Wednesday, May 25, 2011

recent environmental press releases

Invasive species
A recent press release on the Mediterranean shows that the continued introduction of invasive species (something that happens via ballast water but also of course the Suez Canal) can have serious impacts on local ecosystems.

Species extinctions are often tied to modern society with land clearing, over hunting or fishing etc. However, a recent press release here and the free to public study here, show that the Polynesians were responsible for the extinction of a Hawaiian land crab over 1000 years ago. These crabs are major predators, control litter decomposition and help in nutrient cycling and seed dispersal. Their disappearance was caused by the arrival of humans to the islands and resulted in large-scale changes in the state's ecosystem.

Emissions trading
Recent work in emissions trading has shown that pollution hotspots have not been created in poor and minority areas in the US. In particular, it appears as if the sulfur dioxide allowance trading program appears to be working well, and not to the detriment of the poor.

Impacts of ocean warming
A recent report shows that surface water temperatures in the Tasman Sea have risen by nearly 2°C over the past 60 years. The study finds that "ocean warming has pushed the banded morwong -- which inhabits temperate reefs in waters 10-50m deep -- past the point where increasing temperatures are beneficial to growth." This is one of the first studies that shows the impacts of ocean warming on fish in our region.

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