Author: Yale Environment 360

  • Plastic in the Oceans Increasing Risk of Disease in Coral Reefs

    More than 11 billion pieces of plastic are lodged within coral reefs in the Asia-Pacific region. According to a new study published in the journal Science, as this plastic gets tangled, it often cuts the coral, increasing the risk of infection and disease outbreaks by as much 89 percent.

  • Cougars Officially Declared Extinct in Eastern U.S., Removed from Endangered Species List

    Eastern cougars once roamed every U.S. state east of the Mississippi, but it has been eight decades since the last confirmed sighting of the animal. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has officially declared the subspecies extinct and removed it from the U.S. endangered species list.

  • Scientists Unlock Key Information About the World's Soil Microbes

    Scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder have created the first worldwide atlas of soil microbes, mapping 500 of the most common kinds of bacteria found in soil across the globe, from deserts to grasslands to wetlands.

  • Warming Signs: How Diminished Snow Cover Puts Species in Peril

    The wolverine is highly adapted to life in a snowy world. It has thick fur and snowshoe-like feet, and it dens high in the mountains as a way to avoid predators that aren’t as nimble in deep snow and to provide its kits with insulation from the bitter high-elevation cold.

  • After an Uncertain Start, U.S. Offshore Wind Is Powering Up

    This summer, the Norwegian energy company, Statoil, will send a vessel to survey a triangular slice of federal waters about 15 miles south of Long Island, where the company is planning to construct a wind farm that could generate up to 1.5 gigawatts of electricity for New York City and Long Island — enough to power roughly 1 million homes. Construction on the “Empire Wind” project, with scores of wind turbines generating electricity across 79,000 acres of leased federal waters, is scheduled to begin in 2023, with construction completed in 2025.

  • A Chinese Megacity Bus Fleet Goes Fully Electric

    The Chinese megacity of Shenzhen has successfully switched 100 percent of its 16,359-vehicle bus fleet to electric vehicles, reaching its goal just six years after it vowed to move away from diesel engines, according to reporting by CleanTechnica and other news outlets. The fleet — which has three times as many buses as New York City — serves a population of 12 million. The switch is expected to save the equivalent of 345,000 tons of diesel fuel and cut 1.35 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

  • Habitat on the Edges: Making Room for Wildlife in an Urbanized World

    One morning not long ago, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, I traveled with a Wildlife Conservation Society biologist on a switchback route up and over the high ridge of the Western Ghats. Our itinerary loosely followed the corridor connecting Bhadra Tiger Reserve with Kudremakh National Park 30 miles to the south.

  • Global Warming Could Cause Dangerous Increases in Humidity

    Climate scientists often warn that rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere will cause an increase in the number and intensity of heat waves in many regions of the world. But a new study is cautioning that climate change will also significantly increase humidity, magnifying the effects of these heat waves and making it more difficult for humans to safely work or be outside.

  • Flowers Have Hidden Heat Signals That Attract Pollinating Bees

    It is well understood how flowers use complex color patterns and smells to attract pollinating bees. But now, scientists have discovered that flowers also emit heat to advertise themselves to insects — creating temperature arrays that mimic the color designs of petals.On average, heat spots were 4 to 5 degrees Celsius warmer than the rest of the flower, but could be as much as 11 degrees warmer.

  • Algae on Greenland Ice Sheet Significantly Hasten Its Melting

    Naturally occurring algae on Greenland’s massive ice sheet absorb large amounts of the sun’s energy and speed up the melting of the ice sheet even more than black carbon and mineral dust, according to a new study.