Finding Nemo? We may be losing him, says climate study

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The clownfish, the colourful swimmer propelled to fame by the 2003 film Finding Nemo, is under threat from warming ocean waters wreaking havoc with sea anemones, the structures that serve as its home, a study has found.

Closely related to corals, sea anemones are invertebrate marine creatures that live in symbiosis with algae, which provide them with food, oxygen and colour.

Clownfish, also known as anemonefish, in turn use the structures as shelter to lay their eggs and raise their young – keeping the anemones clean in return.

For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, a research team monitored 13 pairs of orange-fin anemonefish living among the coral reefs of Moorea Island in the South Pacific.

Hunting for Plastic in California’s Protected Ocean Waters

Read the full story from KQED.

California’s marine sanctuaries protect ocean animals from fishing, underwater mining, and drilling. Yet scientists think a more insidious agent may be contaminating their territory: microplastics.

The State of the Birds 2017: Farm Bill Special Report

Download the document.

The Farm Bill provides a crucial safety net for America’s farmers and ranchers… and America’s birds.

For birds, the Farm Bill secures important habitat for more than 100 bird species and is America’s largest source of funding for habitat conservation on private lands.

For landowners, Farm Bill conservation programs are part of the safety net for farmers, ranchers, and forest owners. It provides financial support for vital ecological services, such as clean water, and keeps working lands working.

Dots on the graph indicate start dates for key Farm Bill conservation programs, showing the change in populations of wetland, forest, and grassland birds after these programs were implemented.

Hurricane Irma: Impacts on Florida Wildlife & Habitat

Read the full post from the National Wildlife Federation.

As every Gulf Coast resident knows, hurricanes are natural events. In Florida, we joke that there really are only two seasons – tourist season and hurricane season. Native wildlife species are adapted to survive and recover from these storms. The problem now is that humans have not only altered the natural landscape – putting both people and wildlife at greater risk from these storms – but have also altered the climate in ways that make these storms more severe.

Hurricane Irma was the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record and maintained winds of 185 mph for longer than any tropical cyclone in the world. This extreme storm ripped across the Caribbean and struck the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane, eventually affecting nearly the entire state. As my hometown of Naples, and the rest of Florida begins to recover, the fate of many of the state’s unique wildlife species and native habitats remain unknown.


Climate Change Could Cause Fish to Shrink in Size

Read the full story in e360 Digest.

In the coming decades, warming ocean temperatures could stunt the growth of fish by as much as 30 percent, according to a new study in the journal Global Change Biology.

The Waugh Bat Colony Didn’t Escape Harvey

Read the full story in Houstonia Magazine.

If you’ve visited the Waugh Bat Colony, located under the Waugh Bridge along Buffalo Bayou, you know it to be ad hoc, smelly, and beautiful in an ugly sort of way. A metaphor for Houston, if you will.

Unfortunately, the bats shared our fate during Harvey as Buffalo Bayou swelled to consume the colony of more than 250,000. According to the Houston Chronicle, maintenance workers witnessed many of the bats decamp to the nearby America Tower,  describing it like a scene from The Birds with “about a thousand” Mexican free-tailed bats taking flight. Some found shelter in the tower’s facade and underground garage, but plenty drowned as floodwaters rose. Photos and videos on social media show folks scooping up remaining waterlogged bats with fishing nets…

Rescue operations for displaced bats are currently running parallel to those for Houstonians themselves. Bat World Sanctuary, a non-profit group out of Weatherford, Texas, near Fort Worth, deployed rescuers to Houston and is working with local volunteers. Think of them as the bat lover version of the Cajun Navy, except with rabies vaccinations and syringes of bat food.

Frogs that adapt to pesticides are more vulnerable to parasites

Read the full story in Science Daily.

Amphibians can evolve increased tolerance to pesticides, but the adaptation can make them more susceptible to parasites, according to a team that includes researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The research, led by Binghamton University, showed that wood frogs that evolved increased tolerance to pesticides showed greater susceptibility to a dangerous virus, although they also demonstrated reduced susceptibility to a parasitic worm.