May 19 - 25, 2013: Issue 111
Carbon dioxide levels hit record high - 13 May 2013, UNSW
Last week the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has finally crossed the 400 parts-per-million mark. The last time that happened was 3-5 million years ago during the Pliocene epoch, several million years before the evolution of modern humans. During this period the planet was 3-4 degrees warmer and sea levels 5-40m higher than today. Now, however, our activities are adding this gas hundreds or thousands of times faster than the natural sources that caused climate to change over Earth’s history.
The concentration is measured at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, and is averaged on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. CO2 has increased since 1800 from under 300ppm, and has rapidly increased since 1950.
So what should we be doing about this? One idea is starting to get a lot of attention. Instead of reducing carbon emissions, let’s tinker with the system to cool the planet off – a type of geo-engineering.
For example, we might be able to lower the temperature of the planet by several degrees by flying a small fleet of aircraft in the stratosphere, spraying sulphur-containing gases. This would form a mist that reflects some sunlight back to space – maybe enough to offset many decades' worth of greenhouse gas emissions, at least as far as the global temperature is concerned.
If only it were that simple. Geo-engineering is not a miracle cure for climate change. It is more like a tourniquet. It may save the patient’s life as a last option, but that life will never be the same.
Doesn’t CO2 just heat things up?
Recent studies, including this one published last week, and to which I contributed, show that carbon dioxide from fossil fuels would alter our world in ways that have nothing to do with global warming at the earth’s surface. Carbon dioxide affects climate by itself, and without its warming influence.
Sound strange? CO2 does this by interfering with natural energy flows within the atmosphere. This in turn affects how the air circulates, and shifts rainfall patterns.
It also reduces total global precipitation. While the overall change in precipitation is less than that caused by global warming, the regional shifts in precipitation are comparable. In short, some areas that were used to lots of rain will likely get less. Others will get more.
What does this mean? A few isolated skeptics claim that our climate has strong negative feedbacks. Instead of temperature increasing indefinitely, changes in climate like increased cloud cover may act to cool the planet. Even if these far-fetched claims proved correct on a large scale, the new studies now show that humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions would still alter global rainfall patterns, albeit less severely.
Negative feedbacks, even if they existed, would not stop this. Neither would artificial cooling of the planet.
The geo-engineering tourniquet?
This new effect adds to the list of drawbacks already associated with artificial cooling plans such as the one involving aircraft sprays into the stratosphere.
Such plans leave carbon accumulating in the system and acidifying the oceans. These geo-engineering solutions probably could not cope with the massive amounts of carbon dioxide released if all recoverable fossil fuels are burned.
Still worse, artificial cooling increases the risk of even greater harm. It would have to be sustained annually for a century or two until enough of the carbon dioxide had finally seeped into the ocean depths. If artificial cooling were interrupted by war, economic collapse, or some other crisis, nearly all of the pent-up climate change would be unleashed in the space of a few short years, hitting some future generation when it is already struggling.
There are ideas around to actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These would be great if they worked, but to me they look like impractical pipe dreams. Artificial cooling is by contrast cheap, relatively feasible and, to some, tempting.
We should resist this temptation. You do not apply a tourniquet to a man’s leg if, with a bit of extra effort, you could get him to a hospital and save the leg. Bringing down carbon emissions is a matter of rolling up our sleeves and choosing to do it. For this generation to say, “we can't” would be a sad admission of failure for a civilisation that has achieved so much.
Professor Steve Sherwood is director of the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre.
'Fish Thermometer' Reveals Long-Standing, Global Impact of Climate Change
May 15, 2013 — Climate change has been impacting global fisheries for the past four decades by driving species towards cooler, deeper waters, according to University of British Columbia scientists. In a Nature study published this week, UBC researchers used temperature preferences of fish and other marine species as a sort of "thermometer" to assess effects of climate change on the world's oceans between 1970 and 2006.
They found that global fisheries catches were increasingly dominated by warm-water species as a result of fish migrating towards the poles in response to rising ocean temperatures.
"One way for marine animals to respond to ocean warming is by moving to cooler regions," says the study's lead author William Cheung, an assistant professor at UBC's Fisheries Centre. "As a result, places like New England on the northeast coast of the U.S. saw new species typically found in warmer waters, closer to the tropics.
"Meanwhile in the tropics, climate change meant fewer marine species and reduced catches, with serious implications for food security."
"We've been talking about climate change as if it's something that's going to happen in the distant future - our study shows that it has been affecting our fisheries and oceans for decades," says Daniel Pauly, principal investigator with UBC's Sea Around Us Project and the study's co-author. "These global changes have implications for everyone in every part of the planet."
A summary of the study is available at http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/fact-sheets/warming-oceans-are-reshaping-fisheries-85899474034
Insecticides Lead to Starvation of Aquatic Organisms
May 15, 2013 — Neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects not only on bees but also on freshwater invertebrates. Exposure to low but constant concentrations of these substances - which are highly soluble in water - has lethal effects on these aquatic organisms. At the end of April, the EU imposed a 2-year ban on the use of neurotoxic agents belonging to the neonicotinoid group. In Switzerland, the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) has followed suit, suspending the authorizations of three insecticides used on oilseed rape and maize fields. These measures have been taken in response to evidence that neonicotinoids are toxic to honeybees and are contributing to the decline of bee colonies.
Problems seen with constant exposure
An Eawag study published today in the journal PLOS ONE(Public Library of Science) now shows that at least one of the insecticides in this class also has toxic effects on freshwater invertebrates. In this study, native freshwater shrimps (gammarids) were exposed to pulsed high and to constant low concentrations of imidacloprid. Peak concentrations typically occur when rain falls on farmland during or shortly after the application of insecticides; these soluble but persistent substances can then enter surface waters via runoff. Interestingly, pulses lasting no more than a day proved less harmful to the organisms than concentrations that were much lower but persisted for several days or weeks. While organisms transferred to clean water after pulsed exposure recovered relatively rapidly, constant exposure led to starvation after 2 to 3 weeks. This was because the organisms' mobility and feeding behaviour was impaired by the neurotoxin.
Failure of conventional toxicity testing
The slow starvation effect observed under constant exposure to low levels of neonicotinoids is not detected by conventional toxicity tests, as they are not carried out over a period of several weeks. In addition, the study indicated that seasonal and environmental factors can be crucial: the results of the experiments are significantly affected by organisms' initial fitness and lipid reserves. To eliminate these effects and to identify processes other than starvation that influence survival rates in aquatic organisms, the research team has also developed a mathematical model which makes it possible to predict harmful concentrations and exposure times.
Anna-Maija Nyman, Anita Hintermeister, Kristin Schirmer, Roman Ashauer. The Insecticide Imidacloprid Causes Mortality of the Freshwater Amphipod Gammarus pulex by Interfering with Feeding Behavior. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (5): e62472 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0062472
Gammaruspule and a leaf 'skeleton.' (Credit: Image courtesy of EAWAG: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology)
Cooling Ocean Temperature Could Buy More Time for Coral Reefs
May 14, 2013 — Limiting the amount of warming experienced by the world's oceans in the future could buy some time for tropical coral reefs, say researchers from the University of Bristol. The study, published by the journal Geophysical Research Letters, used computer models to investigate how shallow-water tropical coral reef habitats may respond to climate change over the coming decades.
Elena Couce and colleagues found that restricting greenhouse warming to three watts per square metre (equivalent to just 50-100 parts per million carbon dioxide, or approximately half again the increase since the Industrial Revolution) is needed in order to avoid large-scale reductions in reef habitat occurring in the future.
Shallow-water tropical coral reefs are amongst the most productive and diverse ecosystems on the planet. They are currently in decline due to increasing frequency of bleaching events, linked to rising temperatures and fossil fuel emissions.
Elena Couce said: "If sea surface temperatures continue to rise, our models predict a large habitat collapse in the tropical western Pacific which would affect some of the most biodiverse coral reefs in the world. To protect shallow-water tropical coral reefs, the warming experienced by the world's oceans needs to be limited."
The researchers modelled whether artificial means of limiting global temperatures - known as solar radiation 'geoengineering' - could help. Their results suggest that if geoengineering could be successfully deployed then the decline of suitable habitats for tropical coral reefs could be slowed. They found, however, that over-engineering the climate could actually be detrimental as tropical corals do not favour overly-cool conditions. Solar radiation geoengineering also leaves unchecked a carbon dioxide problem known as 'ocean acidification'.
Elena Couce said: "The use of geoengineering technologies cannot safeguard coral habitat long term because ocean acidification will continue unabated. Decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the only way to address reef decline caused by ocean acidification."
Dr Erica Hendy, one of the co-authors, added: "This is the first attempt to model the consequences of using solar radiation geoengineering on a marine ecosystem. There are many dangers associated with deliberate human interventions in the climate system and a lot more work is needed to fully appreciate the consequences of intervening in this way."
E. Couce, P. J. Irvine, L. J. Gregorie, A. Ridgwell, E. J. Hendy. Tropical coral reef habitat in a geoengineered, high-CO2world. Geophysical Research Letters, 2013; DOI:10.1002/grl.50340
Western Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami Hazard Potential Greater Than Previously Thought
May 13, 2013 — Earthquakes similar in magnitude to the 2004 Sumatra earthquake could occur in an area beneath the Arabian Sea at the Makran subduction zone, according to recent research published in Geophysical Research Letters.
The research was carried out by scientists from the University of Southampton based at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS), and the Pacific Geoscience Centre, Natural Resources Canada.
The study suggests that the risk from undersea earthquakes and associated tsunami in this area of the Western Indian Ocean - which could threaten the coastlines of Pakistan, Iran, Oman, India and potentially further afield - has been previously underestimated. The results highlight the need for further investigation of pre-historic earthquakes and should be fed into hazard assessment and planning for the region.
Subduction zones are areas where two of Earth's tectonic plates collide and one is pushed beneath the other. When an earthquake occurs here, the seabed moves horizontally and vertically as the pressure is released, displacing large volumes of water that can result in a tsunami.
The Makran subduction zone has shown little earthquake activity since a magnitude 8.1 earthquake in 1945 and magnitude 7.3 in 1947. Because of its relatively low seismicity and limited recorded historic earthquakes it has often been considered incapable of generating major earthquakes.
Plate boundary faults at subduction zones are expected to be prone to rupture generating earthquakes at temperatures of between 150 and 450 °C. The scientists used this relationship to map out the area of the potential fault rupture zone beneath the Makran by calculating the temperatures where the plates meet. Larger fault rupture zones result in larger magnitude earthquakes.
"Thermal modelling suggests that the potential earthquake rupture zone extends a long way northward, to a width of up to 350 kilometres which is unusually wide relative to most other subduction zones," says Gemma Smith, lead author and PhD student at University of Southampton School of Ocean and Earth Science, which is based at NOCS.
The team also found that the thickness of the sediment on the subducting plate could be a contributing factor to the magnitude of an earthquake and tsunami there.
"If the sediments between the plates are too weak then they might not be strong enough to allow the strain between the two plates to build up," says Smith. "But here we see much thicker sediments than usual, which means the deeper sediments will be more compressed and warmer. The heat and pressure make the sediments stronger. This results in the shallowest part of the subduction zone fault being potentially capable of slipping during an earthquake.
"These combined factors mean the Makran subduction zone is potentially capable of producing major earthquakes, up to magnitude 8.7-9.2. Past assumptions may have significantly underestimated the earthquake and tsunami hazard in this region."
Gemma L. Smith, Lisa C. McNeill, Kelin Wang, Jiangheng He, Timothy J. Henstock. Thermal structure and megathrust seismogenic potential of the Makran subduction zone. Geophysical Research Letters, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/grl.50374 Picture: Makran map earthquakes. (Credit: Image courtesy of National Oceanography Centre)
Australian Native Foods website: http://www.anfil.org.au/
What Does PNHA do?
On-ground bush regeneration. eg: Asparagus Fern Out Days
ONLINE BIODIVERSITY CALENDAR A FIRST
Pittwater Council has launched a unique online calendar designed to educate the community about the coastal environment, based on traditional Aboriginal knowledge. The calendar, which is web-based, works through hundreds of images of coastal native birds, animals and plants. Many of the images were provided by local residents and collated by staff from the Council’s Coastal Environment Centre at North Narrabeen.
The calendar has been coordinated by Pittwater Council on behalf of the Pittwater, Hornsby and Gosford communities and was funded by a $50,000 grant from the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority, through the federal government’s Caring for Country grant program. Representatives of the D’harawal people have provided their knowledge for descriptions of some of the images and the Guringai, Darkinyung and Darug people are also providing input into the calendar. Other information in the calendar includes details of environmental events and community groups, weather patterns and hazards to the environment, such as weed species. The calendar can be viewed at www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au/environment/biocalendar
To submit photos for the biodiversity calendar email email@example.com
Birdlife Australia - New Website and Quarterly Magazine
Birdlife Australia has begun a quarterly magazine which is available online at: www.birdlife.org.au/australian-birdlife
This organisation, which has been going for over a century now, have been a leading authority and advocate for the protection of Australia’s birds, achieved by combining scientific research, nationwide surveys, targeted actions and other activities to create real and positive outcomes. They state that over 200 species of birds in Australia are considered threatened at present. Visit their new website, have a look at all the information collated, and see if you could help them out as a volunteer or donor.
So many fish, one great map-
From identifying what’s on the end of your fishing line, to finding out which fishes occur in your local waters, FishMap has the answers. FishMap is a free online mapping tool that allows anyone interested in fish to discover which fish species occur at any location or depth throughout the marine waters of Australia’s continental shelf and slope. FishMap also lets people create regional illustrated species lists for almost all of Australia’s marine fishes, detailed with photographs and illustrations, distribution maps and current scientific and common names. FishMap was developed by CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Flagship and the Atlas of Living Australia.
FishMap was officially launched on Tuesday 26 February 2013 and is available on the Atlas of Living Australia website: http://fish.ala.org.au
Top: FishMap on the Atlas of Living Australia provides the geographical and depth ranges of some 4500 Australian marine fishes, including the Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum).
"I bind myself today to the power of Heaven, the light of the sun, the brightness of the moon, the splendour of fire, the flashing of lightning, the swiftness of wind, the depth of the sea, the stability of the earth, the compactness of rocks." - from the Prayer of Saint Patrick
Pittwater Environment Stories this week:
Spotted Gums of Pittwater Inspirations - for Children
May Environment Activities
Pittwater Environmental Foundation - Irrawong Planting Day
Park near the corner of Irrawong Rd and Epworth Place, Warriewood and follow signs to the planting site. Wear long trousers, long -sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes, bring gardening gloves. Tools and afternoon tea provided.
Sunday May 26th, 9am - 12 noon
This is one of the largest Bushcare projects hosted by the Pittwater Environmental Foundation and Pittwater Council. The project offers residents the chance to explore this little known and picturesque reserve, rich in native wildlife and habitat for rare and threatened species such as the Powerful Owl, Regent Honeyeater and Giant Burrowing Frog. If you’d like to help, please wear sturdy covered shoes, a hat, sunscreen and bring along a water bottle. Tools, training and delicious morning tea are provided!
Where: Meet at the grassed area at 49 Wesley Street, Elanora Heights. When: Sunday 26 May, 9:30am - 12:30pm. All welcome! RSVP and more information: Bushcare Officer 9970 1367 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next PNHA Activity: Sunday 23 June - Birdwatching & monitoring, Warriewood Wetlands: Winter Birds.
Swamp Mahoganies will be in flower attracting many honeyeaters and different species of lorikeets. Meet: 8am at Katoa Close off Garden St Narrabeen ends 11am. Bring: Binoculars, water, morning tea. To Book: P: Kerry Smith 9944 6271 0402 605 721 E: email@example.com. Photo: White-naped Honeyeater - Neil Fifer
CAREEL CREEK FLOOD STUDY ON EXHIBITION
Pittwater Council will publicly exhibit its draft flood study for the Careel Creek catchment located in Avalon. The Council voted at its meeting last night to adopt the draft flood study for public feedback from Saturday 11 May to Friday 14 June 2013.
The draft study is a technical investigation of flood behaviour in the Careel Creek catchment and updates a previous study carried out in 1999.
The new study looks at the changes in catchment conditions such as overland flows, plus the potential impacts of climate change using historical data on flooding, floodplain modelling techniques and projections of future flood behaviour.
Residents in the area have been advised of the study’s findings, including whether their properties are considered to be flood-prone. Around 660 properties were classified as being flood-prone in a 1 in 100 year flood event by previous studies, with a further 42 properties now identified in the 2013 draft study.
General Manager Mark Ferguson said that the study had been completed at the direction of the NSW government’s statewide policy on flooding.
“When finalised, the study will assist the Council in making flood-related planning decisions for existing and future developments as well as informing residents of the potential risks of flooding in the area,” he said.
“We’re also inviting affected property-owners to face-to-face or over-the-phone sessions with staff who can explain exactly what the findings mean for them,” he said.
To view the study, visit www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au/exhibition. Comments close on Friday 14 June 2013.
Conservation award for wetland engineers - 13 May 2013
A near decade-long restoration project of a Hunter Valley wetland has earned a team of UNSW engineers a National Trust Heritage Award for environmental conservation.
Natural hydrology has been restored to roughly 600 hectares at the Tomago Wetlands just north of Newcastle, and locals have begun seeing the return of migratory wading birds – an important indicator of improving ecological health.
“In 2004 this whole area was completely dry and looked like a farm paddock,” says Dr William Glamore, the lead project engineer from the UNSW Water Research Lab.
“Extensive flooding in the 1950s resulted in short sighted drainage infrastructure being installed over the next two decades. These drainage lines were essentially ditches with floodgates that closed when the tides rose, and while they allowed floodwater to escape, they prevented the water from re-entering the wetlands, which was very detrimental,” he says.
Glamore says this type of "antiquated" infrastructure was installed at many coastal sites across NSW, leading to negative impacts on water quality and wetland health.
Over the past 40 years, the dried-out Tomago site was used for military and agricultural purposes. However, the site is now part of the Kooragang Nature Reserve, which is recognised under an international conventiondedicated to the protection of wetlands.
As part of their restoration project, Glamore and his team from UNSW have developed an automated floodgate system called SmartGate, which controls, at various points, the volume of water re-entering the wetland.
At this particular site, researchers want to create a saltwater marsh to attract migratory wading birds. This means allowing just enough tidal water in, but not so much that it fosters the growth of mangroves – which deter the birds – or encroaches on farmland beyond the perimeter of the wetland, as this could pose problems for agricultural productivity.
The engineers also want incoming saltwater to neutralise the sulphuric acid in the soil, which degrades the environment and builds up during prolonged dry-spells when naturally occurring acid sulphate soil is exposed to oxygen.
“It’s a careful balance that requires a coordinated surveillance effort involving researchers, park rangers and community members,” says Glamore. “We’re excited that this work has been recognised by the National Trust.”
Construction of the third and final stage of the restoration plan is now underway and proceeding well. The project also involves the NSW Parks and Wildlife Services and NSW Fisheries. Image: Tomago wetlands - 2007 before the tide was restored (left) and in 2012. (Credit: Dr William Glamore)
World's Most Extraordinary Species Mapped for the First Time
May 15, 2013 — Scientists pinpointed areas of the world where Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) mammals and amphibians occur. Regions containing the highest concentrations of these species are highlighted as global conservation priorities. The research paper is published today (15th May) in PLOS ONE.
The map reveals that high priority conservation areas for mammals and amphibians are different, reflecting the varied evolutionary histories and threats facing the two groups. For mammals, management efforts are best focused in Southeast Asia, southern Africa and Madagascar. For amphibians, Central and southern America are highlighted as priorities.
Professor Jonathan Baillie, ZSL's Director of Conservation says: "The results of the mapping exercise are alarming. Currently only five percent of the areas we've identified as priorities for EDGE mammals and 15 percent of the EDGE amphibian areas are protected.
"These areas highlighted should all be global conservation priorities because they contain species that are not only highly threatened but also unique in the way they look, live and behave. These new maps will inform the development of larger-scale work to help secure the future of some of the most remarkable species on Earth," Professor Baillie added.
Madagascar's black-and-white ruffed lemur is the largest lemur in the world and is threatened by hunting and the loss of its forest habitat to logging, mining and cutting and burning for agriculture. The Sunda pangolin, also known as the scaly anteater, occurs in Southeast Asia and is threatened by illegal poaching for its meat which is a culinary delicacy, as well as its scales which are thought to have high medicinal value. Other mammal species occurring in priority areas include the black rhino and western lowland gorilla.
Amphibians are facing a terrifying rate of extinction making them the most threatened vertebrates in the world. The Mexican salamander, or axolotl, is critically endangered due to urbanization, polluted waters, and the introduction of non-native fish which eat the axolotl's young. With the aid of the global map of EDGE amphibians, it will now be possible to concentrate efforts in countries such as, Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala where the most distinct and threatened species are found.
Dr. Kamran Safi, lead author of the paper from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology says: "This is the first global map to take into account species' uniqueness as well as threat. Now that we've identified EDGE priority areas for mammals and amphibians we can more effectively continue to ensure their protection.¬"
It is critical that conservationists prioritise the allocation of limited resources for the best conservation outcomes. ZSL's EDGE of Existence programme has already launched targeted conservation projects for more than 40 EDGE species around the world.
Kamran Safi, Katrina Armour-Marshall, Jonathan E. M. Baillie, Nick J. B. Isaac. Global Patterns of Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered Amphibians and Mammals. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (5): e63582 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0063582 Black and white ruffed lemur. (Credit: Copyright tomalin wildviews)
Seabird Bones Reveal Changes in Open-Ocean Food Chain
May 13, 2013 — Remains of endangered Hawaiian petrels - both ancient and modern - show how drastically today's open seas fish menu has changed. A research team, led by Michigan State University and Smithsonian Institution scientists, analyzed the bones of Hawaiian petrels - birds that spend the majority of their lives foraging the open waters of the Pacific. They found that the substantial change in petrels' eating habits, eating prey that are lower rather than higher in the food chain, coincides with the growth of industrialized fishing.
The birds' dramatic shift in diet, shown in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, leaves scientists pondering the fate of petrels as well as wondering how many other species face similar challenges.
"Our bone record is alarming because it suggests that open-ocean food webs are changing on a large scale due to human influence," said Peggy Ostrom, co-author and MSU zoologist. "Our study is among the first to address one of the great mysteries of biological oceanography - whether fishing has gone beyond an influence on targeted species to affect nontarget species and potentially, entire food webs in the open ocean."
Hawaiian petrels' diet is recorded in the chemistry of their bones. By studying the bones' ratio of nitrogen-15 and nitrogen-14 isotopes, researchers can tell at what level in the food chain the birds are feasting; generally, the larger the isotope ratio, the bigger the prey (fish, squid and crustaceans).
Between 4,000 and 100 years ago, petrels had high isotope ratios, indicating they ate bigger prey. After the onset of industrial fishing, which began extending past the continental shelves around 1950, the isotope ratios declined, indicating a species-wide shift to a diet of smaller fish and other prey.
Much research has focused on the impact of fishing near the coasts. In contrast, the open ocean covers nearly half of Earth's surface. But due to a lack of historical records, fishing's impact on most open-ocean animal populations is completely unknown, said lead author Anne Wiley, formerly an MSU doctoral student and now a Smithsonian postdoctoral researcher.
"Hawaiian petrels spend the majority of their lives foraging over vast expanses of open ocean," she said. "In their search for food, they've done what scientists can only dream of. For thousands of years, they've captured a variety of fish, squid and crustaceans from a large portion of the North Pacific Ocean, and a record of their diet is preserved in their bones."
Addressing fishery impact through a chronology of bones is remarkable. Most marine animals die at sea, where their bones are buried on the ocean bottom. But after three decades of fossil collection in the Hawaiian Islands - the breeding grounds of the Hawaiian petrel - co-author Helen James of the Smithsonian Institution and her colleagues have amassed a collection of more than 17,000 ancient Hawaiian petrel bones.
"The petrels breed in burrows and caves where, if they die, their bones are likely to be preserved for a long time," James said. "It's fortuitous to find such a rich bone record for a rare oceanic predator."
Further studies are needed to explore how the shift down the food chain is affecting Hawaiian petrels. For a coastal seabird, however, a similar shift in diet has been associated with decreases in population - bad news for a federally protected bird.
Since petrels exploit fishing grounds from the equator to near the Aleutian Islands - an area larger than the continental United States - their foraging habits are quite telling. If petrels, signal flares for open-ocean food webs, have had a species-wide change in feeding habits, how many other predators around the world has fishing impacted? And what role do consumers play?
"What you choose to put on your dinner plate - that's your connection with the endangered Hawaiian petrel, and with many other marine species," Wiley said.
Anne E. Wiley, Peggy H. Ostrom, Andreanna J. Welch, Robert C. Fleischer, Hasand Gandhi, John R. Southon, Thomas W. Stafford, Jr., Jay F. Penniman, Darcy Hu, Fern P. Duvall, and Helen F. James. Millennial-scale isotope records from a wide-ranging predator show evidence of recent human impact to oceanic food webs. PNAS, May 13, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1300213110
Picture: Excavated bones of Hawaiian petrels – birds that spend the majority of their lives foraging the Pacific – show substantial change in the birds' eating habits. (Credit: Courtesy of Brittany Hance, Imaging Lab, Smithsonian Institution)
From their 'about us' page:
.....all that students are eager to know ! BOTANY online discovers the world of the internet for teaching. We invite all of you, especially all those botanists, biologists, computer scientists, teachers and students out there to contribute. BOTANY online is open for all kinds of changes and supplements ....your participation keeps it alive!
Botany Online CONTENTS PAGE
Above, from this website: Puffinus puffinus - Manx petrel Puffinus griseus - Dark PetrelNaumann, NATURAL HISTORY OF BIRDS OF CENTRAL EUROPE: Volume XII, Table 4 - Gera, 1903. Digital Editing: Peter Seng v. Bus
Coastal Environment Centre
More at: www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au/cec
Monthly Cooee Newsletter below. If you would like to receive Council's environmental newsletter via email, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
May 2013 Newsletter includes information on: BushCare Planting Activities (volunteers needed), Workshops and Events, and great articles HERE
Community Gardens bring people together and enrich communities. They build a sense of place and shared connection.
Pittwater Community Gardens is a community led initiative to create accessible food gardens in public places throughout the Pittwater area. Our aim is to share skills and knowledge in creating fabulous local, organic food. But it's not just about great food. We also aim to foster community connection, stimulate creative ideas for community resilience and celebrate our abundance. Open to all ages and skills, our first garden is on the grounds of Barrenjoey High School (off
Pittwater's Environmental Foundation
Pittwater Environmental Foundation was established in 2006 to conserve and enhance the natural environment of the Pittwater local government area through the application of tax deductible donations, gifts and bequests. The Directors were appointed by Pittwater Council. Our PROFILE
About 33% (about 1600 ha excluding National Parks) of the original pre-European bushland in Pittwater remains in a reasonably natural or undisturbed condition. Of this, only about 400ha remains in public ownership. All remaining natural bushland is subject to encroachment, illegal clearing, weed invasion, feral animals, altered drainage, bushfire hazard reduction requirements and other edge effects. Within Pittwater 38 species of plants or animals are listed as endangered or threatened under the Threatened Species Act. There are two endangered populations (Koala and Squirrel Glider) and eight endangered ecological communities or types of bushland. To vist their site please click on logo above.
Antarctic Ocean Alliance
In just 6 months the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources will meet in Germany to revisit their commitment to establish the largest network of marine reserve in the world around Antarctica.
If you want the meeting in Germany to be a success, ask your friends and family to sign our petition: www.antarcticocean.org.
For tips on how to be more energy efficient, visit Climate Action Pittwater at: http://www.climateactionpittwater.org.au/
Think before you print ; A kilo of recycled paper creates around 1.8 kilograms of carbon emissions, without taking into account the emissions produced from transporting the paper. So, before you send a document to print, think about how many kilograms of carbon emissions you could save by reading it on screen.
CSIRO – New App for Gardeners
How does your garden grow? Find out what's under your feet with SoilMapp, our new app for iPad. More on new science apps in 2013 on our blog: http://ow.ly/hPQO2