Browsing articles in "Environment"
Mar 22, 2012

Coral Cup (Turbinaria peltata)

Did you know?

That kind of brown algae is also called Turbinaria? That in the year 2005, 17,191 Coral Cups were exported mainly from Indonesia for the aquarium trade?

The Coral Cup coral polyps are quite small but can grow to over 1 meter. They have two main patterns: one is tall and slender cone, another cup being so kind. They can also be found in the form of leaflets ridges, plates, glasses, or rolls. Colors can be bright yellow, cream, gray, brown, blue and green. The base and the polyps are blue. Depending on the conditions under which it is exposed, it can grow horizontally or vertically. The Coral Cup is nocturnal and hides their polyps during the day in the skeleton. At night, it feeds on plankton. The age of first maturity of most coral is usually three to eight years. This species is particularly susceptible to fading, which is caused by the temperature increase with climate change, diseases, and others. 

Mar 20, 2012

More than 2 million people suffer of water shortages at least one month per year

About 2.700 million people suffer from “water scarcity at least one month each year” due to increased population pressure and economic activities have on the resource, according to the NGO, The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

The analysis entitled, “Global Water Shortage monthly: traces of blue against blue water availability,” says many of the watershedsare in danger and there is a serious depletion of the liquid.

Measurements were made on the variability of water flows in 405 watersheds in the world between 1996 and 2005, and concluded that 201 of them “go through a severe shortage of water for at least one month of the year.”

“In places with several months of water shortage is likely to be serious competition for water in dry season and there will be economic impacts on agriculture, electricity and other industries,” he said in a statement Brian Richter, director of global freshwater program of TNC, one of six researchers behind the study.

The selected areas account for 69% of global water flows, 75% of global irrigated areas and 65% of the population of the planet.

In 223 of the 405 watersheds studied (55% of total) “water consumed exceeds the net water availability for at least one month a year” and in 35 of them inhabited by 483 million people, the liquid failed “to least six months.”

The lack of water basins

The most populous basin cyclic water deficit throughout the year is to Yonding He, in northern China, which supplies fluid to Beijing. This area covers 214.000 square kilometers. Their population has a density of 425 persons per km.

Other basins with water stress are the San Antonio River in Texas (USA) and Groot-Kei River in South Africa, both for eleven months, while in the Penner river in southern India and the Tarim In China, where there are nine months of famine.

Eight months of water stress is in the river Indus, from which 212 million people depend, and the Cauvery, both in India.

So long are the gaps in the Black Sea basin, which includes the Jordan River and covers several Middle Eastern countries, and the Salinas River, California (USA).

Status of the Rio Grande in Mexico

In the Rio Grande: “suffers severe water shortage for seven months” and on that channel, due to the high concentration of pollutants, there have been fish kills.

Furthermore, the high salinity levels have caused 32 fish species have been displaced in an area where economic losses from water shortages are charged 4,000 jobs per year and cost $135 million each year.

The experts recalled that 94% of the water impact of humanity is related to agriculture, for irrigation uses four times more land than cities.

However, cities use more water than the farmers on the basis of area occupied by the basins analyzed.

The future of water

In the future, “continued growth in water consumption due to increased population, changes in eating patterns (more meat intake) and the growing demand for biofuels, combined with the effects of climate change (…) it is likely that increased water shortages in many rivers and watersheds in the coming decades,” warns the text.

The study was sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF initials in English), TNC, the Water Footprint Network, National Geographic Society and the University of Twente and can be accessed at

Mar 16, 2012

Goodman’s mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara)

Did you know?

That the Goodman mouse lemur and other species of lemur, such as the Mirza zaza, were discovered recently in 2005 by scientists at the German Primate Center (DPZ) and the University of Göttingen, increasing the total number of species of lemurs to 49?

Goodman’s mouse lemur is a primate species very small, reaching a head-body length of 8 cm, being only slightly larger than a mouse. Body weight varies from 30 to 55 g according to the season, because the animals store fat in their tails during the southern summer, which helps them survive the winter period. The mouse lemur has short ears, rounded, with a white stripe on the nose. Its coat is short and dense deep brown with an orange tinge on the back, head and tail, turning creamy white on the ventral side. It is nocturnal and arboreal, seeking their food in low trees and brush, such as fruits, flowers, buds, insects and frogs. During the day sleeping in holes or abandoned bird nests. In some areas the population density can exceed the 250 individuals per km ².

Mar 16, 2012

Kiribati, the first victim of global warming

Kiribati is an island located in the Pacific Ocean northeast of Australia and is the first country in the world to celebrate the New Year. Composed of 33 atolls and volcanic island, this small nation is slowly disappearing.

Its beautiful beaches are being literally swallowed slowly as a result of global warming. To the effects of this problem, some people have had to move to the higher parts of the island. The Kiribati government has also begun to take other measures, most notably, the possible purchase of 20 square kilometers of land to neighboring Fiji. The authorities had also thought constuir some structure that could accommodate its population, but due to high costs, they could not solve this initiative.

In fact, buying another country’s territory is in question, it is estimated that the cost could reach $ 10 million. This figure is difficult to spend to Kiribati, which has high rates of poverty. It currently has a population of around 100 thousand inhabitants, many of whom are suffering the effects of global warming and living under the name of climate refugees.

Living conditions are quite poor and is an example.This image shows an air controller in his job at the airport in Kiribati. For now, President Anote Tong said that to reach an agreement with Fiji, you must also create jobs and policies that see citizens as immigrants and refugees. “Climate change is happening now, in my own country,” said Claire Anterea activist, one of the citizens of Kiribati which featured a speech at a UN conference on Climate Change.

Mar 14, 2012

Employment and sustainable development will end up with poverty, says Ban

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for new policies to boost job creation and financing mechanisms for sustainable development as the top two recipes to break the “vicious circle” of poverty and discrimination. So what Ban said at the opening of a new high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with Bretton Woods institutions and World Trade Organization (WTO) to be held at the headquarters of the agency in New York. “Poverty, discrimination and violence feeds on itself,” said UN chief, who said to the audience that promote economic development, employment and trade, and finance sustainable development “is key” to end the “vicious circle”.

“Employment is a critical aspect,” he reiterated

Thus, said jobs “decent and productive,” serve to protect families from hunger and poverty, because “help create a generation of consumers, people with purchasing power can help increase demand.” The other of the great pillars of the recipe Ban poverty is sustainable development, and General Secretary reminded those present that have the power to make it a “success” the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio + 20, to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June. “We are one hundred days to the Rio summit, one hundred days for a once in a generation. We need to agree on sustainable solutions for building the future we want in terms of development, economics and equality, “said the head of the UN.

Commitment to sustainable development

thus reiterating its call on governments to commit to the appointment of Rio, stressed that sustainable development is synonymous with “nutrition, safe water and sanitation” for communities, and advocated public policy that promote economic development “without polluting the environment.” Ban, who opted to continue investing in clean technologies, said the new high-level meeting of ECOSOC comes at a time of “uncertainty” world in which the review the lower growth forecasts, particularly in developed countries, “threaten the fragile recovery.” Moreover, the South Korean diplomat took again to remember the changes “dramatic” that have occurred worldwide in the last twelve months said the “awakening” lived in the Arab world has come to reveal “the power of people to write history.”

Mar 12, 2012

Discovery of a new mechanism of the biological clock of plants

Spanish researchers have discovered a new mechanism for regulating the biological clock or circadian clock of plants, through an essential protein known to TOC1, which regulates the internal rhythms in plants.

As reported by the Spanish Superior Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), the work, published in Science, change the operating model that was attributed to the biological clock of existing plants over the past ten years.

Paradigm breaking mechanism known

The plants have a biological rhythm with a period of 24 hours, which is synchronized with the light and environmental changes that occur during the day and night.

In response to these changes, a number of proteins act to regulate key processes in the plant, such as germination, growth, flowering or responses to environmental stress conditions.

So far, it was believed that the operation of a plant circadian clock depended largely on two oscillators (a set of genes), one day and another night.

In this model, activated protein genes TOC1 oscillator day, which in turn suppressed the nocturnal oscillator.

It comes out a different model

Now the work led by CSIC researcher Paloma Mas, reveals a different model in which TOC1 directly connects the two oscillators by directly regulating the expression of these genes.

The implications of the work is relevant because it defines a new structure of the circadian clock and decodes new operating mechanisms and regulation are essential in the life cycle of the plant.

Brand also new research strategies because, as Mas, “the study of the role of clock in the control of physiology and metabolism of the plant must now take into account the new structure of the oscillator, which acts as TOC1 global repressor rather than activator”.


Mar 8, 2012

The largest solar storm of the last five years impacting the Earth

The planet was hit today by a solar storm of major proportions. Besides affecting the magnetic field, the phenomenon could have an impact on the lifestyle of millions of people. According to information published by the Associated Press, a huge cloud of charged particles will impact the Earth and could wreak havoc on electricity grids.

The storm began a couple of days in the sun’s surface, however a distance of about 150 million kilometers delayed its arrival on our planet. The air flights are not free of technical flaws, especially the routes of airlines operating in the northern hemisphere, AP reported. The agency noted that navigation systems are also susceptible. GPS devices use satellites to determine precise locations anywhere in the world.

Another possible impact of the storm is the appearance of auroras beyond the north and south poles. Auroras appear as light waves of different colors at night. U.S. scientists believe that after its origin in two solar flares, the particles move at a speed of over six million miles per hour.

Joe Kunches, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), based in Colorado, said the storm “is hitting us right in the nose.” The space weather specialist revealed that the solar phenomenon is divided into three stages, each with different impacts on Earth.

Last Tuesday, two flares that moved at the speed of light struck the Earth. Kunches said that such eruptions can affect the transmission of radio signals. The specialist said that the planet was surrounded by solar radiation from Wednesday, warning that this phase would remain in effect for several days. The plasma cloud that hit Earth since Thursday has the potential to affect oil and high-precision GPS systems, used in oil drillers, surveyors, and some agricultural operations, scientists said.

Doug Biesiecker, expert from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said that less sophisticated GPS systems, like those found in vehicles should not be affected by the solar storm. Meanwhile, the magazine New Scientist published a study that reveals a direct connection between solar storms and human beings.


Mar 7, 2012

Israel to Build University that Will Work on Alternative Energy

The Israeli city of Ashdod, on the west coast and south of Tel Aviv, will soon built a campus that will run on alternative energy. It will be the first of its kind in Israel.

The complex will occupy 14 hectares and generate half of the energy consumed by solar panels and sources of geothermal energy, according to Israeli newspaper, Haaretz.

The campus will be located at the entrance of the city of Ashdod and host an Engineering Institute, a school of nursing and other Environmental Studies.

Construction will start within a year and will cost 300 million shekels (about $79 million or 60 million euros).

The chosen design is to preserve the landscape. Some of the buildings will be erected on pillars and the campus will have a lookout to enjoy views of the dunes that surround the place.

Feb 17, 2012

Necklace of death: Here’s what ocean waste does to marine animals (VIDEO)

A video made by Alaska Department of Fish and Game shows how oceans waste threaten marine animal lives.

A study on a species of seal called the Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), an endangered species living on the coast of southeastern Alaska, found that, often, these animals die from plastic or rubber bands that their hook or fishing gear used to catch salmon.

Between 2000 and 2007, researchers found 386 cases where animals died because of waste, but the number of victims seems to be much higher. In addition, experts argue that the same is true for other species of mammals, seabirds and turtles.

In Alaskan waters, Steller sea lions, northern fur seals well (Callorhinus ursinus) are the animals most affected by marine litter. However, unlike sea lions, seals Nordic seem to swallow hooks.

During an investigation, the scientists found that a population made up of nearly 500,000 seals that live on the island Pribilof northern summer and autumn, 100 copies were damaged waste.

Experts explained that in these areas, where sea currents converge, forming islands of waste that fish prefer them because they provide shelter. So the seals that eat these fish end up Foraging in piles of debris, injuring it. If adults are injured in search of food, babies become trapped in trying to play with the cable loop or plastic, which come as some loops.

To stop the disaster, under the slogan “Lose the Loop” (“Escape the trap”), experts recommend that before putting them away, to cut to pieces any cable or plastic debris that might catch these animals. Other proposed solutions to reduce the volume of waste discarded by ships and any material that could wrap around the neck of an animal.

Feb 7, 2012

Back When Sahara Was Green and Fertile

Sahara! For everyone, this word evokes the desert: a desert of sand and stone, with hot sun, a world almost barren, hot and dry to the destruction of every living thing. The obstinacy with which we cling to this image, remember that the Sahara is still alive – some animals and plants adapted to these extreme miracle – that there are oases where water feeds plantations, animals and humans and protects the centuries life settlements.

More than we could imagine the whole Sahara as a green and fertile plains. However, this land, which is now for us all, Desert, was once – in a few thousand years ago – a huge green expanse, replete with vigor, swarming of animals and inhabited by people who enjoyed this abundance and living on her account. What happened to that haven?

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Feb 6, 2012

Earth’s oceans more acid in last 200 years than in earlier 21,000 years

New research conducted by specialists from the University of Hawaii came to a shocking conclusion: carbon emissions of anthropogenic origin have caused ocean acidification at a rate greater than natural.

This will lead to the extinction of many organisms that live in Earth’s waters, the most affected being mollusks and corals.

In certain regions of the planet, the acidity increased more in the last two centuries earlier than 21,000 years, the study said.

Increased acidity of oceans makes it difficult to build protective layers they need to survive among mollusks and corals.

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Jan 23, 2012

Corals will be saved thanks to energy-based systems

Fishing with cyanide and dynamite, and increasing water temperatures have decimated coral in Bali. Fortunately, a diver, inspired by the work of a German scientist of organic architecture, created a project which is now used worldwide to save the corals.

Based on technology “Biorock” which allows corals to recover, the project is now implemented in 20 countries in Southeast Asia, Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific.

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