By Rina Saeed Khan Published: May 15, 2019 0 SHARES Share Tweet Email Land use changes have chased off many of these animals and birds as their habitats shrink. PHOTO: WORLD WILDLIFE FUND-PAKISTAN As we go about our busy lives, completely dependent on fossil fuels from the vehicles that transport us to the houses we live in electrified by thermal power plants, we remain blissfully ignorant of the damage resource extraction and unchecked development has done to the flora and fauna of our planet. How conveniently we look the other way as yet another housing estate gobbles up even more rural land and old trees are cut down to make way for roads! Scientists have now rung the alarm bells that we humans are driving the sixth mass extinction on Earth. A new study brought out by the United Nations (UN) says that one million of the world’s animal and plant species are now at risk of extinction – the largest number in human history to be facing the threat of being … [Read more...] about Pakistan’s wildlife: Going, going, gone!
Every time you swallow a mouthful of seawater while swimming at the beach, you’re downing about as many viruses as there are people in North America. However, despite the staggering abundance of marine viruses—and the key role that these infectious agents seem to play in global processes like the carbon cycle—scientists still know relatively little about the variety of viruses that are out there. In 2015 a team documented 5,476 distinct kinds of viruses in the ocean. In 2016 the same team updated its count to 15,222. Quanta Magazine About Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent publication of the Simons Foundation whose mission is to enhance public understanding of science by covering research developments and trends in mathematics and the physical and life sciences. But in a study published this week in Cell, that number skyrockets to 195,728 distinct viral populations, a more than twelvefold increase. … [Read more...] about Scientists Discover Nearly 200,000 Kinds of Ocean Viruses
Environment 28 March 2019 By Adam VaughanThe waters around the Galapagos islands, a hotspot of biodiversity off the coast of Ecuador, have been invaded by more alien species than previously thought. While the number of invasive species on land across the World Heritage Site are well-documented, relatively little was known about those in the marine environment. Now field surveys have found 48 invasive species off the coasts of the islands, in addition to five known non-native species. The organisms most likely hitched a ride on ships from around the world. Advertisement These surveys were undertaken only in certain habitats around two of the larger islands, so the actual number of invasive species is likely to be much greater. “From our knowledge of similar studies I wouldn’t be surprised if the number was twice [as many],” says team member Jim Carlton of Williams College in Massachusetts. Read more: Lost ‘Darwinia’ islands … [Read more...] about The waters of the Galapagos Islands are being invaded by alien species
This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The number of heat waves affecting the planet’s oceans has increased sharply, scientists have revealed, killing swathes of sea life like “wildfires that take out huge areas of forest.” The damage caused in these hotspots is also harmful for humanity, which relies on the oceans for oxygen, food, storm protection and the removal of climate-warming carbon dioxide the atmosphere, they say. Global warming is gradually increasing the average temperature of the oceans, but the new research is the first systematic global analysis of ocean heat waves, when temperatures reach extremes for five days or more. The research found heat waves are becoming more frequent, prolonged and severe, with the number of heat wave days tripling in the last couple of years studied. In the longer term, the number of heat wave days jumped by more than 50% in the 30 years to 2016, … [Read more...] about Oceans Are ‘Spiking a Fever’ With Record Heat Waves
The Coral Triangle is a vast network of coral reefs that dot the waters surrounding the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. Also known as "the Amazon of the ocean," this expansive underwater ecosystem in Southeast Asia is a hotspot for marine biodiversity, hosting 30 percent of the world's coral reefs that span 2.3 million square miles (6 million square kilometers). From humpback whales to humphead wrasses, a wide variety of sea creatures survive and thrive along the reefs in the Coral Triangle. Biodiversity hotspot "If you go to a place in the Coral Triangle — like the Verde Island Passage or Bali — there's so much microhabitat diversity," said Luiz Rocha, a coral reef scientist at the California Academy of Sciences. "You can go 100 yards [90 meters] from one reef to another, and the reef composition will be completely different." The region is home to more than 500 species of reef-building corals, which have adapted … [Read more...] about What Is the Coral Triangle?