Some Invasive Species may be Judged Unfairly

Non-native species are organisms that have been purposely or accidently introduced to an area outside its original geographic range. Often, these non-native species become invasive where they thrive in their new habitat and can aggressively start to take over the environment by outcompeting some of the native species. This alteration can not only cause harm to the environment, but to the economy as well.

The Flesh of Ancient Fish

It is hard to tell from just bones or a fossilized rock what a creature once looked like with muscles. Flesh does not survive well over the eons. Swedish, Australian and French researchers have presented for the first time miraculously preserved musculature of 380 million year old armored fish discovered in north-west Australia. This research will help scientists to better understand how neck and abdominal muscles evolved during the transition from jawless to jawed vertebrates. The scientific paper describing the discovery is published in the journal Science. The team of scientists who studied the fossilized fish was jointly directed by Prof. Kate Trinajstic, Curtin University, Perth, Australia and Prof. Per Erik Ahlberg of Uppsala University Sweden.

Better Land Use May Help Protect Coral Reefs

According to new research, for nations that have outlying coral reefs, better land use of the mainland is crucial in order to prevent further damage to these ocean habitats. A recent study reveals important implications for Madagascan and Australian reefs based on deforestation scenarios.

Odd Martian Thermal Rhythm

Researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have found that temperatures in the Martian atmosphere regularly rise and fall not just once each day, but twice. "We see a temperature maximum in the middle of the day, but we also see a temperature maximum a little after midnight," said Armin Kleinboehl of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., who is the lead author of a new report on these findings. Temperatures swing by as much as 58 degrees Fahrenheit (32 kelvins) in this odd, twice-a-day pattern, as detected by the orbiter's Mars Climate Sounder instrument.

11,000 barrels of oil spill into the Amazon’s Coca River

On May 31st, a landslide ruptured an oil pipeline in Ecuadorean Amazon, sending around 11,000 barrels of oil (420,000 gallons) into the Coca River. The oil pollution has since moved into the larger Napo River, which borders Yasuni National Park, and is currently heading downstream into Peru and Brazil. The spill has occurred in a region that is notorious for heavy oil production and decades of contamination, in addition to resistance and lawsuits by indigenous groups.

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Pay Dirt

It is, unfortunately, society's nature to discard the unwanted or forgotten. This tendency is on display across the globe, from slums of mega-cities to undernourished children in rural villages to the ugly endangered creatures that never receive attention. Nowhere, however, is this tendency more apparent than in our trash. We accumulate so much unwanted stuff that each city-dweller throws away an average of 1.2 kilograms of municipal solid waste per day. An individual's trash puts all those unwanted items on display, whether it is an old love letter, a broken glass, or a half-eaten ham and cheese sandwich.

Are Airlines doing enough to cut emissions?

The aviation industry has announced what it claims is "a historic agreement" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but industry experts and environmentalists say the agreement is vague and lacks the enforcement mechanisms necessary to give it teeth. At a meeting last week of the International Air Transport Association (I.A.T.A.), an industry group of more than 200 airlines representing 84 percent of the world's air travel, the assembled airlines agreed on a plan to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5 percent annually until 2020, cap their net carbon dioxide emissions after 2020, and cut emissions in half by 2050 compared with a 2005 baseline.

Tibetan monks partner with conservationists to protect the snow leopard

Tibetan monks could be the key to safeguarding the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) from extinction, according to an innovative program by big cat NGO Panthera which is partnering with Buddhist monasteries deep in leopard territory. Listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, snow leopard populations have dropped by a fifth in the last 16 years or so. Large, beautiful, and almost never-seen, snow leopards are the apex predators of the high plateaus and mountains of central Asia, but their survival like so many big predators is in jeopardy. Tom McCarthy the head of the Snow Leopard Program at Panthera told mongabay.com that the high-altitude predators are facing three major threats: poaching for illegal snow leopard skins, fur, and parts; decline in natural prey; and revenge killing by locals over livestock losses.

Volcanic Eruptions Linked to Cold Weather Events

When a volcano erupts, it's not just the local area and weather that will be affected. In fact, weather and climate around the world can be influenced, as large eruptions throw volcanic ash particles into the stratosphere. Locally, these particles attract water droplets and therefore cause rain events. In addition, higher occurrences of thunder and lightening are observed in the area. But the release of sulphur dioxide gas into the stratosphere, which converts into sulphate aerosol particles, reflects incoming sunlight and creates an overall temporary cooling effect of a much larger area on Earth's surface.

200 Year Old Mystery Solved: Why Do Corals Pulsate?

If you have ever been scuba diving and seen pulsating coral, you may have wondered why such a simple specimen would engage in such an intense activity. Marine biologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology have now begun to discover the biological processes that make the pulsating coral, or Heteroxenia coral, move the way they do.