Clownfish helps its anemone host to breathe

The sight of a clownfish wriggling through the stinging tentacles of its anemone is a familiar and seemingly well-understood one to most people—the stinging anemone provides a protective home for the clownfish who is immune to such stings, and in turn the clownfish chases away any polyp-eating sunfish eyeing the anemone's tentacles for a meal. But recent research has shown that all that clownfish wriggling significantly helps to oxygenate the anemone at night, when oxygen levels in the water are low.

Wind Power Storage

One of the problems with wind power is that when there is no wind then there is no power. Offshore wind could provide abundant electricity — but as with solar energy, this power supply can be intermittent and unpredictable. A new approach from researchers at MIT could mitigate that problem, allowing the electricity generated by floating wind farms to be stored and then used, on demand, whenever it’s needed.

Women are ‘key drivers’ in climate change adaptation

Plans to protect ecosystems and help people adapt to climate change - also known as ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) - must involve vulnerable groups, including women and communities greatly hit by global warming if they are to succeed, according to scientists who met in Tanzania last month (21-23 March). Scientists and policymakers at the UN-led international workshop on EBA in Dar-es-Salaam, also said that more needed to be done to monitor and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of such adaptation, and to learn from past experiences in order to transfer knowledge into action and policy.

Air pollution linked to life-threatening hardening of the arteries

Long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to heart attacks and strokes by speeding up atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries", according to a University of Michigan public health researcher and colleagues from across the US. Sara Adar, the John Searle Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health, and Joel Kaufman, professor of environmental and occupational health sciences and medicine at the University of Washington, led the study that found that higher concentrations of fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) were linked to a faster thickening of the inner two layers of the common carotid artery - an important blood vessel that provides blood to the head, neck and brain.

Understanding AC Refrigerant Standards

Back in 1987, alarm about emissions of ozone layer-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and bromine gases led national governments worldwide to sign the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, a United Nations (UN) environmental agreement in which 197 countries and the European Union (EU) pledged to phase out production and use of CFCs, HCFCs and bromine gases. Though revised, more aggressive reduction targets for new refrigerant standards are being met, subsequent developments – rapid industrialization in large emerging market countries and the growing threats and costs of global warming – have complicated matters further.

UN Urges Member Nations Renew Pledges to Respect Earth

Top United Nations officials today urged the 193 Member States to renew their pledges to honour and respect Mother Earth marking the day selected by the world body to promote harmony with nature and sustainable development. Today is a "chance to reaffirm our collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Interactive Dialogue on Harmony with Nature held to mark International Mother Earth Day. Noting this year's theme, Faces of Climate Change, Mr. Ban urged the UN General Assembly "to confront the hard truth that our planet is under threat."

Geochemical Climate Testing

New test results are providing further evidence that the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide and Earth's surface temperature are inextricably linked. Nearly thirty-four million years ago, the Earth underwent a transformation from a warm and high-carbon dioxide greenhouse state to a lower-CO2, variable climate of the modern icehouse world. Massive ice sheets grew across the Antarctic continent, major animal groups shifted, and ocean temperatures decreased by up to 5 degrees. Various studies of how this drastic change affected temperatures on land have had mixed results. Some show no appreciable terrestrial climate change; others find cooling of up to 8 degrees and large changes in seasonality. Now, a group of American and British scientists have used a new chemical technique to measure the change in terrestrial temperature associated with this shift in global atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

Earth Day – Hollywood Style

For years, Hollywood has celebrated Earth Day in order to raise awareness about environmental issues and to strike up a memorable dialogue about sustainable practices. And the film studios’ embrace of Earth Day has only strengthened over time. From PSAs to Paramount’s new micro-turbines, we take a look at the industry’s dedication to spotlighting one of the most important advocacy dates on the calendar. In 1990, the holiday got a pretty big boost from Hollywood when Time Warner called on some of their favorite talent to hammer home proactive things Americans could do to reduce their footprint on the planet. (Our favorites? A pony-tailed Kevin Costner teaching Meryl Streep how to recycle and Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie Howser giving a press conference about the health of his patient, "Mother Earth.") But in 2013, the film business's efforts have far exceeded PSA productions, and the good news is that a lot of progressive practices like electric car fueling stations, composting, a ban on plastic bags in commissaries, and required carbon emission reporting have become all but de rigueur on most major lots. As each of the main studios shoot to achieve "100% sustainable" status in the coming years, the pressure is on to determine creative ways to be the first to get there, and then some. In honor of Earth Day, we take a look at some of the ways Hollywood is committed to 'greening' up their practices:

Earth Day Spotlight: Working Dogs for Conservation

Wicket, an eight year-old black lab-cross wearing a red vest emblazoned with the words "Search Dog", came to a sudden stop at the base of a thick willow tree, turning and sitting in one swift motion, and awaited her reward of a tennis ball for a successful detection. "Instead of using dogs to find narcotics, lets use them to find poop," Alice Whitelaw of Working Dogs for Conservation, said. Only one in 1,000 dogs have what it takes to become a detection dog. The Three Forks Mont.-based research group uses dogs to search for everything from invasive species to noxious weeds to rare animal scat to illegal snares used by poachers in Africa. Five Montana wildlife biologists came together in 2000 with a new idea to respond to a growing demand for non-invasive ways to do research.

Forest conservation could reduce malaria transmission

Preserving the biodiversity of tropical forests could have the added benefit of cutting the spread of malaria, according to a new study. The finding contradicts the traditional view that clearing native forest for agriculture curbs malaria transmission in the Amazon rainforest.