‘Otter’ Ways of Assessing Species Vulnerability to Climate Change

How do scientists figure out how a species will be impacted by climate change? They usually look at how their habitat will change with a changing climate – but that may not be the whole story. Other factors, such as a species environmental needs, how they tolerate change, and how their habitat will change (i.e. size, fragmentation, proximity to human disturbances) also need to be considered! Otters are among the most vulnerable mammals in the world, and determining where their specific threats from climate change come from will be key for conservationist to save them from extinction.

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Native milkweed supports healthy monarch communities

“Monarch butterflies do really well on the exotic milkweed species that’s being widely sold and planted under current environmental conditions. But under warmer conditions, the exotic plant becomes too toxic and monarchs become less healthy.”

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Not so blue anymore: how dead mangroves burden coastal carbon sinks

Mangrove forests have been feeling the pressure of climate change. With heat waves and low rainfall, many mangroves along a 1000 km stretch of coastline in northern Australia have been wiped out. However, the dead trees are living on by contributing large methane emissions which has consequences to global mangrove carbon stores and climate change. Read on to find out how the living dead remain active methane emitters.

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Glimmer of Hope: Seagrasses Starting to Recover in Europe

Seagrasses provide vital habitat and resources for marine ecosystems. Water pollution, disease, and coastal modification have led to a decrease in 30% of seagrasses across Europe. Researchers analyzed over 1,000 studies to understand the trends of seagrasses over nearly 150 years. While overall losses have been great, the last few decades have shown seagrasses are starting to recover – likely due to strategies to decrease water pollution and protect vital habitats.

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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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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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