Novel Tag Provides First Detailed Look into Goliath Grouper Behavior

A study is the first to reveal detailed behavior of massive goliath groupers. Until now, no studies have documented their fine-scale behavior. What is known about them has been learned from divers, underwater video footage, and observing them in captivity. Using a multi-sensor tag with a three axis accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer as well as a temperature, pressure and light sensor, a video camera and a hydrophone, researchers show how this species navigates through complex artificial reef environments, maintain themselves in high current areas, and how much time they spend in different cracks and crevices – none of which would be possible without the tag.

UC San Diego Physicist Helps Launch National Network Examining Earth’s Planetary Limits

University of California San Diego Physics Professor Tom Murphy is among five authors of an essay, appearing in the November 2021 issue of the journal Energy Research & Social Science, that cautions current levels of worldwide economic growth, energy use and resource consumption will overshoot Earth’s finite limits.

Iowa State’s Schulte Moore named 2021 MacArthur Fellow

Lisa Schulte Moore, a professor of natural resource ecology and management at Iowa State University, has been named a 2021 MacArthur Fellow for her groundbreaking research as a landscape ecologist building more sustainable and resilient agricultural systems. The prestigious awards, sometimes called “genius grants,” identify scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and others who have demonstrated exceptional creativity and who show promise for important future advances.

Genotyping Reveals Significance of Mesophotic Reefs for Florida Keys’ Coral Recovery

Researchers are the first to compare the genetic structure and genomic diversity of paired shallow and upper mesophotic coral sites in the Northern and Southern Dry Tortugas and the Lower and Upper Florida Keys. Results suggest that while vertical connectivity between paired shallow and mesophotic populations can vary, certain mesophotic coral populations are important for maintaining the long-term survival of this ecologically important coral species throughout the Florida Keys and should be considered in future management strategies.

UCI is No. 2 in Sierra magazine’s 2021 ‘Cool Schools’ ranking of sustainability leaders

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 9, 2021 — The green streak continues! Sierra magazine has named the University of California, Irvine No. 2 overall in its annual “Cool Schools” ranking of sustainability leaders among U.S. and Canadian universities and colleges, marking the 12th time in a row that UCI has placed in the top 10 of the widely acclaimed list.

Meeting biodiversity, climate, and water objectives through integrated strategies

Managing a strategically placed 30% of land for conservation could safeguard 70% of all considered terrestrial plant and vertebrate animal species, while simultaneously conserving more than 62% of the world’s above and below ground vulnerable carbon, and 68% of all clean water.

Reconnecting the People, Plants and Animals of the Kendall-Frost Marsh

UC San Diego’s Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve has received an $85,000 grant from Honda to create an integrated research and public engagement program centered on bringing Native American perspectives and cutting-edge science into the management and access decisions needed to ensure the marsh’s survival as a community asset.

Low-cost 3D Method Rapidly Measures Disease Impacts on Florida’s Coral Reefs

A low-cost and rapid 3D technique is helping scientists to gain insight into the colony- and community-level dynamics of the poorly understood stony coral tissue loss disease responsible for widespread coral death throughout the Tropical Western Atlantic. They adapted Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry to generate 3D models for tracking lesion progression and impacts on diseased coral colonies. They combined traditional diver surveys with 3D colony fate-tracking to determine the impacts of disease on coral colonies throughout Southeast Florida.

Low-cost 3D Method Rapidly Measures Disease Impacts on Florida’s Coral Reefs

A low-cost and rapid 3D technique is helping scientists to gain insight into the colony- and community-level dynamics of the poorly understood stony coral tissue loss disease responsible for widespread coral death throughout the Tropical Western Atlantic. They adapted Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry to generate 3D models for tracking lesion progression and impacts on diseased coral colonies. They combined traditional diver surveys with 3D colony fate-tracking to determine the impacts of disease on coral colonies throughout Southeast Florida.

What’s Killing Coral Reefs in Florida is Also Killing Them in Belize

Only 17 percent of live coral cover remains on fore-reefs in Belize. A study finds new evidence that nitrogen enrichment from land-based sources like agriculture run-off and sewage, are significantly driving macroalgal blooms to increase on the Belize Barrier Reef and causing massive decline in hard coral cover. With only 2 percent of hard coral cover remaining in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, it’s too late to save that reef, but there’s still hope for the Belize Barrier Reef.

Baylor Study Evaluates Biodiversity Impacts of Alternative Energy Strategies

Climate change mitigation efforts have led to shifts from fossil-fuel dependence to large-scale renewable energy. However, renewable energy sources require significant land and could come at a cost to ecosystems. A new study led by Ryan McManamay, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental science at Baylor University, evaluates potential conflicts between alternative energy strategies and biodiversity conservation.

‘An unexplored world right beneath our feet:’ Cave ecologist on the importance of caves in discussions on conservation, caves on other planets

Jut Wynne, director of NAU’s Cave Ecology Lab, talks about cave health all the time. But during 2021, the International Year of Caves and Karst, he and other researchers are inviting the rest of us to consider all the ways these ecosystems contribute to society without us even knowing it.

Seabirds face dire threats from climate change, human activity — especially in Northern Hemisphere

Many seabirds in the Northern Hemisphere are struggling to breed — and in the Southern Hemisphere, they may not be far behind. These are the conclusions of a study, published May 28 in Science, analyzing more than 50 years of breeding records for 67 seabird species worldwide.

Iconic bird makes its home on campus

With its tree-laden campus and adjacent protected natural reserves, UCI enjoys being home to a great variety of bird species. One particular raptor continues to capture the attention of the many avid birders in Orange County: the white-tailed kite. This iconic bird of Orange County – named for its ability to hover in the air while hunting –nearly went extinct throughout California in the early 1900s due to human-related threats.

Health Status of Vulnerable Gopher Tortoises Revealed in Southeastern Florida

In previously unstudied gopher tortoise aggregations, researchers found that overall, 42.9 percent had circulating antibodies to an infectious bacterium that causes upper respiratory tract disease. Physical examination showed that 19.8 percent had clinical signs consistent with upper respiratory tract disease and 13.2 percent had some form of physical abnormality. None of the tortoises tested positive for Ranavirus or Herpesvirus, which represents important baseline data, since these viruses are thought to be emerging pathogens of other tortoise and turtle species.

NSF awards UAH’s Dr. Niemiller $1.029 million for groundwater biodiversity study

A proposal to conduct the first comprehensive assessment of groundwater biodiversity in the central and eastern United States has earned a University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) assistant professor of biological science a five-year, $1.029 million National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award.

Overfishing of Atlantic Cod Likely Did Not Cause Genetic Changes

Overfishing likely did not cause the Atlantic cod, an iconic species, to evolve genetically and mature earlier, according to a study led by Rutgers University and the University of Oslo – the first of its kind – with major implications for ocean conservation.

Bald eagle count quadruples, thanks in part to eBird data boost

For the past 50 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been assembling counts of bald eagle nests to track the triumphant recovery of America’s national symbol. But in its new bald eagle population report – tabulated with the help of results using eBird data from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – the USFWS found many more eagles than previously thought to exist in the Lower 48 states.

“Ghost Forests” Expanding Along Northeast U.S. Coast

Why are “ghost forests” filled with dead trees expanding along the mid-Atlantic and southern New England coast? Higher groundwater levels linked to sea-level rise and increased flooding from storm surges and very high tides are likely the most important factors, according to a Rutgers study on the impacts of climate change that suggests how to enhance land-use planning.

NASA Images Reveal Important Forests and Wetlands are Disappearing in Belize

Using NASA satellite images and machine learning, researchers with The University of Texas at Austin have mapped changes in the landscape of northwestern Belize over a span of four decades, finding significant losses of forest and wetlands, but also successful regrowth of forest in established conservation zones that protect surviving structures of the ancient Maya.

Rutgers Wildlife Experts Can Discuss Coyotes in New Jersey

New Brunswick, N.J. (March 2, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick wildlife experts Kathleen Kerwin and Chris Crosby are available for interviews on coyote ecology and behavior, how and when coyotes got to New Jersey and how to avoid human-coyote conflict. “The…

Drifter or Homebody? Study First to Show Where Whitespotted Eagle Rays Roam

It’s made for long-distance travel, yet movement patterns of the whitespotted eagle ray remain a mystery. Between 2016 and 2018, scientists fitted 54 rays with acoustic transmitters and tracked them along both the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts of Florida, which differ in environmental characteristics. Results of the study reveal striking differences in travel patterns on the Atlantic coast compared to the Gulf coast. Findings have significant conservation and adaptive management implications for this protected species.

Crunch! Underwater Acoustics Expose ‘Shell-crushing’ Sounds in a Large Marine Predator

“Shell-crushing,” an explosive sound, occurs when marine animals crack open hard shells like clams to eat the edible tissue. There hasn’t been any data to support this feeding noise, until now. A study is the first to quantify these sounds using underwater acoustics in a marine animal in a controlled setting. Scientists know what type of shell a ray is eating based on the sound it makes and show it’s audible above ambient noise in lagoons out to 100 meters.

Rutgers Legal Expert Available to Discuss Environmental, Climate Change Priorities

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 21, 2021) – Rutgers University Professor Cymie R. Payne, an expert on United States and international environmental laws, is available for interviews on how the administration of President Biden can strengthen laws and regulations and efforts to…

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Record Year for Bald Eagles in N.J.

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 13, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick ecologist Michael C. Allen is available for interviews on the record year for bald eagles in New Jersey. “The resounding return of bald eagles in North America has been especially strong…