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Posts Tagged ‘environmental news’

Increasing carbon dioxide levels get a lot of press for creating environmental problems in the atmosphere, but that’s not the only place the higher-than-normal amounts can cause problems. Ocean waters are becoming more acidic as they absorb more and more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Certain chemicals in seawater normally dampen the sound waves by absorbing the energy from sound into chemical reactions. More carbon dioxide means less of these chemical reactions, so sound will not be absorbed as readily. Sounds will then travel farther and be louder than normal at a given distance.

This can create problems for some sea animals that use sound to communicate with each other and find their prey. Dolphins are one group of sea mammals that depend on sounds.  If there are a lot of residual noises from ships and sonar, they might have problems finding food, or finding each other to regroup. Researchers will continue to study this phenomenon to see if problems develop. It might actually turn out to be a benefit, if they are able to locate each other from farther away. Time will tell, but hopefully in the meantime we can figure out how to reduce our carbon emissions and help out a bit that way.

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Article condensed from: The New York Times, Tuesday, December 29, 2009

“More CO2 Could Create A Racket in the Oceans”

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It’s great to take a metaphorical stroll around the ethernet, just to see what’s up in environmental-related blog articles. I thought I’d share some links that may be of interest:

First, some good news from India about an environmental group that was able to convince officials not to build a neutrino observatory in an elephant corridor.

Next, A National Geographic Moment about aphids, ants, and a bird.

Then, if you’d like a simple metaphor that can help you understand global warming, read this.

Finally, something you can do: some Green Grocery Shopping with reusable bags – even the veggie bags!

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Plants That Conserve Water

Scientists are hoping to engineer plants so they require less water to grow. Plants need carbon dioxide to survive and flourish, and they need water to take in the carbon dioxide. They have openings on their leaves, called stoma, which take in carbon dioxide and release water. If there are lower levels of carbon dioxide in the air, their stoma will need to be open wider. In the case of the elevated carbon dioxide levels today – about 40% higher than in the preindustrial era – it may be possible for plants to decrease the opening of their stoma and still gain enough carbon dioxide. The smaller opening would also mean that less water was lost, which means those taking care of the plants could give them less water.

Some plants are not sensitive enough to carbon dioxide levels, so scientists are hoping to genetically alter the plants with more carbon dioxide sensors. Being able to sense the increased carbon dioxide levels will enable the plants to conserve water better. This will be useful in areas where water is more scarce.

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Article condensed from: The New York Times, Tuesday, December 29, 2009

“Findings on How Plants Breathe May Save Water”

Picture from Flickr:

Stoma

Originally uploaded by Ian Geldard

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Here we are, coming into existence as an environmental non-profit. Noah’s Ark Wetlands Foundation is based in Cambridge, Ontario, and we plan to spend time investing in our most valuable assets: schoolchildren and the natural world. One of our goals is to produce a monthly newsletter for elementary students that is a compilation and summation of environmental news from that month. We’d like to keep children in the environmental loop, informing them of advances in science that could be a future benefit, perhaps igniting a passion of environmental action that will carry on into adulthood. We would also like to purchase wetlands, creating a ‘landbank’ of these endangered areas, saving them from disappearing completely.

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