Environmental News March 11 - March 20, 2015

Quote for the week

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
—Rachel Carson

Lionfish are threatening Florida's economy
Date: March 8, 2015
By: Kimberly Blair
The booming lionfish population in Florida poses a serious problem for the fishing industry. The lionfish compete with grouper, red snapper, and other commercially-important fish for the same prey, causing a negative impact on the livelihood of these native species. More research, both from a scientific and economic standpoint, is being conducted on the invasive nature of lionfish.
Read more here.

Car-size stingray may be world's largest freshwater fish
Date: March 11, 2015
By: Brian Clark Howard
A gigantic stingray measuring 7.9 feet across and 14 feet long was caught and released by scientists in Thailand's Mae Klong River.
Read more here.

Newly discovered sea creature was once the largest animal on Earth
Date: March 11, 2015
By: Sid Perkins
A new species, Aegirocassis benmoulae, has been discovered from 480 million-year-old fossils in Morocco. Paleobiologists state that this animal is related to the modern-day arthropods (which include spiders and crabs), and was likely the largest creature on Earth during its time. Aegirocassis is quite bizarre-looking with its segmented body and helmet-shaped head.
Read more here.

We now have a toll of all the whales killed by hunting in the last century
Date: March 12, 2015
By: Marissa Fessenden
Scientists have been able to come up with the first global estimate of all the whales killed from 1900 to 1999 – the estimate reaches 2.9 million whales. Although staggering, this number is still considered as merely the lower bound for the estimate, according to the researchers.
Read more here.

Dolphins, diatoms, and sea dragons join census of all marine life
Date: March 12, 2015
By: Daniel Cressey
In an attempt to measure ocean biodiversity, taxonomists created a list of all the known marine species, a current total of 228,445 specimens. This tiny sliver only represents a fraction of the staggering richness of marine life, which is estimated to lie between 700,000 and 1 million species.
Read more here.

Oceans are losing oxygen – and becoming more hostile to life
Date: March 13, 2015
By: Craig Welch
Asides from causing coral bleaching and other significant problems, warming temperatures also deplete oxygen from the ocean. Marine organisms cannot navigate through large parts of the ocean that have become oxygen-depleted, losing access to their prey as well as mating opportunities and shelter. This distressing pattern is a direct effect of global warming.
Read more here.

Starving sea lion pups from California beaches
Date: March 16, 2015
By: KSBW Monterey
Hundreds of sick, emaciated sea lion pups have been washing ashore in California. Although not unusual (since sea lion pups leave their mothers in the spring months), this trend is still very disturbing because the numbers have never been so high until now. Scientists suspect that this year's El Nino could responsible for the mass starvation of these sea lion pups.
Read more here.

UK to designate the biggest ocean protection area in the world
Date: March 18, 2015
By: Joby Warrick
The British government plans to designate a large portion of Pitcairn Island's perimeter as a marine protected area. Pitcairn Island, along with its neighboring islands, is the sanctuary of beautiful coral reefs, four types of endangered whales, and two endangered turtles.
Read more here.

Costa Rica powered with 100% renewable energy for 75 straight days
Date: March 20, 2015
By: Myles Gough
During the months of January, February, and so far March, Costa Rica has been using hydropower to meet its energy needs. Hydroelectric dams, however, could have a costly environmental impact such as its effects on riparian zones, calling to question alternative sources of energy such as geothermal and solar energy.
Read more here.