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Tag: ecosystems

Protective genes help dolphins survive certain ecosystems, study says

Protective genes help dolphins survive certain ecosystems, study says

Science
May 24 (UPI) -- Understanding which genes help dolphins survive can help conservationists identify potential threats to the animal's population, new research shows. Dolphins may need certain immune genes for survival in particular ecosystems, according to a study published Thursday in Ecology and Evolution. "Genetic diversity is crucial for animals to adapt to a changing environment -- for example, diverse genes can help populations defend against diseases and tolerate climate change -- but not all genetic diversity is equally important," Oliver Manlik, a researcher at United Arab Emirates University and study lead author, said in a news release. Some gene variants are considered neutral genetic markers, which don't serve any survival or adaptation function for an animal. The researchers...
Desalination's leftovers may negatively affect oceans and ecosystems

Desalination's leftovers may negatively affect oceans and ecosystems

Technology
This is an Inside Science story. About 700 million people worldwide lack reliable access to fresh water, a number which might grow due to population growth and climate change. This has pushed many nations to look to new, untapped water sources. One popular solution has been the construction of plants to remove salt from water sources such as seawater. However, new research from the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health in Canada is warning that a byproduct of these desalination plants -- super-salty, potentially toxic brine -- is being produced in large quantities and that it could pose serious environmental threats. There are now almost 16,000 desalination plants in the world. Although the majority of plants worldwide are located in the Middle East and ...
Jellyfish map could help conservationists protect marine ecosystems

Jellyfish map could help conservationists protect marine ecosystems

Science
Jan. 16 (UPI) -- By analyzing the chemical composition of jellyfish caught across a sizable swath of the Atlantic, scientists can map important differences among an array of marine habitats. The analysis technique could offer important insights to ecologists and conservationists -- a new tool for protecting the health of important fisheries. According to a new study published this week in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution, chemical signals measured in jellyfish reflect the chemistry, biology and physical processes unique to the region where they were caught. "The chemical differences detected in the jellyfish are also present in other animals throughout the food chain, like seabirds, seals and fishes," Katie St. John Glew, researcher at the University of Southampton, said in a ...
Rat remains reveal 2,000 years of human impact on Pacific island ecosystems

Rat remains reveal 2,000 years of human impact on Pacific island ecosystems

Science
June 5 (UPI) -- New analysis of ancient rat remains have helped scientists trace the impacts of humans on Pacific island ecosystems as far back as 2,000 years ago. Many scientists argue the Earth has entered a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene, an era defined by humans' growing impact on the planet's ecosystems. While some believe the era began between 50 and 300 years ago, a growing body of research suggests humans began altering the planet's geology, biodiversity and climate several thousands of years ago. Several studies, for example, have shown early human populations in South America left a definite ecological signature on the parts of the Amazon. But measuring the ecological impacts of early humans isn't easy. As part of the latest study, scientists looked to rat remains...