Tag Archives: national park

Large Old Trees Grow Fastest, Storing More Carbon

THREE RIVERS, Calif, — Trees do not slow in their growth rate as they get older and larger — instead, their growth keeps accelerating, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

“This finding contradicts the usual assumption that tree growth eventually declines as trees get older and bigger,” says Nate Stephenson, the study’s lead author and a forest ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “It also means that big, old trees are better at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere than has been commonly assumed.” (more…)

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New Approach to Measuring Coral Growth Offers Valuable Tool for Reef Managers

Finds surprising growth patterns in the Florida Keys

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A new more sensitive weight-based approach for monitoring coral growth in the wild has been developed by U.S. Geological Survey researchers leading to more definitive answers about the status of coral reefs.

Corals and other marine organisms build their skeletons and shells through calcification, the biological process of secreting calcium carbonate obtained from ocean water. This new approach to measuring corals can provide finer-scale resolution than traditional linear measurements of coral growth.  (more…)

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Amount of dust blown across the West is increasing, says CU-Boulder study

The amount of dust being blown across the landscape has increased over the last 17 years in large swaths of the West, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The escalation in dust emissions — which may be due to the interplay of several factors, including increased windstorm frequency, drought cycles and changing land-use patterns — has implications both for the areas where the dust is first picked up by the winds and for the places where the dust is put back down. (more…)

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Sea Turtles Benefiting From Protected Areas

Study Offers First Look at Green Sea Turtle Habitat Use in the Dry Tortugas

DRY TORTUGAS, Fla. – Nesting green sea turtles are benefiting from marine protected areas by using habitats found within their boundaries, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study that is the first to track the federally protected turtles in Dry Tortugas National Park.

Green turtles are listed as endangered in Florida and threatened throughout the rest of their range, and the habits of green sea turtles after their forays to nest on beaches in the Southeast U.S. have long remained a mystery. Until now, it was not clear whether the turtles made use of existing protected areas, and few details were available as to whether they were suited for supporting the green sea turtle’s survival. (more…)

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Deep in Texas, a plant-eating feathered dinosaur reemerges

A recently identified feathered dinosaur found deep in West Texas reinforces an emerging view that creatures like it were more diverse and widespread in North America than previously thought, according to a new study.

The species — a turkey-sized herbivore called Leptorhynchos gaddisi — belongs to a broader group of bird-like dinosaurs characterized by toothless beaks and long, slender claws, said researchers, who analyzed fossils found near Big Bend National Park at a site dating to about 75 million years ago. (more…)

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How to Hunt a Space Rock

Peter Willis and his team of researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., had a problem. Actually, more like they had a solution that needed a problem. Confused? Let’s let Peter give it a shot…

“My team and I came up with a new lab on a chip,” said Willis, a scientist at JPL’s Microdevices Lab. “It essentially miniaturizes an automated sample processing and analysis instrument that could be put aboard future spacecraft and sent to distant planets, moons and asteroids. One challenge we have is finding new and interesting samples to try our chip on.” (more…)

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Yellowstone Wolf Study Reveals How to Raise Successful Offspring

What are the key ingredients to raising successful, self-sufficient offspring? A new life sciences study using 14 years of data on gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park indicates that cooperative group behavior and a mother’s weight are crucial.

“A female’s body weight is key in the survival of her offspring, and cooperation in the protection and feeding of young pups pays off in terms of the production of offspring,” said Robert Wayne, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCLA and co-author of the new research, published this week in the online edition of the Journal of Animal Ecology. (more…)

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Tigers Take the Night Shift to Coexist with People

EAST LANSING, Mich.­­ – Tigers aren’t known for being accommodating, but a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that the carnivores in Nepal are taking the night shift to better coexist with humans.

The revelation that tigers and people are sharing exactly the same space – the same roads and trails – of Chitwan National Park flies in the face of long-held convictions in conservation circles. It also underscores how successful conservation efforts need sciences that takes into account both nature and humans.

“As our planet becomes more crowded, we need to find creative solutions that consider both human and natural systems,” said Jianguo “Jack” Liu, the director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability at Michigan State University. “Sustainability can be achieved if we have a good understanding of the complicated connections between both worlds. We’ve found something very interesting is happening in Nepal that holds promise for both humans and nature to thrive.” (more…)

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