Don’t Overestimate Bioplastics’ Benefits
Hakai Magazine
by Hakai Magazine
9h ago
Plastics produced from plants are often considered less environmentally damaging than plastics made from petrochemicals. But scientists are warning that we should be careful making such assumptions. A new literature review examining the results of around 20 scientific papers has found that bio-based plastics, most of which are made from cornstarch, can be just as toxic as their conventional cousins when dumped in coastal environments. The review also shows that plastics marked as biodegradable often fail to break down in these environments. The paper highlights the lack of research into the en ..read more
Visit website
In Graphic Detail: Gray Whales in Flux
Hakai Magazine
by Hakai Magazine
4d ago
In Baja California, Mexico, winter means calving time for eastern North Pacific gray whales. Gray whales migrate to these warm waters in early January and give birth in a handful of lagoons, where scientists can tally their calves. But 2022 marked the lowest number of births since the count began in 1994. A small number of calves is one part of a trend: a dwindling gray whale population. In a recent report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimated the eastern North Pacific population at 16,650—a 38 percent drop since its peak in 2015 and 2016. Fecundity is similarly ..read more
Visit website
Taking Down Mexico’s Totoaba Cartels Helps with Vaquita Conservation
Hakai Magazine
by Hakai Magazine
6d ago
This article was originally published in Mongabay and is reproduced here with permission. Some of Mexico’s most ambitious and successful wildlife traffickers are now in jail, officials announced January 3, 2023. Mexico’s navy confirmed in a press conference that members of cartels dedicated to the trafficking of totoaba have been arrested and put in prison, effectively dismantling some of the main organized crime groups contributing to declining fish populations in the Gulf of California. Since 2019, officials have managed to arrest seven members of the “Totoaba ..read more
Visit website
Sea Otter Recovery Is Sending Ripples through the Ecosystem
Hakai Magazine
by Hakai Magazine
1w ago
Gretchen Roffler recalls looking out on the waterfront in Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve as three wolves came into view, then disappeared behind some rocks. When the predators returned, all three were gripping the same limp sea otter between their jaws. Working together, the wolves tore the otter to pieces. “It was like a tug of war,” says Roffler, a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Roffler and her colleagues paid close attention; they needed to document the June 2021 event in detail. After all, Roffler believes, this was “one of the first observation ..read more
Visit website
Could the Alaska Government Be on the Hook for Climate Refugees?
Hakai Magazine
by Hakai Magazine
1w ago
Newtok, Alaska, is sinking. The river on which the village was built is eroding its banks, while the ground beneath it is liquifying. Melting permafrost, the rising sea, and storm surges have rendered Newtok—along with dozens of other Alaska Native communities in northern and western Alaska—unlivable. In 2019, after decades of planning and millions of dollars spent, most of Newtok’s inhabitants relocated several kilometers away. As climate change continues to destroy the habitability of coastal communities, the question of who should pay for adaptation and relocation efforts remains thorny. In ..read more
Visit website
Discovering What Is Already Known
Hakai Magazine
by Hakai Magazine
1w ago
On January 20, 2022, news broke of an extraordinary discovery. In press releases, interviews, and Instagram stories, the French foundation 1 Ocean and UNESCO announced finding a pristine coral reef hidden off Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia. The story quickly went viral. “Sprawling Coral Reef Resembling Roses Is Discovered Off Tahiti,” read a New York Times headline. “Pristine coral reef unblemished by warming oceans found off Tahiti,” Reuters wrote, while the Washington Post announced hope for the oceans in its story. Amid news of droughts and floods, the world rejoiced; m ..read more
Visit website
Salt Marsh Microbes Threaten to Reshape the Atmosphere
Hakai Magazine
by Hakai Magazine
1w ago
Alia Al-Haj strides down the half-kilometer boardwalk, a wagon full of power tools and PVC pipes in tow. Off to each side, a vast marsh stretches into the distance, the wet ground punctuated by tall sedges waving in the cool spring breeze. Al-Haj closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath of the salty, sulfury aroma. “It’s really important to me being able to smell the marsh,” she says. “I know it may not always be there. That smell is something I think about a lot, how much I’ll miss it.” For the past 35 years, scientists with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, including Al-Haj, h ..read more
Visit website
Farmer, the World May Not Be Your Oyster
Hakai Magazine
by Hakai Magazine
2w ago
From the shore, you have to squint to see them—the 50 or so objects that look like large black duffel bags floating in several rows near the surface of Napeague Bay in East Hampton, New York. And if it’s dark, or the wind churns up waves, you might not spot them at all. To get a better look from the beach, you really need binoculars, which is what Adam Younes uses when he wants to do a visual check of these bobbling floats marking his oyster farm. But on most days, he putters his small boat 805 meters offshore to the site, easily navigating the nine-meter channels between the rows, to check on ..read more
Visit website
Rodent DNA Reveals a Centuries-Old Black-Market Fur Trade
Hakai Magazine
by Hakai Magazine
2w ago
The two landmasses that make up the bulk of New Zealand–the North Island and the South Island–are less than 25 kilometers apart but couldn’t be more different. The North Island hosts the country’s largest city, Auckland, and is known for towering volcanoes, legendary surfing beaches, and a relatively balmy climate. On the colder and quieter South Island, the rugged landscape is pierced by glassy lakes, rolling glaciers, and snow-capped mountains–familiar backdrops to fans of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Recent research reveals that the islands’ differences extend all the way down to th ..read more
Visit website
Something Fishy Is Happening Inside the Ears of Delta Smelt
Hakai Magazine
by Hakai Magazine
2w ago
Conservationists have spent decades trying to prevent the extinction of the delta smelt, a tiny transparent fish that smells vaguely of cucumbers. The funky fish is native to California’s San Francisco estuary, a series of bays and river deltas covering more than 4,000 square kilometers between Sacramento and the Golden Gate Bridge. The delta smelt was once the most abundant fish in the estuary but is now approaching extinction, with few fish left in the wild. Over the past two years, scientists have surveyed the estuary thousands of times but caught just one wild fish. In December 2021, resea ..read more
Visit website

Follow Hakai Magazine on Feedspot

Continue with Google
OR