Breaking Waves: Ocean News

04/09/2020 - 08:07
Populations could recover as verges are left uncut, setting what conservationists hope will be a long-term trend Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Rare wildflowers and declining bee populations could start to recover during the coronavirus lockdown because many councils are leaving roadside verges uncut, according to Europe’s biggest conservation charity for wild plants. The respite for these mini-meadows is likely to lead to an explosion of colour in the countryside this summer and bring benefits to other pollinators, including butterflies, birds and bats, botanists at Plantlife said. Continue reading...
04/09/2020 - 07:00
Farms forced to shut down operations as search continues for source of Covid-19 amid uncertainty over new industry rules Coronavirus - latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Just a few months ago Cheng Yongcai ran a thriving farm that produced 20,000 bamboo rats a year in Qingyuan in northern Guangdong province. It was an operation that his local government actively encouraged with loans and other support, he says. Continue reading...
04/09/2020 - 01:00
Exclusive: multinationals write to G7 and G20 urging leaders to keep borders open to trade and avert global food crisis Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Food supplies across the world will be “massively disrupted” by the coronavirus, and unless governments act the number of people suffering chronic hunger could double, some of the world’s biggest food companies have warned. Unilever, Nestlé and PepsiCo, along with farmers’ organisations, the UN Foundation, academics, and civil society groups, have written to world leaders, calling on them to keep borders open to trade in order to help society’s most vulnerable, and to invest in environmentally sustainable food production. Continue reading...
04/09/2020 - 01:00
Having not been in the saddle for 15 years, Toby Chasseaud overcomes his nerves to beat the travel shutdown See all our coronavirus coverage Like many Londoners, the majority of my journeys over the past 13 years have been underground. I last cycled, briefly, in Brighton in 2005 and found even that short spell somewhat nerve-racking, with drivers cutting in front of me without indicating or even looking to see if anyone was there. If you can’t beat them, join them, I figured. I gave my bike away, bought a car again and thought nothing more of cycling. When I moved to London the tube became my default mode of transport and would remain so for years – until a few weeks ago.Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been told to avoid using public transport unless absolutely necessary. I’ve always considered my work to be important, but could I justify squeezing into the underground with doctors and nurses – the true heroes of this crisis – potentially putting them, as well as myself and my Guardian colleagues, at risk?So I resolve to buy a bike again to allow me to stay mobile while keeping a safe distance from others. I had feared that every Londoner would have the same idea as me, so when I arrive at the bike shop I’m pleasantly surprised to find I’m the only customer there, and the owner proceeds to talk me through the options available. Continue reading...
04/09/2020 - 00:30
Cultural knowledge, passed from animal to animal, is key to how species adapt to change in the world around them Sam Williams’ Macaw Recovery Network in Costa Rica rewilds captivity-hatched fledgling scarlet and great green macaws. But introducing young birds into a complex forest world – bereft of the cultural education normally provided by parents – is slow and risky. For 30 years or so scientists have referred to the diversity of life on Earth as “biological diversity”, or just “biodiversity”. They usually define biodiversity as operating at three levels: the diversity of genes within any particular species; the diversity of species in a given place; and the diversity of habitat types such as forests, coral reefs, and so on. But does that cover it? Not really. A fourth level has been almost entirely overlooked: cultural diversity. Continue reading...
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...