Top Biodiversity News

Breakthrough could help predict a catastrophic loss of ocean oxygen.

The ocean has lost 2 percent of its oxygen in just 50 years. Now scientists have for the first time measured a devastating loss of oxygen in ancient oceans, which could help them quantify future losses. Oceans Deeply

This coral reef now has its own innovative insurance policy.

Because the reef protects the businesses on the shore in Mexico, it offers an incredible amount of economic value. Now, when it’s damaged, repairing it will be paid for. Fast Company

Why do fish eat our trash? Because it smells yummy.

Scientists have been trying to figure out why fish that normally eat algae are eating the plastic particles that float in the ocean. San Francisco KQED Public Radio, California

Our Reporting on Biodiversity

More news from EHN

Respect the elderly: Saving cities’ oldest trees.

Daniel Axler

Old growth forests are increasingly rare in U.S. cities—protecting these health-boosting relics from bulldozers, invasives and apathy is no easy feat. Environmental Health News

Trees, science and the goodness of green space.

Lindsey Konkel

In urban parks and forests, scientists dig to unearth answers to an age-old question—why are people healthier (and happier) when surrounded by nature? Environmental Health News

Achieving sustainable and dignified life for all on an increasingly small planet.

It’s time to rethink our food system and acknowledge our responsibilities to renewal of resources and the rights of existence for all life forms on Earth. Environmental Health News

At the Vatican, a call to avoid 'biological extinction'.

Among those presenting during the three day conference are Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University and Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University. Download their working paper on the sixth great extinction here. Environmental Health News

The Holocene climate experience.

The history of climate and human health gives us a glimpse of the dramatically amplified risks we face if present trends continue. Daily Climate


Little players have big role in farming.

There should be little doubt lingering about how crucial bees are to the natural world – and to human food production. more…

Help protect reefs by reporting coral bleaching.

Guam’s coral reefs are integral to our island’s marine ecology as well as to our tourism industry, and it’s vital that we all take steps to protect and preserve them. more…

Don’t ignore a major threat to the Chesapeake Bay.

The bay cannot afford Maryland and the rest taking their eye off the big picture, just as improvements are becoming visible. more…

Bee colony collapse

Queen bees less likely to lay eggs, start colony after insecticide exposure.

Some queen bumblebees exposed to a common insecticide may never lay eggs or start colonies, which would lead to their extinction, researchers say. CBC Canada

Scotts Miracle-Gro leads pack in cutting bee-harming pesticides.

Scotts Miracle-Gro, whose Ortho brand is now the leader in garden pesticides, has forged an image as the greener garden care company. Bloomberg BNA

Hawaii research links beehives, pesticides.

Another study looking at pesticides in beehives is underway in Hawaii. And results are showing a connection between agriculture-dense areas and an increase in the chemical glyphosate — the active ingredient in Roundup — in honey. Kauai Garden Island, Hawaii

Paris's urban rooftop hives hope to preserve honeybees.

The French capital boasts more than 700 beehives, according to 2015 figures, most located on rooftops such as those of the haute cuisine Tour d'Argent restaurant, the Grand Palais and the Musee d'Orsay. Agence France-Presse

Bee pesticide ban debate could arise in next farm bill.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) wants to include a ban on pesticides linked to declining bee health in next year’s farm bill, one of several initiatives he is pushing in the legislation to reauthorize agriculture and nutrition programs. Bloomberg BNA

Santa Barbara’s bee whisperer.

Nick Wigle saves hidden hives with love and kindness. Santa Barbara Independent, California

Water quality and biodiversity

Green roofs help to curb polluted runoff, especially if space is limited.

Though more costly than other remedies, vegetation atop buildings can meet stormwater requirements in developed areas. Chesapeake Bay Journal, Pennsylvania

Leaky pipeline near Montreal still moving oil despite warnings from regulator.

A year after Sylvie Rozon found an exposed segment of Trans-Northern pipeline on her family's land, no permanent solution has been found. National Observer, Canada

Why are dogs turning blue in this Mumbai suburb? Kasadi river may hold answers.

The polluted Kasadi river in Navi Mumbai is also likely to affect human health. New Delhi Hindustan Times, India

Against the stream: The future of the federal Clean Water Act.

Brian Bienkowski

A pitched battle is being waged over which water sources warrant federal protection under the Clean Water Act. Who’s right, and who will prevail? Undark

Toxic algae problem plagues Wisconsin lakes and streams.

Not all algae is toxic to humans and animals, but the type of blue-green algae growing in Milwaukee's Veterans Park lagoon is. Milwaukee WUWM, Wisconsin

Washington state Commissioner of Public Lands: Protect Hanford Reach.

Hanford Reach is a free-flowing section of the Columbia River that has been used by Native Americans since millennia for hunting and fishing. Indian Country Media Network

Climate change, sewage and fertilizers could trigger mass extinction of life in oceans, scientists warn.

Areas of low oxygen known as 'dead zones' are spreading, killing or forcing marine life to flee. The Independent, United Kingdom


We saved the whale. The same vision can save the planet.

Hope alone won’t halt climate change but Al Gore’s latest film highlights the role optimism can play. more…

Can a crowdsourced mega-forest offset Trump’s climate chaos?

It's an appealing idea, a vast forest to soak up the extra carbon released due to Trump's policies, but it may not be so easy in reality. more…

Revitalize the world’s countryside.

Cities and villages are an organic whole. Both must be developed sustainably to support each other. more…

Impacts of toxification

Plankton 'mucus houses' could pull microplastics from the sea.

California researchers have found a unique creature that spins a three-dimensional undersea net—one that can capture these tiny floating bits of plastic. Wired

South Africa rivers in deep water.

A quarter of major rivers are ‘critically endangered.’ Johannesburg Times, South Africa

Why fish can't help but eat our plastic garbage.

It passes the sniff test, but it shouldn't. Popular Science

Frogs adapted to pesticides get more parasites.

Resistance to one sort of affliction may make frogs more susceptible to another, new research shows. United Press International

Water quantity and biodiversity

Wildfires rage on untamed in Greece, Portugal and Corsica.

Hot and dry weather stoked another round of wildfires burning across southern Europe on Sunday as firefighters in Greece, Portugal and the French island of Corsica struggled to corral the flames. Associated Press

Portugal asks for help from Europe to fight fires.

More than 3,000 firemen struggled to put out forest fires across Portugal on Sunday, after the country requested assistance from Europe to fight blazes that threaten to spread with more hot weather in the coming days. Reuters

Massive El Niño sent greenhouse-gas emissions soaring.

The monster El Niño weather pattern of 2014–16 caused tropical forests to burp up 3 billion tons of carbon, according to a new analysis. Nature

A large wildfire has been burning in Greenland for more than a week, and wait, what?!?

While fires are not unheard of along the ice-free edges of the island, the large one near Sisimiut is noteworthy for its size and duration, scientists say. Mashable

In a rare US preserve, water pressures mount as development closes in.

The persistence of New Jersey’s Pinelands is no small feat in a state so top-heavy with industrial development and metropolitan sprawl. Yale Environment 360

Why rain doesn't signal the end of a drought.

It can take years for a tropical forest to return to its previous levels of photosynthesis and growth, and, as the frequency and severity of droughts increases, they may soon outpace the region's ability to recover entirely. Pacific Standard

Soy and the Cerrado: Exports, ecology collide in Brazil’s savanna.

Soybean cultivation cutting deep into the Cerrado is turning Brazil’s vast wooded savanna into farmland, a transformation so swift that endemic species are being pushed to extinction and even the country’s water supply could be affected, scientists and environmental groups warn. Bloomberg BNA

Environmentalists are urging the USDA to reject this genetically engineered eucalyptus tree.

A genetically engineered, freeze-tolerant eucalyptus tree is moving closer to receiving approval from the USDA. Washington Post

Solutions and Good News

Baja California’s recipe for saving fishing communities.

As fish populations crash elsewhere, towns limit catches to stabilize harvests, boost tourism, and preserve a way of life. National Geographic Magazine

Arctic waters get long-sought protection after Ottawa, Inuit group reach agreement.

An Inuit group and the federal government are creating a national marine conservation area in Lancaster Sound that will be – by far – Canada’s largest. Globe and Mail, Ontario

Bees are bouncing back from colony collapse disorder.

With pesticides and other factors still stressing bees, the overall increase is largely the result of constant replenishment of losses, the study showed. Bloomberg News

L.I. Sound funding restored after Trump cut.

Although Long Island Sound’s cleanup was cut from President Trump’s 2018 budget, Congress has restored $8 million aimed at keeping Connecticut’s water gem pollution free — or as close to it as possible. Hearst News Service

Sustainable British cod on the menu after stocks recover.

A recovery from near total collapse has led North Sea cod stocks to be labelled as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council for the first time in 20 years. The Guardian

Climate impacts on biodiversity

As Arctic sea ice disappears, 2,000 walruses mob remote Alaska beach.

The 'haul out' of Pacific walruses along the Alaska coast is the earliest known and comes as global temperatures and loss of sea ice near records. InsideClimate News

Climate change a risk to survival of long-lived Norway spruce.

The mainstay of the Swiss forestry industry is in danger of dying out this century because of warmer temperatures. The Guardian

Wildfire-plagued Portugal declares public calamity as braces for more.

Parts of Portugal, beset by its deadliest summer of wildfires in living memory, were declared in a state of public calamity on Thursday as the government put emergency services on alert for further outbreaks. Reuters

Cities across Africa face threat of landslides like Sierra Leone.

Natural and human factors made Sierra Leone's capital vulnerable to a landslide that killed more than 400 people this week: heavy rain, deforested land and communities forced by overcrowding to live on steep hillsides. Reuters

The Arctic’s most famed shipwrecks lie in these waters. Scientists are still learning what else lies beneath.

As climate change opens new ecosystems to human activity, scientists are racing to understand and protect the pristine waters. Washington Post

Bigger, hotter, faster.

The wildfires of tomorrow will be like nothing we’ve ever seen. But the debates they’ll spark have already been raging for more than a century. bioGraphic

Over 300 dead, 600 missing in Western Africa's Sierra Leone mudslides.

Heavy rains streaming down a hill in Regent triggered a landslide that engulfed homes 3 or 4 storeys high, many of them built illegally. Agence France-Presse


Bald eagles suffering from lead poisoning.

Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center near Saegertown, Penn., typically treats two or three eagles each year for lead poisoning. But in recent weeks, the center has admitted four adult bald eagles, two of which still had the metal in their stomachs., Ohio

A clouded future: Asia's enigmatic clouded leopard threatened by palm oil.

While many questions remain about this elusive species' ecology, it's widely believed that palm oil development severely threatens its long-term survival in the wild. Mongabay

′Trump Forest′ on its way to sucking up America′s extra emissions.

People around the world have pledged to plant 250,000 trees to counter the US President's "disgraceful" decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. Deutsche Welle, Germany

A rich person’s profession? Young conservationists struggle to make it.

The field of conservation may be hemorrhaging passionate, qualified, and innovative young people. Mongabay

Scientists measure whales' aversion to noise pollution.

Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia wanted to find out if "ramp-up sequences" allow whales to acclimate to foreign noise. United Press International

Queensland conservationists call for river-mining ban to protect Great Barrier Reef.

State mines minister rejects two applications at reserves west of Cape Tribulation which campaigners say should set a precedent. The Guardian

The return of a native New Yorker: Whales.

Yes, whales. In New York. The whales aren’t alone. Dolphins and seals are now commonplace in New York Harbor, and a project to restore oysters to what was once known as “the oyster capital of the world” is yielding new oyster reefs in the New York-New Jersey estuary. Los Angeles Times

How much should major polluters pay? A case against DuPont provides a model.

A biologist traced mercury from a company spill to contamination in songbirds, and devised a new way to hold polluters financially accountable. Audubon Magazine


Nature under attack in Brazil.

Against a backdrop of rising deforestation and violence against activists, environmentalists are accusing Brazil's president of pushing legislation that will benefit loggers and land-grabbers in the Amazon region. Deutsche Welle, Germany

International investment blamed for violence and oppression in Sarawak.

NGOs in Sarawak and around the world report failures by the Sarawak government to uphold indigenous land rights, and failures by international banks and investors to ensure their investments are conflict-free. Mongabay

Bolivia approves highway through Amazon biodiversity hotspot.

Bolivia has given the go ahead to a controversial highway which would cut through an Amazon biodiversity hotspot almost the size of Jamaica and home to 14,000 mostly indigenous people. The Guardian

Swiss trees swelter as climate warms.

The most important tree for Switzerland’s forestry industry, the Norway spruce, is in danger of dying out in much of the country because it cannot adapt fast enough as Swiss trees swelter in the rising temperatures. Climate News Network, United Kingdom