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.

Slick birds are wearing wool

Knitted pullovers protect penguins from oil discharge

Knitters around the world have pulled together to save thousands of oil-soaked little penguins on Phillip Island, southern Australia.

Ten thousand penguin-sized, pure-wool jumpers have flooded into the offices of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust in response to their call for emergency insulation for a vulnerable population of world’s smallest penguins – sometimes known as fairy penguins.

In mid-December 2001 a cru

Bacterial batteries clean up

Researchers name the microbes that could produce power by munching pollution.

Bacteria could clear up oil spills and generate electricity at the same time. US scientists have identified microbes that produce power as they digest organic waste 1 .

The bacteria strip electrons from carbon in ocean sediments to convert it into the carbon dioxide they need for metabolism and growth. Usually the organisms just dump the electrons onto iron or sulphate minerals on

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

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