Which chick to feed? How birds choose

  Which chick gets fed first in a brood seems to depend more on the environment than a chick’s begging or its size. That’s what researchers report after reviewing data on 143 different bird species. When food is plentiful and supplies are stable, birds will usually feed the chicks who beg the most and are […]

How much warming has China caused?

As China has become increasingly industrialized over the past few decades its fossil fuel use has grown, along with its greenhouse gas emissions, and particulate air pollutants. Yet new research shows that its contribution to global warming has remained remarkably stable. Authors of this study show that China is responsible for about ten per cent […]

Changing grasslands in North America

The productivity of grasslands in North America will increase in future climate scenarios, despite higher temperatures and increased drought, say researchers. They developed this forecast using a new model of the region’s hydrology and vegetation, incorporating data and images gathered from a network of cameras.   The model showed an earlier start to the growing […]

Newly discovered and already at risk

Eight new species of the Whip spider have been found in the Brazilian amazon, underscoring how little is known about biodiversity in this rainforest. However half of the newly discovered species’ habitat is threatened by human activity from dams and mining. Original research paper published in PLOS ONE on February 17, 2015. Names and affiliations of selected authors […]

Mapping ecological sensitivity around the world

The areas of the world most sensitive to climate variation have been mapped by researchers. Using 14 years of satellite data researchers were able to develop the vegetation sensitivity index. The index is based on three variables that drive vegetation production – air temperature, water availability, and the degree of cloud cover. The researchers believe […]

Cloudy skies are enhancing ice sheet melt

Cloudy night skies are enhancing the ice sheet melt in Greenland by more than 30 per cent each year, according to a new study. Researchers believe this shows the need for including accurate cloud representations in climate modelling. The research team examined the effects of different types of clouds, such as “ice-only” or “liquid-bearing”. They […]

Icebergs leave trail of carbon-trapping plankton in their wake

Melting water from giant icebergs travelling across the Southern Ocean supports the growth of phytoplankton, which is responsible for as much as 20 per cent of the carbon trapped in the depths of the ocean. These icebergs enhance phytoplankton productivity for hundreds of kilometers, and their effects persist for at least one month after the iceberg […]

Budgeting for climate change – A series from Nature

This week a group of articles were published in Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate change jointly focused on “budgeting for climate change”. In one article, researchers, argue against the two degree target limit for global temperature rise. Another paper suggests we should aim to aggressively reduce our current emissions, as soon as possible, saying this […]

Quebec’s TB troubles

Québec’s unusually high rate of tuberculosis (TB) is most likely due to the local environment and cultural practices, rather than a particularly potent strain of TB, according to researchers. Québec has an incidence rate 50 times higher than the Canadian average. Researchers performed whole-genome sequencing on 163 TB samples from 11 geographically isolated villages in […]

The perfect temperature for productivity

Rising temperatures from climate change will slow economic productivity, and if left unchecked will lower the average global wage by 25 per cent by 2100, according to a new study. Economic productivity peaks at 13 ºC, and declines at lower or higher temperatures, according to a review of global economic data from the World Bank. […]

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, or at least partly, according to new findings. While there are indeed some universal aspects of attractiveness, such as symmetry, they believe that the uniqueness of an individual’s facial preferences is determined by experiences with friends and peers, past partners, as well as social and popular […]

Using the benefits of climate change to convince non-believers

Motivating people to take action on climate change, regardless of their existing beliefs, can be done by communicating the social benefits of acting in a climate-friendly way, according to researchers. Communicating development benefits (such as economic and scientific advancement) and the benevolence benefits (such as a more moral and caring community) helped to motivate people […]

Top predators protecting trapped ocean carbon

Over-harvesting top level predators from the oceans and coastal habitats could have far-reaching consequences on the carbon cycle and diminish our ability to offset climate change. Coastal vegetation, such as seagrasses and mangroves, are more efficient at capturing and storing carbon than tropical rainforests, and account for more than half of the ocean’s carbon storage […]

Increasing risk of coastal erosion from El Niño

Coastal areas around the pacific will be at increased risk of erosion and flooding if a projected increase in extreme El Niño and La Niña events occurs, according to a new study. Researchers found that observed coastal erosion across the Pacific varies closely with El Niño events, independent of changes in sea-level rise. The researchers […]

Failing our fish: Most at-risk fish species less likely to be listed

The more at risk a marine fish is in Canada, the less likely it is to be listed on the Species At Risk Act according to new research. According to Susanna Fuller, co-author and Marine Program Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, “less than 20% of at-risk marine fishes in Canada have been […]

First global permafrost database launch

The first online database on global permafrost is freely available to the public, serving as an early warning system for decision-makers around the world, as well as providing standardized permafrost measurements for the first time. The database, from the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost, has brought together scientists from 25 countries and who have drilled over 1000 […]

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