World Clock

Find the correct time anywhere in the world.
The clock below shows GMT. Accuracy depends upon having fast broadband.

Ecology Today

Syndicate content
Your Source for All Things Ecology
Updated: 5 min 28 sec ago

Earth Day: A Grassroots Moment that Sparked a Movement

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 06:54

By VOA News

This 2010 Earth Day video is just as relevant in 2017.
Happy Earth Day.

Categories: Ecological News

NASA Celebrates Earth Day with Public Events, Online Activities

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 22:56

By PRNewswire-USNewswire

This year, NASA will celebrate Earth Day, April 22, with a variety of live and online activities Thursday and Friday, April 20-21, to engage the public in the agency’s mission to better understand and protect our home planet.

Earth Day in the Nation’s Capital
Thursday, April 20, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Union Station main hall at 40 Massachusetts Ave. NE in Washington
NASA Hyperwall and Science Stories, hands-on activities and demonstrations. NASA scientists will give talks April 20 at the Hyperwall stage following the opening ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Meet former astronaut Scott Altman from 12 to 1 p.m.

Hayden Planetarium Special Event: Earth Day Celebration in New York
Friday, April 21, 7 p.m.
American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York
The program will celebrate Earth Day with a visually stunning tour of our dynamic planet. Beginning with the Earth’s rise above the moon, first seen by the Apollo 8 astronauts and the original inspiration for Earth Day, the program will explore the many ways scientists use satellite instruments and computer models to monitor global change. NASA climate scientist Benjamin Cook, from the agency’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, will co-lead the program using OpenSpace, a new NASA-funded, real-time visualization platform.

“Adopt the Planet” Online Activity
Ongoing
NASA invites the public to learn about our global environment by “adopting” a small part of our home planet. Participants will receive a personalized adoption certificate for their unique, numbered piece of Earth (approximately 55 miles wide) to print and share on social media. The certificate features NASA Earth science data collected for that location.

https://climate.nasa.gov/adopt-the-planet

NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. The agency develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records, shares this unique knowledge, and works with institutions around the world to gain new insights into how our planet is changing.

For more information about NASA’s Earth science activities, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/earth

SOURCE NASA

CONTACT: Sean Potter, Headquarters, Washington, 202-358-1536, sean.potter@nasa.gov

RELATED LINKS
http://www.nasa.gov

Categories: Ecological News

Changes in Precipitation Patterns Influence Global Natural Selection

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 02:54

By Nation Science Foundation

Climate variation plays key role in evolution of plants and animals in the wild

Gray Wolf  –  Photo Gary Karmer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (CCO)

What matters more for the evolution of plants and animals, precipitation or temperature? Scientists have found a surprising answer: rain and snow may play a more important role than how hot or cold it is.

Rainfall and snowfall patterns are changing with climate variation, which likely plays a key role in shaping natural selection, according to results published today by an international team of researchers.

Twenty scientists from the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia contributed to the study. Their results were published in the journal Science.

The team assembled a database of 168 published studies that measured natural selection over certain time periods for plant and animal populations worldwide. The results from the data set the scientists examined showed that between 20 and 40 percent of variation in selection within studies could be attributed to variability in local precipitation.

“Previous evidence from other studies indicated that climate variation might be really important in how plants and animals evolve,” said lead author and University of Arkansas biologist Adam Siepielski, whose work is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). “We wanted to know if we could explain variation in selection across diverse plant and animal populations through a few simple climate variables. It turns out that, yes, we can.”

That’s significant, he says, “especially considering the global scale of the study. These results suggest that variation in selection is actually partly predictable based on climate features like precipitation.”

Adds Doug Levey, program director in NSF’s Division of Environmental Biology, “These results show that changes in precipitation can have surprising evolutionary effects on plants and animals worldwide.”

In a time of change for rainfall, snowstorms and other forms of precipitation, plants and animals are changing, too, Siepielski said. As an example, Siepielski cited birds that live in the Galápagos Islands, called medium ground finches. The birds’ beak sizes and shapes have changed over several generations.

“Differences in precipitation over years have affected the sizes of seeds available for the birds to eat,” Siepielski said. “Birds that had bills well-matched to eat particular seed sizes were the ones that tended to survive.”

The team found that changes in temperature had much less effect than precipitation. Siepielski called that surprising. “Temperature didn’t have much explanatory power,” he said. “It might act on a different scale that we couldn’t pick up in the data set.”

“By showing that selection was influenced by climate variation,” the researchers stated in their paper, “our results indicate that climate variability may cause widespread alterations in selection regimes, potentially shifting evolution on a global scale.”

Translation: what comes down as rain or snow may radically alter how some species will evolve.

NSF

Categories: Ecological News