How Air Pollution Regulation Can Affect Bird Populations

Although we have strong evidence that air pollution poses significant health risks to humans, how air pollutants affect plants and animals is not well studied. Birds are especially susceptible to air pollution because they have a unique way of breathing and interacting with air. Therefore, a group of scientists conducted a study on how air pollution affects North American birds and how air quality regulations, which were initially created to benefit humans, can also benefit these bird species.

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When Geological Processes Collide– Exploring the Link Between Earthquakes and Glaciers

What happens when glaciers melt? Scientists have discussed numerous effects of deglaciation including sea level rise and loss of habitats but recently, geologists have been thinking about how glaciers interact with the crust of the earth. Researchers from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks found a link between melting glaciers and earthquakes in Southeast Alaska which adds new understanding about the indirect effects of climate change and the role of humans in natural disasters.

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Can the toughest animal survive climate change?

Global temperatures are increasing around the world due to climate change. While some animals can survive the harsh conditions, many will die off. Researchers have turned to the toughest animal alive, and it is not a lion, tiger, or bear as you might expect. Sometimes called a (water) bear, the toughest animal is microscopic and lives in the soil. Will they be able to take the heat?

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The churning seas are slowing down: The Atlantic Ocean circulation at its weakest in millennia

In the Atlantic Ocean there is a giant “river” that affects many aspects of life for us terrestrial dwellers, from the regional climates we enjoy to the sea level at our shore. This “river” is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), one of the planet’s major ocean circulation systems. The ocean has been churning for millenia through this circulation system, but now there are signs of change.

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Increasing Temperatures and Decreasing Insect Populations

Without insects, we wouldn’t have all of the edible plants that we rely on as important parts of our diets and entire ecosystems would be in trouble. Despite their importance, insects face many threats, including climate change. Through a literature review, a group of scientists found that increasing temperatures due to climate change and the resulting ecosystem changes are a leading cause of insect population declines globally. Some species have disappeared completely. However, different species respond to climate change differently. Monitoring and understanding their responses can help us prevent their loss.

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The “Heartbreaking” Effect of Algal Blooms – Heart disease and the Southern Sea Otter

Our favorite hand-holding marine mammals, sea otters, are threatened by environmental toxins. Chemicals produced by algae blooms move up the food chain and cause a multitude of diseases in top predators. A new study documented how algae blooms cause heart disease in sea otters, what this means for our own seafood consumption, and proposes solutions to our pollution.

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Dead plants breathe new life into botanical research

I’ll never forget the first time that I stepped into a herbarium. Picture a room full of towering metal cabinets. Inside, there are thousands of pressed plants carefully glued onto special paper upon which thoughtfully recorded field notes describe the plant’s habitat, location, life stage, and more. At a moment’s notice I can still recall the unique smell of preserved plants, reminiscent of the comforting scent that lofts when ruffling the pages of an old book. In those days, as a budding botanist, I never questioned the immense value of these collections. Then, when I learned that one herbarium in seven has closed in the last twenty-five years (Deng 2015), I realized that we simply aren’t talking enough about all the unique ways that old plants can fuel modern science.

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