Cross-species animal fights explained by new research

Why do animals fight with members of other species? A nine-year study by UCLA biologists says the reason often has to do with "obtaining priority access to females" in the area.The scientists observed and analyzed the behavior of several species of Hetaerina damselflies, also known as rubyspot damselflies. For the study, published this month in the print edition of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers observed more than 100 damselflies a day in their natural habitat along rivers and streams in Texas, Arizona and Mexico.

Microbes have major effect on climate change

Carbon, held in frozen permafrost soils for tens of thousands of years, is being released as Arctic regions of the Earth warm and is further fueling global climate change, according to a Florida State University researcher.

Cleaner buses could result in fewer school absences

The use of clean fuels and updated pollution control measures in the school buses 25 million children ride every day in the United States could result in 14 million fewer absences from school a year, based on a study by the University of Michigan and the University of Washington. In research believed to be the first to measure the individual impact on children of the federal mandate to reduce diesel emissions, researchers found improved health and less absenteeism, especially among asthmatic children.

What countries have the most endangered animals?

If you had to guess which countries are losing the greatest number of endangered mammals to extinction, which would you pick? Actually, you don’t have to guess. There’s a new map that will show you, in no uncertain terms, where in the world we’re losing animals the fastest. The top three “winners” of this unfortunate contest are Indonesia (184), Madagascar (114), Mexico (101), with India following close behind at 94.

Putting a value on our Oceans

The ocean’s wealth rivals those of the world’s leading economies, but its resources are rapidly eroding, according to a new World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report. The analysis, Reviving the Ocean Economy: The Case for Action, conservatively estimates the value of key ocean assets to be at least $24 trillion. If compared to the world’s top 10 economies, the ocean would rank as the seventh largest, with an annual value of goods and services of $2.5 trillion.The report, produced in association with The Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), combines scientific evidence of environmental degradation with an economic case for urgent conservation action. Using an innovative economic analysis, the ocean’s value is quantified based on assessments of goods and services ranging from fisheries to coastal storm protection, resulting in an overall asset value and an annual dividend output (comparable to a GDP).

A brief history of Earth Day

Each year, Earth Day -- April 22 -- marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.The height of hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it. 

On Earth Day, Give Fiber Its Due…

There's a touch of green associated with receiving phone service, using the Internet and streaming video over an all-fiber-optic network. It's not the color of laser-generated light that carries massive amounts of data through all-glass cables directly into homes and businesses. It's green in the sense of how much more environmentally friendly today’s fiber-based telecommunications networks are compared to copper wire and coaxial cable networks. Whether it's energy efficiency or reduced demand for raw materials and other resources, all-fiber networks are a winning strategy on many fronts — including environmental sustainability. As we approach the 45th celebration of Earth Day on April 22, it's a good time to reflect on how network and technology decisions made by major telecommunications companies don't just result in advanced, more reliable services. These decisions can also pay handsome dividends on the sustainability front.

Side effects of Statin drugs may be underestimated in elderly patients

A new study by UC San Francisco has found that statins can help prevent disease in older adults but must be weighed against potentially serious side effects.Amid a projected cost of almost $900 billion for cardiovascular disease over the next decade in the U.S., statins are used by nearly half the elderly population in the nation. But in spite of the widespread use, there has been little systematic scrutiny of the potential risks of the drugs in older adults and whether those side effects could offset cardiovascular and other health benefits.

Decreasing biodiversity affects productivity of remaining plants

When plant biodiversity declines, the remaining plants face diminishing productivity, say scientists in study published April 20 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The loss of biodiversity is threatening ecosystem productivity and services worldwide, spurring efforts to quantify its effects on the functioning of natural ecosystems," said lead author Jingjing Liang, a forest ecologist from West Virginia University.

US energy-related CO2 emissions increase for second year in a row

For the second year in a row, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States have increased, according to the latest official figures. However, unlike 2013, when emissions and gross domestic product (GDP) grew at similar rates (2.5% and 2.2%, respectively), 2014's CO2 emissions growth rate of 0.7% was much smaller than the 2014 GDP growth rate of 2.4%.