The climate crisis is set to profoundly alter the world around us. Humans will not be the only species to suffer from the calamity. Huge waves of die-offs will be triggered across the animal kingdom as coral reefs turn ghostly white and tropical rainforests collapse. For a period, some researchers suspected that insects may be less affected, or at least more adaptable, than mammals, birds and other groups of creatures. With their large, elastic populations and their defiance of previous mass extinction events, surely insects will do better than most in the teeth of the climate emergency?
Half the little penguin chicks from this year’s breeding season on Penguin Island in Western Australia have died, as the colony dwindles and researchers accuse the state government of failing to act.
It is thought up to 20 chicks, which represented 10% of the colony, were lost after New Year’s Day when their parents were unable to feed them, resulting in the worst breeding season since 2011.
A recent investigation of the California drift gill net swordfishery has revealed a stark discrepancy between fishers’ self-reported accounts of by-catch rates and independently verified figures. Though the examination is of just one fishery, the finding casts doubt on the value of commercial fishers’ self-reporting.
In the new report, based on data garnered through a public records request to the US National Marine Fisheries Service, scientists with the environmental nonprofit Oceana show that while independent observers assigned to monitor California drift gill net swordfishing boats reported 292 entangled marine mammals and four sea turtles between 2001 and 2018, fishers working other boats in that same fishery claimed to have caught fewer than 30 marine mammals and zero sea turtles over the same period.
A new, Yale-led study suggests the 21st century will see an expansion of hurricanes and typhoons into mid-latitude regions, which includes major cities such as New York, Boston, Beijing, and Tokyo.
Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, the study’s authors said tropical cyclones—hurricanes and typhoons—could migrate northward and southward in their respective hemispheres, as the planet warms as a result of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. 2020’s subtropical storm Alpha, the first tropical cyclone observed making landfall in Portugal, and this year’s Hurricane Henri, which made landfall in Connecticut, may be harbingers of such storms.
Camera traps have confirmed suspicions that mona monkeys are eating the eggs of the critically- endangered Príncipe thrush.
The monkeys and several other invasive species were brought to the then-uninhabited islands of Príncipe and São Tomé by Portuguese sailors beginning in the 15th century.
Conservation authorities are considering allowing hunting of the monkeys in Príncipe Natural Park to reduce their numbers, but further research to understand their place in the ecology is needed.
A new report using core samples taken from the seabed has determined that the Humboldt Current system off the coast of Peru was home to smaller fish during the last interglacial period, 130,000 years ago.
The conditions back then — with little oxygen content in the ocean and temperatures about 2°C (3.6°F) warmer than the average temperature in the current Holocene epoch — mirror those that scientists have predicted for 2100.
While many studies have argued that warmer water and lower oxygen lead to smaller fish, the added pressure of industrial fishing has made it difficult to determine the threat that climate change will pose on fisheries.
The Humboldt Current system is one of the most productive fisheries in the world, contributing to more than 15% of the global annual fish catch, so significant changes to this system will threaten food security.
Indonesia’s leading forestry university is making the case for oil palms to be classified as a forest crop — a move that would see existing plantations counted as forest, and the establishment of new ones as reforestation.
The proposal from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) also argues that oil palm plantations should count toward Indonesia’s carbon sequestration goals, despite studies pointing out that clearing rainforest for oil palms leads to vast amounts of emissions
The move has been criticized by other academics and NGOs, who say it could pave the way for the unfettered clearing of Indonesia’s remaining forests.
They also say that, if accepted by the government, the plan would legitimize the oil palm plantations currently operating illegally inside forest areas.