often mistake lead shotgun pellets and fishing tackle for food, grit or bone fragments, and avian scavengers are particularly vulnerable to lead in carcasses, gut piles and wounded prey species. ...


It might be easier to teach animals to stop eating lead than getting government to act.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Nov 6, 2010
from CBC:
Coral damage related to BP oil spill: scientists
U.S. scientists have found damage to deep sea coral and other marine life on the ocean floor several kilometres from the blown-out BP well in the Gulf of Mexico. The discovery made by a government-funded expedition is a strong indication that damage from the spill could be significantly greater than officials had previously acknowledged. Tests are needed to verify that the coral died from oil that spewed into the Gulf after BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April, but the chief scientist who led the expedition said Friday he was convinced it was related.... "There is an abundance of circumstantial data that suggests that what happened is related to the recent oil spill."... Fisher described the soft and hard coral they found 11 kilometres southwest of the well as an underwater graveyard. He said oil probably passed over the coral and killed it. The coral has "been dying for months," he said. "What we are looking at is a combination of dead gooey tissues and sediment. Gunk is a good word for what it is." Eric Cordes, a Temple University marine scientist on the expedition, said his colleagues have identified about 25 other sites in the vicinity of the well where similar damage may have occurred. An expedition is planned for next month to explore those sites. ...


The coral is being dispersed to the spirit world.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 25, 2010
from Hurryit Daily News and Economic Review:
Bee deaths worrying Turkish honey producers
An organic honey producer in the eastern Black Sea region of Turkey has seen a 50-percent fall in the 2010 honey harvest even after increasing hive numbers by 40 percent over last year. "The bees look like they are almost on strike. They have so drastically slashed the production that we could only deliver half the amount we promised to customers a year ago. We had to suspend our export negations with five countries," said Remzi Ozbay, general manager of Topuy Kaaskar. ...


Friggin' unions.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Oct 9, 2010
from BBC:
Toxic algae rapidly kills coral
Scientists studying coral reefs in the Gulf of Oman have issued the warning after being shocked by the impact of one large-scale bloom, which destroyed a coral reef in just three weeks. Around 95 percent of the hard coral beneath the algae died off and 70 percent fewer fishes were observed in the area. The rapidly growing patches of microscopic marine plants starve coral of sunlight and oxygen. Coral reefs are increasingly under threat from environmental stress in the form of climate change, coastal development, overfishing, and pollution. Climate change is suspected of causing a number of coral bleaching events, as rising sea temperatures stress coral communities. But the latest study, published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, suggests that algal blooms could pose another significant threat. ...


Sounds like the algae is just putting the coral out of its misery.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Oct 5, 2010
from Reuters:
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ravaged by disease
Across the northern Rocky Mountains, bighorn sheep are dying by the hundreds from pneumonia and alarmed wildlife officials are hunting and killing the majestic animals to halt the spread of the disease. Since winter, nine disease outbreaks across five states in the West have claimed nearly 1,000 bighorns, prized as a game animal for the prominent curled horns of the adult males, or rams. Scientists recently confirmed what they long suspected -- the cause of the plague is contact between the wild bighorns and domestic sheep flocks. Putting the blame on domestic sheep has heightened a furious debate between advocates of the wild bighorns and sheep ranchers -- one skirmish in a bigger war between proponents of economic interests and those seeking protection of remaining wild areas and species in America's West. ...


We are on the bighorns of a big dilemma.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Sep 29, 2010
from London Guardian:
One in five plant species face extinction
One in five of the world's plant species - the basis of all life on earth - are at risk of extinction, according to a landmark study published today. At first glance, the 20 percent figure looks far better than the previous official estimate of almost three-quarters, but the announcement is being greeted with deep concern. The previous estimate that 70 percent of plants were either critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable was based on what scientists universally acknowledged were studies heavily biased towards species already thought to be under threat. Today the first ever comprehensive assessment of plants, from giant tropical rainforests to the rarest of delicate orchids, concludes the real figure is at least 22 percent. It could well be higher because hundreds of species being discovered by scientists each year are likely to be in the "at risk" category. ...


If only that 22 percent was comprised solely of kudzu.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Sep 24, 2010
from Mongabay, via DesdemonaDespair:
Colossal coral bleaching kills up to 95 percent of corals in the Philippines
It is one of the most worrisome observations: fast massive death of coral reefs. A severe wide-scale bleaching occurred in the Philippines leaving 95 percent of the corals dead. The bleaching happened as the result of the 2009-2010 El Nino, with the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia waters experiencing significant thermal increase especially since the beginning of 2010.... Now, the majority of the coral are dead and are mostly covered by algae while some are already showing signs of rubble.... The consequence of this large-scale event is far from being fully known but fish diversity and populations will be highly affected. Livelihood depending on small sustainable fishing activities will see their income significantly reduced. Tourism will suffer greatly and tourists activities to replace diving will be needed. Prior to this year's bleaching, it was estimated that about 85 percent of the reefs have been damaged or destroyed in the Philippines, now the current estimate is likely to be close to 95 percent. ...


Apocaiku:
'neath tropic waters / the few corals remaining / sway to the Ghost Dance

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Sep 24, 2010
from National Geographic:
"Sea Snot" Explosion Caused by Gulf Oil Spill?
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill sparked an explosion of sticky clumps of organic matter that scientists call sea snot, according to ongoing research. The boom likely precipitated a sea-snot "blizzard" in Gulf waters, researchers say. And as the clumps sank, they may have temporarily wiped out the base of the food chain in the spill region by scouring all small life from the water column.... Tiny plants in the ocean called phytoplankton produce a mucus-like substance when stressed, and it's possible that exposure to the Deepwater Horizon oil caused them to pump out more of the sticky stuff than usual. This abundance of "mucus" made the naturally occurring marine-snow particles--usually about a few millimeters wide--even stickier. "Everything they collide with in their path they collect and take with them," said project leader Passow, who's currently tracking marine snow aboard the research vessel Oceanus. ...


A "sea-snot blizzard"? This is one hell of a hurricane season.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Sep 22, 2010
from New York Times:
Extreme Heat Bleaches Coral, and Threat Is Seen
This year's extreme heat is putting the world's coral reefs under such severe stress that scientists fear widespread die-offs, endangering not only the richest ecosystems in the ocean but also fisheries that feed millions of people. From Thailand to Texas, corals are reacting to the heat stress by bleaching, or shedding their color and going into survival mode. Many have already died, and more are expected to do so in coming months. Computer forecasts of water temperature suggest that corals in the Caribbean may undergo drastic bleaching in the next few weeks. ...


Life's a bleach.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Sep 20, 2010
from The Independent:
Shucks!: Why British oysters are off the menu
Yet, after all that, the British oyster industry is now teetering on the brink of a new crisis. A new virus, which has never before been seen in Britain, has wiped out more than eight million oysters at a farm in Whitstable. The OsHV-1 virus is, ironically enough for a disease which attacks a foodstuff that has for centuries been regarded as an aphrodisiac, a form of herpes.... Though the disease has no effect on humans, it has an 80 per cent death-rate among oysters and no known cure. "It is catastrophic," according to John Bayes, who runs a farm at the centre of the infected area, Seasalter Shellfish, which last year produced 14,000 tons of oysters worth £30m. He fears a "total wipe-out" of the significant investment he has made in seeding new oyster beds.... "All living organisms have herpes, some people say, but it only presents itself when they are in poor condition," says Richard Green.... "It's quite different from salmon farming where you introduce intensive amounts of feed and antibiotics into the water. All oysters need is good clean water. An oyster is only as good as the water in which it grows. An oyster is a barometer of water quality." ...


It's tough to use a barometer if it's dying.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Sep 16, 2010
from New Scientist:
Huge fish kill - a common sight in Louisiana
This large fish kill was reported last Friday in Plaquemines parish, Louisiana. Associated Press reports that biologists at the state department of wildlife and fisheries have determined the BP oil spill is not at fault. Summer dead zones are common in the Gulf of Mexico, caused by the large amounts of fertiliser that get flushed down the Mississippi river, which triggers a dramatic drop in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the water. Researchers have been concerned that microbes breaking down the oil from the BP spill might exacerbate this year's dead zone and have been closely monitoring oxygen levels in the Gulf. ...


Ah. So it's only standard farming practices via overfertilization. Whew! As long as it's not unnatural!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Sep 16, 2010
from BBC:
Massive Louisiana fish deaths raise oil spill questions
Officials in Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish have called for an investigation after finding hundreds of thousands of dead fish near the Mississippi River. The Plaquemines Parish Inland Waterways Strike Force claims oil was spotted in pictures of the dead fish. The group is now attempting to find if the BP oil spill was connected to the incident, known as a "fish kill". The cause of the fish kill has not been determined, but such events typically happen due to depleted oxygen levels.... "We can't continue to see these fish kills. We need some additional tests to find out why these fish are dying in large numbers. If it is low oxygen, we need to identify the cause," said Mr Nungesser.... The Plaquemines Parish area was heavily affected by the [BP] spill. ...


Let's not jump to conclusions. Massive fish die-offs like this happen naturally every.... um... sometimes!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Sep 7, 2010
from Sydney Morning Herald, from DesdemonaDespair:
20 years left: mammals plunge into extinction in northern Australia
At dusk, the dry savannah of the Kimberley was once alive with the scuttling and foraging of the burrowing bettong, a marsupial whose ''countless numbers'' were marvelled at by early surveyors. Along with many species of quolls, bandicoots, possums and marsupial rats, the bettongs had thrived for millions of years in northern Australia, surviving ice ages, surging sea levels and human hunters. But many of these natives are unlikely to survive another decade or two, according to a new report which reveals an abrupt, stunning plunge towards mass extinction in the past few years. At the 136 sites across northern Australia that have been repeatedly surveyed since 2001, the mammal populations have dropped by an average of 75 per cent. The number of sites classified as ''empty'' of mammal activity rose from 13 per cent in 1996 to 55 per cent in 2009. ''Twenty years ago we would go out and it would be a bonanza of native animals,'' a Charles Darwin University researcher, John Woinarski, said. ''Now we hardly catch anything - it's silent.'' ...


It's the burrowing bettong's Gallipoli.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 31, 2010
from TreeHugger:
Millions of Dead Fish Poison Bolivian Drinking Water
In the northern hemisphere, the winter of 2010 was notable for its unpredictability and extreme conditions. From East Coast blizzards to a devastating cold snap in Florida, cities struggled to to keep pace and entire ecosystems hovered on the brink of collapse. Now, as winter wears on in the Southern Hemisphere, Bolivia is reeling from uncharacteristically cold weather that is clearing entire watersheds of life. Bolivian rivers that normally run around 59 degrees Fahrenheit this time of year have dropped below 39 degrees Fahrenheit. This 20 degree drop has been enough to kill an astonishing number of fish and other wildlife. Already, an estimated six million fish have died. Michel Jégu, a researcher from the Institute for Developmental Research in Marseilles, France, commented that: "There's just a huge number of dead fish... in the rivers near Santa Cruz there's about 1,000 dead fish for every 100 metres of river." The exceptional quantity of dead and decomposing fish in the rivers has tainted the water supplies of several Bolivian towns and completely destroyed the livelihoods of fisherman living in the area. With bans now in place to protect the small populations of fish that remain, the economic recovery will be slow even after temperatures begin to warm. ...


I hate it when natural variation seems so unnatural.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 17, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Massive coral mortality following bleaching in Indonesia
The Wildlife Conservation Society today released initial field observations that indicate that a dramatic rise in the surface temperature in Indonesian waters has resulted in a large-scale bleaching event that has devastated coral populations. WCS's Indonesia Program "Rapid Response Unit" of marine biologists was dispatched to investigate coral bleaching reported in May in Aceh-a province of Indonesia-located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. The initial survey carried out by the team revealed that over 60 percent of corals were bleached.... Depending on many factors, bleached coral may recover over time or die. Subsequent monitoring conducted by marine ecologists ... found that 80 percent of some species have died since the initial assessment and more colonies are expected to die within the next few months.... According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coral Hotspots website, temperatures in the region peaked in late May of 2010, when the temperature reached 34 degrees Celsius--4 degrees Celsius [7 degrees F] higher than long term averages for the area.... "If a similar degree of mortality is apparent at other sites in the Andaman Sea this will be the worst bleaching event ever recorded in the region.... The destruction of these upstream reefs means recovery is likely to take much longer than before". ...


B'bye.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 10, 2010
from Guardian:
Conservationists warn of elephant extraction from Laos to China circuses
Once worshipped as gods, the animals are still considered sacred by many in Laos, but loss of habitat and tradition means there are now just 20 domesticated elephants under the age of 10 left in the country. The agreement with the circus company will see seven of these youngsters, along with four older animals of breeding age, exported from the remote Thongmixay district, in Laos's Sayaburi province, to southern China this autumn. Although Laos signed up in 2004 to the CITES international agreement against trading endangered wildlife, a loophole is being exploited. Elephants are being taken out of the country on "long-term loans" to zoos and circuses in foreign countries but are never returned. With the most recent government estimates suggesting there are now as few as 600 wild and only 480 domesticated elephants left in the country, hopes for the survival of the species in Laos are pinned on breeding programmes involving the domesticated population. The loss of so many young elephants will place that under threat, the NGO ElefantAsia has warned. The group has official responsibility for the animals, having been charged by Laos's department of livestock to manage the Laos Elephant Care and Management Programme. ...


Some day, they'll forget.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 10, 2010
from New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Oil spill plugged, but more oiled birds than ever are being found
More than three weeks after BP capped its gushing oil well, skimming operations have all but stopped and federal scientists say just a quarter of the oil remains in the Gulf of Mexico. But wildlife officials are rounding up more oiled birds than ever as fledgling birds get stuck in the residual goo and rescuers make initial visits to rookeries they had avoided disturbing during nesting season. 19 0 997Share Before BP plugged the well with a temporary cap on July 15, an average of 37 oiled birds were being collected dead or alive each day. Since then, the figure has nearly doubled to 71 per day, according to a Times-Picayune review of daily wildlife rescue reports. ...


Apparently, the birds aren't keeping up with all the good news!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Aug 5, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Bats facing regional extinction from rapidly spreading disease
A new infectious disease spreading rapidly across the northeastern United States has killed millions of bats and is predicted to cause regional extinction of a once-common bat species, according to the findings of a University of California, Santa Cruz researcher. The disease, white-nose syndrome, first discovered near Albany, N.Y. in 2006, affects hibernating bats and has caused millions to perish, writes lead author Winifred F. Frick, in a study published in the August 6 issue of Science.... "This is one of the worst wildlife crises we've faced," Frick said. "The bat research and conservation communities are trying as hard as possible to find a solution to this devastating problem." Frick notes that "bats perform valuable ecosystem services that matter for both the environments they live in and have tangible benefits to humans as well. Bats affected by this disease are all insect-eating species, and an individual bat can consume their body weight in insects every night, including some consumption of pest insects," Frick said. "The loss of so many bats is basically a terrible experiment in how much these animals matter for insect control," she said. ...


My skin is itching just thinking about it.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Aug 1, 2010
from Seattle Times:
Oysters a sign of trouble from Puget Sound acidity
Pacific oysters in the wild on Washington's coast haven't reproduced in six seasons. Scientists suspect ocean-chemistry changes linked to the fossil-fuel emissions that cause global warming are helping kill these juvenile shellfish. The oceans are becoming more acidic, and that corrosive water is finding its way into Puget Sound. No one knows how it will impact the Sound's sea life. But scientists in laboratories around the globe increasingly find corrosive water can alter marine systems in strange, subtle and sometimes worrisome ways. ...


The whole planet's losing its sex drive!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jul 29, 2010
from BBC:
Hundreds of Dead Penguins Washed Up in Brazil
Scientists are still investigating what could have caused the death of around 500 animals found on the shores of Sao Paulo state. They say autopsies carried out on some of the carcasses suggest they could have starved to death, as their stomachs were completely empty. They are now trying to establish if strong currents and colder temperatures may be to blame. Thiago do Nascimento of the Peruibe Aquarium says the cooler than usual temperatures off the coast could have driven away the fish and squid the penguins feed on. But he did not rule out that overfishing could have decimated the penguins' food sources. Mr Nascimento said between 100 and 150 penguins showed up on the beaches every year, but that they were normally alive, with only around 10 washed up dead in an average year. "What worries us this year, is the absurdly high number of penguins that have appeared dead in a short period of time," he told the Associated Press news agency. ...


"Absurdly high"? Beckett: What are we doing here? Ionesco: Exit the King.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jul 29, 2010
from New Scientist:
Phytoplankton [and more] in decline: bye bye food chain
Ocean life is being wiped out from the bottom up. The global population of microscopic plants that float in ocean water and support most marine life has declined by 1 per cent every year since 1899.... Whatever the cause, it's a remarkably bad piece of news, because although phytoplankton are neither glamorous nor cute, the entire ocean food chain depends on them.... [Corals] are threatened by changing ocean temperatures and ocean acidification, both triggered by humanity's greenhouse gas emissions. [Key saproxylic beetles in] Europe, at least, 24 per cent are under threat, and we would miss them if they went. Similarly, insects such as butterflies and bees that pollinate plants are probably in decline (though the data are far from complete). And fungi have barely been assessed at all, but along with bacteria they are the organisms that do the lion's share of decomposition, which is whiffy but essential. In other words, never mind the pandas: it's plankton, bugs and fungi you should be worrying about. ...


We are the food chain's weakest link.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jul 28, 2010
from Dalhousie University via ScienceDaily:
Marine Phytoplankton Declining: Striking Global Changes at the Base of the Marine Food Web Linked to Rising Ocean Temperatures
A new article published in the 29 July issue of the journal Nature reveals for the first time that microscopic marine algae known as "phytoplankton" have been declining globally over the 20th century. Phytoplankton forms the basis of the marine food chain and sustains diverse assemblages of species ranging from tiny zooplankton to large marine mammals, seabirds, and fish. Says lead author Daniel Boyce, "Phytoplankton is the fuel on which marine ecosystems run. A decline of phytoplankton affects everything up the food chain, including humans."... documented phytoplankton declines of about 1 percent of the global average per year. This trend is particularly well documented in the Northern Hemisphere and after 1950, and would translate into a decline of approximately 40 percent since 1950. The scientists found that long-term phytoplankton declines were negatively correlated with rising sea surface temperatures and changing oceanographic conditions. ...


Does this mean I won't be able to get my Phytoplankton Krispies?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 20, 2010
from Wall Street Journal:
Fresh Water Aimed at Oil Kills Oysters
Oysters are dying in their beds in the brackish marshes of southern Louisiana, but the culprit isn't oil spilling from the Gulf. It is, at least in part, fresh water. In April, soon after the oil spill started, Louisiana officials started opening gates along the levees of the Mississippi River, letting massive amounts of river water pour through man-made channels and into coastal marshes. It was a gambit--similar to opening a fire hose--to keep the encroaching oil at bay. By most accounts, the strategy succeeded in minimizing the amount of oil that entered the fertile and lucrative estuaries. But oyster farmers and scientists say it appears to have had one major side effect: the deaths of large numbers of oysters, water-filterers whose simplicity and sensitivity makes them early indicators of environmental influences that ultimately could hit other marsh dwellers too. ...


I know we're trying our best but some days it seems we can't we do ANYTHING right.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jul 19, 2010
from London Daily Telegraph:
Coral reefs suffer mass bleaching
The phenomenon, known as coral bleaching because the reefs turn bone white when the colourful algae that give the coral its colour and food is lost, has been reported throughout south east Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. Divers and scientists have described huge areas of previously pristine reef being turned into barren white undersea landscapes off the coast of Thailand and Indonesia. The popular island tourist destination the Maldives have also suffered severe bleaching. Reefs in the Caribbean could also be under threat. High ocean temperatures this year are being blamed for the bleaching, which experts fear could be worse than a similar event in 1998 which saw an estimated 16 per cent of the world's reefs being destroyed. ...


We call that gettin' Cloroxed!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jul 17, 2010
from China Daily:
Contaminated waters that kill
Fishermen, residents reel from toxic waste that leaked into river. Wei Tian, Hu Meidong and Zhu Xingxin in Fujian, and He Na in Beijing report. Qiu Yonglu knew something was wrong when his fish refused to eat and kept circling their pool. Ten days later, they began dying. On July 12, almost a month later, he finally discovered what had poisoned his fishery when environmental authorities in Fujian province confirmed that toxic waste from Zijinshan Copper Mine had leaked into the Tingjiang River. By that time, Qiu and his neighboring farmers in Shanghang county lost at least 1,890 tons of fish. ...


Bet heads will roll on this one.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jul 15, 2010
from New York Times:
Animal Autopsies in Gulf Yield a Mystery
The Kemp's ridley sea turtle lay belly-up on the metal autopsy table, as pallid as split-pea soup but for the bright orange X spray-painted on its shell, proof that it had been counted as part of the Gulf of Mexico's continuing "unusual mortality event."... Despite an obvious suspect, oil, the answer is far from clear. The vast majority of the dead animals that have been found -- 1,866 birds, 463 turtles, 59 dolphins and one sperm whale -- show no visible signs of oil contamination. Much of the evidence in the turtle cases points, in fact, to shrimping or other commercial fishing, but other suspects include oil fumes, oiled food, the dispersants used to break up the oil or even disease. ...


Perhaps they are dying of sadness.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jul 14, 2010
from via ScienceDaily:
Africa's National Parks Hit by Mammal Declines
African national parks like Masai Mara and the Serengeti have seen populations of large mammals decline by up to 59 per cent, according to a study published in Biological Conservation. The parks are each visited by thousands of tourists each year hoping to spot Africa's 'Big Five' -- lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino -- but the research shows that urgent efforts are needed to secure the future of the parks and their role in tourism. ...


Good news for the animatronics industry.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 13, 2010
from Seattle Times:
Puget Sound waters now more corrosive
The waters in Puget Sound's main basin are acidifying as fast as those along the Washington Coast, where wild oysters have not reproduced since 2005. And in parts of Hood Canal, home to much of the region's shellfish industry, water-chemistry problems are significantly worse than the rest of Puget Sound. Scientists from the University of Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned Monday that the changing pH of the seas is hitting Puget Sound harder and faster than many other marine waters. That increasingly corrosive water -- a byproduct of carbon-dioxide releases from industries, power plants and vehicles -- is probably already harming shellfish, and over time it could reverberate through the marine food chain. ...


Plus, it will burn your swim suit right off your body!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jul 7, 2010
from Science News:
Ocean acidification may make fish foolhardy
Baby fish become confused and reckless in water with high levels of dissolved carbon dioxide, a new study shows. This leads to higher death rates and may mean that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide, which causes ocean acidification, will reduce the number of fish in the ocean. "It shows we should be concerned with even minor changes in aquatic ecology, because it's going to have dramatic effects on the survival of fish," says Grant Brown, a freshwater behavioral ecologist at Concordia University in Montreal who was not involved in the study. "There are very fine-scale, yet extreme critical effects going on." ...


These baby fish just need better mommy fish!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jul 4, 2010
from The Smithsonian Magazine:
Jellyfish: The Next King of the Sea
All around the world, jellyfish are behaving badly--reproducing in astonishing numbers and congregating where they've supposedly never been seen before. Jellyfish have halted seafloor diamond mining off the coast of Namibia by gumming up sediment-removal systems. Jellies scarf so much food in the Caspian Sea they're contributing to the commercial extinction of beluga sturgeon--the source of fine caviar. In 2007, mauve stinger jellyfish stung and asphyxiated more than 100,000 farmed salmon off the coast of Ireland as aquaculturists on a boat watched in horror. The jelly swarm reportedly was 35 feet deep and covered ten square miles. Nightmarish accounts of "Jellyfish Gone Wild," as a 2008 National Science Foundation report called the phenomenon, stretch from the fjords of Norway to the resorts of Thailand...Nobody knows exactly what's behind it, but there's a queasy sense among scientists that jellyfish just might be avengers from the deep, repaying all the insults we've heaped on the world's oceans.... At 39 degrees Fahrenheit, the polyps generated, on average, about 20 teeny jellyfish. At 46 degrees, roughly 40. The polyps in 54-degree seawater birthed some 50 jellies each, and one made 69. “A new record,” Widmer says, awed. ...


Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jun 27, 2010
from PhysOrg:
What is killing Argentina's right whales?
Fatal strandings of southern right whales around Argentina's Valdes Peninsula have soared in recent years, and worried scientists are not sure why, the International Whaling Commission heard Friday. From 1971, when systematic monitoring began, only a relative handful of whale deaths were reported over the next three decades. Starting in 2003, however, the mortality rate began to soar: from 31 that year, to 47 in 2005, 83 in 2007, 95 in 2008 and 79 last year, the IWC's scientific committee reported. "Over 90 percent of the deaths have been of first-year calves," the scientists said.... Three causes, possibly in combination, have been fingered as possible culprits. One is reduced availability of food for adult females, notably small crustaceans called copepods and krill. Poor feeding conditions lengthen the normally three-to-five year reproduction cycles, studies have shown. High concentrations of biotoxins and the spread of an infectious disease are also suspects.... Weakening might also explain "an extremely strange phenomenon": kelp gulls that alight on the backs of young whales at the water's surface and feed on their backs, creating lesions vulnerable to toxins or viruses. ...


I think the right whales just don't want to be the only things left.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jun 26, 2010
from Vietnamnet:
Scorching heat, pollution kills fish, vegetables in central Vietnam
Hundreds of fish breeders along the edges of Tam Giang Lagoon have been watching their fish die off en masse due to heat and pollution in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue over the last few weeks.... The hot and muggy weather has also coupled with diseases to kill a slew of shrimp bred in the province. As of now, shrimps bred on nearly 2,000 hectares of farms have died to ineffectual breeding methods. In addition, several vegetable crop fields have yellowed and withered in the heat, putting over 1,200 Quang Dien District households in financial straits. The district provides the market an average of 2,000 tons of fresh vegetables annually. ...


Gooood endless noon, Vietnam!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jun 26, 2010
from New York Times:
Turtle Deaths Called Result of Shrimping, Not Oil Spill
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist says he believes most of the dead turtles that have been examined since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill died not from the oil or the chemical dispersants put into the water after the disaster, but from being caught in shrimping nets, though further testing may show otherwise. Dr. Brian Stacy, a veterinary pathologist who specializes in reptiles, said that more than half the turtles dissected so far, most of which were found shortly after the spill, had sediment in their lungs or airways, which indicated they might have been caught in nets and drowned. "The only plausible scenario where you would have high numbers of animals forcibly submerged would be fishery interaction," he said. "That is the primary consideration for this event." ...


Well, that's a relief!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jun 23, 2010
from Huffington Post:
Oil Spill Forces Animals To Flee To Shallow Water Off Coast, Scientists Warn Of 'Mass Die-Off'
Dolphins and sharks are showing up in surprisingly shallow water just off the Florida coast. Mullets, crabs, rays and small fish congregate by the thousands off an Alabama pier. Birds covered in oil are crawling deep into marshes, never to be seen again. Marine scientists studying the effects of the BP disaster are seeing some strange phenomena. Fish and other wildlife seem to be fleeing the oil out in the Gulf and clustering in cleaner waters along the coast in a trend that some researchers see as a potentially troubling sign. The animals' presence close to shore means their usual habitat is badly polluted, and the crowding could result in mass die-offs as fish run out of oxygen. Also, the animals could easily be devoured by predators.... Researchers say there are several reasons for the relatively small death toll: The vast nature of the spill means scientists are able to locate only a small fraction of the dead animals.... "Their ability to avoid it may be limited in the long term, especially if in near-shore refuges they're crowding in close to shore, and oil continues to come in. At some point they'll get trapped," said Crowder, expert in marine ecology and fisheries. "It could lead to die-offs." ...


It's as if they think there's some sort of Ark waiting to take them out of the deluge.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jun 17, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Death by fire in the gulf
...When the weather is calm and the sea is placid, ships trailing fireproof booms corral the black oil, the coated seaweed and whatever may be caught in it, and torch it into hundred-foot flames, sending plumes of smoke skyward in ebony mushrooms. This patch of unmarked ocean gets designated over the radio as "the burn box." Wildlife researchers operating here, in the regions closest to the spill, are witnesses to a disquieting choice: Protecting shorebirds, delicate marshes and prime tourist beaches along the coast by stopping the oil before it moves ashore has meant the largely unseen sacrifice of some wildlife out at sea, poisoned with chemical dispersants and sometimes boiled by the burning of spilled oil on the water's surface. "It reflects the conventional wisdom of oil spills: If they just keep the oil out at sea, the harm will be minimal. And I disagree with that completely," said Blair Witherington, a research scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who has been part of the sea turtle rescue mission. ...


But the fires are so dramatic and pretty!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jun 16, 2010
from Associated Press:
Alaska state official objects to polar bear plan
The federal plan for designating more than 187,000 square miles as polar bear critical habitat is too large and will lead to huge, unnecessary costs for Alaska's petroleum industry, opponents of the proposal told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tuesday night. Critical habitat by definition is the area that contains features essential to the conservation of the species, said Doug Vincent-Lang, endangered species coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game... The Endangered Species Act requires protections to be balanced against their costs, Vincent-Lang said. The additional protection for bears was minimal but the costs for people were huge, he said. ...


Easy for YOU to say, human.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jun 10, 2010
from New York Times:
Going to War Against Grasshoppers
LUSK, Wyo. -- The duel began just after sunrise on Wednesday, at 150 miles per hour, 50 feet above the ground. Below: billions of voracious, recently hatched migratory grasshoppers, Melanoplus sanguinipes, shock troops of the worst insect infestation here in at least 25 years....Bug wars have long punctuated life in the nation's grassy midsection, but this year is an exclamation point. At least $25 million in hay, wheat and alfalfa alone in this corner of Wyoming is up for grabs, state officials say, to be eaten by insects, or saved. Huge areas of Montana and South Dakota are also at risk, especially from sanguinipes, the migrator, one of the most feared of 100 grasshopper species on the plains because of its startling mobility. In Wyoming alone, about 7,800 square miles -- an area the size of New Jersey -- is infested and scheduled for aerial treatment. ...


Thank goodness the chytrid fungus is preventing the follow-on "plague of frogs."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jun 9, 2010
from Associated Press:
AP IMPACT: BP spill response plans severely flawed
VENICE, La. -- Professor Peter Lutz is listed in BP's 2009 response plan for a Gulf of Mexico oil spill as a national wildlife expert. He died in 2005. Under the heading "sensitive biological resources," the plan lists marine mammals including walruses, sea otters, sea lions and seals. None lives anywhere near the Gulf. The names and phone numbers of several Texas A&M University marine life specialists are wrong. So are the numbers for marine mammal stranding network offices in Louisiana and Florida, which are no longer in service. BP PLC's 582-page regional spill plan for the Gulf, and its 52-page, site-specific plan for the Deepwater Horizon rig are riddled with omissions and glaring errors, according to an Associated Press analysis that details how BP officials have pretty much been making it up as they go along. ...


You'd think oil companies would be better planners.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jun 8, 2010
from ABC News:
BP Buys 'Oil' Search Terms to Redirect Users to Official Company Website
Be careful where you click, especially if you're looking for news on the BP oil spill. BP, the very company responsible for the oil spill that is already the worst in U.S. history, has purchased several phrases on search engines such as Google and Yahoo so that the first result that shows up directs information seekers to the company's official website. A simple Google search of "oil spill" turns up several thousand news results, but the first link, highlighted at the very top of the page, is from BP. "Learn more about how BP is helping," the link's tagline reads. ...


Did they buy up "Satan" and "asshole" too?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jun 8, 2010
from The Onion:
Massive Flow Of Bullshit Continues To Gush From BP Headquarters
LONDON - As the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico entered its eighth week Wednesday, fears continued to grow that the massive flow of bullshit still gushing from the headquarters of oil giant BP could prove catastrophic if nothing is done to contain it. The toxic bullshit, which began to spew from the mouths of BP executives shortly after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April, has completely devastated the Gulf region, delaying cleanup efforts, affecting thousands of jobs, and endangering the lives of all nearby wildlife. "Everything we can see at the moment suggests that the overall environmental impact of this will be very, very modest," said BP CEO Tony Hayward, letting loose a colossal stream of undiluted bullshit. "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean, and the volume of oil we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total volume of water." ...


How dare The Onion make fun of this!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jun 2, 2010
from Bloomberg News:
BP Oil Leak May Last Until Christmas in Worst Case Scenario
..."The worst-case scenario is Christmas time," Dan Pickering, the head of research at energy investor Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. in Houston, said... Ending the year with a still-gushing well would mean about 4 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf, based on the government's current estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels leaking a day. That would wipe out marine life deep at sea near the leak and elsewhere in the Gulf, and along hundreds of miles of coastline, said Harry Roberts, a professor of Coastal Studies at Louisiana State University. So much crude pouring into the ocean may alter the chemistry of the sea, with unforeseeable results, said Mak Saito, an Associate Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. ...


Instead of coal, Santa will be pouring oil into our Christmas stockings.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, May 30, 2010
from Palm Beach Post:
Scientists: Subsurface oil from Gulf gusher may be heading toward Florida coast
University of South Florida researchers have discovered a huge plume of subsurface oil they say is heading from the Deepwater Horizon spill toward an underwater canyon whose currents would ferry it straight to Florida's West Coast. The plume - 22 miles long and more than 6 miles wide - is invisible, and can only be detected with special equipment and chemical tests. But if it enters the DeSoto Canyon, it might spread droplets of oil throughout the ecosystem of West Florida's waters, potentially washing the tiny plants and animals that feed larger organisms in a stew of toxic chemicals. The plume, discovered by researchers on the University of South Florida College of Marine Science's Weatherbird II vessel, may be a result of BP's unprecedented - and controversial - use of chemical dispersants to break up oil directly at the site of the leak. It is the second such plume found so far, though the other was headed out to sea. ...


If I can't see it, how can it be toxic?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, May 28, 2010
from Toronto Star:
Polar bear population could fall by 30 per cent in a year: study
A mathematical analysis for the first time has uncovered the prospect of a sudden, dramatic decline among Canadian polar bears as they starve to death. "This is much, much different. This is not a gradual change," said Dr. Andrew Derocher, one of the world's leading polar bear authorities and co-author of the study. "We're looking at a decrease by 20 or 30 per cent or even much more in a year."....Scientists factored in the shrinking sea ice, which affects how many seals the bears can eat before they hibernate and how easily they can find mates. Without enough food or opportunity, mating is less successful, fewer, less robust cubs are born, and teenage bears spend longer "wandering around trying to find something to eat." ...


Sounds just like my sons.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, May 16, 2010
from Associated Press:
Huge oil plumes found under Gulf as BP struggles
Oil from a blown-out well is forming huge underwater plumes as much as 10 miles long below the visible slick in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists said as BP wrestled for a third day Sunday with its latest contraption for slowing the nearly month-old gusher. BP, the largest oil and gas producer in the U.S., has been unable to thread a tube into the leak to siphon the crude to a tanker, its third approach to stopping or reducing the spill on the ocean floor. Engineers remotely steering robot submersibles were trying again Sunday to fit the tube into a breach nearly a mile below the surface, BP said. ...


I no like it when stuff is going on beneath the surface.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, May 15, 2010
from Nola.com:
Tiniest victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill may turn out to be most important
But scientists who know these estuaries best are more concerned about a less photogenic community. The grass, microscopic algae and critters living in the wafer-thin top layer of marsh mud - called the benthic community - are the fuel that drives the whole system. If it's covered with oil, everything above, including birds, fish and cute, furry critters, will be in trouble. And so will the humans who rely on the marsh for storm protection and seafood production. "The top two millimeters of that marsh muck is where the action is in a coastal estuary," said Kevin Carman, dean of the College of Basic Sciences at LSU. "That's the base, the food that fuels the whole system... fish, shrimp, oysters, all the species that rely on the estuary." Half of the all the life created in the one of the world's most productive estuaries takes place in this slimy zone just seven-hundredths of an inch thick. It's a world too small for the human eye to detect and involves creatures few people have ever heard of, but one that looms huge for the larger critters in the system.... But if the oil is thick enough to coat the soil as well as the leaves and stems and seeps into the soil to affect the roots, the impact could be far longer, and much more serious. "In that case it might be five or six years before the oil is degraded enough, because the soil would have no oxygen and no light and the organisms that can degrade the oil would not be there," he said. "We seen examples at inland spills when the soil was soaked, and nothing really grew there for four years." ...


And here I thought the oil would work like moisturizer!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, May 13, 2010
from Financial Times:
BP's Hayward in 'battle' for hearts and minds
One man sits in a room surrounded by eight empty bottles of water as if he has not moved in hours. On a table in another room, name cards from Halliburton, Oceaneering and others who have offered assistance are scattered across a table spread with papers.... Yet, Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive, appears to be taking it all in his stride. He began at 6am on Wednesday in discussions with the US secretaries of energy and the interior, Steven Chu and Ken Salazar, as well as top scientists and engineers on BP's efforts to cap and contain the leak. That ended close to noon, when he had a conference call with BP's board - something he has been doing every week to 10 days to update them on progress.... "We will only win this if we can win the hearts and minds of the local community," he said. "It's a big challenge."... "Apollo 13 did not stop the space programme. The Air France airplane that fell out of the sky off of Brazil did not stop the aviation industry,'' he said.... "I've actually got some good friends through this," he said, noting he had been dealing with people he would not ordinarily. "We are fighting a battle." ...


My heart is black with toxic oil. My mind reels. This is not a war.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, May 10, 2010
from London Times:
BP to try golf long shot to stop Gulf of Mexico oil leak
BP was last night considering a new plan of attack in its attempts to stop a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico - blocking the ruptured well with golf balls and rubber tyres. Forced back to the drawing board following the failure of a salvage effort on Saturday - when a 120-tonne steel box was lowered to the seabed to cover the leak, only to become blocked by icy sludge - it was looking into changing tack with an operation that its chief executive, Doug Suttles, likened to "stopping up a toilet." Thad Allen, commandant of the US Coast Guard, explained: "The next tactic is going to be something they call a 'junk shot'. They're actually going to take a bunch of debris - shredded up tyres, golf balls and things like that - and under very high pressure shoot it in...and see if they can clog it up and stop the leak." ...


Gosh, if that doesn't work, how about a giant piece of bubblegum?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, May 8, 2010
from ThinkProgress:
Gulf Coast Wildlife: 'All Bets Are Off'
As Nancy Rabalais, a scientist who heads the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, said, "The magnitude and the potential for ecological damage is probably more great than anything we've ever seen in the Gulf of Mexico."... ThinkProgress' Brad Johnson was blogging from the Gulf Coast and spoke with Gulf Coast marine scientists who all agreed that the "unfolding oil disaster could mean devastation beyond human comprehension" and "all bets are off."... "I can't imagine we're not going to have some mass casualties" among birds in the Gulf region, predicted Michael Parr of the American Bird Conservancy.... At least 38 endangered sea turtles "have washed up dead on beaches along the Gulf of Mexico,"... Comyns told Johnson that he found blue fin tuna larvae "right in the vicinity" of the oil rig's discharge. Even the dispersant BP is using -- Corexit 9500 -- has a "toxicity to early life stages of fish, crustaceans and mollusks" four times greater than petroleum.... Officials shut down additional fishing grounds, effectively putting out of work hundreds more in an industry that is the lifeblood of the region, as well as the Breton National Wildlife Sanctuary. Out in the gulf, birds dove into oily water, dolphins coughed and sharks swam in weird patterns, said marine specialists who have been out on the water tracking the disaster." ...


Thank you, BP, for using the lowest bidder and thereby saving each of us a trillionth of a cent.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, May 7, 2010
from Agence France-Press:
World needs 'bailout plan' to protect endangered species
Facing what many scientists say is the sixth mass extinction in half-a-billion years, our planet urgently needs a "bailout plan" to protect its biodiversity, a top conservation group said Thursday. Failure to stem the loss of animal and plant species will have dire consequences on human well-being, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) warned... A fifth of mammals, 30 per cent of amphibians, 12 per cent of known birds, and more than a quarter of reef-building corals -- the livelihood cornerstone for 500 million people in coastal areas -- face extinction, according to the IUCN's benchmark Red List of Threatened Species. ...


Perhaps... on some level ... we're just trying to winnow life down -- back to that original organism.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, May 6, 2010
from Associated Press:
Deep beneath the Gulf, oil may already be wreaking havoc on sea life, contaminating food chain
The oil you can't see could be as bad as the oil you can. While people anxiously wait for the slick in the Gulf of Mexico to wash up along the coast, globules of oil are already falling to the bottom of the sea, where they threaten virtually every link in the ocean food chain, from plankton to fish that are on dinner tables everywhere... Oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of at least 200,000 gallons a day since an offshore drilling rig exploded last month and killed 11 people. On Wednesday, workers loaded a 100-ton, concrete-and-steel box the size of a four-story building onto a boat and hope to lower it to the bottom of the sea by week's end to capture some of the oil. Scientists say bacteria, plankton and other tiny, bottom-feeding creatures will consume oil, and will then be eaten by small fish, crabs and shrimp. They, in turn, will be eaten by bigger fish, such as red snapper, and marine mammals like sea turtles. ...


That food chain sure is a slippery slope.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, May 3, 2010
from GlobalPost:
10 worst man-made environmental disasters
As oil threatens the Gulf Coast, a list of 10 other disasters both forgotten and infamous, from the Dust Bowl to Bhopal... The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is now about the size of Puerto Rico. It's already reached the marshes of Louisiana. Oil-covered wildlife are starting to show up along the shores. Shrimp, fish and oyster harvest areas have been closed. Residents of Mississippi and Alabama are just waiting for the oil to hit. As environmental calamity for the Gulf Coast appears imminent, GlobalPost looks at 10 other man-made environmental disasters -- both forgotten and infamous -- that could have been prevented. ...


Strangely, nowhere on the list is Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, May 2, 2010
from Mobile Press-Register:
Gulf of Mexico oil spill 2010: The worst-case scenario
The worst-case scenario for the broken and leaking well gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico would be the loss of the wellhead currently restricting the flow to 5,000 barrels -- or 210,000 gallons per day. If the wellhead is lost, oil could leave the well at a much greater rate, perhaps up to 150,000 barrels -- or more than 6 million gallons per day -- based on government data showing daily production at another deepwater Gulf well. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez spill was 11 million gallons total. The Gulf spill could end up dumping the equivalent of 4 Exxon Valdez spills per week. ...


If you like shrimp, eat your last today.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 30, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Oil disaster as metaphor
Some are calling it a "river of oil" now, instead of an oil spill. "Spill" makes it sound like the oil rig exploded, then "spilled" some oil, which is now creeping toward the coast. Instead, the broken rig is pouring 210,000 gallons of oil into the sea each day, and might continue, according to estimates, for two months or more. I could weep, I could scream, I could wax holy as I did not use petroleum products to get to work today. Except for all I know the asphalt I rode my bicycle on -- as well as parts of the bicycle itself (and my helmet), were made of petroleum. Or the keyboard I type on. But I don't want to go there. I want to see this event as larger, as a metaphor. Think of it this way. We humans are the initial explosion. ...




ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 23, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Flaming oil rig sinks in Gulf of Mexico
As the odds of survival for 11 missing workers diminished Thursday, officials warned that the dramatic explosion and fire that sank an oil rig off the Louisiana coast may pose a serious environmental threat if oil is leaking thousands of feet below the surface. "It certainly has the potential to be a major spill," said Dave Rainey, vice president of Gulf of Mexico exploration for the oil company BP, which leased the Deepwater Horizon, the $600-million mobile offshore rig that vanished underwater Thursday morning. ...


Spill, baby, spill!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Apr 20, 2010
from Dayton Daily News:
$44M in crops threatened by high honeybee deaths through winter
Think the 2009-10 winter was tough on you? Consider the state's honeybees. An estimated 50 to 70 percent of hives kept by beekeepers died, said Cindy Kalis, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The losses are in keeping with heavy fatality rates experienced since 2006 -- a year when 600,000 bee colonies in the U.S. mysteriously fled their homes and disappeared, said James Tew, Ohio State University's state honeybee specialist. "The average person should care," he said. "Bees of all species are fundamental to the operation of our ecosystem." ...


Then as an above average person, I should care a lot!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Apr 20, 2010
from Hartford Courant:
Deadly Bat Fungus Appears To Be Spreading
It's the grim news that wildlife biologists have dreaded all winter: Officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection will confirm this morning that population counts of hibernating bats show that they continue to be decimated by the disease known as white-nose syndrome, and that some species might even be threatened with extinction... in one Litchfield County cave from 2007 to 2009, the population of little brown bats plummeted from 2,320 to 108, results that are expected to be even more ominous when the DEP announces its cave counts today... Bats are one of nature's most efficient filters. Individual bats can consume as many as 1,200 mosquitoes and flies an hour as they flit around at night, making them a vital insect-control species. Some species -- such as Connecticut's big brown bat -- also are critical to agriculture because they consume large hatches of insects and moths that swarm upon crops. ...


I'm buyin' stock in bug zappers!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Apr 14, 2010
from University of Washington via ScienceDaily:
Traumatized Trees: Bug Them Enough, They Get Fired Up
Whether forests are dying back, or just drying out, projections for warming show the Pacific Northwest is becoming primed for more wildfires. The area burned by fire each year is expected to double -- or even triple -- if temperatures increase by about 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit (2 C) in our region, according to University of Washington and USDA Forest Service research... "The difference between now and our prior history is the magnitude of the impact," said Elaine Oneil, UW research associate in forest resources. "We basically have massive bark beetle outbreaks in the western U.S. and Canada over the entire extent of pines that are susceptible. We're seeing these massive mortality events of millions and millions of acres." ...


The trees' trauma may include grief for fallen comrades.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Apr 10, 2010
from Wildlife Conservation Society via ScienceDaily:
Rarest of the Rare: List of Critically Endangered Species
The Wildlife Conservation Society released a list of critically endangered species dubbed the "Rarest of the Rare" -- a group of animals most in danger of extinction, ranging from Cuban crocodiles to white-headed langurs in Vietnam. The list of a dozen animals includes an eclectic collection of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Some are well known, such as the Sumatran orangutan; while others are more obscure, including vaquita, an ocean porpoise. The list appears in the 2010-1011 edition of State of the Wild -- a Global Portrait. ...


I'll have mine medium rare.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Apr 7, 2010
from USDA, via PhysOrg:
Deadly fungus threatens 9 bat species in Ga., Ky., N.C., S.C. and Tenn., expert says
"In the five states where most of my research has centered, little-brown bats and Indiana bats are among the most threatened by WNS - meaning their populations could either be seriously decimated or become extinct," said Loeb, a veteran wildlife researcher based in Clemson, S.C. "Historically, little-brown bats were quite common, but the species appears to be especially susceptible to the fungus and is being hit hard in the states where WNS has taken hold. While populations of the federally endangered Indiana bat showed signs of rebounding in recent years, those gains may soon be negated by white-nose syndrome."... "Virginia big-eared bats are endangered, so their small numbers and limited distribution put the species at serious risk of becoming extinct in Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia if they become infected," said Loeb. "Rafinesque's big-eared bat is a rare species that hibernates in caves in the karst regions of North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. Thus they too could be infected with WNS and suffer dramatic declines. However, this species also roosts in large hollow trees and other structures in the coastal plain regions and may be safe from the disease in part of its range."... Loeb is among the many scientists actively studying the spread of WNS. Her research on bat migration will help in monitoring and predicting the spread of WNS in the South. She is also collaborating with partners in the public and private sectors to produce a searchable bat database that will enable researchers to better track populations in the East. The database will serve as a central repository that will provide new insights into bat distributions and movements, which is critical for understanding and predicting the spread of WNS.... The first case of the disease in the United States was reported in New York State in 2006. ...


But are canaries susceptible to WNS in those mines?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Apr 6, 2010
from Oregon State University, via EurekAlert:
Forest epidemic is unprecedented phenomenon, still getting worse
The Swiss needle cast epidemic in Douglas-fir forests of the coastal Pacific Northwest is continuing to intensify, appears to be unprecedented over at least the past 100 years, and is probably linked to the extensive planting of Douglas-fir along the coast and a warmer climate, new research concludes. Scientists in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University have also found that this disease, which is affecting hundreds of thousands of acres in Oregon and Washington and costing tens of millions of dollars a year in lost growth, can affect older trees as well as young stands - in some cases causing their growth to almost grind to a halt.... "We can't say yet whether climate change is part of what's causing these problems, but warmer conditions, milder winters and earlier springs would be consistent with that." Another key suspect, scientists say, is the planting for decades of a monoculture of Douglas-fir in replacement of coastal forests, which previously had trees of varying ages and different species. ...


Biodiversity is so messy. Monocultures are at least consistent.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Apr 4, 2010
from PhysOrg.com:
'Evil twin' threatens world oceans, scientists warn
"Ocean conditions are already more extreme than those experienced by marine organisms and ecosystems for millions of years," the researchers say in the latest issue of the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE). "This emphasises the urgent need to adopt policies that drastically reduce CO2 emissions." Ocean acidification, which the researchers call the 'evil twin of global warming', is caused when the CO2 emitted by human activity, mainly burning fossil fuels, dissolves into the oceans. It is happening independently of, but in combination with, global warming.... "Evidence gathered by scientists around the world over the last few years suggests that ocean acidification could represent an equal - or perhaps even greater threat - to the biology of our planet than global warming." ...


That's a greater theoretical threat, right?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 30, 2010
from LiveScience:
Mysterious Whale Die-Off Is Largest on Record
Mass death among baby right whales has experts scrambling to figure out the puzzle behind the largest great whale die-off on record. Observers have found 308 dead whales in the waters around Peninsula Valdes along Argentina's Patagonian Coast since 2005. Almost 90 percent of those deaths represent whale calves less than 3 months old, and the calf deaths make up almost a third of all right whale calf sightings in the last five years. "This is the single largest die-off event in terms of numbers and in relation to population size and geographic range," said Marcela Uhart, a medical veterinarian with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).... Only a few clues have emerged so far regarding the cause of death, such as unusually thin layers of blubber on some dead calves. Whale calves typically have lower chances of survival during their first year of life, but the high rate of death at Peninsula Valdes is unique. Southern right whales are baleen whales that filter their tiny prey from the water with their comb-like mouths.... ...


I wonder if they've checked the whale baleen for a plastic coating?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Mar 26, 2010
from Associated Press:
Death of Coral Reefs Could Devastate Nations
Coral reefs are dying, and scientists and governments around the world are contemplating what will happen if they disappear altogether. The idea positively scares them. Coral reefs are part of the foundation of the ocean food chain. Nearly half the fish the world eats make their homes around them. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide -- by some estimates, 1 billion across Asia alone -- depend on them for their food and their livelihoods. If the reefs vanished, experts say, hunger, poverty and political instability could ensue. ...


I feel such reef grief!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Feb 19, 2010
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Penguins in Antarctica to be replaced by jellyfish due to global warming
The results of the largest ever survey of Antarctic marine life reveal melting sea ice is decimating krill populations, which form an integral part of penguins' diets. The six-inch-long invertebrates, also eaten by other higher Southern Ocean predators such as whales and seals, are being replaced by smaller crustaceans known as copepods. These miniscule copepods, measuring just half a millimetre long, are too small for penguins but ideal for jellyfish and other similarly tentacled predators.... Any decrease in sea ice will inevitably affect the delicate balance of the Antarctic marine food chain. For creatures such as penguins who lives on the melting sea ice, a rise in temperatures will also shrink the size of their breeding grounds. ...


How do we film "March of the Jellyfish"?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Feb 15, 2010
from San Jose Mercury News:
Brown pelicans washing up dead and dying on California beaches
In an ocean mystery that is baffling marine biologists, at least 1,000 brown pelicans have turned up dead or in distress along California beaches during the past month, with hundreds overwhelming wildlife rescue centers from the Bay Area to San Diego. The popular birds, whose wing spans can reach 8 feet and who dramatically dive into ocean waters to scoop up fish, are widely reported to be hungry and disoriented. They also appear to have some kind of substance -- possibly a naturally occurring material from a red tide or other ocean conditions -- that is causing their feathers to lose insulation properties, exposing the birds' skin to cold water and hypothermia. ...


A red tide of brown birds.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Feb 7, 2010
from Dallas Morning News:
Climate change, pollution are suspects in rusty blackbirds' plummeting numbers
From North Texas to Florida, a high-pitched voice is strangely missing from the chatter of wintering birds. The rusty blackbird, a winter visitor to Dallas-Fort Worth, has suffered one of North America's steepest and least understood declines. Since 1970, scientists say, its numbers have plunged 85 percent to 99 percent. Experts have a lineup of suspects, including habitat changes, disease, climate change and mercury pollution. But they have no proof of what has pushed Euphagus carolinus toward an ecological brink here and across the continent. ...


Take these broken, rusty wings and learn to fly...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Feb 4, 2010
from BBC:
Climate change causes wolverine decline across Canada
The wolverine, a predator renowned for its strength and tenacious character, may be slowly melting away along with the snowpack upon which it lives. Research shows wolverine numbers are falling across North America. Their decline has been linked to less snow settling as a result of climate change. The study is the first to show a decline in the abundance of any land species due to vanishing snowpack.... In all bar the Yukon, he found that snowpack depth declined significantly between 1968 and 2004.... "It occurred to me that a good first place to look for ecological impacts of that snowpack decline would be with a snow-adapted species like the wolverine," Dr Brodie told the BBC. They found a striking correlation between declining snowpack and falling numbers of the predator. "In provinces where winter snowpack levels are declining fastest, wolverine populations tend to be declining most rapidly," the researchers wrote in the journal article. ...


Call the X-Men -- they'll want to solve that problem!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jan 29, 2010
from Detroit Free Press:
Fatal fish virus now in all of the Great Lakes
A fatal fish virus has been detected in Lake Superior for the first time, meaning it has spread to all the Great Lakes, Cornell University researchers said Wednesday. Scientists said they recently detected the viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, while testing fish in the largest of the Great Lakes. VHS has been identified in 28 freshwater fish species within the Great Lakes watershed since 2005, including sport and commercial varieties such as walleye, muskellunge and whitefish. It causes bleeding, bloated abdomens and bulging eyes in fish before killing them. Although not dangerous for humans, the virus has caused large fish kills in Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron. It also has turned up in Lake Michigan. ...


It's the bulging eyes that get me.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jan 27, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Remembering the White River fishkill
On Dec. 13, 1999, a white wall of foam came pouring out of the Anderson, Indiana, Wastewater Treatment Plant. A few days later, dead fish began to be discovered downriver, and by Christmas some 100,000 fish were estimated to be dead. Eventually, it was understood that aquatic life for 57 miles along the White River had been profoundly harmed, either completely killed or partially killed, including the death of 4.6 million fish. The source of the toxins: a discharge from Anderson-based Guide Corp., a factory that made automobile headlights.... Money was dispensed, remediation practices were put in place, and the White River was, ostensibly, restored. But it wasn't. I know because the White River is in my backyard. ...


This is my story, and you can read it.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jan 23, 2010
from Durango Herald:
Spruce beetle outbreak keeps growing
Beetles killed 70,000 acres of spruce trees last year, mostly in southern Colorado's high-altitude forests. Meanwhile, the mysterious die-off of aspen trees appears to have stabilized, according to a yearly survey of forest health that the Forest Service released Friday. Forest scientists now believe the aspen die-off was caused by last decade's drought. Aspen decline peaked in 2008 and increased very little last year, according to the annual aerial survey of Colorado forests. The spruce beetle epidemic, however, is growing with no signs of abatement. "There's really nothing to stop it," said Susan Gray of the U.S. Forest Service. "The winter temperatures continue to be very mild compared to a decade ago." ...


"Spruce things up" now means, apparently, "there's no hope."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jan 22, 2010
from Chambersburg PublicOpinion:
Bats dying from white nose syndrome; means trouble for farmers
Biologist Jim Hart said a devastated bat population will cost farmers and impact water quality. Bats sometimes eat their own weight in insects in a single day. That's about 2,000 mosquito-sized bugs. "They are worth their weight in gold," said Hart, a mammalogist with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. "They take an enormous toll on agricultural pests. If they all disappear, that's going to be a pretty bad scenario." Birds won't immediately eat all of the extra bugs, according to Hart. Populations of farm pests will increase quickly and farmers will respond by applying more pesticides, some of which will find their way to streams.... Wildlife biologists estimate that the disorder has killed 750,000 bats in the Northeast since it was first discovered in 2006 in New York. An estimated one million bats overwinter in hundreds of hibernacula across Pennsylvania. Science is ill-prepared for the crisis. "In general, we don't know enough about normal bats to know what's different in sick bats," Reeder said.... "The loss of one species is a big deal," Hart said. "The loss of a whole suite of species is a catastrophe. It scares biologists." They joke about taking up a career that has a future, like computer science. ...


Time for me to get a BugDeth™ distributorship!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jan 15, 2010
from London Independent:
42 tons of poison to purge island of rats
Lord Howe, an idyllic island off the Australian mainland, carefully conserves its natural treasures. The World Heritage-listed chunk of rock has strict quarantine laws, and limits the number of tourists who may visit. But its unique birds, insects and plants are under threat from an implacable foe: the black rat. Accidentally introduced in 1918 when a ship ran aground, rats are blamed for the extinction of five endemic bird species. Wildlife experts warn that 13 other native birds, two reptiles, five plants and numerous invertebrates are at risk. Rats are also a threat to the vital tourism industry, which relies on the island's pristine image.... Stephen Wills, chief executive of the Lord Howe Board, which administers the island as part of New South Wales, agrees that the plan -- which involves dropping nearly 42 tons of poison-laced bait from helicopters -- is radical. But there is no other option, he believes. ...


What could possibly go wrong with this?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 11, 2010
from BBC:
World's biodiversity 'crisis' needs action, says UN
Eight years ago, governments pledged to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, but the pledge will not be met. The expansion of human cities, farming and infrastructure is the main reason... "The urgency of the situation demands that as a global community we not only reverse the rate of loss, but that we stop the loss altogether and begin restoring the ecological infrastructure that has been damaged and degraded over the previous century or so," [Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)] said. The UN says that as natural systems such as forests and wetlands disappear, humanity loses the services they currently provide for free. ...


Nature should strongly consider charging for her services!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 11, 2010
from Edmonton Journal:
'It's like a death watch'
...Scientists who have been studying polar bears in the region, however, believe that this event, and seven other acts of cannibalism recorded in the area this fall, are more signs that climate change is taking its toll on the bears of western Hudson Bay. "I've been studying polar bears in this region for 35 years, and prior to this fall, I personally knew of only one cub, and two other adults that were victims of cannibalism in that time," says Ian Stirling, retired from the Canadian Wildlife Service and now an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta. "To get eight in one year is really dramatic, especially when the bears came off the ice this year in fairly good shape. Breakup was later this year than it has been for a few years, so they had the extra time to hunt seals and put on weight before the ice went out. But it apparently wasn't enough to sustain all of them until freeze-up, which was particularly late this year." ...


But I don't want to watch!!!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jan 7, 2010
from Highland News (UK):
Seabird decline is a disturbing trend
In many cases it seems there were so many birds that nothing could possibly adversely affect their numbers or breeding success. The drastic declines have been put down to a number of reasons, each with their supporters. The latest is the global warning issue which is in vogue these days. Amongst the many spin-offs, it has been blamed for the absence of sand eels in any numbers. The catastrophe this has caused with puffin chicks, amongst others, starving to death has been one of the more dramatic turn of events. However, there have been, and are, others with whole colonies of kittiwakes unable to produce any young to the flying stage and in many cases not even laying any eggs at all. The role of the piratical great skuas that have actually increased in numbers for several years also came to a head. These large, strong seabirds used to force other birds to give up their food but in recent years they have started eating the young of other birds, the adults and even the young of their own species. The increase in grey seals has also been highlighted by many, as has the invasion of rats to many colonies. Of course, nobody would dream of blaming us for over-fishing, despite it being the scandal of all time. ...


Seabirds may just need to constrain their expectations.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jan 7, 2010
from Yale 360:
Behind Mass Die-Offs, Pesticides Lurk as Culprit
Today, drips and puffs of pesticides surround us everywhere, contaminating 90 percent of the nation's major rivers and streams, more than 80 percent of sampled fish, and one-third of the nation's aquifers. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, fish and birds that unsuspectingly expose themselves to this chemical soup die by the millions every year. But as regulators grapple with the lethal dangers of pesticides, scientists are discovering that even seemingly benign, low-level exposures to pesticides can affect wild creatures in subtle, unexpected ways -- and could even be contributing to a rash of new epidemics pushing species to the brink of extinction. In the past dozen years, no fewer than three never-before-seen diseases have decimated populations of amphibians, bees, and -- most recently -- bats. A growing body of evidence indicates that pesticide exposure may be playing an important role in the decline of the first two species, and scientists are investigating whether such exposures may be involved in the deaths of more than 1 million bats in the northeastern United States over the past several years. ...


Aren't bats, frogs, and bugs simply pests anyway?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jan 2, 2010
from London Daily Telegraph:
We're losing the riches of the world
Species are now going extinct at between 1,000 and 10,000 times the natural rate. The consequences will be disastrous... Another year, another Year. After the official 2009 International Year of Natural Fibres -- following my favourite, the International Year of the Potato in 2008 -- we are now two days into the UN-designated International Year of Biodiversity. And though the celebrations of spuds and sisal may have happily passed you by, this one, I would suggest, is worth noticing. For a start, it marks one of the most spectacularly broken, but least-known, of all environmental promises. In 2001, EU heads of governments said they would aim to "halt" human destruction of the world's wildlife and wild places by 2010, and the next year world leaders, meeting at the Johannesburg Earth Summit, committed themselves to "a significant reduction" in the rate of loss by the same date. ...


Oops! Spaced out THAT one!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Dec 18, 2009
from University of California - Berkeley via ScienceDaily:
Mammals May Be Nearly Half Way Toward Mass Extinction
If the planet is headed for another mass extinction like the previous five, each of which wiped out more than 75 percent of all species on the planet, then North American mammals are one-fifth to one-half the way there, according to a University of California, Berkeley, and Pennsylvania State University analysis. Many scientists warn that the perfect storm of global warming and environmental degradation -- both the result of human activity is leading to a sixth mass extinction equal to the "Big Five" that have occurred over the past 450 million years, the last of which killed off the dinosaurs 68 million years ago. Yet estimates of how dire the current loss of species is have been hampered by the inability to compare species diversity today with the past. ...


Is "equal to" the best we can do?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Dec 17, 2009
from Burlington Free Press:
Northeast bat toll hits 90 percent
Only 10 percent of the Northeast's cave-dwelling bats have survived the massive die-offs associated with a powdery white fungal infection... On Oct. 26, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced six grants totaling $800,000 to support white-nose-syndrome prevention, eradication and decontamination projects. More than 40 research proposals, with a cumulative price tag of $4.8 million, were submitted, the service reported. Three days later, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced a $1.9 million appropriation to fund research into causes of and treatments for white-nose syndrome... A rise in mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses might raise the alert level, he said; as would increased insect damage to fruits and vegetables. ...


If we thought of bats as mosquito repellent, maybe there'd be more research money.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Dec 16, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
Koalas, penguins at risk of extinction: study
Climate change threatens the survival of dozens of animal species from the emperor penguin to Australian koalas, according to a report released Monday at the UN climate summit. Rising sea levels, ocean acidification and shrinking polar ice are taking a heavy toll on species already struggling to cope with pollution and shrinking habitats, said the study from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an intergovernmental group. "Humans are not the only ones whose fate is at stake here in Copenhagen -- some of our favourite species are also taking the fall for our CO2 emissions," said Wendy Foden, an IUCN researcher and co-author of the study. ...


To hell with our not-so-favourite ones.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Dec 12, 2009
from Canadian Press, via DesdemonaDespair:
Climate change played key role in B.C. sockeye stocks collapse, say scientists
Food-poor, predator-rich ocean waters caused by climate change likely played a significant role in decimating millions of sockeye salmon in British Columbia's Fraser River ahead of what was supposed to be a bumper year, says a scientific think tank. A group of more than 20 ocean and ecology experts gathered in Vancouver this week to discuss possible explanations for this year's salmon collapse and announced their assessment on Wednesday, saying they want to keep the issue afloat with a judicial inquiry approaching.... The federal Fisheries Department had estimated more than 10 million sockeye would return to the Fraser River this year, but only about one tenth of that figure showed up. ...


Actually, decimate means one in every ten dies, not nine in ten. I suspect the bears that bulk up for winter on salmon are at least decimated.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Dec 6, 2009
from Seattle Times:
Trying to crack an ocean mystery: What caused killer algal blooms?
The mysterious bird-killing algae that coated Washington's ocean beaches this fall with slimy foam was the biggest and longest-lasting harmful algal bloom to hit the Northwest coast. Now the phenomenon that killed at least 10,000 seabirds -- more than any known event of its kind -- has scientists consumed by questions: Was it a rogue occurrence, rarely if ever to be repeated, or a sign of some fundamental marine-world shift? And did we cause it?... The culprit this fall was a mushroom-shaped single-celled species, Akashiwo sanguinea, that has bloomed in Puget Sound, Chesapeake Bay and saltwater from Europe to Australia and Japan without incident. But something here this time caused the cells to multiply rapidly and break open in a toxic foam. ...


Ya gotta think the seabirds are pretty puzzled, too.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Nov 22, 2009
from BBC (UK):
Acid oceans leave fish at more risk from predators
Ocean acidification could cause fish to become "fatally attracted" to their predators, according to scientists. A team studying the effects of acidification - caused by dissolved CO2 - on ocean reefs found that it leaves fish unable to "smell danger". Young clownfish that were reared in the acidified water became attracted to rather than repelled by the chemical signals released by predatory fish.... In the test, the fish reared in normal water avoided the stream of water that their predators had been swimming in. They detected the odour of a predator and swam away from it. But, Ms Dixson said, fish raised in the more acidic water were strongly attracted to both the predatory and the non-predatory flumes. ...


Ocean acidification makes me a little crazy, too.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Nov 12, 2009
from Environmental Science and Technology:
Salt-loving algae wipe out fish in Appalachian stream
A salt-loving alga that killed tens of millions of fish in Texas has struck for the first time in an Appalachian stream that flows along the border of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Prymnesium parvum or "golden alga" caused the sudden death of thousands of fish, mussels, and salamanders in early September along some 30 miles of Dunkard Creek. University and government scientists fear the disaster could presage further kills in the region. Streams at risk due to high concentrations of total dissolved solids (TDS) include portions of the northern branch of the Potomac River and 20 other streams in West Virginia, according to state scientists. Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky also have many vulnerable rivers and streams, according to U.S. EPA scientists. ...


Golden Algae is the name of my cat!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 3, 2009
from BBC:
Species' extinction threat grows
More than a third of species assessed in a major international biodiversity study are threatened with extinction, scientists have warned. Out of the 47,677 species in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 17,291 were deemed to be at serious risk. These included 21 percent of all known mammals, 30 percent of amphibians, 70 percent of plants and 35 percent of invertebrates. Conservationists warned that not enough was being done to tackle the main threats, such as habitat loss. "The scientific evidence of a serious extinction crisis is mounting," warned Jane Smart, director of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Biodiversity Conservation Group. The latest analysis... shows that the 2010 target to reduce biodiversity loss will not be met," she added. ...


Looks like we're headed for a bio-mono-verse world.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Oct 20, 2009
from University of Adelaide via ScienceDaily:
Conservation: Minimum Population Size Targets Too Low To Prevent Extinction?
Conservation biologists are setting their minimum population size targets too low to prevent extinction. That's according to a new study by University of Adelaide and Macquarie University scientists which has shown that populations of endangered species are unlikely to persist in the face of global climate change and habitat loss unless they number around 5000 mature individuals or more....Conservation biologists worldwide are battling to prevent a mass extinction event in the face of a growing human population and its associated impact on the planet. ...


Can we pleeeeze not use the word "targets" in these kinds of stories?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Oct 4, 2009
from London Guardian:
Arctic seas turn to acid, putting vital food chain at risk
Carbon-dioxide emissions are turning the waters of the Arctic Ocean into acid at an unprecedented rate, scientists have discovered. Research carried out in the archipelago of Svalbard has shown in many regions around the north pole seawater is likely to reach corrosive levels within 10 years. The water will then start to dissolve the shells of mussels and other shellfish and cause major disruption to the food chain. By the end of the century, the entire Arctic Ocean will be corrosively acidic....About a quarter of the carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by factories, power stations and cars now ends up being absorbed by the oceans. That represents more than six million tonnes of carbon a day. This carbon dioxide dissolves and is turned into carbonic acid, causing the oceans to become more acidic. "We knew the Arctic would be particularly badly affected when we started our studies but I did not anticipate the extent of the problem," said Gattuso. ...


Oy. Speaking of acid, my stomach is killing me!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Oct 3, 2009
from London Independent:
The great drought: Disaster looms in East Africa
On the plains of Marsabit the heat is so intense the bush seems to shiver. The leafless scrub, bleached white by the sun, looks like a forest of fake Christmas trees. Carcasses of cattle and camels are strewn about the burnt red dirt in every direction. Siridwa Baseli walks out of the haze along a path of the dead and dying. He passes a skeletal cow that has given up and collapsed under a thorn tree. A nomad from the Rendille people, he is driving his herd in search of water... Across East Africa an extraordinary drought is drying up rivers, and grasslands, scorching crops and threatening millions of people with starvation. In Kenya, the biggest and most robust economy in the region, the rivers that feed its great game reserves have run dry and since the country relies on hydropower, electricity is now rationed in the cities. ...


The Apocalypse brings out the poet in us all.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Oct 1, 2009
from London Times:
Every species on the planet documented in new report
Almost 10 per cent of known species are threatened with extinction, according to the first comprehensive study of the world's wildlife. Polar bears, whose habitat is threatened by melting ice, and Tasmanian devils, which have been pushed to the brink of extinction by a cancer, are just two of the tens of thousands of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians that are in danger. The report, The Number of Living Species in Australia and the World , published by the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS), says that 9.2 per cent of known animal species are endangered by habitat loss, climate change and other pressures. More than a fifth of of all known mammals are endangered, as are 29 per cent of amphibians and 12 per cent of birds, according to the study, the result of an international effort to catalogue every known current and extinct species of plant and animal. ...


It'll be nice to have that catalogue handy when we rue the loss of these species...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Sep 30, 2009
from Royal Gazette (Bermuda):
Expert warns against eating sickly fish
Dr. Vogelbein said: "It's always the big question, 'are the fish safe to eat?' I think common sense should be used. People who fish know what a healthy fish looks like. "Those are safe to eat. But a fish which has ulcers on it [such as a lack of scales and blood on the skin] should not be." ... But he said the die-off was concerning as it shed light on a variety of environmental factors, as well an infection, that appeared to be causing the die-off. ... He said there seemed to be environmental factors leading to the death of the fish but added: "Some of the fish are showing skin ulcers and some of the fish are also showing signs of infections in their gills. "There appears to be an organism playing a role. We have been able to isolate some bacterial organism." Dr. Vogelbein also said that a weakened immune system due to high water temperatures could be causing fish to react negatively to bacteria regularly found in the ocean. ...


Talk to me, buddy. Are you sick?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Sep 25, 2009
from The Economist:
A catastrophe is looming
THIS year's drought is the worst in east Africa since 2000, and possibly since 1991. Famine stalks the land. The failure of rains in parts of Ethiopia may increase the number needing food handouts by 5m, in addition to the 8m already getting them, in a population of 80m... In Mwingi district, in Kenya's Kamba region, the crops have totally failed. Villagers are surviving on monthly government handouts of maize-meal, rice and a little cooking oil. Worse than the hunger, say local leaders, is the thirst. People are digging wells by hand, but they hit rock... Meteorologists reckon the rains due in October and November will be heavier than usual. That would be good, if the east African authorities were prepared. But they are not. Mud slides and floods are likely, with streams and rivers carrying off the topsoil. Malaria and cholera may increase. Surviving cattle, weakened by drought, will drown or die of cold. ...


Afrocalypse!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Sep 22, 2009
from Wyoming Tribune Eagle, from Desdemona Despair:
Beetle attack to change our [forests and] world
The tree looks alive, but it probably won't be for long. The brown cadavers of lodgepoles past stand among smaller, greener pines, testifying to the unavoidable truth: Change -- big change -- is coming. "The general feeling is this will end when the food supply runs out," Frost says. Looking out on the variegated landscape of greens, reds and browns, two things become clear. One: This is one of the biggest ecological changes we have ever seen. It's daunting and scary and -- for the experts -- exciting all at the same time. A plague of beetles, including one that just now is taking its turn, is cutting a swath through the national forests in north-central Colorado and into Wyoming. At the low end, it's possible that just 10 percent of large lodgepole pines will be left. It's also possible that they all will be gone. But other and smaller trees suddenly are being chewed up as well. Where that leads remains to be seen. The implications of all this are impossible to pin down, but they could affect each and every one of us. They possibly include an increase in global warming, large-scale wildfires and big changes in water supply. And then there is this fact: These forests will never look the same again. Two: This change is inevitable. Try as we might, there's no stopping it. ...


What a lot of carbon-offsets waiting to be planted!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Sep 14, 2009
from Seattle Times:
Bat experts watch health of Northwest colonies
"We don't expect it to be here already," Ormsbee said. "But we need to start doing surveillance early." More than 1 million bats already have perished in what one expert described as the most precipitous decline in American wildlife in recorded history. Extinctions are likely if the white-nose disease continues to spread, and could lead to a population explosion of mosquitoes and other insect pests normally held in check by the winged predators.... First discovered in 2006 in a popular tourist cave in New York state, white-nose syndrome has spread to hundreds of sites in nine states. Marked by a powdery, white fungus on the bats' noses and wings, the infection can kill 95 percent or more of hibernating animals in a cave. "When I talk to colleagues back East, they tell me they go into these caves and they cry," said Greg Falxa, a bat biologist with Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia. "They can't walk without stepping on dead bats."... ...


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the ghost of the bats of yesteryear.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Sep 3, 2009
from Press of Atlantic City:
Aficionados miss butterfly's effects
This scene is a far cry from spring and early June, when Sutton, a retired naturalist, literally saw no butterflies. It was the first time Sutton had seen such a scarcity in her 30 years of butterfly watching, and they did not return in large numbers to her garden until early August. Sutton observed a similar shortage in parts of Cumberland County in late June... "It was spooky," she said during a recent garden tour. "We should have been seeing a lot more of them, and there was one of this, one of that."... "I don't think we've ever seen anything like the response we've gotten this year, unsolicited, about the dearth of butterflies," Glassberg said. "It's pretty clear (the loss) is real."... The heavy mosquito boom this year prompted government officials and homeowners to spray malathion to kill adult insects. Sutton and fellow survey volunteer Jackie Parker, of Beachwood, Ocean County, fear the pesticide could have harmed butterflies. ...


When a butterfly doesn't flap its wings, is the world also changed?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Sep 3, 2009
from Connecticut Post:
Lobster population decline prompts stricter protections
Gus Bertolf Jr. and his father returned to their Cos Cob dock last week with about $200 worth of conch, their new cash crop in the continued aftermath of a lobster die-off that began in the late 1990s, they said. Since 1998, they have found few lobsters large enough to catch legally while trolling from the New York state line to the western end of Stamford. The futility sometimes causes them to question their investment in diesel fuel, bait and time. "We caught one legal-sized lobster today, but we threw it back," Gus Bertolf Sr. said, standing on the deck of the boat Island Girl. "What's going on is discouraging." To restore a lobster population decimated in the die-off, the Bertolfs said more aggressive intervention is needed to eliminate what they believe is the illegal harvesting of egg-bearing female lobsters and curb damage caused by commercial clam dredges disturbing the sea floor. "How are lobsters supposed to breed with the dredges coming through every day?" the younger Bertolf said. "The state has to take greater action to protect the resource, and the clamming industry has to find a better way besides the dredge. ...


Not to worry! There's plenty of lobster somewhere else.
Right?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Aug 28, 2009
from Desdemona Despair:
Northeast bat extinctions looming, with 1.5 Million Dead -- white-nose disease to reach U.S. West by 2012
Mounting evidence that several species of bats have been all but eliminated from the Northeast due to a new disease known as white-nose syndrome prompted a conservation group to send a letter today to Sam Hamilton, the new director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, urging that action on the bat epidemic be his first priority.... hite-nose syndrome - so named because of the fungal growth around bats' muzzles - has spread to nine states and killed an estimated 1.5 million bats. Bats from New England to West Virginia are now affected by the illness, and scientists fear that this coming winter the syndrome will show up in Kentucky and Tennessee, where some of the largest bat colonies in the world are located. "Scientists are saying this disease could be on the West Coast in two to three years, at the rate it is spreading," said Mollie Matteson, a wildlife biologist and conservation advocate for the Center in its Richmond, Vermont office. "Some scientists are even warning that under a worst-case scenario, we may lose all bats in North America. Such a tragedy could have disastrous consequences for agriculture and ecosystems because of the role of bats in insect control and pollination." ...


Flap-flap has gone flip-flop.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Aug 19, 2009
from Press-Enterprise (CA):
10 million to 15 million fish die in Lake Elsinore
An estimated 10 million to 15 million tiny baitfish went belly up at Lake Elsinore last weekend, the worst fish die-off since 2002, officials said. Piles of dead threadfin shad still clogged the lake's shoreline Tuesday. In some spots, the stench was overpowering for drivers who had the misfortune of rolling down their windows down near the lake. Mass fish die-offs have been a historic problem at Lake Elsinore, more so than at other Inland lakes. A shallow, naturally occurring lake about 20 miles northwest of Temecula, Lake Elsinore is replenished by runoff and recycled water, unlike other area lakes that are actually man-made reservoirs and have water imported through aqueducts.... [T]he deaths appeared to come from a combination of the seasonal shrinking of the lake due to evaporation, an increase in water temperature to about 80 degrees and possibly an algae bloom. ...


Not apocalyptic... unless you're a shad in Lake Elsinore.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Aug 15, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Species Discoved, Species Extinguished
We are in the middle of a golden age for discovering new wildlife around the globe. And, at the same time, we are bringing about the greatest toll of extinctions in some 65 million years. Not since the death of the dinosaurs have so many species been dying out so fast. Scientists increasingly believe – as Lord May, the former president of the Royal Society, has put it -- that "we are on the breaking tip of a sixth great wave of extinction in the history of life on Earth". And yet scientific collections and reference volumes are bulging as never before, as more and more species are found, described and named.... And just this week, WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) announced that 100 new animal and 250 plant species had been identified over the last decade in the eastern Himalayas alone. Yet the scientists excitedly adding to our knowledge are merely trying to hobble up a downward escalator that is rapidly accelerating: we are losing species infinitely faster than we are finding them.... And for every new discovery ... hundreds of species perish before they are ever found. Like the death toll, the consequences are incalculable. ...


One step forward, a hundred steps back?

ApocaDoc
permalink

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!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jul 20, 2009
from YouTube, et al.:
'Doc Michael lets loose the dogs of fear
In June of 2009, I gave what I consider my most important speech to date, at the Association of American University Presses' annual meeting. It was the last presentation in the last Plenary session of the meeting, and allowed me to talk about the two issues that matter most to me: saving scholarly publishing, and saving civilization. In 16 minutes. My friend Paul Murphy, of RAND Publishing, took guerrilla video footage of most of the speech, and then edited my Powerpoint in, bless his heart. It is available below, via YouTube. (Thanks, Paul!)... "But CO2 does something much worse. While we bicker with global-warming deniers, the ocean is getting more acidic. Excess CO2 plus ocean produces carbonic acid. Ocean acidification is a clear and present danger. A slight rise in acidity dramatically affects calcium-carbonate-based lifeforms, like most plankton, shellfish, and coral, the cornerstones of the ocean biosphere.... If, over the next decade, humans continue doing what we have done for the last fifty years, then we will construct our own hell, and our grandchildren will curse our names." ...


Does a speech count as news, even from the heart, if it happens at a conference? Of scholarly publishers?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jul 3, 2009
from New Scientist:
Meadows of the sea in 'shocking' decline
Seagrass meadows are disappearing at an accelerating pace, according to a new report, which is the first to look at the problem on a global scale. Seagrass meadows, along with coral reefs, mangrove forests, and salt-marshes, provide valuable ecosystem services like nutrient cycling. They also protect edible crustaceans, like shrimps and crabs, and juvenile fish such as salmon. In addition, seagrass meadows provide habitats for endangered species like dugongs, manatees, and sea turtles. While marine ecologists have been measuring localized seagrass loss for decades, they had never before pooled their information to get a global perspective. So a team led by Michelle Waycott of James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland, Australia pooled data from 215 regional studies, from 1879 to 2006. They found that the total area of known seagrass meadow had decreased by 29 per cent over the 127 years. They also found that the rate of loss had accelerated, from less than 1 per cent per year in the 1940s to 7 per cent per year since the 1990s.... Overall, the rate of loss is comparable to that for tropical rainforests and coral reefs. ...


Those meadows are probably having problems because we're not mowing them often enough.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jun 27, 2009
from Western Morning News (UK):
Marine life 'at risk' from CO2
THE Arctic Ocean could become corrosive to marine life within a matter of decades, according to leading scientists who will be attending a critical meeting in Plymouth next week. More than 100 marine scientists specialising in ocean acidification will gather at the Plymouth University on Monday to discuss their research into the dramatic effects of excess carbon dioxide being absorbed from the atmosphere into the oceans. Ocean acidification, often referred to as "the other C02 problem", is a relatively recently recognised consequence of C02 emissions and threatens to corrode shell or skeleton-forming marine organisms. The oceans are a natural sink for C02 and, because of their sheer collective size, were once thought too big to be affected by humans.... Dr Carol Turley, senior scientist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, said: "Ocean acidification is real, it's happening and it's happening now, so it is essential for us to gain as much insight as possible to help us understand and plan for the effects that are inevitable. "Even small changes are likely to have major impacts on the ocean and its food webs, including the oxygen we breathe and the fish we eat, and that means it will affect all of us." ...


"The other CO2 problem"??

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jun 12, 2009
from University of Alberta via ScienceDaily:
Caribou, Reindeer Numbers Show Dramatic Decline
Caribou and reindeer numbers worldwide have plunged almost 60 percent in the last three decades. The dramatic revelation came out of the first ever comprehensive census analysis of this iconic species carried out by biologists at the University of Alberta. The results have recently been published in the peer reviewed Global Change Biology Journal and co-author PhD student Liv Vors said global warming and industrial development are responsible for driving this dramatic decline in species numbers around the world. Vors, who is studying under Dr Mark Boyce, Alberta Conservation Association Chair in Fisheries and Wildlife at the University of Alberta, says the decline raises serious concerns not only for the animals, but also for people living in northern latitudes who depend on the animals for their livelihood. ...


Who cares? Those dang reindeer wouldn't let me play in their games anyway.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jun 10, 2009
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Scientists: Global warming has already changed oceans
In Washington state, oysters in some areas haven't reproduced for four years, and preliminary evidence suggests that the increasing acidity of the ocean could be the cause. In the Gulf of Mexico, falling oxygen levels in the water have forced shrimp to migrate elsewhere.... Federal studies also found acidity levels in the North Pacific and off Alaska are unusually high compared to other ocean regions. The high acidity is already taking a toll of such tiny species as pteropods, which are an important food for salmon and other fish. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, billions of tons of carbon dioxide from smokestacks and vehicle tailpipes are absorbed by the oceans. The result is carbonic acid, which dilutes the "rich soup" of calcium carbonate in the seawater that many species, especially on the low end of the food chain, thrive in... ...


Pthose wreptched, ptiny pteropods.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jun 6, 2009
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Deadly bat disease spreading fast, scientists warn lawmakers
A mysterious disease that's killing tens of thousands of bats in the Northeast is spreading so fast that it could reach California within five years, biologists and officials of the Agriculture and Interior departments told lawmakers Thursday. Never in my wildest imagination would I have dreamed of anything that could pose this serious a threat to America's bats," Merlin Tuttle , a biologist with Bat Conservation International who's studied the creatures for 50 years, told two House of Representatives subcommittees.... The disease, called "white-nose syndrome," makes bats awaken from hibernation prematurely and leave their caves. Freezing, unable to find insects to eat, they fall from the sky and die. ...


If this isn't one of the Seven Signs of the Apocalypse, then it's time to add one.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, May 28, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Prince Charles says world in 'last chance saloon' to stop climate change
Prince Charles, a long-term environmentalist, said that while global warming is set to cause "the extinction of millions of species and organisms", the majority of people are not willing to take action to prevent temperatures rising. Addressing the Nobel Laureates Symposium at St James's Palace in London, he said: "I don't know about your own experience, but it seems to me that whilst there is now only a mercifully small (if vociferous) number of people who do not accept the science of climate change and who should know better, there are still a great many who fail to recognise the real urgency of the situation.... We know about energy efficiency, renewable energy, and how to reduce deforestation, to name but a few, but we seem strangely reluctant to apply them. I fear that this hesitation will have catastrophic consequences."... ...


The real question: When is last call?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, May 19, 2009
from UPI:
Study predicts worldwide coral catastrophe
An Australian-led World Wild Life study predicts worldwide catastrophic losses of coral by the end of this century due to climate change. The WWF-commissioned study, led by University of Queensland Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, determined coral reefs could disappear entirely from the Coral Triangle region of the Pacific Ocean, thereby threatening the food supply and livelihoods for about 100 million people. Researchers said averting such a catastrophe will depend on quick and effective global action on climate change, as well as implementation of regional solutions to problems of over-fishing and pollution.... ...


Quick and effective global action. That's all.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 27, 2009
from London Guardian:
Call for 20-year fishing ban in a third of oceans
One third of the world's oceans must be closed to fishing for 20 years if depleted stocks are to recover, scientists and conservation groups have warned. Callum Roberts, professor of marine conservation at the University of York, has reviewed 100 scientific papers identifying the scale of closure needed. "All are leaning in a similar direction," he said, "which is that 20-40 percent of the sea should be protected." Friends of the Earth, the Marine Conservation Society and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds all support the idea of a 30 percent closure. ...


Can't you just see it? Giant No Fishin' signs placed all over the planet!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Apr 25, 2009
from Daily Wildcat (Arizona):
Pinon Pine and Climate Change
Researchers at the UA Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department, successfully isolated the impact of increasing temperature on the pinon pine, one of North America's most abundant species of pine tree, and the experiment produced some worrisome results. "Widespread die-off of pinon pine throughout the southwest will occur five times faster in future droughts if the climate warms by four degrees Celsius," said Henry Adams, the lead researcher of the experiment. This equates to a 28 percent higher die-off rate than trees that were used as a control at cooler temperatures. "The increased mortality rate of pinon pines due to higher temperatures will increase the release of carbon into the atmosphere, affect erosion rates and increase the likelihood of forest fires in the southwestern United States," Adams said. ...


I'd suggest badgebuttons that read "Save the Pinon," but it'd get misinterpreted.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Apr 25, 2009
from Mother Jones:
Gone: Mass Extinction and the Hazards of Earth's Vanishing Biodiversity
...Throughout the 20th century the causes of extinction -- habitat degradation, overexploitation, agricultural monocultures, human-borne invasive species, human-induced climate change -- amplified exponentially, until now in the 21st century the rate is nothing short of explosive. The World Conservation Union's Red List-- a database measuring the global status of Earth's 1.5 million scientifically named species -- tells a haunting tale of unchecked, unaddressed, and accelerating biocide. When we hear of extinction, most of us think of the plight of the rhino, tiger, panda, or blue whale. But these sad sagas are only small pieces of the extinction puzzle. The overall numbers are terrifying. Of the 40,168 species that the 10,000 scientists in the World Conservation Union have assessed, 1 in 4 mammals, 1 in 8 birds, 1 in 3 amphibians, 1 in 3 conifers and other gymnosperms are at risk of extinction. The peril faced by other classes of organisms is less thoroughly analyzed, but fully 40 percent of the examined species of planet Earth are in danger, including up to 51 percent of reptiles, 52 percent of insects, and 73 percent of flowering plants. ...


This planet is gonna be like a ghost town.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Apr 19, 2009
from Chapel Hill News:
Biosolids concerns bubble to surface
Nancy Holt bulldozed trees and blocked the path to the creek behind her house after her grandson and his friend went wading in the water and got staph infections. Myra Dotson developed red bumps on her knees and forearms after gardening. When they became infected, a doctor diagnosed her with MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant "super bug." Both women blame the infections on sewage sludge applied on nearby fields. Now an advisory board's concerns are raising questions the county had hoped to begin answering two years ago. ...


This is tantamount to pissing in the wind.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Apr 19, 2009
from Seattle Times:
Toxic marshes deadly to swans: Coeur d'Alene River laden with lead from Silver Valley mining
Even near death, tundra swans are graceful. Snowy necks arch and flex as the birds -- victims of lead poisoning -- gasp for breath. Wings rise and fall in rhythmic sweeps, but the birds are too weak to take flight. Their cries are soft, trilling sounds. Each spring, thousands of tundra swans stop in the marshes along the Coeur d'Alene River as they migrate north to breeding grounds in Alaska. Some never make it out of the marsh. As they feed on roots and tubers, the swans swallow sediment polluted with heavy metals from mining waste. At high enough levels, the lead shuts down their digestive systems, causing the swans to gasp for air as food backs up into the esophagus and presses against the windpipe. The birds grow emaciated, starving to death on full bellies. ...


These canaries are tortured in the coal mine.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Apr 11, 2009
from Louisville Courier-Journal:
Ky., In. key contributors to 'dead zone'
Louisville and the state's Bluegrass region are among the likely sources of pollution runoff that have marked Kentucky as one of the top contributors to the Gulf of Mexico's oxygen-depleted "dead zone," according to a new federal study. Building on work released last year that placed Kentucky and Indiana among nine states contributing 75 percent of excess nutrients into the Gulf, a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey identifies watersheds that are most likely to blame.... In the Gulf, an overabundance of nutrients has led to an oxygen-depleted area that has grown to the size of New Jersey. Fish and other aquatic life suffocate if they can't reach better water, threatening the valuable Gulf fishery that supplies many restaurants and kitchens. ...


Try my new product: Aqualungs for aquatic life!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 6, 2009
from The Calcutta Telegraph:
Foul air hits below the belt
Calcutta's male population is losing the power to procreate with every breath of foul air, according to an Indo-American study of infertility patterns in the city over two decades. Toxic fumes belched out by vehicles are not only responsible for sore throats and damaged lungs and hearts but also "a significant decline" in male fertility since the 80s, says the report on the basis of laboratory studies of sperm samples collected more than 20 years apart. ...


Predictably, Vasectomies "R" Us is going out of business.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Apr 5, 2009
from Calcutta Telegraph:
Tiger prey to rising waves
The tiger may once have ruled the jungles. But now it is being forced to surrender to many things, including climate change. According to a recent finding, climate change is threatening to push the Royal Bengal Tiger on the verge of extinction in 60 years. A recent study carried out on tigers in the Sunderbans by the US unit of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has predicted that the tiger population would significantly reduce as a direct fall-out of climate change and corresponding rise in the sea level. ...


Another poster child for species collapse.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Apr 4, 2009
from TIME Magazine:
The New Age of Extinction
...There have been five extinction waves in the planet's history ā€” including the Permian extinction 250 million years ago, when an estimated 70 percent of all terrestrial animals and 96 percent of all marine creatures vanished, and, most recently, the Cretaceous event 65 million years ago, which ended the reign of the dinosaurs. Though scientists have directly assessed the viability of fewer than 3 percent of the world's described species, the sample polling of animal populations so far suggests that we may have entered what will be the planet's sixth great extinction wave. And this time the cause isn't an errant asteroid or megavolcanoes. It's us... Through our growing numbers, our thirst for natural resources and, most of all, climate change ā€” which, by one reckoning, could help carry off 20 percent to 30 percent of all species before the end of the century ā€” we're shaping an Earth that will be biologically impoverished. A 2008 assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature found that nearly 1 in 4 mammals worldwide was at risk for extinction... ...


Do androids dream of electric Tasmanian devils?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Mar 19, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
Global warming leaving its mark on polar bears
Potentially fatal to the polar bear, global warming has already left its mark on the species with smaller, less robust bears that are increasingly showing cannibalistic tendencies. Top experts who gathered this week in Tromsoe in northern Norway to discuss ways of protecting the species sounded alarm bells over the dramatic consequences of the melting ice... The primary observation is that as the sea ice shrinks away, so are the polar bears -- they're not growing as big as they used to. In Canada's Hudson Bay, home to a large polar bear population, the ice season is now three weeks shorter than it was 30 years ago, chipping away at the bears' opportunity to hunt seals, their primary source of food and an essential source of fat needed for their long summer fast. ...


Climate chaos ... may make cannibals of us all.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Mar 18, 2009
from National Geographic:
The Vanishing
We are witnessing a mass extinction. An exotic fungus is delivering the fatal blow to many amphibians already hit by habitat loss, pollution, and climate change... Frogs and toads, salamanders and newts, wormlike (and little-known) caecilians—these are the class Amphibia: cold-blooded, creeping, hopping, burrowing creatures of fairy tale, biblical plague, proverb, and witchcraft. Medieval Europe saw frogs as the devil; for ancient Egyptians they symbolized life and fertility; and for children through the ages they have been a slippery introduction to the natural world. To scientists they represent an order that has weathered over 300 million years to evolve into more than 6,000 singular species, as beautiful, diverse—and imperiled—as anything that walks, or hops, the Earth. Amphibians are among the groups hardest hit by today's many strikes against wildlife. As many as half of all species are under threat. Hundreds are sliding toward extinction, and dozens are already lost. The declines are rapid and widespread, and their causes complex... ...


Rest in ribbit!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Mar 18, 2009
from Hartford Courant:
Fungus Kills About 90 Percent Of Connecticut's Bats
White-nose syndrome, the mysterious plague that is decimating the Northeast's bats, killed off about 90 percent of Connecticut's bats over the winter and is now galloping across the country so quickly that it threatens the nation's -- and probably the world's -- largest bat populations in the American South.... Dickson's team of wildlife experts found thousands of dead bats floating like dead fish in standing water, or stacked on top of each other along the flat ledges of the cave walls. "It was grim, and you don't have to be a scientist to realize the implications for the environment inside those caves," said Dickson. "This is a massive, unprecedented die-off, with significant potential impacts on nature, especially insect control." ... Dickson said Tuesday that the disease has hit hard among little brown bats and northern long-eared bats, which are the ones most commonly seen in Connecticut, but that it has spread to other species as well.... Even if the cause of white-nose syndrome is identified soon, the damage to the bat population has already been substantial. "This is a species that reproduces very slowly and that lives very long for the wildlife world -- many bats survive for 30 years," Dickson said. ...


I'm so glad that we had nothing to do with this. Right?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Mar 14, 2009
from New York Times:
Scientist: Warming Could Cut Population to 1 Billion
COPENHAGEN — A scientist known for his aggressive stance on climate policy made an apocalyptic prediction on Thursday. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, said that if the buildup of greenhouse gases and its consequences pushed global temperatures 9 degrees Fahrenheit higher than today — well below the upper temperature range that scientists project could occur from global warming — Earth’s population would be devastated...“In a very cynical way, it’s a triumph for science because at last we have stabilized something –- namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people,” said Dr. Schellnhuber... ...


Maybe we should just draw straws now and get it over with.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Mar 13, 2009
from Vietnamnet, via Desdemona Despair:
Hanoi: massive fish die-off
A woman who lives on the bank of the Nhue River, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Sen, on Thanh Binh Street, Ha Dong city, said she had never seen so many dead fish as she has this year. Previously, there was dead river fish on Nhue River, but not this strong species of fish. Fish also die in abundance in many lakes in Hanoi, such as Linh Dam, Dinh Cong and Me Tri. Local residents are very worried about the phenomenon. In Ha Dong, the Nhue River's water has turned black with scum. "Perhaps this is oil scum discharged from factories located in the riverhead," Sen guessed.... "We are working together with local authorities to quickly solve the problem," Binh said. ...


I'm sure the dead fish will appreciate the swift response.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 10, 2009
from London Guardian:
Carbon emissions creating acidic oceans not seen since dinosaurs
Human pollution is turning the seas into acid so quickly that the coming decades will recreate conditions not seen on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs, scientists will warn today. The rapid acidification is caused by the massive amounts of carbon dioxide belched from chimneys and exhausts that dissolve in the ocean. The chemical change is placing "unprecedented" pressure on marine life such as shellfish and lobsters and could cause widespread extinctions, the experts say. The study, by scientists at Bristol University, will be presented at a special three-day summit of climate scientists in Copenhagen, which opens today. The conference is intended to update the science of global warming and to shock politicians into taking action on carbon emissions. The Bristol scientists cannot talk about their unpublished results until they are announced later today. But a summary of the findings seen by the Guardian predicts "dangerous" levels of ocean acidification and severe consequences for organisms called marine calcifiers, which form chalky shells. ...


And in those days, cavemen had no means of recording this phenomenon.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 9, 2009
from Reuters:
Rising ocean acidity cutting shell weights - study
Acidifying oceans caused by rising carbon dioxide levels are cutting the shell weights of tiny marine animals in a process that could accelerate global warming, a scientist said on Monday. William Howard of the University of Tasmania in Australia described the findings as an early-warning signal, adding the research was the first direct field evidence of marine life being affected by rising acidity of the oceans. Oceans absorb large amounts of CO2 emitted by mankind through the burning of fossil fuels. The Southern Ocean between Australia and Antarctica is the largest of the ocean carbon sinks. But scientists say the world's oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb more planet-warming CO2, disrupting the process of calcification used by sea creatures to build shells as well as coral reefs. ...


Maybe they can just buy their shells at Shells "R" Us!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Mar 8, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
The toxic sea: the other CO2 problem
They are calling it "the other CO2 problem". Its victim is not the polar bear spectacularly marooned on a melting ice floe, or an eagle driven out of its range, nor even a French pensioner dying of heatstroke. What we have to mourn are tiny marine organisms dissolving in acidified water. In fact we need to do rather more than just mourn them. We need to dive in and save them. Suffering plankton may not have quite the same cachet as a 700-kilo seal-eating mammal, but their message is no less apocalyptic. What they tell us is that the chemistry of the oceans is changing, and that, unless we act decisively, the limitless abundance of the sea within a very few decades will degrade into a useless tidal desert. ... On average, each person on Earth contributes a tonne of carbon to the oceans every year. The result is a rapid rise in acidity -- or a reduction in pH, as the scientists prefer to express it -- which, as it intensifies, will mean that marine animals will be unable to grow shells, and that many sea plants will not survive. With these crucial links removed, and the ecological balance fatally disrupted, death could flow all the way up the food chain, through tuna and cod to marine mammals and Homo sapiens. As more than half the world's population depends on food from the sea for its survival, this is no exaggeration. ...


It's just a little evolutionary pressure. Come on, species, get with it!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Feb 26, 2009
from USFS, via EurekAlert:
Study finds hemlock trees dying rapidly, affecting forest carbon cycle
Otto, NC -- New research by U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientists and partners suggests the hemlock woolly adelgid is killing hemlock trees faster than expected in the southern Appalachians and rapidly altering the carbon cycle of these forests.... Eastern hemlock, a keystone species in the streamside forests of the southern Appalachian region, is already experiencing widespread decline and mortality because of hemlock woolly adelgid (a tiny nonnative insect) infestation. The pest has the potential to kill most of the region's hemlock trees within the next decade. As a native evergreen capable of maintaining year-round transpiration rates, hemlock plays an important role in the ecology and hydrology of mountain ecosystems.... The authors suggest that infrequent frigid winter temperatures in the southern Appalachians may not be enough to suppress adelgid populations. ...


But at least we'll have one fewer means of suicide!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Feb 24, 2009
from New Scientist:
Lizards will roast in a warming world
GLOBAL warming is set to make life distinctly uncomfortable for reptiles and other cold-blooded animals. Unable to produce heat, they rely on strategies such as moving from colder to warmer areas to function. Soon that might not be an option for tropical species. Many species will need to adapt to climate change to survive, so Michael Kearney of the University of Melbourne, Australia, and his team designed a model to get an idea of how cold-blooded species, or ectotherms, would fare. They make up the majority of the world's species. The researchers first assessed how an ectotherm's body temperature would change with body shape and colour, and surrounding environment. They then used satellite data to model wind speed, shade and air temperature in a warmer world. For most ectotherms, a body temperature of 30 to 35 degrees C is ideal, with performance declining at higher and lower temperatures. Above 40 degrees C can be lethal. Kearney's model showed that on a summer's day in the shade, a 3 degrees C rise in average temperature - the mid-range estimate for the end of this century - would send the body temperature of ectotherms in Australia's tropical deserts over 40 degrees C for at least an hour... ...


On the plus side... they will have cooked themselves for my dinner!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Feb 24, 2009
from National Geographic News:
How TB Jumps From Humans to Wildlife -- Vet Seeks Clues
...one sunny day in June 2000, [Kathleen Alexander] encountered a different problem: two banded mongooses, so thin their ribs stuck out, wandering around the sand pit where the children liked to play. These groundhog-sized animals are common through sub-Saharan Africa, but they run away from humans. Alarmingly, these mongooses weren't afraid of her. "It was clear they were sick," she recalled.... Alexander trapped one of the animals and tested it. Her tests revealed it was sick with tuberculosis--the human version. For the first time, free-range wild animals were confirmed to have contracted a human disease. Banded mongooses aren't in danger of going extinct. They live across southern Africa in large numbers. But if a disease can jump from humans to one wild animal, it could do the same with others. A new human disease could be disastrous for an endangered species. That includes a lot of primates. Since they're so closely related to humans, it's not hard for them to get our diseases. ...


As if we have not troubled the beasts enough...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Feb 10, 2009
from Washington Post:
Pride of Argentina Falls on Hard Times
Argentina is suffering its worst drought in decades and the cattle are dying by the barnload. Since October, the drought has taken down 1.5 million of the animals, according to an estimate by the Argentine Rural Society, in a country that last year sent 13.5 million to slaughter. The cattle for the most part are dying of hunger, as the dry skies have shriveled up their pastures, along with huge swaths of Argentina's important soy, corn and wheat fields. "The drought has affected practically the entire country, the cattle-ranching sector, agriculture. It is the most intense, prolonged and expensive drought in the past 50 years," Hugo Luis Biolcati, the president of the Argentine Rural Society, said in the organization's offices in Buenos Aires. "I think we are facing a very bad year." The cattlemen at the century-old Liniers Market in Buenos Aires, one of the largest cow auctions in the world, with about 40,000 animals passing through each week, tend to agree. In wooden pens, spines and ribs jut out under the many taut hides jostling together. ...


Don't moo for me.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jan 23, 2009
from BBC (UK):
Climate shift 'killing US trees'
Old growth trees in western parts of the US are probably being killed as a result of regional changes to the climate, a study has suggested. Analysis of undisturbed forests showed that the trees' mortality rate had doubled since 1955, researchers said. They warned that the loss of old growth trees could have implications for the areas' ecology and for the amount of carbon that the forests could store.... "Because mortality increased in small trees, the overall increase in mortality rates cannot be attributed to ageing of large trees," they added.... "We may only be talking about an annual tree mortality rate changing from 1 percent a year to 2 percent, but over time a lot of small numbers add up," said co-author Professor Mark Harmon from Oregon State University. He feared that the die-back was the first sign of a "feedback loop" developing.... Another member of the team, Dr Nate Stephenson, said increasing tree deaths could indicate a forest that was vulnerable to sudden, widespread die-back. ...


I so was hoping it was just the Baby Boomers dying off.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 12, 2009
from The Desert Sun (CA):
Protected species moves from valley
Warmer, drier weather linked to global climate change has caused at least one native species to disappear from the Coachella Valley -- and ecologists warn more could be lost if the conditions persist. The Jerusalem cricket, an inch-long insect protected under the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, used to live in the Thousand Palms area and near the Palm Springs International Airport. But after more than a decade of drought, the moisture-needing cricket has shifted completely to more humid areas west of the valley, past Windy Point near Cabazon, according to local ecologists. Its "dramatic" disappearance is "the canary in the coal mine telling us what's going on" regarding local effects of climate change, said Dr. Cameron Barrows, a research ecologist who's studied the Coachella Valley the past 23 years. ...


And likely no "new Jerusalem" here...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jan 8, 2009
from Christian Science Monitor:
As beetle invasion rages, a debate over logs
Tromping through a snowy thicket of lodgepole pine, forester Tim Love identifies the telltale signs that the trees are, in his words, "dead already but don't know it."... These are the visible scars of massive beetle destruction that now stretches from Colorado to British Columbia. Soon, wind will likely finish off the pockmarked lodgepoles, sending them crashing to the forest floor, says Mr. Love, a district ranger in the Lolo National Forest in Montana. That's a fire hazard headache for the forest service -- and, some say, a missed opportunity.... An estimated 2.4 million acres across five northern US states show visible signs of trees killed by the beetles, according to data from Gregg DeNitto with the US Forest Service in Missoula. ...


Monster fires are on the horizon...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Dec 31, 2008
from Politiken.dk:
Danish Arctic research dates Ice Age: "so sudden that it is as if a button was pressed"
The extensive scientific study shows that it was precisely 11,711 years ago -- and not the indeterminate figure of 'some' 11,000 years ago -- that the ice withdrew, allowing humans and animals free reign. ... "Our new, extremely detailed data from the examination of the ice cores shows that in the transition from the ice age to our current warm, interglacial period the climate shift is so sudden that it is as if a button was pressed", explains ice core researcher Jorgen Peder Steffensen, Centre for Ice and Climate at NBI at the University of Copenhagen. ...


Is that button labelled "reset"?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Dec 19, 2008
from Wall Street Journal:
Philippines Moves to Fight Pig Ebola
Global health authorities are preparing an emergency mission to the Philippines after U.S. scientists discovered a strain of the Ebola virus in dead pigs there that had previously only been found in monkeys. Unlike more-deadly strains of Ebola virus, health officials say this particular strain, known as the Reston strain, has never caused human illness or death, and it's not immediately clear there is a public-health issue. But health officials say it is too early to rule out a possible threat to humans, and expressed concern over the fact that this incident, first revealed in an Oct. 30 teleconference between the Philippine government and U.S. health authorities, wasn't made public until a news conference for local media in Manila last week. Pigs have served as genetic mixing vessels for viruses that pass from animals to humans, which makes the Philippine discovery significant. "When a virus jumps species, in this case from monkeys to pigs, we become concerned, particularly as pigs are much closer to humans than monkeys in their ability to harbour viruses," says Peter Cordingley, Western Pacific spokesman for the World Health Organization in Manila. ...


This little piggy went to market ... this little piggy staye home ... this little piggy wiped out a billion people!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Dec 9, 2008
from London Guardian:
Too late? Why scientists say we should expect the worst
... The cream of the UK climate science community sat in stunned silence as [climate scientist Kevin] Anderson pointed out that carbon emissions since 2000 have risen much faster than anyone thought possible, driven mainly by the coal-fuelled economic boom in the developing world. So much extra pollution is being pumped out, he said, that most of the climate targets debated by politicians and campaigners are fanciful at best, and "dangerously misguided" at worst. In the jargon used to count the steady accumulation of carbon dioxide in the Earth's thin layer of atmosphere, he said it was "improbable" that levels could now be restricted to 650 parts per million (ppm)....At 650ppm, the same fuzzy science says the world would face a catastrophic 4C average rise. ...




ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Oct 14, 2008
from CBC News (Canada):
Methane hydrates: Energy's most dangerous game
All the energy America needs for the next 100 years lies under the sea off the coast of South Carolina. One problem: Digging it out could cause a global climate disaster. Welcome to the final frontier in fossil fuels, the wild card in climate change theories and the dark horse in the scramble to secure access to clean energy. Meet methane hydrates, the world's most promising and perilous energy resource.... In other words, the extraction process, if done improperly, could cause sudden disruptions on the ocean floor, reducing ocean pressure rates and releasing methane gas from hydrates. A mass release of methane into the sea and atmosphere could have catastrophic consequences on the pace of climate change. More than 50 million years ago, undersea landslides resulted in the release of methane gas from methane hydrate, which contributed to global warming that lasted tens of thousands of years. ...


Exxon: Heck, we'll be careful, don't worry.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Oct 3, 2008
from Washington Post (US):
On the Sunny Beaches of Brazil, A Perplexing Inrush of Penguins
...Like some maritime dust-bowl migration, more than 1,000 ... penguins have floated ashore in Brazil, nearly as far north as the equator. By the time their webbed feet touch sand, many are gaunt and exhausted, often having lost three-quarters of their body weight. Even more have died....By Sept. 21, the Niteroi Zoo had received 556 penguins, compared with just seven penguins in all of 2007. Hundreds more dead and feeble penguins, some covered in oil, hit land in the resort town of Florianopolis, and as far north as Salvador and Recife. ...


Penguins migrating en masse to the beaches of Brazil? Surely one of the Seven Signs of the Apocalypse!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Sep 21, 2008
from Charleston Post and Courier:
Depleted striper stock sends rumors swirling
As the prized striped bass mysteriously disappeared from the Marion-Moultrie lakes, a rumor whispered from fisherman to fisherman: tributyltin. A disastrous spill of the chemical in 2000 from a tin plant near Lexington killed all the animals and plants nearby in a creek that feeds the Congaree River in Columbia. Later that same year, the same chemical was spilled from another plant into the river upstream. Within two years, state biologists were confronting the depletion of the catch in the lakes downstream. ...


The fishermen must whisper it because it's too dangerous to say outloud.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Aug 23, 2008
from KUOW Radio:
Oyster Larvae Dying Off at Alarming Rates
The oyster industry in the Pacific Northwest could be facing serious trouble. In recent years, hatcheries have seen oyster larvae die off at unusually high rates. No one knows what's killing the young oysters, but scientists have two theories.... ONE THEORY IS THAT THE BACTERIA THRIVE IN THE SO-CALLED DEAD ZONE. THAT'S AN AREA OF LOW OXYGEN WATER THAT HAS RECENTLY APPEARED OFF THE OREGON COAST.... DAVIS SUSPECTS THE WATER IS MORE ACIDIC THAN NORMAL, BUT IT'S HARD TO SAY, SINCE SCIENTISTS HAVEN'T KEPT RECORDS OF PH LEVELS IN THE SOUND. ...


Jeez, do you need to SHOUT?
uh, MAYBE SO.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jul 19, 2008
from Washington Post (US):
Fish Virus Feeds Fears It Will Spread to Mississippi River
"CHICAGO -- A deadly fish virus has been found for the first time in southern Lake Michigan and an inland Ohio reservoir, spurring fears of major fish kills and the virus's possible migration to the Mississippi River...The Illinois Department of Natural Resources invoked emergency fishing regulations June 30 to stop the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), often described as "fish Ebola," which was found in round gobies and rock bass tested at a marina near the Wisconsin border in early June." ...


It looks like Old Man River is in for some more hard times.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jul 6, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Wildlife extinction rates 'seriously underestimated'
Endangered species may become extinct 100 times faster than previously thought, scientists warned today, in a bleak re-assessment of the threat to global biodiversity. Writing in the journal Nature, leading ecologists claim that methods used to predict when species will die out are seriously flawed, and dramatically underestimate the speed at which some plants and animals will be wiped out.... "Some species could have months instead of years left, while other species that haven't even been identified as under threat yet should be listed as endangered," said Melbourne. ...


Why do we never see headlines that read
human impact seriously overestimated?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jul 3, 2008
from Barrie Examiner:
Massive fish deaths a puzzle for officials: carp washing ashore across Lake Simcoe
"I was down off De Grassi Point to fish for bass and I ran into three of them about 100 yards offshore. I thought it was a rock or something," he said yesterday. He dragged the near-metre long fish behind his boat in the event the Ministry of Natural Resources or some other agency wanted to run tests on the carcass, prompting another nearby angler to ask him what his big catch was. So far, the carp die-off is being monitored by the MNR in lakes Simcoe and Couchiching and is reaching up as far as Sparrow Lake near Washago. ...


Too bad carp are so ugly, or we'd be seeing bake sales to "save the carp."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 1, 2008
from Xinhua (China):
Crustaceans, squid found where once there were fish
Researchers are pointing fingers at global warming again, saying it has caused dramatic shifts in some aquatic communities in which fish populations die off and crabs, lobsters and squid take over. The finding comes from a new analysis of 50 years worth of fish-trawling data collected in Narragansett Bay and adjacent Rhode Island Sound but may apply elsewhere, researchers said.... "We think there has been a shift in the food web resulting in more of the productivity being consumed in the water column," Collie explained. "Phytoplankton are increasingly being grazed by zooplankton, which are then eaten by planktivorous fish, rather than the phytoplankton sinking to the bottom and being consumed by bottom fish. It's a rerouting of that production from the bottom to the top." ...


A warming tide lifts all phytoplankton.
It's morning in the top layer.
The "trickle up" theory in action.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jun 26, 2008
from Herald Online (South Africa):
Pollution fears as prawns die in thousands
THOUSANDS of pink prawns have washed up dead on the banks of the Swartkops estuary, apparently as a result of pollution from the Markman canal.... "The whole river was pink. We feel fairly certain there was a connection between this swarming, the die-off and what we saw and smelt coming out of the Markman canal last week." ...


Swarming prawns, pink river.
A wedding, or a funeral?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jun 19, 2008
from Chicago Tribune:
Fish die-off near Milwaukee signals latest lakes invader may be advancing on Chicago shores
"When thousands of bloody, hemorrhaging fish recently turned up on the Lake Michigan shore south of Milwaukee, it confirmed the worst fears of scientists worried that an Ebola-like virus stalking Great Lakes fish would strike closer to Chicago. The dead fish were round gobies, a small invasive species that many feel is better off dead. But unlike many other diseases that tend to hit one or two types of fish, this viral strain has led to large fish kills involving more than 30 species, including valuable sport fish such as salmon, trout, walleye, muskie, bass and perch." ...


What's next? Zombies crawling from the lake?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jun 16, 2008
from Post-Searchlight (Georgia):
DNR: Sucker fish kill unusual
In a case that has stumped the Georgia Department of Natural Resources fisheries division, last weekend boaters discovered approximately 200 dead spotted sucker fish on Spring Creek.... "We don't get stumped too often," Weller said. "I've worked with the department for 12 years, and this is the most mysterious fish kill I've ever encountered" ... Fisheries experts are awaiting lab results they hope will provide clues in determining the cause of the fish kill. ...


I think it was Colonel Mustard with the Pesticide in the Living Room.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jun 1, 2008
from RedOrbit:
Species Disappearance Puzzles Scientists
U.S. scientists say they are baffled by the disappearance of Diporeia, a shrimplike major food source for fish in the Great Lakes. The declining populations of the energy-dense creature are threatening lake whitefish and many prey fish upon which salmon, trout and walleye rely... Collaborating researcher Tom Nalepa ... said the Diporeia are already gone from many large areas of lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario, with nearly no Diporeia found in Lake Michigan at depths shallower than 90 meters. Just 15 years ago, their density often exceeded 10,000 animals per square meter at such depths. ...


But now we can swim without that nasty Diporeia buildup.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Mar 1, 2008
from The Guardian:
Gaia guru Lovelock: enjoy life while you can
"[Climate scientist maverick James] Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe, so instead of wasting our time on wind turbines we need to start planning how to survive. To Lovelock, the logic is clear. The sustainability brigade are insane to think we can save ourselves by going back to nature; our only chance of survival will come not from less technology, but more....He smiles and says: 'Enjoy life while you can. Because if you're lucky it's going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.'" ...


We notice Lovelock left out the word "shit" -- perhaps that's why he seems so constipated in this article. Either that or he knows exactly what kind of shit we're in for.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Feb 8, 2008
from Salt Lake Tribune, via Scripps:
Carbon dioxide could saturate seas first, kill plant life that supplies oxygen
"Greenhouse emissions' warming effect on the atmosphere is bad enough, but their bigger threat is the ecological chaos they are causing as the world's oceans become more acidic, according to a marine scientist. Oceans are absorbing the glut of atmospheric carbon dioxide -- stemming from two centuries of rampant burning of fossil fuels -- at the rate of 1 million metric tons an hour. Reacting with seawater, the absorbed carbon dioxide forms carbonic acid and throws marine chemistry out of whack. Without a major effort to curb emissions, massive die-off will occur in coral reefs, the shells of crucial mollusk species will dissolve and key marine plant life, which produces half the world's atmospheric oxygen, will disappear..." ...


This article covered a visiting lecturer Marcia McNutt, a geophysicist who heads California's Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. We bet everybody went out drinking after this cheery talk.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Copyright 2009 The Apocadocs.com