Wisconsin: Volunteers needed for statewide breeding bird atlas

Read the full story from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Organizers of the statewide Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas survey are recruiting volunteers to help update information about what birds breed in Wisconsin and where, and they are conducting free field trips June 11-12 in many locations to introduce people to the survey and its methods.

Fish prefer plastic to natural prey

Read the full story in Resource magazine.

When grown, fish that were exposed to microplastics as larvae prefer to eat plastic rather than their natural prey and are less active and responsive to predator cues, threatening the sustainability of entire species, according to research published today (3 June).

A study by researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden, published in the Science journal, exposed Eurasian perch larvae to ‘environmentally relevant concentrations of microplastic polystyrene particles’, and found that they exhibited changed behaviours and stunted growth that led to ‘greatly increased mortality rates’.


Fish kill in Florida: ‘Heartbreaking images’ seen for miles

Read the full story at CNN.

Florida may be the fishing capital of the world, but you’d never know it from the latest scenes around the state’s Indian River Lagoon.

Usually idyllic beaches, waterways and estuaries near the massive, biodiverse ecosystem along central Florida’s Atlantic coast are littered with scores of dead, rotting fish; an estimated hundreds of thousands of them are floating belly up in brackish, polluted water as far as the eye can see.

Asian bats show resistance to deadly white-nose syndrome

Read the full story at BBC News.

Researchers have found new clues about the deadly white-nose syndrome, a disease that has wiped out millions of bats in North America.

A study found that bats in China showed strong resistance to the fungal infection responsible for the deaths.

The fungus invades the skin of the bats and causes characteristic white markings on the face and wings.

The scientists involved in the report say some American species may evolve the ability to fight the disease.

In Mexico, Fish Poachers Push Endangered Porpoises to Brink

Read the full story in Yale Environment 360.

China’s lucrative black market for fish parts is threatening the vaquita, the world’s most endangered marine mammal. The porpoises, who live only in the Gulf of California, are getting caught up as bycatch in illegal gill nets and killed.

More harm than help? Antibacterial hand soaps threaten fish

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

Washing your hands with antibacterial hand soaps probably protects you from bacterial infections.

But when that soap gets washed down the drain to the waters of the Great Lakes, the harm may outweigh its benefit.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that many consumer products, including antibacterial soaps, contain triclosan.  That’s a chemical added to prevent and reduce bacterial contamination. Although it has not been found hazardous to people, scientific studies found that it alters hormones in animals, according to the FDA.

How food waste confuses wildlife

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

The world wastes more than $750 billion worth of food every year — 1.6 billion tons of food left in farm fields, sent to landfills or otherwise scattered across the countryside, plus 7 million tons of fishery discards at sea.

That waste has gotten a lot of attention lately, mostly in terms of human hunger.

Hardly anyone talks about what all that food waste is doing to wildlife. But a growing body of evidence suggests that our casual attitude about waste may be reshaping the way the natural world functions across much of the planet, inadvertently subsidizing some opportunistic predators and thus contributing to the decline of other species, including some that are threatened or endangered.

new study in the journal Biological Conservation looks, for instance, at California’s Monterey Bay, where the threatened steelhead trout population has declined by 80 to 90 percent over the past century. Efforts to restore the species along the Pacific Coast have focused on major initiatives such as the recent demolition of a dam that had blocked access to critical steelhead breeding grounds on the Carmel River, which empties into Monterey Bay.

But a team of co-authors led by Ann-Marie Osterback, a marine ecologist at the University of California-Santa Cruz, suspects that garbage and fishery discards also might play an underrated part in the problem. The hypothesis is that local food wastes inadvertently subsidize Western gulls in the Monterrey Bay area, and these gulls in turn prey on the juvenile steelhead trout.