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As ocean acidity rises, diatoms stuggle to gow in variable light conditions. Photo: Mixed diatom frustules by Carolina Biological Supply Company via Flickr (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0).

Keystone plankton 'go slow' as ocean acidity rises

Tim Radford

1st March 2015

Increasing acidity in the Southern Ocean is slowing the growth of diatoms, reports Tim Radford. Why worry? Because these tiny plankton sustain essential marine ecosystems, and are highly effective at drawing CO2 down into the deep ocean. more...
Beaver dam above Lundy Lake, California. Photo: Fred Moore via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Beavers are saving California’s wild salmon

Miria Finn / onEarth

1st March 2015

With California's wild Coho salmon populations down to 1% of their former numbers, there's growing evidence that beavers - long reviled as a pest of the waterways - are essential to restore the species, writes Maria Finn. In the process, they raise water tables, recharge aquifers and improve water quality. What's not to love? more...
Bonobo group hug. Photo:  LaggedOnUser via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Make 2015 the Year of the Bonobo!

Dr Susan Block

5th January 2015

We humans have much to learn from our kissing cousins, the peaceful, empathic, playful, sensual and highly sexual Bonobos, writes Susan Block. Rather than play out the myth of ancestral 'killer apes', better follow the 'Bonobo Way', and extend our love to all living beings and Earth herself. more...
Murder most foul - a porpoise carcass bearing cruel bite marks. Photo: Johan Krol.

Murder most foul - who killed all the porpoises?

Ken Collins

9th December 2014

Since 2010 porpoise carcasses have been washing up on our shares, writes Ken Collins - displaying horrific wounds and bite marks that many thought a sign of Great White sharks in Britain's coastal waters. But now scientists have identified an improbably cuddly culprit ... more...
Wolves - to reduce farm animal predation, don't shoot them! Photo: USFWS Midwest, CC BY.

Shot in the foot? Killing wolves, lynx, cougar increases farm predation

Niki Rust

4th December 2014

Farmers who shoot wolves and other predators to save their animals from predation are actually having the opposite effect, writes Niki Rust. The disruption that killing predators has on the stability of their families and packs actually causes more, not less predation. Ultimately, we're better off learning to live with predators. more...
Coming to honeybees in North America and Europe, a new parasite helped on its way by warmer summers. Photo: Smudge 9000, CC BY-SA.

Bee crisis: warmer summers will help new parasite

Robert Paxton

30th December 2014

An exotic parasite is spreading through the world's honey bees and global warming is making it worse, writes Robert Paxton. A new study that shows it will soon be causing widespread colony collapse in North America and Europe. more...
Charred, burned trees after the Ham Lake fire, Minnesota, 2007. Photo: Eli Sagor via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

In the American West, a burnt forest is a healthy forest

George Wuerthner

6th March 2015

Fire is an essential part of the life-cycle of the forests of the American West, writes George Wuerthner, and the complex, biodiverse habitat that burning creates sustains hundreds of species that cannot survive without it. So please - no more talk of forests 'recovering' after fire - OK? more...
Marine parks need to be big enough to safeguard wide-ranging species, like the sharks being studied here. Photo: Manu San Felix / National Geographic Pristine Seas Expedition, Author provided.

Now is our chance to deliver on the 30% ocean protection target

Jessica Meeuwig

15th November 2014

In 2003 nations pledged to place 20-30% of the world's oceans into no-take marine parks, writes Jessica Meeuwig - but more than ten years on, such areas now cover just 1% of ocean area. Now the World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, provides an opportunity to drive marine protection forward, and benefit both ecology and economy. more...
Is this the kind of Arctic you want, cross-crossed by shipping, complete with oil rigs, mining, industrial fishing and pollution? If not, get behind the Arctic Declaration! Photo: epsdave via Pixabay.

We must keep the Arctic clean, wild and free!

Professor Robert Spicer

17th November 2014

The Arctic is a special place, teeming with life, but it is under threat like never before, writes Robert Spicer - not just from climate change, but from oil drilling, industrial fishing and shipping, as receding ice creates now commercial opportunities. We must designate an Arctic Sanctuary where nature can reign undisturbed. more...
Over 50% of an iguana shipment found dead. Photo: PETA.

The exotic pet trade is a global evil that must be stopped

Clifford Warwick

10th November 2014

Behind the relatively sanitized façade of the exotic pet industry resides a vast chronicle of species decline, ecological disruption, animal suffering, mortality, and the global dissemination of pathogens, writes Clifford Warwick. We are in the midst of a profit-fueled frivolous wildlife biocide, as animal traders strive to bring the next curiosity fish, turtle or primate into our homes. more...
Cod smolts among seagrass. Photo: John Carroll.

For the love of cod, let's save our disappearing seagrass

Richard K. F. Unsworth

4th November 2014

Seagrass provides a key marine habitat, writes Richard Unsworth - it stablises the sea floor, sustains rich ecosystems, soaks up excess nutrients, sequesters carbon dioxide, feeds dugongs, and nurtures young cod. Hadn't we better stop wiping out some 1,500 sq.km of seagrass meadows every year? more...
Hunting for lugworms for fishing bait at Brighton beach. Photo: Martin Thomas via Flickr.

Lugworms suffer toxic impact of acidifying oceans

Alex Kirby

30th October 2014

A common marine worm key to the richness of many coastal ecosystems is being damaged by the increasing ocean acidification that was thought to imperil mainly shellfish and coral, writes Alex Kirby. It's an unwelcome sign of more unexpected ecological changes to come. more...

ecology: 1/25 of 80
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In Ghana, more than 100,000 straw coloured fruit bats are harvested as bushmeat every year. But the country is not affected by the Ebola epidemic. Photo: Diana Ranslam, CC BY-NC.

Ebola: don't blame the bats!

Alexandra Kamins, Marcus Rowcliffe & Olivier Restif

23rd October 2014

Bats serve as a natural reservoir for the Ebola - but we cannot blame them for the epidemic. In Ghana alone people eat over 100,000 fruit bats a year as 'bushmeat', yet the country has escaped the epidemic. Much more research is needed to discover the mechanisms of transmission, and to devise effective, appropriate interventions. more...

Future NOW

8 November 2014

Will Gethin

Taking place in the run up to Bristol's year as Green Capital 2015, this groundbreaking spiritual ecology conference calls for Consciousness Revolution. more...
Fish exploding from the ocean off the North Carolina coast - but global fish stocks are doing no such thing. Photo: Jared Cherup via Flickr.

Plenty more fish in the sea? Not if we follow healthy eating guidelines

Ruth H. Thurstan & Callum Roberts

6th November 2014

Until demand for fish is balanced with sustainable methods of production, write Ruth Thurstan & Callum Roberts, governments should consider the social and environmental implications of promoting greater fish consumption. Worldwide, wild fish supplies per person have been declining ever since 1970. more...
Japanese knotweed makes short work of concrete and tarmac. In its native habitat, it has learnt to crack up volcanic rock. Photo: Rob Tanner.

Japanese knotweed - could a tiny insect tame the monster?

Kate Constantine

17th October 2014

Since Japanese knotweed won a gold medal in 1847 as 'interesting new ornamental of the year', it has become far too much of a good thing, writes Kate Constantine. But could the oriental triffid be tamed following the UK introduction of a specialist pest from Japan's volcanic uplands? more...
Bamboo Shark in Indonesia's Lembeh Straits. With high levels of CO2, the species' survival is reduced by 40%. Photo: Steve Childs via Flickr.

Acidifying seas endanger sharks' survival

Tim Radford

12th October 2014

Scientific studies show that as carbon dioxide acidifies the oceans, sharks are less able to detect prey, and their chances of survival are reduced, writes Tim Radford - with serious consequences for ocean ecology. more...
The Circularity of Life by Jane Cull  - front cover illustration.

The circularity of Life

Jane Cull

4th November 2014

We must accept the reality that human beings, nature and cosmos are interconnected in a vast circular system, writes Jane Cull. To sustain ourselves on this planet, we must sustain the web of life of which we are part, and construct another kind of world that based on that understanding. more...
The view down the borehole through half a mile of the Antarctic ice to Lake Whillans. Photo: Reed Scherer / Northern Illinois University.

Abounding life! 4,000 microbes thrive in Antarctic lake beneath the ice

Helen Thompson

15th September 2014

Beneath half a mile of ice scientists have uncovered the first hard evidence of a life in a subglacial lake, writes Helen Thompson. And not just life, but a complex ecosystem comprising thousands of microbial species. Could Jupiter's frozen moon Europa be hiding lakes like this? more...
A male Onthophagus vacca, the species of dung beetle being released this week in Western Australia. Photo: CSIRO.

Australia - exotic beetles fly in to clean up the cattle dung

Jane Wright

5th October 2014

After rabbits, foxes, brambles and the cane toad, you would have thought Australia would have had enough of invasive exotic species, writes Jane Wright. Wrong! CSIRO scientists are introducing a French dung beetle, in the hope it will lead to fewer flies, improved soil fertility and structure, and greater carbon sequestration. more...
The familiar and attractive flower of Himalayan balsam could be about to get a whole lot less common in the UK. Photo: CABI.

Parasitic fungus introduced to attack Himalayan balsam

Oliver Tickell

28th August 2014

Even if you love Himalayan balsam, it has surely become too much of a good thing as it takes over Britain's wetlands and riverbanks. But now it's facing a major setback - the deliberate introduction of a parasitic rust fungus from its native range in the mountains of Asia. more...
Whale shark and diver. Photo: Robin Hughes via Flickr.

The cetacean brain and hominid perceptions of cetacean intelligence

Captain Paul Watson

22nd August 2014

Is the species that dwells peacefully within its habitat with respect for the rights of other species the one that is inferior? Or is it the species that wages a holy war against its habitat, destroying all species that irritate it? Paul Watson questions man's monopoly on advanced brain power, and finds a planet suffused with a far deeper intelligence than our own. more...
The Asian hornet is a voracious predator of bees - as if they were not suffering enough already! Photo:  Danel Solabarrieta, CC BY-SA.

Confronting the threat of invasive 'ecosystem engineers'

Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy

26th August 2014

Mussels, crabs, hornets and ... racoons? Future invasive species are not what you might expect, write Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy. In particular, we have to beware of 'ecosystem engineers' that can transform the environment they inhabit, creating ecological havoc for other species.
more...
Few whales survive a close shave with a ship’s propeller. This is one of the lucky ones. Photo: Alisa Schulman-Janiger, CC BY.

To save blue whales, move California shipping lanes

Luke Rendell

29th July 2014

Long after Blue whales have ceased to be hunted, their numbers have failed to record substantial increases, writes Luke Rendell. Are ship strikes to blame? A 15-year scientific study says the answer may be yes - and advises moving California shipping lanes. more...
Artisanal fishing nets at the Cobb, Lyme Regis, Lyme Bay. Photo: geograph.org.uk via Wikimedia Commons.

Simplifying the sea - ecocide in the English Channel

Horatio Morpurgo

25th July 2014

A new report on the Channel's fisheries is a timely reminder of the ecological trend to 'simplification' as whole trophic levels are stripped away by over-exploitation, writes Horatio Morpurgo. Yet the government's profit-focused vision of 'sustainability' is missing the essential element - allowing the recovery of marine ecosystems. more...

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