Articles on Ecology

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Little Missouri River, North Dakota. Justin Meissen

US rivers are becoming saltier – and it’s not just from treating roads in winter

Recent research shows that US rivers are becoming saltier and more alkaline. Salt pollution threatens drinking water supplies and freshwater ecosystems, but there is no broad system for regulating it.
Thelazia gulosa is an eyeworm parasite that infects cows. But an Oregon woman’s discovery of the worms in her own eye has raised concerns about parasites that jump from animals to humans. (Shutterstock)

How animal parasites find a home in humans

A stomach-churning viral video of an Oregon woman who describes removing cattle eyeworms from her eye has renewed interest in parasites that jump from animals to humans. Here's all you need to know.
Images created by NASA with satellite data helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture analyze outbreak patterns for southern pine beetles in Alabama, in spring 2016. NASA

Can scientists learn to make ‘nature forecasts’ just as we forecast the weather?

Big data open-access publishing and other advances offer ecologists the ability to forecast events like pest outbreaks over days and seasons rather than decades. But scholars need to seize this opportunity.
Even pocket parks in cities (Duane Park in Lower Manhattan, pictured here) can shelter wildlife. Read below for ideas about urban biodiversity and other green innovations. Aude

Creating a sustainable future: 5 essential reads

Trump administration rollbacks dominated news about the environment in 2017 – but beyond Washington D.C., many researchers are developing innovative visions for a greener future.
Turtles can’t head south for the winter, so they hibernate in rivers, lakes and ponds. (Pexels)

The secret to turtle hibernation: Butt-breathing

Crisp temperatures, ice-capped ponds and frozen landscapes send animals scurrying for cover. But just what do turtles do when winter takes hold?
Burned area in Santa Rosa, California, Oct. 11, 2017. US Department of Defense

Why were California’s wine country fires so destructive?

Fire is part of the ecology in much of California, but recent wildfires have caused much more damage than past burns of similar size. A fire ecologist points to two key factors: winds and population growth.
This Auroch skeleton from Denmark dates to around 7,500BC. The circles indicate where the animal was wounded by arrows. Malene Thyssen./Wikimedia

The quest to revive extinct Aurochs to restore ancient lands

Bringing back aurochs is a competitive and ambitious venture aiming at recreating wilderness in Europe. But ethical and scientific questions linger.
Unlike napalm, which immediately scalded its victims, Agent Orange kills and maims slowly over time, its effects passed down through generations. U.S. Army Operations in Vietnam R.W. Trewyn, Ph.D/Wikimedia

Agent Orange, exposed: How U.S. chemical warfare in Vietnam unleashed a slow-moving disaster

The use of Agent Orange in Vietnam had deep impacts, including a poisoned water supply, birth defects and cancer. Despite decades of attempted litigation, justice for spraying victims seems unlikely.

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