Breaking Waves: Ocean News

04/08/2020 - 10:42
Highly contagious virus fatal to pigs found close to German border, as illness continues to spread in China An outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) was confirmed on Monday on a farm near the village of Więckowice near Poznań in western Poland, less than 150km (93 miles) from the border with Germany.African swine fever is a highly contagious virus which is fatal to pigs. It is transmitted directly between animals or through infected meat or animal feed and has also been seen as having the potential to transmit to humans. There is an ongoing outbreak in China that has already already wiped out 40% of pigs in the country. Related: African swine fever destroying small pig farms, as factory farming booms – report Continue reading...
04/08/2020 - 10:00
Bacterial enzyme originally found in compost can be used to make high-quality new bottles A mutant bacterial enzyme that breaks down plastic bottles for recycling in hours has been created by scientists. The enzyme, originally discovered in a compost heap of leaves, reduced the bottles to chemical building blocks that were then used to make high-quality new bottles. Existing recycling technologies usually produce plastic only good enough for clothing and carpets. Continue reading...
04/08/2020 - 09:49
Tiny fragments of plastic waste are dispersed throughout the environment, including the oceans, where marine organisms can ingest them. However, the subsequent fate of these microplastics in animals that live near the bottom of the ocean isn't clear. Now, researchers report that lobsters can eat and break down some of this microplastic material, releasing even smaller fragments into the water that other deep-sea organisms could ingest.
04/08/2020 - 09:21
A new study found that freshwater runoff from rivers and continental shelf sediments are bringing significant quantities of carbon and trace elements into parts of the Arctic Ocean via the Transpolar Drift -- a major surface current that moves water from Siberia across the North Pole to the North Atlantic Ocean.
04/08/2020 - 03:36
Industry says it is not trying to dodge obligations but that it is a ‘matter of survival’ Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Airlines are lobbying to rewrite the rules of a global agreement designed to tackle aviation emissions, with the coronavirus outbreak expected to make its targets tougher to meet. Campaigners accused airlines of attempting to “dodge their obligations”, but the industry said it was “a matter of survival”, with most international travel currently frozen in the Covid-19 crisis. Continue reading...
04/07/2020 - 18:01
Increased contact with animals likely cause of outbreaks such as Covid-19, say experts, as conservationists call for global ban on wildlife markets Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Hunting, farming and the global move of people to cities has led to massive declines in biodiversity and increased the risk of dangerous viruses like Covid-19 spilling over from animals to humans, a major study has concluded. In a paper that suggests the underlying cause of the present pandemic is likely to be increased human contact with wildlife, scientists from Australia and the US traced which animals were most likely to share pathogens with humans. Continue reading...
04/07/2020 - 18:01
Harbour seals struggle to match volume of passing ships when trying to attract a mate Cruise ships are drowning out the roars of seals that are important for bagging a mate, researchers have found in the latest study to reveal the consequences of human activity on wildlife. Ships are known to produce low-frequency sounds which can overlap with calls made by marine creatures. But now researchers studying harbour seals say such noise could be taking its toll. Continue reading...
04/07/2020 - 15:30
On my daily walk I can enjoy hearing a bird whose song is the definitive sound of the countryside Our world is cribbed, confined and bound in as never before. Yet amid all the fear and horror, there is one silver lining, as we reconnect with nature on our doorstep. My Somerset garden is awash with birdsong: chiffchaffs, wrens, robins and a new arrival, the blackcap, all competing to see who can shout the loudest as spring gathers pace. Overhead, buzzards soar and ravens tumble, as delighted as I am to herald the new season. Related: Wildflower planting on farms boosts birds, from skylarks to starlings Continue reading...
04/07/2020 - 12:30
Plan for net-zero emissions combined with a new diplomatic effort is Australia’s best chance at saving reef for future generations The news is overwhelming and exhausting in a way it has rarely been in most of our lifetimes, but if you have five minutes of energy left this is worth your attention. That it hasn’t been reported in most of Australia’s major news outlets doesn’t make that any less the case. Across nine days last month, Prof Terry Hughes from James Cook University travelled the length of the Great Barrier Reef in a small plane to survey the health of more than 1,000 individual sites. He was joined by an observer from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, a government agency. Continue reading...
04/07/2020 - 12:15
Researchers use big data to identify biodiversity hotspots that could become the first generation of high seas marine protected areas.