According to a comprehensive federal study, the collapse of American honeybee colonies stems from a complex slew of factors, including pesticides, parasites, poor nutrition and a lack of genetic diversity.
The Biosphere really needs its own newspaper. Yes, there are lots of newspapers out there, but when it comes to the Biosphere, important stories just don’t get the top billing they deserve. Take discoveries of new species, for example. Just in the last month, a new spoon worm, white toothed shrew, corpse flower, and tailorbird were all discovered – this would be front-page material for the Biosphere Times, if such a paper existed, but good luck finding these stories in the mainstream papers.
In the nine-hour drive on the great Dalton Highway to Toolik Field Station one starts out in the boreal forest, which is also called the “taiga,” but the forest eventually disappears. More accurately, trees disappear. Leaving Fairbanks, one drives through beautiful stands of spruce, birch, and aspen trees, but as one gets closer and closer to the Brooks Range, a beautiful mountain range one has to cross to get to the tundra, the climate gets colder, the permafrost builds, and the forest begins to disappear.
In a rapidly warming world, conflicts inevitably arise between those affected by dwindling resources and changing climate conditions. Josh Fisher’s work centers on trying to avert conflict and provide opportunities for cooperation through understanding the relationships between conflict, environment and development.
When you travel northbound on Alaska’s famous Dalton Highway heading toward the Arctic Sea, the northern edge of the world, you carry a radio to communicate with the enormous rigs that roar along the road, the giant trucks made famous by the History Channel’s Ice Road Truckers. Radio messages between truckers and non-truckers are simple and polite. They let each other know when it’s safe to pass, if a wide load is coming your way, or if the conditions ahead are dangerous or treacherous – snow drifts, slush flows, avalanches, washouts and the like.
Twice humans have witnessed the wasting of snow and ice from Peru’s tallest volcano, Nevado Coropuna—In the waning of the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago, and today, as industrial carbon dioxide in the air raises temperatures again. As in the past, Coropuna’s retreating glaciers figure prominently in the lives of people below. In an ongoing project, scientists at Columba University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and partner institutions are reconstructing the ebb and flow of ice on Coropuna since the last ice age to understand how the tropics influence the global climate system, how ice-loss and a warmer climate will impact farming in the region, and what adaptation measures might help people survive in this hotter, drier world.
Lamont-Doherty scientist Hugh Ducklow is featured in a documentary due out next summer on climate change and the West Antarctic Peninsula. Catch a preview in this newly-released trailer.
I returned to New York on Monday, but Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientists Andy Juhl and Craig Aumack remain working in Barrow, Alaska for another week. They’ll continue to collect data and samples in a race against deteriorating Arctic sea ice conditions as the onset of summer causes the ice to thin and break up.
It’s near midnight and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory researchers Andy Juhl and Craig Aumack, and Arizona State’s Kyle Kinzler are gathered around a table in their lab at the Barrow Arctic Research Consortium discussing the best way to catch an isopod.