Conserve the Lobster

Caught between a rock and a hard place. The American lobster has become the largest fishery in the United States. American lobster populations are increasing in the Gulf of Maine. However, pressures of climate change and harvest have virtually eliminated the fishery from Southern New England. Work done by Le Bris et al uncover the differences between the two locations and determine that active conservation efforts in the Gulf of Maine have permitted the crustacean to remain even with increased water temperatures and fishing.

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What happened to the Great Barrier Reef in 2016?

In 2016, a severe coral reef bleaching event killed ~30% of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef. Abnormally warm global ocean temperatures are becoming more common and intense which will increase the frequency of bleaching events. Forward-looking projections indicate potential coral reef benefits associated with moving toward lower greenhouse gas emission futures. How do we get there?

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Spawn of the Dead

Migratory animals such as the Pacific salmon are critical to the transport of nutrients and energy across large distances and between different ecosystems. However, along with important nutrients also come contaminants and pollutants. To understand the impacts of salmon, Brandon Gerig and colleagues investigate contaminant levels of riparian fish populations in streams where salmon runs do and do not occur in the Great Lakes region.

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Homeward Bound: Salmon Straying in the Pacific Northwest

For salmon to complete their life cycle, juveniles must migrate out to the ocean and return as adults to spawn in the river where they were born. Adult salmon find their way back to their natal river after years at sea through a process called “homing”, a phenomenon that scientists still don’t fully understand. Some salmon never make it home at all, which can have lasting effects on populations. Read on to learn more!

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River Streams Benefit from Fallen Trees

Rivers have suffered the most from human urbanization. Damming, river straightening and removal of large woody debris have disrupted many natural processes essential for healthy habitats of fish, insects and algae. Many land managers have returned fallen trees back into rivers in hopes to improve habitat quality. It wasn’t until this research by Thompson and colleagues that there was clear evidence that this management strategy was successful.

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Reversing the loss of biological diversity: Money talks

The planet is losing biological diversity at alarmingly high rates. As a result, ecosystems are compromised, and so is their ability to support humans. Scientists, environmentalists and other concerned groups have been pointing out the urgent need to stop or reverse the loss of biodiversity. That action often requires substantial investments, which raises the question of whether the benefits we obtain from nature can outweigh the cost of conservation. In this study, a group of scientists and representatives of international NGOs make a case that the benefits of reversing biodiversity loss outweigh the costs.

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Climate change altering wine-making: from landscape to conservation

Our changing climate (Marcott et al., 2013) is at the forefront of global politics and economic planning decisions. There is growing evidence that climate change will affect most fields of study and many professions from agriculture to zoning. One such field that is gaining attention is viticulture, or wine production. A study published in PNAS led by Dr. Hannah and colleagues (2013) looked at how changes in temperature and precipitation will affect global wine production. In addition, the researchers explored how the locations of wine-making regions may shift due to climate stress, and how this might affect conservation.

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The establishment of protected areas is influenced more by economics than the needs of threatened species

While the aim of creating protected areas is to conserve habitat that is necessary for the survival of threatened wildlife, historically these protected areas have been established on land that is deemed “economically marginal” — meaning that it is not especially valuable for activities that drive the economy, like agriculture or other human development. However, economically marginal land may not be where the greatest number of threatened species exist, actually the reality is quite the opposite.

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