Will Sponges Bulldoze Coral Reefs Faster in an Acidic Ocean?

Coral reefs provide benefits for marine life and humans alike. In this delicate ecosystem, humans may be tipping the scales in an unhealthy direction due to ocean acidification. Sponges naturally erode corals to create homes for themselves, but an acidic ocean might mean sponges may not have to work as hard and could erode corals faster than they build. Scientists have confirmed that as ocean acidification increase, so will the rates of erosion by sponges – leaving many concerned with the fate of our ocean’s coral reefs and the services they provide.

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Are Eastern USA Temperate Forests Regenerating?

How can we assess the adaptive capacity of forest ecosystems to deal with human stressors? A key indicator is the extent to which forests are regenerating today, that is, producing seedlings and saplings that one day will take the place of mature trees as they age and die. In a recent study, Kathryn Miller and Brian McGill found relatively reassuring levels of regeneration in the northeast and Southeast USA, but low levels in the central mid-Atlantic portion, which could lead to declines in forest cover in this region.

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Trees, Tempests, and Time: What trees can tell us about weather in the past

For storms along the Gulf Coast, first-person recordings are only reliable for the past 150 years. But knowing more about when storms happened in the past helps us understand how the climate is changing and how to reduce storm risks for coastal communities. To do that, we have to use even more unusual records: tree rings.

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Voyage to Iceberg Alley

A couple of days ago, right around sunrise, we sailed out of the Straits of Magellan and into the southern Atlantic Ocean, bound for the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic waters known as Iceberg Alley. Giant petrels soared against a clear blue sky, and gentle waves rocked the ship—although we didn’t expect that to last! I am aboard the JOIDES Resolution, a research vessel and drilling ship, and we are intentionally sailing into some of the planet’s wildest seas and the area of greatest iceberg concentration in the Antarctic.

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How the Driest Regions on the Planet Add to Sea Level Rise

Terrestrial water loss is a major contributor to water stress around the world. Areas that are hydrologically isolated tend to lose water twice as fast as other regions. But where does that water go? New evidence is showing that water from the driest regions on the planet may have a consequential impact on global sea level rise.

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Is the Planet Warming?

The Earth is warming. No climate scientist would disagree with that conclusion. Right?  Nevertheless, controversy persists. Some climate change deniers point to a “global warming hiatus” after 1998. And there’s that striking warm peak during WWII.  What’s with that? A new statistical analysis of temperature records addresses these and other questions that nag some who follow climate science. Statistical analysis may not seem sexy or easy, but the math in this article once again confirms profound climate realities facing humanity—and scientists.

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