Novel method to identify suitable new homes for animals under threat from climate change

Sep. 5, 2013 — Scientists at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) have devised a novel method to identify suitable new homes for animals under threat from climate change.Conservation scientists used their knowledge on species ecology to create habitat suitability maps and correctly identify sites that will remain viable in the future regardless of changing climate. However, the key for success is to understand, and account for, the link between variation in species population size, climate and how the climate may change.Almost half of all bird and amphibian species are believed to be highly vulnerable to extinction from climate change. Species in extreme or rare habitats such as the emperor penguin in the Antarctic and American pika in the USA have already experienced drastic declines in populations due to the impact of climate change on their home.As climate changes, many species will need to move to a different location in order to survive. For species that aren’t able to do this naturally, the only chance of survival is a helping hand through the use of translocations.The research is published today (6 September) in the Journal of Applied Ecology.Dr Nathalie Pettorelli, ZSL’s climate change coordinator and senior author on the paper, says: “Climate change poses a worrying threat to many animals, and relocating vulnerable species to new and more suitable habitats may be the only way to protect them. However, this is an extreme conservation action, which needs to be thoroughly justified, and requires clear guidance on where threatened populations should be moved. Our research shows how these key requirements can be met.”The team used the hihi bird as an example because of the conservation success which came after efforts put into its relocation since the 1980s. Yet, despite large investments into its protection, climate change is now posing a significant threat to its future survival.Dr Alienor Chauvenet, lead author of the study, says: “All current hihi populations are surrounded by either a large stretch of water or unsuitable habitat such as farmland or cities with plenty of non-native predators. This isolation makes it very perilous for them to move and individuals attempting to relocate naturally are unlikely to survive.”Our work shows that assisted colonisation may be the only way to guarantee the survival of this unique species under climate change,” Dr Chauvenet added.Translocations will continue to be an important part of conservation as climate changes. ZSL’s novel method shows how these interventions can be planned to be successful even under the influence of a changing environment. …

Read more

Roman seawater concrete holds the secret to cutting carbon emissions

June 4, 2013 — The chemical secrets of a concrete Roman breakwater that has spent the last 2,000 years submerged in the Mediterranean Sea have been uncovered by an international team of researchers led by Paulo Monteiro of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.Analysis of samples provided by team member Marie Jackson pinpointed why the best Roman concrete was superior to most modern concrete in durability, why its manufacture was less environmentally damaging — and how these improvements could be adopted in the modern world.”It’s not that modern concrete isn’t good — it’s so good we use 19 billion tons of it a year,” says Monteiro. “The problem is that manufacturing Portland cement accounts for seven percent of the carbon dioxide that industry puts into the air.”Portland cement is the source of the “glue” that holds most modern concrete together. But making it releases carbon from burning fuel, needed to heat a mix of limestone and clays to 1,450 degrees Celsius (2,642 degrees Fahrenheit) — and from the heated limestone (calcium carbonate) itself. Monteiro’s team found that the Romans, by contrast, used much less lime and made it from limestone baked at 900˚ C (1,652˚ F) or lower, requiring far less fuel than Portland cement.Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is one powerful incentive for finding a better way to provide the concrete the world needs; another is the need for stronger, longer-lasting buildings, bridges, and other structures.”In the middle 20th century, concrete structures were designed to last 50 years, and a lot of them are on borrowed time,” Monteiro says. “Now we design buildings to last 100 to 120 years.” Yet Roman harbor installations have survived 2,000 years of chemical attack and wave action underwater.How the Romans did itThe Romans made concrete by mixing lime and volcanic rock. For underwater structures, lime and volcanic ash were mixed to form mortar, and this mortar and volcanic tuff were packed into wooden forms. The seawater instantly triggered a hot chemical reaction. The lime was hydrated — incorporating water molecules into its structure — and reacted with the ash to cement the whole mixture together.Pozzuoli Bay defines the northwestern region of the Bay of Naples. The concrete sample examined at the Advanced Light Source by Berkeley researchers, BAI.06.03, is from the harbor of Baiae, one of many ancient underwater sites in the region. …

Read more

Utilizzando il sito, accetti l'utilizzo dei cookie da parte nostra. maggiori informazioni

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close