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We want to make cutting edge research in the environmental sciences accessible to all by highlighting recent studies and explaining how these advances shape the understanding of our world.

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Timing is Everything: Sockeye Salmon Migration on the Skeena River

For most salmon to complete their life cycle, juveniles must migrate out to the ocean as “smolts”. They are then able to grow quickly by taking advantage of marine food sources, before they return as adults to spawn in the river where they were born. With climate change affecting environmental cues and conditions, the timing of their migration might not match up to the availability of crucial food resources, which could reduce smolt survival. Will this phenomenon affect the Skeena River populations of Sockeye Salmon? Read on to learn more!

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Nature vs. Nature or Engineering? The Case of Coastal Resilience

Coastal flooding has been a problem for as long as civilization has settled along the coast. During that same time civilization has been impacting natural features that would otherwise help mitigate this problem. There are two schools of thought in combating coastal flooding today: installing conventional engineering solutions and bringing back natural barriers. There are pros and cons to both strategies, but it really boils down to cost, space, and unintended consequences. In our opinion, nature should be used to fight nature. Read the article and decide for yourself.

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The resilience of coastal wetlands – an optimistic look to the future

Loss estimates for coastal wetlands by the end of the century are severe. Coastal communities depend on these critical systems for the services they provide. With rising sea levels and encroaching human populations, the fate of coastal wetlands remains uncertain. However, a new study suggests that there is hope for these habitats even if the direst rates of sea-level rise occur. As long as coastal wetlands are given space to build upwards and migrate inland, we could preserve these habitats and the benefits they provide.

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Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Satellites have changed our ability to see the globe. One way scientists are using satellite data is to monitor change in the amount of land covered by forests, and now also the reasons for that change. The findings seek to inform global monitoring and supply chain decisions by corporate actors.

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Out of balance: how climate change is altering ocean food webs

Climate change has a number of impacts on the ocean. Did you know that the ocean absorbs at least one quarter of the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere? As the ocean absorbs carbon, the chemistry of the water itself is changed in a process known as ocean acidification. Ocean acidification can make it harder for organisms with shells to grow and thrive, but can benefit photosynthetic algae that need carbon dioxide to grow. Climate change is also warming the oceans, which impacts the metabolism of all organisms. A recent study from Southern Australia reported that ocean acidification boosted algae, herbivores, and fish predators in a trophic food chain, but when ocean warming was introduced, these impacts were reversed. This research highlights how the complex stressors of climate change may result in food webs that are out of balance.

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Sea-Level Rise won’t affect every place in the same way

Do you, like 40% of the global population, live within 100 km of the coast? If so, you have probably wondered about the impacts sea level rise will have on your home, your community, and daily activities. Interestingly, sea level is not expected increase the same amount in all places around the globe. Read on to learn about how the reconstruction of historical environments can help us define how different areas around the globe will be impacted by sea level rise.

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Warming bugs, insects decline in forest associated with climate change

Can small changes in temperature really lead to dramatic impacts on habitats? Sometimes, small changes like a 2 Celsius degree warming of forest interiors, can affect a great number of species. Read on to learn how bugs, birds, and frogs were affected by climate change documented over a 36 year study in the tropical forest of Puerto Rico.

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