Archive for December, 2012

Jellyfish experts show increased blooms are a consequence of periodic global fluctuations

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Blooms, or proliferations, of jellyfish can show a substantial, visible impact on coastal populations -- clogged nets for fishermen, stinging waters for tourists, even choked cooling intake pipes for power plants -- and recent media reports have created a perception that the world's oceans are experiencing trending increases in jellyfish. Now, a new multinational collaborative study suggests these trends may be overstated, finding that there is no robust evidence for a global increase in jellyfish over the past two centuries....

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NOAA lists ringed and bearded ice seal populations under the Endangered Species Act

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NOAA Fisheries has announced its final listing decision for four subspecies of ringed seals and two distinct population segments (DPSs) of bearded seals under the Endangered Species Act. Specifically, in line with the proposal, NOAA will list as threatened the Beringia and Okhotsk DPSs of bearded seals and the Arctic, Okhotsk, and Baltic subspecies of ringed seals. The Ladoga subspecies of ringed seals will be listed as endangered. The species that exist in U.S. waters (Arctic ringed seals and the Beringia DPS of bearded seals) are already protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act....

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Paleo-ocean chemistry: New data challenge old views about evolution of early life

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A research team has tested a hypothesis in paleo-ocean chemistry, and proved it false. Many researchers attribute the delayed diversification and proliferation of eukaryotes to very low levels of zinc in seawater. But after analyzing marine black shale samples from North America, Africa, Australia, Asia and Europe, ranging in age from 2.7 billion years to 580 million years old, the researchers found that the shales reflect high seawater zinc availability....

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Study shows rapid warming on the West Antarctic ice sheet

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In a discovery that raises further concerns about the future contribution of Antarctica to sea level rise, a new study finds that the western part of the ice sheet is experiencing nearly twice as much warming as previously thought....

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Hawaiian Islands are dissolving from within, study says

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Most of us think of soil erosion as the primary force that levels mountains but geologists have found that Oahu's mountains are dissolving from within due to groundwater....

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Origin of life: Hypothesis traces first protocells back to emergence of cell membrane bioenergetics

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A coherent pathway -- which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells -- has been traced for the first time in a major hypothesis article....

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NASA’s Operation IceBridge data brings new twist to sea ice forecasting

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Shrinking Arctic sea ice grabbed the world's attention again earlier this year with a new record low minimum. Growing economic activity in the Arctic, such as fishing, mineral exploration and shipping, is emphasizing the need for accurate predictions of how much of the Arctic will be covered by sea ice. Every June, an international research group known as the Study of Environmental Arctic Change publishes a summary of the expected September Arctic sea ice minimum known as the Sea Ice Outlook....

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Animals contribute to seagrass dispersal: Fish, terrapins, and birds may help spread eelgrass seeds into new areas

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A new study is first to show that marine animals can disperse eelgrass seeds, with implications for management and restoration....

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When the ice melts, the Earth spews fire

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It has long been known that volcanic activity can cause short-term variations in climate. Now, researchers have found evidence that the reverse process also occurs: Climate affects volcanic activity....

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Geo-engineering against climate change: Seeding the oceans with iron may not address carbon emissions

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Plans for seeding the oceans with iron fail to take into account several factors that could scupper those plans, according to experts....

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