Learning from Yesterday, Planning for Tomorrow: Predicting the Future Impact of Climate Change in Michigan

Climate change is scary. Michigan researchers are empowering their community to prepare for it by predicting how extreme heat and precipitation events may impact public health in the future. Policy makers can use these findings to protect the most vulnerable members of the community!

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For urban snails, yellow is the new pink

Pavement, smog, and lack of shade can increase temperatures in cities by up to 6ºF above the surrounding rural and suburban areas. We know the higher temperatures directly impact many species of animals, but is it possible that they could also affect the course of evolution and change the physiology of future generations? To answer this question, researchers from the Netherlands used a popular citizen science platform to gather data about the appearance of snails throughout a wide range of habitats.

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Ecological grief: In my feelings along the Gulf Coast

Aldo Leopold stated “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” He meant that those of us with deep connections to the natural environment, whether that be a farmer, fisher, or ecologist, are more aware of declining ecological health. We notice that there are less birds. We notice all the dead turtles along the road. We notice that it hasn’t rained in weeks and all the plants are crying. The unprecedented changes stemming from climate change have gained an increasing amount of people’s attention leading to the formation of the term ecological grief. The verdict is out. Climate change is making many of us depressed.

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Every birdie poops: How birds could be helping coral reefs in a changing climate

Warming ocean temperatures pose a big threat to coral reefs, but could coral reefs be getting some help from having feathered friends nearby? In this study, scientists investigate how the nutrients from bird poop may be helping to keep coral reefs from going to waste.

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Seaweed as far as the eye can see

In the center of the Atlantic Ocean lies the Sargasso Sea. The brown seaweed, Sargassum, gives the Sea its name; However, in the past decade this belt of Sargassum has been exploding. During certain seasons, the Sargassum belt has expanded from West Africa to the Americas. Beached seaweed has led to numerous problems and concerns for much of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Research led by Dr. Mengqiu Wang from the University of South Florida used previous data to determine what makes these seaweeds take over the ocean in order to better predict when these blooms may occur.

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Poison Ivy’s Pervasiveness

Are you part of the 80% of the population that is allergic to poison ivy? What do we really know about poison ivy beyond its potential to cause an itchy rash on our skin? Poison ivy can actually adapt to its environment and exploit a variety of habitats, which helps explain its ubiquitous distribution. A future climate with greater carbon dioxide concentrations is expected to expand its distribution and increase its toxicity – bad news.

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Can We Save Our Corals? Using Investment Planning to Conserve Coral Reefs

By now, most of us have heard the news that climate change is threatening our oceans. Rising carbon dioxide levels due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions into the earth’s atmosphere are warming our oceans and causing a multitude of other adverse effects on our planet. In particular, these changing environmental conditions are wreaking havoc on the world’s coral reefs. Meanwhile, conservationists around the world have been working to mitigate coral reef degradation, with little overall success. However, a recent study describes a new approach taken from investment theory that could shed a hopeful light on coral conservation efforts.

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Habitats are a work of art: habitat mosaics and fish production

Biodiversity is continually being threatened by human activities, and it is vital that we protect it. Conserving biodiversity means conserving species and the habitats they live in. We know that habitats vary through space and time, but does this variation impact fish production in the long term? Brennen et al. explores this question using Pacific salmon species in an Alaskan watershed.

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