The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Recent declines in honey bee populations and increasing demand for insect-pollinated crops raise concerns about pollinator shortages. Pesticide exposure and pathogens may interact to have strong negative effects on managed honey bee colonies. Such findings are of great concern given the large numbers and high levels of pesticides found in honey bee colonies. Thus it is crucial to determine how field-relevant combinations and loads of pesticides affect bee health. We collected pollen from bee hives in seven major crops to determine 1) what types of pesticides bees are exposed to when rented for pollination of various crops and 2) how field-relevant pesticide blends affect bees’ susceptibility to the gut parasite Nosema ceranae. Our samples represent pollen collected by foragers for use by the colony, and do not necessarily indicate foragers’ roles as pollinators. In blueberry, cranberry, cucumber, pumpkin and watermelon bees collected pollen almost exclusively from weeds and wildflowers during our sampling. Thus more attention must be paid to how honey bees are exposed to pesticides outside of the field in which they are placed. We detected 35 different pesticides in the sampled pollen, and found high fungicide loads. The insecticides esfenvalerate and phosmet were at a concentration higher than their median lethal dose in at least one pollen sample. While fungicides are typically seen as fairly safe for honey bees, we found an increased probability of Nosema infection in bees that consumed pollen with a higher fungicide load. Our results highlight a need for research on sub-lethal effects of fungicides and other chemicals that bees placed in an agricultural setting are exposed to.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Energy released a new report which assesses how America’s critical energy and electricity infrastructure is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Historically high temperatures in recent years have been accompanied by droughts and extreme heat waves, more wildfires than usual, and several intense storms that caused power and fuel disruptions for millions of people. These trends are expected to continue, which could further impact energy systems critical to the nation’s economy.
As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, DOE announced today a draft loan guarantee solicitation for innovative and advanced fossil energy projects and facilities that substantially reduce greenhouse gas and other air pollution.
The Energy Department announced four research and development projects to bring next generation biofuels on line faster and drive down the cost of producing gasoline, diesel and jet fuels from biomass.
The waters off the Pacific Northwest are becoming more acidic, making life more difficult for the animals that live there, especially oysters and the approximately 3,200 people employed in the shellfish industry.
Researchers from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will set sail Monday (July 29) on a monthlong research cruise off the U.S. and Canadian West Coast to see how ocean acidification is affecting the chemistry of the ocean waters and the area’s sea life.
Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty to destruction of evidence in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday. The energy-services giant added in a statement that it will pay the maximum fine of $200,000 for the misdemeanor, and will accept a term of three years’ probation.
Separately, Halliburton has also made a voluntary donation of $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, according to the DOJ.
Pity the young lobster. In addition to keeping a watchful eye out for the regular motley crew of predators, they now need to watch out for mom and dad as well.
Although lobsters have been known to assault and eat each other in captivity — not a surprising reaction given the conditions – marine biologists have recently observed an unprecedented degree of lobster cannibalism taking place in the wild.
Noah Oppenheim, a biologist studying the New England marine ecosystem, was the first to record the new development by setting up a camera trap using a young lobster as bait, reports The Independent.
When the same kind of experiments were conducted 20 years ago, other fish would feed on the bait; now, it’s adult lobsters that are swooping in and making mincemeat of their young. After repeated experiments, scientists concluded that juvenile lobsters were 90 percent more likely to be attacked and eaten by adult lobsters than by any other type of fish.
Santa flooded out? Researchers release shocking new images of a lake that has formed at the once-frozen North Pole.
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2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.
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