Polar Bears – Swimming Fatigue
Researchers have confirmed that polar bears are being forced to swim more frequently and for much longer distances as sea ice around the North Pole experiences more extensive melt under the influence of climate change.
A team from the University of Alberta, Climate Change Canada and the Zoological Society of San Diego used GPS tags placed on bears in the Beaufort Sea and Hudson Bay to determine their altered swimming behaviour.
Study co-author Andrew Derocher says that the longer swims are particularly hard on mothers with cubs, possibly explaining the decline in the number of bears in the southern Beaufort Sea.
Great Barrier Reef Devastated by Coral Bleaching
We knew coral bleaching was a serious issue in the Great Barrier Reef, but the scope of just how widespread it was has been unclear — until now.
Extensive aerial surveys and dives have revealed that 93 percent of the world’s largest reef has been devastated by coral bleaching. The culprit has been record-warm water driven by El Niño and climate change that has cooked the life out of corals.
The Centre conducted aerial surveys and dives at 911 sites spanning the full 1,430-mile length of the reef. They show the hardest hit areas are in the northern part of the reefs, which have also endured some of the hottest water temperatures for prolonged periods.
More than 80 percent of reefs surveyed there showed signs of severe bleaching. The southern end of the reef fared better, but overall the bleaching represents a massive blow to biodiversity at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Great Barrier Reef also faces pressure from ocean acidification and fishing impacts, ramping up concerns over how to protect one of the most unique ecosystems on the planet.
Vietnam investigates mass fish deaths
Vietnam said on Thursday said it was investigating whether pollution is to blame for a spate of mysterious mass fish deaths along the country’s central coast after huge amounts of marine life washed ashore in recent days.
Tons of fish, including rare species which live far offshore and in the deep, have been discovered on beaches along the country’s central coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Hue.
The strange situation first came to light when farmed fish in the area began dying in great numbers, he said, with locals later discovering huge numbers of dead fish on beaches.
Signs point to t.he fish having been poisoned by “unidentified substances,” Tran Dinh Du, deputy director of agriculture in Quang Binh province, said.
Central Ha Tinh province is home to a sprawling economic zone which houses numerous industrial plants, including a multi-billion dollar steel plant run by Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa.
Hanoi has dispatched teams of environmental experts and officials to investigate the phenomenon.