Archive for Stanford University
www.independent.co.uk 18th February 2012
Researchers at Stanford University in California have come up with a radical new idea for tackling the problem of by-catch in the world’s oceans. By-catch is when fishermen are fishing for a target species, such as tuna, but catch other species, such as sharks, turtles, dolphins, and rays, unintentionally in the process. The phenomenon has been instrumental in radical declines of numerous species, including the Leatherback turtle whose populations have declined in the Pacific by 90% in 20 years. Now scientists have suggested that mobile marine reserves, monitored by satellites, could solve the problem. Existing static marine reserves are not adequate as endangered species simply migrate into unprotected waters. “I thought 12 years ago that we would not be able to do this, but I would say in the last 5 years the science has grown so quickly, at least in areas where we have rich data, we are on the cusp of doing this,” Larry Crowder, a professor of marine biology at Stanford, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver. “We don’t need to close the entire ocean, we only need to close the place where they are concentrated, where by-catch is particularly likely to be found, and leave the rest of the ocean open.” The main places the mobile marine reserves would focus on would be areas of high marine biodiversity such as “upwellings” (where minerals are brought to the oceans’ surfaces by rising currents) and “convergence zones”, where ocean currents collide.
e360.yale.edu 29th August 2011
Quoted from source:
‘A new study says the preservation of just 4 percent of the world’s oceans would protect critical habitat for most of the world’s marine mammal species. After comparing maps of where each of the planet’s 129 marine mammal species are found — and where conservation efforts would be most productive — scientists from Stanford University and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México identified 20 areas of “species richness” based on the number of species present, risks of extinction, and the presence of species unique to the area. According to their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, preserving just nine of those 20 conservation sites, which cover 4 percent of the world’s oceans, would protect habitat for 108 species, or 84 percent of the Earth’s marine mammal species. The sites are located off the coasts of Baja California in Mexico, eastern Canada, Peru, Argentina, northwestern Africa, South Africa, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. At least 70 percent of those areas are significantly impacted by human activities, highlighting the urgency to enhance marine conservation efforts, the authors said.’
www.seaweb.org 6th July 2011
In the absence of a global move to reduce carbon emissions, many have asked the question whether anything can really be done to reduce the effects of ocean acidification on the marine environment. A new paper, released in the journal Science, has tried to tackle this question by putting forward a number of ideas that could be implemented by local and national governments to better protect their coastlines. Although the growing amount of CO2 in our atmosphere is increasing the level of the gas absorbed by the oceans (thereby creating carbonic acid), several other factors also play a role in this process. Freshwater input from rivers, pollution, and soil erosion all affect the acidic level of seawater. Although the report, headed by Ryan Kelly of the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford University, is aimed towards the United States, it’s lessons are relevant on a global scale. The first issue they tackle is to reduce acidification-related runoff. This can be done by using state funding and the Clean Water Act to prevent stormwater surges, upgrade water treatment facilities, and restore wetland areas. Secondly, in order to reduce coastal erosion (which carries with nutrient runoff and acidification-inducing fertilisers) local governing bodies should encourage vegetation growth that stabilises coastal sediment. Thirdly, “enforcement of federal emissions requirements for such industrial pollutants as nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide should provide local benefits given these pollutants’ short atmospheric resident times.” The paper insists that these more local moves challenge the commonly held belief that the problem of ocean acidification can only be dealt with on a national scale.
www.bbc.co.uk 6th May 2011
A team of scientists from the US have determined that climate change over the past three decades has led to a 5.5% decline in global wheat yields. The research was carried out by Stanford University and assessed the impact of climate on the four major food crops of the world: wheat, rice, corn, and soybeans. Crop losses were so severe in some regions that they wiped out gains made through such factors as technology. ”There are already clear changes going on in most agricultural regions in terms of weather, and they have effects on food production that are sizeable,” said David Lobell, the head researcher on the report. Strangely enough, North America was the only region studied that did not show any trend of warming over the 30 year period whereas Europe, China, and Brazil all did. When it came to rainfall, just as many regions were experiencing more rainfall as those experiencing less. Professor Lobell insisted that the findings only referred to past relationships and in order for predictions in future crop yield to be worked out, some large assumptions would have to be made. For one, whether the crops of tomorrow will be the same as the ones we use today (genetically for one).