Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

This complex theme deals primarily with interactions between organisms and the environmental factors that impact them, but to a greater extent between individual inanimate environmental factors.

innovations-report offers informative reports and articles on topics such as climate protection, landscape conservation, ecological systems, wildlife and nature parks and ecosystem efficiency and balance.

Adding Nitrogen to Ballast Water Can Prevent Corrosion and Alien Invasions

Aquatic organisms often hitch a ride in the ballast tanks of ocean-crossing ships, ending up in ports far from their native habitats. Upon arrival, these alien species can wreak havoc in their new environs, forcing out native species and incurring huge economic costs. Now a new report published in the journal Biological Conservation suggests that a certain anti-corrosion technique could help prevent such invasions while saving the shipping industry hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

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Conservationists patch it up

Urban wildlife may not use green corridors.

Green corridors do little to aid wildlife, say UK ecologists. Their discovery that isolated wild ground contains just as many plant species as do patches linked by continuous greenery casts doubt on current conservation priorities.

“The proportion of organisms that use [wildlife corridors] is exceedingly small,” says botanist Mark Hill of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Monks Wood. Only vertebrates seem to benefit, he says.

Lessons in landscape

Keeping parks pretty means tailoring the trees to their source of water.

Irrigation water recycled from sewage can damage many plant species, new research has found 1 . The results show that landscape architects should tailor their choice of plants to the type of water they will receive.

Dale Devitt of the University of Nevada at Reno and colleagues began studying the effects of different water sources on plants after reports that ’reuse’ water had damaged tr

Study Suggests Predators Are Vital to Health of Ecosystems

The question of which forces control terrestrial ecosystems lies at the heart of a long-standing debate among ecologists. One theory, the so-called bottom-up theory, suggests that plant defense mechanisms exert control by limiting food availability for herbivores. Top-down theorists, however, suggest that predators limit the numbers of herbivores and hence their impact on the vegetation. Now new findings in the current issue of the journal Science that describe animal communities isolated for 15 year

Clean sheet for paper making

New catalyst means greener paper is not pulp fiction.

Pollution from paper production could be cut, say US chemists, with a new way of refining wood pulp 1 . But the process must go through the mill before it can convert industry.

During paper production, gluey wood component lignin is stripped out to leave stringy cellulose. The harsh chemicals used create environmental pollutants, such as toxic and long-lasting chlorinated compounds.

A new chemical

Genes show seasonal trends

Mosquitoes’ evolve rapidly in response to global warming.

Mosquitoes are holing up later as winters get warmer, US ecologists have shown. This is the first genetic adaptation to global warming to be identified. Less flexible animals could face extinction, they warn.

The North American mosquito Wyeomyia smithii uses shortening day length to judge when to bed down for the winter. Modern mozzies wait nine days more than their ancestors did in 1972, William Bradshaw and Christin

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