Tag Archives: pollution

Studying Gas Mask Filters So People Can Breathe Easier

Berkeley Lab research could lead to applications in agriculture, industry

In research that could lead to better gas mask filters, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have been putting the X-ray spotlight on composite materials in respirators used by the military, police, and first responders, and the results have been encouraging. What they are learning not only provides reassuring news about the effectiveness of current filters in protecting people from lethal compounds such as VX and sarin, but they also provide fundamental information that could lead to more advanced gas masks as well as protective gear for civilian applications. (more…)

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Fumes Keep Moths from Finding Flowers, Study Discovers

New research by the University of Washington and the UA shows that background odors can interfere with pollinators’ ability to find flowers.

Car and truck exhaust fumes that foul the air for humans also cause problems for pollinators.

In new research on how pollinators find flowers when background odors are strong, University of Washington and University of Arizona researchers have found that both natural plant odors and human sources of pollution can conceal the scent of sought-after flowers.  (more…)

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Snapping Turtles Finding Refuge in Urban Areas While Habitats are Being Polluted or Developed, MU Researcher Finds

Stopping pollution from flowing into waterways could restore natural habitats

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In the Midwest, people have a fear of encountering snapping turtles while swimming in local ponds, lakes and rivers. Now in a new study, a University of Missouri researcher has found that snapping turtles are surviving in urban areas as their natural habitats are being polluted or developed for construction projects. One solution is for people to stop using so many chemicals that are eventually dumped into the waterways, the scientist said.

“Snapping turtles are animals that can live in almost any aquatic habitat as long as their basic needs for survival are met,” said Bill Peterman, a post-doctoral researcher in the Division of Biological Sciences at MU. “Unfortunately, suitable aquatic habitats for turtles are being degraded by pollution or completely lost due to development. We found that snapping turtles can persist in urbanized areas, despite the potential for more interaction with humans.” (more…)

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Evolutionary study shows bridge species drive tropical engine of biodiversity

Although scientists have known since the middle of the 19th century that the tropics are teeming with species while the poles harbor relatively few, the origin of the most dramatic and pervasive biodiversity on Earth has never been clear.

New research sheds light on how that pattern came about. Furthermore, it confirms that the tropics have been and continue to be the Earth’s engine of biodiversity. (more…)

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Emerging Consensus Shows Climate Change Already Having Major Effects on Ecosystems and Species

Plant and animal species are shifting their geographic ranges and the timing of their life events – such as flowering, laying eggs or migrating – at faster rates than researchers documented just a few years ago, according to a technical report on biodiversity and ecosystems used as scientific input for the 2013 Third National Climate Assessment.

The report, Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services, synthesizes the scientific understanding of the way climate change is affecting ecosystems, ecosystem services and the diversity of species, as well as what strategies might be used by natural resource practitioners to decrease current and future risks. More than 60 federal, academic and other scientists, including the lead authors from the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Wildlife Federation and Arizona State University in Tempe, authored the assessment. (more…)

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Sharks: Bad Creatures or Bad Image?

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Historically, the media have been particularly harsh to sharks, and it’s affecting their survival.

The results of a Michigan State University study, appearing in the current issue of the journal Conservation Biology, reviewed worldwide media coverage of sharks – and the majority isn’t good.

Australian and U.S. news articles were more likely to focus on negative reports featuring sharks and shark attacks rather than conservation efforts. Allowing such articles to dominate the overall news coverage diverts attention from key issues, such as shark populations are declining worldwide and many species are facing extinction, said Meredith Gore, MSU assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife and the School of Criminal Justice. (more…)

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Controlling the Spread of Diseases Among Humans, Other Animals and the Environment

New NSF-NIH-USDA-BBSRC grants fund research on how infectious diseases are transmitted

West Nile virus, Lyme disease and hantavirus are all infectious diseases spreading in animals and in people. Is human interaction with the environment somehow responsible for the increase in incidence of these diseases?

A joint National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) program is providing answers.

It supports efforts to understand the underlying ecological and biological mechanisms behind human-induced environmental changes and the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases. (more…)

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