Hexbyte Glen Cove Sea-level rise becoming a hazard for South Florida neighborhoods miles from ocean thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Sea-level rise becoming a hazard for South Florida neighborhoods miles from ocean

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Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Sea-level rise may appear to be a problem only for coastal residents, a hazard that comes with the awesome views and easy access to the beach.

But neighborhoods 20 miles inland are starting to feel the impact, as the Atlantic Ocean’s higher elevation makes it harder for drainage canals to keep them dry. The problem showed up last year in Tropical Storm Eta, when floodwater remained in southwest Broward neighborhoods for days, partly because the elevated ocean blocked canals from draining the region.

“It was pretty scary,” said Barb Besteni, who lives in far west Miramar. “I stepped out of house into ankle-deep . It came three-fourths up the driveway. I’d never seen the water that high. It was scary because I didn’t know if it was going to continue to rise.”

Although her house in the Sunset Lakes community stands at the edge of the Everglades, the Atlantic’s higher elevation prevented it from draining as efficiently as in the past.

“It took a very, very long time to recede,” she said. “Two or three weeks to recede to .”

The South Florida Water Management District, which operates the big canals that sweep water into the ocean, submitted a funding request to the state this week for fixing the system, with the preliminary list of projects carrying a price tag of more than $1.5 billion. Although expensive, the pumps and other improvements would help restore the efficiency of a system built after World War II that has become more difficult to operate at a time of rising sea levels.

“When is higher, we cannot discharge, so we close the gates to avoid ocean water coming inside,” said Carolina Maran, district resiliency officer for the South Florida Water Management District. “During Eta, it was much higher than normal. And that means again that we cannot discharge to the ocean and that diminished our capacity to prevent and address flooding.”

Storms overwhelm flood-control systems

Although there’s never a great time to endure 15-plus inches of rain, Tropical Storm Eta struck South Florida at a particularly challenging period.

The ground already had been saturated by previous storms. And coastal waters were undergoing a king tide, a phenomenon that occurs when the positions of sun and moon combine to produce the highest tides of the year. As sea levels rise, king tides get higher.

The wide canals that run through Broward and Miami-Dade counties, carrying rainwater to the ocean, depend partly on gravity. When rainwater raises the level of the on the inland side, water managers lift the gate dividing it from the ocean side of the canal and the water flows away, eventually reaching the Atlantic.

But when the Atlantic side is high, there may be no difference in elevations between each side of the gate, so when it’s lifted, the water doesn’t move. Or worse, the Atlantic side could be higher, so lifting the gate would allow ocean water to pour inland.

During Tropical Storm Eta, staffers at the South Broward Drainage District found themselves consulting tide charts to determine when they could open the gates and discharge water.

“We had to close our gate because the downstream gets equal to our upstream,” said Kevin Hart, district director of the South Broward Drainage District, which operates the canal system that feeds into the larger canals that drain into the ocean. “We don’t want to drain in, we want to drain out. We’ve got to close our gate.

“We were looking at tide charts—Low tides going to be at 2 o’clock and at 5 or 6 we can see the levels dropping and open our gate again.”

Aging system confronts sea-level rise

Constructed largely in the 1940s and 1950s, South Florida’s drainage system has been an efficient—some would say too efficient—system for keeping a once-swampy part of Florida dry.

The system contributed to the decline of the Everglades, at times flooding the area, at other times drying it out. But it accomplished what it was supposed to do, keeping the land dry for cities such as Pembroke Pines and Miramar by swiftly moving rainwater through a system of canals to the ocean.

But now that movement of water isn’t that swift and doesn’t always happen. As a result, people in cities without ocean views are finding that the water level of the Atlantic Ocean can affect their homes.

Although cities are installing pumps and other flood-control devices, they need capacity in the canals to get rid of the water.

“No matter what we do, if they don’t lower those canals so our water can escape, there’s nothing to be done,” said Angelo Castillo, a Pembroke Pines commissioner. “We can spend as much money as we want on drainage but if they can’t access the canals because the canals won’t take that capacity, nothing that we do in terms of conveying water faster to those canals will work.”

Sea levels have been rising at an accelerating rate, largely due to climate change caused by pollution from cars, power plants and other sources of heat-trapping gasses. A NOAA study says global sea levels have gone up 3.4 inches from 1993 to 2019.

In South Florida, estimates from the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, which represents local governments, call for sea levels to rise another 10-17 inches by 2040.

Hoping to revamp the system for an age of rising sea levels, the water management district has proposed improvements at 23 drainage structures in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. They range from southern Miami-Dade County to the Hillsboro Canal, which separates Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The major projects would be the addition of powerful pumps to allow water to be moved to the ocean side of the canal when the is too high to move water by gravity. But these projects are expensive.

The improvements, assuming they go through, could help homeowners with their flood insurance bills. A better drainage system could hold down rates and reduce the number of properties required to get flood insurance.

The water management district is seeking federal and state money for the work. As soon as the first funding comes through, the district plans to start designing the new pumps and other improvement for water-control structures on the canal that drains southern Broward and the one that drains northeast Miami-Dade.

Jennifer Jurado, who oversees climate-change planning for Broward County, said the improvements will help prevent neighborhoods from flooding in future storms, but the region needs to come up with ways to keep as much water as possible rather than just pumping it away.

“It’s trying to ensure the system works at least as well as it was intended,” she said. “It’s a huge part of the fix. Our system can’t just pump it out. We have to be able to store as much of it as we can because the rain that falls is the rain we use for our water supply. We need to capture and store that water, in addition to providing flood relief.”


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Hexbyte Glen Cove Scientists discover the molecular mechanism of black-streaked dwarf virus in rice thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Scientists discover the molecular mechanism of black-streaked dwarf virus in rice

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RBSDV infection-induced autophagy in L. striatellus midguts at various days post-feeding. Credit: Zhejiang University

Rice viruses are prevalent in many rice-growing countries and often cause serious damages to rice production. Among them, the rice black-streaked dwarf virus (RBSDV), transmitted by the small brown planthopper Laodelphax striatellus, causes tremendous losses in China’s grain yields every year. Therefore, discovering the transmission mechanism of RBSDV is of immense significance for its effective control.

The research team led by Prof. Wu Jianxiang and Prof. Zhou Xueping from the Zhejiang University College of Agriculture and Biotechnology published an open-access article entitled “Rice black-streaked dwarf virus P10 promotes phosphorylation of GAPDH (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase) to induce autophagy in L. striatellus” in the journal Autophagy.

The research team discovered that the early phase of RBSDV infection in L. striatellus can induce autophagy, leading to the suppression of RBSDV invasion and accumulation while inhibiting autophagy can promote RBSDV invasion and accumulation and thus improve the mortality rate of RBSDV-infected L. striatellus. This indicates that autophagy, as an innate immune response, plays a crucial role in the battle against RBSDV invasion.

Furthermore, the main capsid protein (also known as P10) of RBSDV alone can induce autophagy in both Sf9 and L. striatellus cells. Yeast two-hybrid (Y2H), pull down, Co-IP assays confirmed that RBSDV P10 can interact with GAPDH in vivo and in vitro. Further experiments indicated that Sf9 cells expressing RBSDV P10 can promote the phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), resulting in GAPDH phosphorylation and relocation of GAPDH from the cytoplasm to the nucleus.

Meanwhile, RBSDV invasion or feeding recombinant expressed RBSDV P10 can also promote LsAMPK phosphorylation, leading to LsGAPDH phosphorylation and the translocation of the phosphorylated LsGAPDH from the cytoplasm to the nucleus to activate the autophagy pathway in L. striatellus. Co-IP and in vitro phosphorylation assays showed that AMPK interacts with GAPDH, phosphorylated AMPK can phosphorylate GAPDH, and silencing AMPK genes can inhibit the occurrence of GAPDH phosphorylation, translocation of GAPDH into the nucleus and autophagy.

This study reveals that RBSDV invasion or RBSDV P10 can induce AMPK phosphorylation, which can lead to GAPDH phosphorylation and the translocation of phosphorylated GAPDH into the nucleus. Once inside the nucleus, phosphorylated GAPDH can activate autophagy to suppress virus infection. “Our research illuminates the mechanism by which RBSDV induces autophagy in L. striatellus, and indicates that the pathway in an insect vector participates in the anti-RBSDV innate immune response,” said Prof. Wu. “This will provide new insights into RBSDV control.”

A working model of RBSDV P10-induced autophagy in L. striatellus cells. Credit: Zhejiang University



More information:
Qi Wang et al, Rice black-streaked dwarf virus P10 promotes phosphorylation of GAPDH (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase) to induce autophagy in Laodelphax striatellus, Autophagy (2021). DOI: 10.1080/15548627.2021.1954773

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Scientists discover the molecular mechanism of black-streaked dwarf virus in rice (2021, September 6)
retrieved 6 September 2021
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Two atypical cases of mad cow disease detected in Brazil thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Two atypical cases of mad cow disease detected in Brazil

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Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Two atypical cases of mad cow disease have been detected in Brazil, resulting in suspension of its exports of beef to China, the Agriculture Ministry said Saturday.

That temporary step was taken under an existing bilateral protocol between the two countries although the ministry stressed that there was “no risk to human or .”

The two cases were “atypical” since the disease appeared “spontaneously and sporadically, unrelated to the ingestion of contaminated food,” a ministry statement said.

The two (BSE) cases were identified during health inspections in Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso states in aged cattle, it added.

“Brazil has never recorded a classic case of BSE,” said the ministry, which officially notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

In June 2019 Brazil also temporarily suspended its exports of cattle to China after an atypical case of BSE was detected in Mato Grosso in a 17-year-old cow.

Mad cow disease first appeared in Britain in the 1980s and spread to many countries in Europe and around the world, causing consumer alarm and triggering a serious crisis in the beef industry.

The disease was spread widely by farmers feeding cattle with the meat and bone meal of dead and infected animals.

And then people died after contracting the human variant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob , understood to be passed along by consuming infected beef.



© 2021 AFP

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Two atypical cases of mad cow disease detected in Brazil (2021, September 5)
retrieved 5 September 2021
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Do tourist boats stress out whales? Researchers find out thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Do tourist boats stress out whales? Researchers find out

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Scientists are collecting data from whales’ breath to find out if they get stressed by whale-watching boats.

Just off the northern coast of Iceland, scientists are collecting data from whales’ breath to find out if they get stressed by whale-watching boats, an industry that has boomed in recent years.

Researchers from Whale Wise, a marine conservation charity, are studying the whales’ in their hormones.

From their small sailboat, a drone lifts off. After six hours of waiting, the scientists have finally spotted a .

Attached to the flying device are two petri dishes—transparent cylindrical containers—that will collect from the whale’s spray.

The timeframe to collect the is short—the duration of a whale’s breath.

This time, the drone flies over the whale carefully, crossing through the spray coming from the whale’s blowhole… and mission accomplished. It returns to the sailboat, delivering its precious cargo to the researchers.

Once wrapped in paraffin and frozen, the samples will be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

The researchers aim to collect samples before a whale watching boat arrives and then afterwards, then compare the two samples to determine the direct impact of that encounter on stress levels.

Tourists have been increasingly flocking to the waters of the North Atlantic off Iceland to admire the majestic creatures, though 2020 was a quiet year due to the pandemic.

Researches hope to be able to gauge the impact of the whale watching industry.

More than 360,000 whale watchers were registered in 2019, three times the number a decade ago.

Almost a third of them began their whale watching tour in the Husavik harbour, heading for the chilly waters of Skjalfandi Bay.

Feeding disruptions

Previous studies on tourism’s impact on whales, which were based on behavioural observations, concluded that tourism caused only minor disruptions to the mammals.

The most recent study, from 2011, found that whale-watching excursions were disrupting in the Faxa Bay near Reykjavik, in the south of the country.

“We found that the minke whales were disturbed in their feeding, but it was only a short-term disturbance,” one of the authors of the study, Marianne Rasmussen, director of the University of Iceland Research Center in Husavik, told AFP.

“It didn’t affect their overall fitness.”

The method used by Whale Wise this summer has been used elsewhere by biologists but this was a first for researchers in Iceland.

“From the samples, you can look at hormones such as cortisol, which is a stress-related hormone, and then you can determine the physiological stress levels of these whales,” said Tom Grove, Whale Wise co-founder and a Ph.D. student at the University of Edinburgh.

A large whale captures an average of 33 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Since 2018, 59 samples have been collected. While a minimum of 50 are needed for a proper analysis, he hopes to collect around 100.

This summer, some of the samples were collected together with French environmental group Unu Mondo Expedition, which travelled to Iceland for a month-long expedition to study climate change issues.

“The whales are important to us, for our lives, because they are part of the ecosystem on our planet,” said Sophie Simonin, 29, the organisation’s co-founder.

“They also absorb enormous amounts of carbon dioxide,” she added.

According to a December 2019 study by the International Monetary Fund, a large whale captures an average of 33 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

While whales are a tourist attraction, they are also hunted in Iceland.

The International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, but Iceland, which opposed the moratorium, resumed its hunt in 2003.

Iceland only bans the hunt of blue whales.

But while the country has established an annual quota of 209 fin whales and 217 minke whales until 2023, no were hunted this year for the third straight year, as whalers say it is not financially viable.



© 2021 AFP

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Do tourist boats stress out whales? Researchers find out (2021, September 5)
retrieved 5 September 2021
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Conservation meet mulls plan to protect 80% of Amazon thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Conservation meet mulls plan to protect 80% of Amazon

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Research has warned that massive destruction of tropical forests combined with climate change are pushing the Amazon towards a ‘tipping point’ which would see tropical forests give way to savannah-like landscapes.

Should 80 percent of the Amazon be declared a protected area by 2025?

The world’s top conservation body is on Sunday poised to decide whether its 1,400 members can vote on this controversial proposal, put forward by indigenous groups.

Submitted under an emergency provision to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the measure calls for a “global action plan” to halt rampant deforestation and the destructive extraction of precious minerals and oil.

Over the last two decades, the Amazon has lost roughly 10,000 square kilometres every year, according to assessments based on .

“That’s the emergency, not just for us but for humanity,” Jose Gregorio Diaz Mirabal, a leader of the Curripaco people in Venezuela, told AFP at the Congress venue in Marseille.

For the first time in the IUCN’s 70-year history, indigenous groups are now voting members alongside government agencies and national or international NGOs.

Diaz Mirabal submitted the Amazon proposal for the organisation COICA, which represents more than two million in nine Amazon nations.

“We have been neglected, and now we have a voice and will exercise that voting right,” he said.

‘Territory of humanity’

Recent research has warned that massive destruction of tropical forests combined with are pushing the Amazon towards a disastrous “tipping point” which would see give way to savannah-like landscapes.

This would not only drastically change the region’s climate, but have an impact on global climate systems as well, scientists say.

Rates of tree loss drop sharply in the forests where live, especially if they hold some degree of title—legal or customary—over land, other research has shown.

IUCN officials are reviewing the COICA measure, along with 20 others proposals submitted after the deadline last year, “to make sure they are both ‘new’ and ‘urgent’,” said Enrique Lahmann, a senior administrator.

“Both criteria are required.”

A decision will be announced late Sunday or Monday, his office said.

While the vote, which would be held in the coming week, would not have legal weight, it demonstrates the strength of feeling among .

In an emotional press conference, Diaz Mirabal—flanked by indigenous leaders from French Guiana and Ecuador—implored world leaders to take head of his message.

“We are asking governments to help us protect our territory, which is also the territory of humanity,” he said. “Because if the Amazon rainforest disappears, people will die everywhere, it’s that simple.”

“It is crucial to stop extracting the oil, the gold, the uranium,” he added. “This is wealth for Europe, the United States, Russia, and China, but is poverty for us.”



© 2021 AFP

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Conservation meet mulls plan to protect 80% of Amazon (2021, September 5)
retrieved 5 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-mulls-amazon.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove New project to track endangered species coming back from brink thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove New project to track endangered species coming back from brink

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The Green status suggests the California condor would have gone extinct in the wild without conservation.

After decades of recording alarming declines in animals and plants, conservation experts have taken a more proactive approach, with a new “Green Status” launched on Saturday, billed as the first global measurement for tracking species recovery.

Since 1964, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed some 138,000 species for its Red List of Threatened Species, a powerful tool to highlight the plight of wildlife facing extinction.

Some 28 percent are currently at risk of vanishing forever.

Its new Green Status will act as a companion to this survival watchlist, looking at the extent to which species are depleted or restored compared to their historical population levels.

The initiative aims “to measure species recoveries in a standardised way, which has never been done before”, Green Status co-chair Molly Grace told a news conference Saturday during the IUCN congress in Marseille.

But it also looks to “incentivise action”, with evaluations of how well past preservation efforts have worked, as well as projections for how effective future ones will be.

It was born of a realisation that “preventing extinction alone is not enough”, said Grace, a professor at the University of Oxford.

Beyond the first step of stopping a species from disappearing entirely, “once it’s out of danger, what does recovery look like?”

Efforts to halt extensive declines in numbers and diversity of animals and plants have largely failed to stop losses in the face of rampant habitat destruction, overexploitation and .

In 2019 the UN’s biodiversity experts warned that a million species were nearing extinction.

The burrowing bettong now exists in just 5 percent of its indigenous range.

‘Invisible’ work

The Green of over 180 species have been assessed so far, although the IUCN hopes to one day to match the tens of thousands on the Red List.

They are classified on a sliding scale: from “fully recovered” through “slightly depleted”, “moderately depleted”, “largely depleted” and “critically depleted”.

When all else has failed, the final listing is “extinct in the wild”.

While these categories mirror the Red List rankings, “they’re not simply a Red List in reverse”, said Grace.

She gave the example of a pocket-sized Australian marsupial, the burrowing bettong, whose numbers have plummeted and which now exists in just five percent of its indigenous range.

Successful conservation efforts have seen populations stabilise, with a Red List rating improving from endangered to near threatened in recent decades.

But Grace said the Green Status assessment underscores that the species is not out of the woods, with a listing of critically depleted that suggests: “We have a long way to go before we recover this species.”

The listing also incorporates an assessment of what would have happened if nothing had been done to save a given species.

The California condor, for example, has been classified as critically endangered for three decades, despite major investment in its preservation.

“Some people might think: ‘We’ve been trying to conserve the condor for 30 years, its red list status has been critically endangered for all those 30 years, what is conservation actually doing for this ?'” said Grace.

But she said her team’s evaluation of what would have happened without these protection efforts found that it would have gone extinct in the wild.

“What this does is it makes the invisible work of conservation visible. And this is hopefully going to be really powerful in incentivising and justifying the amazing work that conservationists do,” said Grace.



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
New project to track endangered species coming back from brink (2021, September 4)
retrieved 4 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-track-endangered-species-brink.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Wildlife 'Red List' a grim tally of extinction threat thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Wildlife ‘Red List’ a grim tally of extinction threat

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Craig Hilton-Taylor, head of the Red List Unit of the IUCN. Habitat loss, overexploitation and illegal trade have hammered global wildlife populations.

The world will get an update Saturday of the Red List of Threatened Species, the authoritative catalogue of how many of the planet’s animal and plant species are teetering on the brink of extinction due to human activity.

Experts for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is holding a world congress in the French city of Marseille, have assessed nearly 135,000 species over the last half-century, and almost 28 percent are currently at risk of vanishing forever.

Habitat loss, overexploitation and have hammered global wildlife populations, but scientists say they are increasingly worried about the looming threats of .

AFP spoke with Craig Hilton-Taylor, the IUCN’s Head of Red List Unit on the eve of the congress.

Q. Are we in or on the cusp of the sixth mass extinction?

If we look at extinctions every 100 years since 1500, there is a marked inflection starting in the 1900s. The trend is showing that we are 100 to 1,000 times higher than the ‘background’, or normal, extinction rates. I would certainly say that the red list status shows that we’re on the cusp of the sixth extinction event [in the last 500 million years].

If the trends carry on going upward at that rate, we’ll be facing a major crisis soon.

Lions have lost more than 90 percent of their historic range and population.

Q: The Red List began in 1964. Has it changed much?

A: The initial list wasn’t really based on scientific criteria. It was more of a gut feel: ‘We think the species is under some degree of threat’. But as the list started to grow, we realised that we needed to make the list scientifically defensible. So we took a big step back and asked: ‘What is it we are trying to measure?’

The answer was quite simple: risk of extinction.

Q: Are there species that would have gone extinct without the Red List?

A: There are lots of species around the world that we would almost certainly have lost. The Red List process drew attention, for example, to the plight of the Arabian oryx and led to conservation efforts—taking the animals out of the wild, captive breeding, reintroductions. We’ve seen species very nearly extinct that are thriving now.

Q: Does the Red List make recommendations?

A: The Red List is not policy prescriptive, it’s really just a statement of fact –- this is what the status of the species is. Then it’s up to the to interpret that and decide what policies should be enacted.

Graph showing the percentage of vertebrate groups driven to extinction since 1500.

Q: Do you ever come under pressure over the listings?

A: There is lots of lobbying. Surprisingly, it’s not so much about the up-listing to a higher threat level. For some high-profile charismatic species, if you want to down-list them because there has been successful conservation actions, we often get lobbied very, very hard to not do that.

There’s real concern that if a species goes down a category, that conservation investment will stop. This is where the ‘green status’ will really help.

Q. What is the green status?

A: After you’ve done the Red List assessment, what are you going to do about it? This is where we started talking about the green status. How do you measure whether your conservation actions are being successful? If we hadn’t done anything, where would it be now? If we stopped all now, what will happen to that species going forward? Those are the metrics in the green status process.

Q: Couldn’t that lead to species triage?

A: There’s a limited amount of funding available and vast number of species. It does come down to some really harsh realities. You’re obligated to just let some species go extinct because we really can’t save them.

A maasai giraffe walks in Nairobi National Park, Kenya.

But it’s not something we tackle head on in the Red List process. We effectively pass the buck on to others to make those very hard decisions.

Q: Climate change is rarely cited as a driver of . Why is that?

A: It is obvious for the polar bears because of the direct link between sea ice cover and global warming, but with other megafauna it’s a lot harder to detect the impacts of change.

There is evidence pointing to climate change for the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires. But when experts record threats to a species they may put ‘increased fire frequency’, not climate change.

The chytrid fungus is wiping out amphibians all around the world, and we are pretty sure that its emergence is very much linked to climate change. But with the evidence we have now, the category of threat is invasive , not climate change.



© 2021 AFP

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Wildlife ‘Red List’ a grim tally of extinction threat (2021, September 4)
retrieved 4 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-wildlife-red-grim-tally-extinction.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Image: Hubble snaps speedy star jets thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Image: Hubble snaps speedy star jets

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Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, B. Nisini

This striking image features a relatively rare celestial phenomenon known as a Herbig-Haro object. This particular object, named HH111, was imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).

These spectacular objects develop under very specific circumstances. Newly formed stars are often very active, and in some cases they expel very narrow jets of rapidly moving ionized gas – gas that is so hot that its molecules and atoms have lost their electrons, making the gas highly charged. The streams of ionized gas then collide with the clouds of gas and dust surrounding newly formed stars at speeds of hundreds of miles per second. It is these energetic collisions that create Herbig-Haro objects such as HH111.

WFC3 takes images at optical, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths, which means that it observes objects at a similar to the range that human eyes are sensitive to (optical, or visible) and a range of wavelengths that are slightly too short (ultraviolet) or too long (infrared) to be detected by . Herbig-Haro objects actually release a lot of light at , but they are difficult to observe because their surrounding dust and gas absorb much of the visible light. Therefore, the WFC3’s ability to observe at – where observations are not as affected by gas and dust – is crucial to observing Herbo-Haro objects successfully.



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Image: Hubble snaps speedy star jets (2021, September 4)
retrieved 4 September 2021
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Missing ancient Mesopotamian artifacts seized in Norway thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Missing ancient Mesopotamian artifacts seized in Norway

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Nearly 100 missing tablets and other archaeological objects from ancient Mesopotamia have been found in Norway and seized, police said Friday.

Authorities said they would now be examined to determine their authenticity and establish their provenance if possible.

The Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime said they were “objects of significance to the global cultural heritage.”

The agency said it had “assisted the (asterisk)Norwegian) Ministry of Culture in a matter in which Iraqi authorities have reported a large number of ancient artifacts missing which they suspect have been smuggled out of the country.”

“A large number of objects were seized during the search, and a number of witnesses interviewed,” the agency known as Oekokrim said. “Our assistance is not an ordinary investigation, but is limited to locating the missing objects.”

The police didn’t say how or when the objects ended up in Norway. No further details were immediately available.



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Missing ancient Mesopotamian artifacts seized in Norway (2021, September 3)
retrieved 3 September 2021
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Hexbyte Glen Cove The annual 3,000-mile monarch migration is heading toward Chicago: 'It's like a Disney movie, except better' thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove The annual 3,000-mile monarch migration is heading toward Chicago: ‘It’s like a Disney movie, except better’

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Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Breanna Seibel was riding a four-wheeler alongside her alfalfa field in northern Wisconsin when she started seeing monarch butterflies. The bright orange visitors were swooping, fluttering and dancing in pairs, quartets and trios. They were landing in the trees that line the field, with up to 100 clustered on a single branch.

Seibel called her parents out to see the butterflies: thousands, by her count.

She posted videos on Facebook, and strangers started showing up at her doorstep, asking for a tour.

“It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before,” said Seibel, 28, of New Richmond, Wisconsin. “It’s like a Disney movie, except better.”

The fall migration, in which millions of butterflies travel up to 3,000 miles south to California and Mexico, is already underway in Wisconsin and Canada, with reports of the intrepid insects gathering in large groups to rest in trees or refuel in nectar-rich fields. And the spectacle will likely reach Chicago next week, according to Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum chief curator Doug Taron.

Expect more monarchs in gardens, parks, forests and fields. And if you’re exploring along Lake Michigan, keep an eye out for “roosts” where dozens—or even hundreds—of monarchs spend the night in a single tree.

Those who prefer monarchs-on-demand can attend butterfly festivals such as Flutter Into Fall on Sept. 12 at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, which will include a chance to see monarch tagging, in which tiny stickers are attached to the insects’ wings before release.

Local monarch fests include the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Migrating Monarchs Celebration in River Forest on Sept. 12, and Oak Lawn Park District’s Monarch Festival on Sept. 18.

The monarch population has been in decline for the past 20 years, spurring by both scientists and everyday people, who grow milkweed in gardens, fields and parkways. The butterflies, while not yet officially recognized as an endangered or threatened species, meet the criteria for inclusion, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

But millions of monarchs still make the annual trip south across the U.S. and Canada to California and Mexico, with thousands flying from Illinois to Michoacán, Mexico, a journey of abut 2,000 miles.

Scientists know the butterflies navigate south using their internal circadian clocks and the sun’s position in the sky, Taron said, but that doesn’t explain how the tiny travelers wind up year after year in the same small reserves northwest of Mexico City.

“This is really one of the big mysteries of the world,” he said. “The most recent butterflies that have been in the areas where they’re going are their great-great-great-grandparents.”

The monarchs winter on trees high up in the mountains of the Transvolcanic Belt mountain range. Temperatures often dip below freezing at night, and it’s not unusual to see snow on the butterflies, Taron said. The same butterflies start flying north again in spring, reaching the Rio Grande Valley in Texas before laying eggs and dying.

Subsequent generations fly north, making their way through the United States, and into Canada, before the next generation of long-distance flyers emerge in late summer and early fall.

While the nonmigratory generations of monarchs are in the Chicago area all summer, the monarchs of the fall migration are only beginning to emerge. The monarchs from the north will likely start arriving next week, Taron said, at about the same time that local migrating monarchs are emerging.

The peak of monarch migration in the Chicago area typically occurs around the second week of September, Taron said.

Among those who are getting an early taste of the migration are the growing number of monarch fans who are raising the butterflies from wild eggs in their homes. Scientists discourage raising large numbers of monarchs in your home—a practice promoted on some social media pages. But experts say that raising a small number of the butterflies can be rewarding and educational.

Samantha Goodman, a former science teacher living in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village, raises small numbers of monarchs under carefully controlled conditions. Earlier this week, she was preparing to release 10 monarchs that were still in their chrysalises. The date of their expected emergence makes it likely that they will join the migration to Mexico, she said.

She planned to tag her butterflies with little lightweight stickers that are sometimes recovered at the end of the migration route, providing evidence that a specific monarch has reached Mexico.

“The chance of the tag being found is pretty low,” said Goodman, 40. “But I’m definitely going to watch the lists next year, to see if any of my tags made it.”

Those who want to see migratory monarchs for themselves may want to check out the grounds of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, where Taron expects to see many butterflies early next week.

Monarchs, which tend to migrate along the shores of Lake Michigan, clustered on trees at the Shedd Aquarium last year, but there’s no way to know whether they will make a return appearance.

Seibel, who owns farmland in an area where her father has spent his entire life, said that monarchs never gathered on her property before. She suspects the influx, which began about two weeks ago and lasted until late August, may have been due in part to the alfalfa field, which had been allowed to bloom and emanated a strong, honey-sweet scent.

The butterflies would feed on the alfalfa nectar by day and huddle in the nearby trees at night.

The experience was particularly meaningful, Seibel said, because her mother’s beloved oldest sister, Karen M. Nelson, who died of breast cancer in 2010, said she would come back as a butterfly.

Seibel was also touched that people responded so strongly to her social media posts, with some even using her monarch photos as their profile pictures.

“Some people reached out and they’re like, ‘There is so much discrepancy, hate, arguing, left versus right—just anything that people can argue about, it seems we’re arguing about it today, (and) this is so refreshing,'” she said.

“So many people have said, ‘This just gives me hope that the world isn’t entirely falling apart.'”



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