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.

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.

New Study Shows How Climate Impacts Food Webs, Poses Socioeconomic Threat in Eastern Africa

For the first time, a research team has obtained high resolution sedimentary core samples from Lake Tanganyika. The samples show that high frequency variability in climate can lead to major disruptions in how the lake’s food web functions. The changes could put millions of people at risk who rely on the lake for food security. The team says the findings are a critical building block toward research-informed policymaking in the Lake Tanganyika region.

A tale of two understories: How mosses and climate are shaping the fate of nitrogen in the boreal

Northern Arizona University biology professor Michelle Mack is a senior author on the study, which demonstrates the invisible connections between trees and the dynamic understory of mosses and microbes that help govern their growth. Ecoss coordinator Victor Leshyk created the cover art for this month’s New Phytologist.

Beam me up: researchers use “behavioral teleporting” to study social interactions

A novel approach to getting physically separated fish to interact with each other, led to insights about what kinds of cues influence social behavior. “Behavioral teleporting” transfers the complete inventory of behaviors and actions (ethogram) of a live zebrafish onto a remotely located robotic replica

A Rapidly Changing Arctic

A new study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and their international colleagues 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.

St. Mary’s College Students McPhillips and Welles Attend Naval Academy Science and Engineering Conference; McPhillips Presents Poster

St. Mary’s College environmental studies major Erin McPhillips ’20 and chemistry major Coleman Welles ’20 attended the ninth annual Naval Academy Science and Engineering Conference in Annapolis, Maryland. McPhillips presented a poster titled “Effects of Tidal Resuspension with Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea virginica, Biodeposits and Filtration in a Simulated Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem.”

DOE to Provide $10 Million for New Research into Ecosystem Processes

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a plan to provide $10 million for new observational and experimental studies aimed at improving the accuracy of today’s Earth system models. Research will focus on three separate types of environments—terrestrial, watershed, and subsurface—where current models fall short of providing fully accurate representation.

Red Algae Thrive Despite Ancestor’s Massive Loss of Genes

You’d think that losing 25 percent of your genes would be a big problem for survival. But not for red algae, including the seaweed used to wrap sushi. An ancestor of red algae lost about a quarter of its genes roughly one billion years ago, but the algae still became dominant in near-shore coastal areas around the world, according to Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Debashish Bhattacharya, who co-authored a study in the journal Nature Communications.