Flame retardant sharks?

Flame retardants are found everywhere from your house to your car. Unfortunately, these chemicals can accumulate in the environment, including the ocean. Once in the ocean, flame retardants can make their way into marine organisms. The researchers in this study wanted to determine if flame retardants are transferred from mothers to offspring in sharks.

Read more

Burning Desire to Forage

During the fall of 2018, California had some of the worst and deadliest fires to date, with devastating costs to human communities. Communities of plants and animals are also greatly impacted by fires. But how does wildlife respond to wildfires? Burns alter the environment and open up new habitats allowing smaller shrubs to recolonize in areas that were dominated by tall trees. A recent study in Oregon suggests that elk utilize a wide array of habitats and that burned forests are critical areas for food for many herbivores.

Read more

How can we help salt marshes recover after an oil spill?

Salt marshes impacted by oil spills (like Deepwater Horizon) often experience vegetation diebacks and a loss of ecosystem function. Researchers recently found that re-establishing the dominant salt marsh vegetation, Spartina alterniflora, is critical to ensure and enhance the presence of other marsh animals. Unexpectedly, the addition of fertilizer had little to no effect on the recolonization of salt marsh critters.

Read more

Bacteria, Viruses and Carbon: how microorganisms in arctic soils can alter our climate

Wetland soils store 20-30% of global soil carbon, that carbon is mostly controlled by bacterial populations. Arctic wetland soils store twice as much carbon as the atmosphere, but are frozen year round as permafrost which limits microbial activity. We try to predict what will happen with microbial communities and soils when temperatures continue to warm, but we’re finding out it’s more than just bacteria that are driving arctic carbon cycles.

Read more

Climate change could make your beer dear

Apart from being popular beverages in the world, do you know what the common link between beer and coffee is? Both may be affected by climate change. While we already know that climate change will impact coffee, a new study published in Nature Plants has established that beer is also under threat. Rising temperature and drought due to climate change can hit the beer supply hard all over the world and make beer more expensive.

Read more

Desalination: As If Corals Didn’t Have Enough to Worry About Already

Clean, safe drinking water is a basic human need. However, for many areas around the globe, freshwater is becoming scarce. Desalination is increasingly used to provide drinking water in some coastal regions, but the waste products – brine and antiscalants – are discharged back into the ocean with unknown consequences. A recent study by Karen Lykkebo Petersen (University of California Santa Cruz) and colleagues sought to simulate happens to coral reefs as they are increasingly exposed to desalination discharge.

Read more

These tasty fish are more likely to get eaten when stressed

As human populations continue to rise, especially along coastlines, the occurrence of various stressors tend to increase. This study explored the ability of a commercially important species, the European seabass, to recover following short term exposure to these stressors by evaluating their predator avoidance behavior. In short, acidic waters led to greater risk-taking behavior in these fish, which can have serious implications for their survival in a changing world.

Read more

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!

Read more