Out of the ashes: The Gulf, one year later

Last year the world’s eyes turned to the Gulf of Mexico when British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon drilling unit exploded, causing what became the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.  Eleven people lost their lives in the explosion that resulted in 205.8 million gallons of crude oil leaking into the Gulf, 17 were injured, and countless more had to rebuild their livelihoods. This time last year...

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Ecological wild cards of Arizona’s Wallow wildfire

Is a specific person to blame for recent wildfires? While Arizona’s Wallow Fire fuels finger pointing, it takes more than a campfire to fuel the destructive wildfire raging across southeastern Arizona. A perfect storm of local ecology, climate and human management decisions have combined to set the stage for the largest wildland fire in Arizona’s history. The Wallow Fire that began on May 8 still rages through the largest ponderosa...

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Speaking of species and their origins

An essay published in the June 8 issue of Nature is causing something of a stir. Eighteen ecologists who signed the essay, titled “Don’t judge species on their origins,” “argue that conservationists should assess organisms based on their impact on the local environment, rather than simply whether they’re native,” as described in a recent Scientific American podcast. In the essay, Mark Davis from Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota...

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Floods and foods, dogs protecting cats and microbial munchers

This post contributed by Molly Taylor, ESA Science Writing Intern. Tiny critters: Though all smaller than a millimeter in size, four critters highlighted by Neatorama are much larger in effectiveness. When there is no oxygen around to speak of (or to breathe in), shewanella inhales the likes of uranium and chromium. The bacterium exhales the toxic metals with a few extra electrons, which prevents the toxins from moving through ground...

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Romania’s traditional approach to agriculture is linked to wildlife abundance

This post contributed by Molly Taylor, ESA Science Writing Intern. Something is afoot in Romania’s province of Transylvania, and it has nothing to do with Twilight. In a paper published recently in Biological Conservation, researchers from Romania, Germany and the Netherlands spent nine years studying populations of various species of newts, frogs and toads in 54 ponds in the Saxon area of Southern Transylvania. Despite the...

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