Melting Ice Offers Window on Polar Ecosystem

Copyright Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research

By Stephen Leahy

Feb 27 (IPS) – The collapse of Antarctic ice shelves due to climate change is providing the first views of marine life hidden deep under the polar ice for more than 5,000 years.

A 10-week Antarctic international expedition to probe the region’s secrets is also the first major scientific effort of the International Polar Year that was officially launched Monday in Paris and London.

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Global Food Supply Near the Breaking Point

Global Food Supply Near the Breaking Point

By Stephen Leahy

[Written last year, this article continues to be re-published frequently and often illegally (sigh) – remember short quote and link is ok but reposting entire articles violates copyright]

May 17 (IPS) The world is now eating more food than farmers grow, pushing global grain stocks to their lowest level in 30 years.

Rising population, water shortages, climate change, and the growing costs of fossil fuel-based fertilisers point to a calamitous shortfall in the world’s grain supplies in the near future, according to Canada’s National Farmers Union (NFU).

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DIRTY GOLD: Protests at Canada’s Goldcorp Mines In Honduras and Guatemala

[update: May 2010: The mining company Entremares, subsidiary of the Canadian consortium Glamis Gold, (Goldcorp _Vancouver, Canada) will be charged with polluting the central valley of Siria and of hiding information from the authorities. — Tierramerica]

By Stephen Leahy

The Canadian mining giant Goldcorp, which runs the largest gold mine in Mexico, is racking up complaints about its environmental violations. In Honduras, officials are considering legal action.queensland-olf-goldmine.JPGOld gold mine Queensland Australia Copyright 2004 Renate Leahy

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Factory Farms, Bird Flu and Global Warming

Report Blames Factory Farms for Bird Flu
By Stephen Leahy

Feb 20 (IPS) – Factory farms are responsible for both the bird flu and emissions of greenhouse gases that now top those of cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs), according to a report released Monday.

Sixty percent of global livestock production, including chicken and pig “confined animal feedlot operations” (CAFOs), now occur in the developing world. Unregulated zoning and subsidies that encourage these CAFOs or factory farms are moving closer to major urban areas in China, Bangladesh, India, and many countries in Africa, said the report, “Vital Signs 2007-2008” by the Worldwatch Institute.

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Using DNA “Barcodes” to Protect Biodiversity and Endangered Species

DNA Bar-Coding Could Rewrite Book of LifeCassowary, Queensland, Australia - Copyright 2004 Renate Leahy
By Stephen Leahy

Feb 19 (IPS) – Fifteen new species of birds have been discovered in North America following the first ever genetic analysis of nearly all 690 known species. A similar DNA profiling or “bar-coding” of Guyana’s 87 bat species revealed an additional six genetically distinct bats.

These new species are nearly indistinguishable to human eyes and ears from known species but the analysis shows their DNA evolved along different paths millions of years previously, according research published Sunday in British journal Molecular Ecology Notes.

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Global Warming Connection to Outdated Technology

Paraphrase of the Day:


In era of rapid scientific development, cars and trucks still use an internal combustion engine developed 100 years ago and much of the world’s electricity comes from coal-fired power plants first developed in the 17th century.

— Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences in University of Victoria, Canada.

Excerpt from article Massive Ecological Impacts Coming with New ‘Hothouse’ Climate

Fish with Chips — Underwater Electronics to Revolutionize Fisheries Management

Scientists Put an Ear to the Ocean Floor

Photo courtesy of TOPP

By Stephen Leahy

Feb 14 (IPS) – Canada will spend 38 million dollars to install thousands of undersea listening posts along the continental shelves of North America, the Mediterranean, Gulf of Mexico and Australia.

Akin to military hydrophones used to detect the underwater passage of submarines, the receivers of the new Ocean Tracking Network will track movements of fish and marine mammals tagged with tiny acoustic transmitters.

And this too is a security issue — fish stock security.

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Fish Stocks and Science to Benefit from Undersea Listening Devices

Paraphrase for the day:


“This will change the way marine science does business.” — Ron O’Dor, a researcher at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia who leads the Ocean Tracking Network.


Movements of thousands of ocean-going fish and marine mammals are being followed by scientists using the new Ocean Tracking Network that could ramp up to track a million animals around the globe.

Story here:

Fish with Chips — Underwater Electronics to Revolutionize Fisheries Management