Researchers based in norway have created a new way to describe how much land is needed to generate electricity from hydropower. this way, policymakers and business owners will have easy access to the information they need to weigh the benefits of hydropower production against the environmental costs. learn more at earth.com
Just before the beginning of the middle stone age around 300,000 years ago, major technological and ecological changes followed an abrupt environmental shift in east africa.
the results of three new studies suggest that, around the time that modern humans were evolving, environmental factors drove changes in human behavior toward more widespread dispersal, more trading, and better tool technology. learn more at earth.com
What separates a queen bee from a regular honeybee? besides the metaphorical crown, queen bees are separated from the average worker bee when they are fed large quantities of a food known as royal jelly when they are larvae. other than determining whether a larva becomes a queen, the royal jelly also keeps it safely anchored to the roof of the queen cell – the structure in which the bee develops. learn more at earth.com
In a process known as convection, warm and salty ocean water cools at the surface and gains density, causing it to sink deep into the sea. researchers are now reporting that freshwater from melting glaciers and other sources has been significantly disrupting this deep ocean circulation process. learn more at earth.com
Male birds may be better known for their singing, but female birds perform their own songs as well. researchers are calling for more widespread documentation of the female birdsong, arguing that a better understanding of these vocalizations could lead to a better understanding of bird biology. learn more at earth.com
Researchers at the university of east anglia are reporting that around half of plant and animal species in the world’s most diverse regions, such as the amazon and the galapagos, will face extinction by the end of this century if human-induced climate change continues at the current rate.
at this point, even if global warming is limited to 2 degrees celsius, these regions are still likely to lose around 25 percent of their species. learn more at earth.com
Ravens may be able to identify the age, sex, and specific details of a nearby foraging opportunity just by listening to another raven’s call, according to a new study.
common ravens use calls to alert other ravens of available food, but these calls serve a range of purposes. learn more at earth.com
California’s current ecosystem, which includes marine life off the pacific coast, is now just beginning to recover from a two-year marine heatwave that caused population declines in many species including salmon. learn more at earth.com
In sci-fi movies, aliens are often modelled after insects or other invertebrate animals, which seems to be a reflection of a common view of how alien insects are. i would argue that although insects are very different from humans, plants, despite their prevalence, are quite a bit more alien. learn more at earth.com
An expedition currently underway off the coast of new zealand could provide important information for understanding certain types of earthquakes and tsunamis as well as aid in early detection.
the mission’s goal is to study plate movements in the hikurangi subduction zone, which is located by new zealand’s north island in the pacific ocean. learn more at earth.com
Researchers are reporting that farm manure could be a feasible source of renewable energy. the experts are creating the technology to produce natural gas from manure that could be used to heat homes or to power large industries.
this would not only cut back on harmful greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, but would also eliminate harmful gases that are released by manure as it decomposes. learn more at earth.com
According to an international team of researchers, trees are dying at an increasingly high rate in the tropical regions of south america, africa, and southeast asia. the mortality rate of trees has doubled in some areas compared to just a few decades ago, and the experts are reporting that this trend will continue. learn more at earth.com
These animals have a day dedicated to them. they’re also really adorable and look like something from the last ice age or perhaps a mutant armadillo. but sadly, pangolins are also the most illegally trafficked mammal on earth. learn more at earth.com
When government agencies implement policies regarding wildlife management, it’s often with the assumption that the policies are the result of thorough scientific research.
however, a new study reviewing wildlife management has found that claims that policies are backed by science are largely unfounded.
researchers from simon fraser university conducted a study that looked at the scientific rigor supposedly applied to many hunt management systems in north america. learn more at earth.com
Native red squirrel populations in scotland are increasing after serious decline thanks to the pine marten.
red squirrels, a species found in great britain, ireland, and other parts of europe, have been dropping in numbers due to invasive gray squirrels, which are common in north america. learn more at earth.com
In environments with highly variable climates, it can be a struggle for many plants to adapt and survive. places that can be extremely wet one year and extremely dry the next require species to adapt to this variability. to that end, many species of wildflowers in these environments use seed banks as a survival tool, allowing them to keep a portion of their seeds dormant in the soil rather than spending them all at once. ultimately, this helps ensure long-term survival. learn more at earth.com
Until the stormy weather of the past few days, the sierra nevada snowpack was on track to record one of its lowest years ever, and it’s not alone. western snowpacks have declined steadily over the past century, a new analysis of snow records found. learn more at earth.com
Barren-ground caribou are found in northwestern canada, alaska, and greenland. these animals are an important food source for many indigenous people in those regions, and their hide is often used to make clothing.
population declines over the past two decades have caused alaskan and northern canadian governments to place restrictions on indigenous caribou hunting or harvesting in an effort to preserve the critical species. learn more at earth.com
Scientists at the university of salford in england have discovered that the world’s smallest monkeys are members of two separate species rather than just one. according to the researchers, pygmy marmosets in northwest south america and south of the amazon river split between two and three million years ago. learn more at earth.com
Volcanic hotspots are regions within the earth’s mantle where the hot materials that form volcanoes are transported to the surface. there are several volcanoes in the hawaiian islands that are fed by a hotspot, and researchers are focusing on this particular region to learn more about its potential movement over millions of years. learn more at earth.com