Life in a sinkhole

The karst landscapes of China have been an essential part of their figurative art and painting since time immemorial, capturing the imagination and providing a sense of wonder at nature. The sinkholes here form when underground rivers carve out underground channels by chemical erosion whose roofs later collapse when they weaken. These windows allow sunlight to pour within, and extensive and unique ecosystems to develop underground.


Image credit: Song Wen/Barcroft Media



Can you imagine living in a bubble for two years? Well, these people did it. Back in the 90s, Jane Poynter wanted to understand the delicate balance of the Earth’s ecosystem. So she and seven others moved into a sealed biosphere for 2 years and 20 minutes. (That last twenty minutes matters when you’re stuck in a giant bubble.) The challenges they faced — from spending 4 months making a single pizza to being short on oxygen — make for a pretty incredible story.

Hear her tell the story »

You might think you know what frogs sound like — until, that is, you hear the symphony of amphibians that fills the muggy night air at Nokuse Plantation, a nature preserve in the Florida Panhandle.

There, about 100 miles east of Pensacola, a man named M.C. Davis has done something extraordinary: He has bought up tens of thousands of acres in the Florida sandhills and turned them into a unique, private preserve.

In the largest block of privately owned conservation land in the southeastern U.S., Davis is restoring ecosystems that agriculture and timbering have destroyed.

“I’m a self-proclaimed, devout conservationist,” Davis says. “I’ve been dedicated now for about 20 years.”

Davis is thinking 300 years into the future with his wildlife restoration project, even though he knows he doesn’t have much time left. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in November.

Gambler-Turned-Conservationist Devotes Fortune To Florida Nature Preserve

Photo credit: Matthew Ozug/NPR

Diverse Ecosystems Get Organized for Stability

Ecological networks that are highly organized are more stable, a new study reports, meaning that changes to these networks don’t cause them to fall apart. The study found that the species living in highly ordered networks can experience very different growth rates, one to the next, without threatening the overall network structure. In less ordered, or nested, networks, by contrast, disproportionate growth rates may cause a species to be knocked out – even rendered extinct. Using data on the network structures of 23 plant-pollinator communities in the United Kingdom, the researchers showed that nestedness minimizes competition between species, boosts the number of species that can live together, and increases stability. A Perspective provides more insights.

Read more about this research from the 25 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Mark Chappell. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.


It’s Getting Hot in Here: ‘How Thirsty is Your Food?’ & ‘Where Does Your Food Come From?’

When it comes to water use, not all plants are created equal.           

(Source: Mother Jones)


Two Tanks Filled with the Same Water but One has Oysters In It

 this striking visualization we see two tanks filled with water from the Honga River, an estuary of the Chesapeake Bay. The tank on the right also contains oysters. Over the course of 2 hours those oysters filtered all of the algae out of the water. The demonstration shows how effective oysters are at naturally filtering water which Maryland Seafood says benefits the entire ecosystem:

“With clearer water comes more sunlight penetration, more sea grasses, and more places for fish/crabs to hide from predators.”

(Continue Reading)


While Drilling For Water This Farmer Found Something Truly Amazing               

photos:   OffGridQuestFlickr/TanyaWheeler           

Early on in the 20th century, a farmer dug a well on his Nevada ranch hoping to find a water source to bring life to his barren land. He could never have imagined what he would unearth. He dug down and found the water he was hoping for however at more than 200 degrees in temperature, it was no use to him so he forgot about his dream.

In 1964 a team equipped with the latest drilling technology came to the farm however they found the same problems the farmer had originally faced. Also the team didn’t properly cap the area they had drilled and a geyser sprang up. Water, nutrients and minerals came to the surface and the fly geyser as it is called pumped the water above ground where the minerals began to create an awesome mountain with its own ecosystem. Still growing and changing to this day, the colors and formations constantly change like something from a fantasy movie. via:awesomeinventions


Shark Week :Save The Fins!

Shark week is the time of the year where everyone loves Sharks whether they make an appearance in Sharknado, Jaws or through the lens of a research team. The great thing is that Shark week sheds light on the ocean and marine life we know little about which is great because a lot of people don’t know how much us the ,“land mammals”, can affect the oceans environment; Not only that but the oceans make up most of the earth!

So lets talk about the sharks. Sharks in my opinion are amazing intelligent creatures. They have also been on this earth for a really long time, and by a long time I mean 450 MILLION years! Seriously though, that is crazy. Which this can give you an idea on how well they’ve adapted and how successful they have been in the food chain.

So 1st, the bad. Sharks are being picked off and killed for one simple reason, their fin. Does this sound familiar? The practice is called finning. People hunt sharks, attack them by tearing their fin off and throw them back in the sea. Which in most cases causes the sharks to die.These people are just as bad as the poachers taking the horns off Rhinos and the tusks off of elephants. This practice is mostly done for the purpose of a soup…. that’s it. Its terrible and unneeded. Why is this a cause for concern? Shark’s population is declining at a rapid rate. In a decade Sharks can be near to extinction. Here’s a quick list of the impact of shark fining,

  • Loss and devastation of shark populations around the world. Experts estimate that within a decade, most species of sharks will be lost because of longlining.
  • Unsustainable fishery. The massive quantity of sharks harvested and lack of selection deplete shark populations faster than their reproductive abilities can replenish populations.
  • Threatens the stability of marine ecosystems.
  • Loss of sharks as a food staple for many developing countries.
  • Local waters are invaded by large industrial, foreign fishing vessels that threaten traditional sustainable fisheries.
  • Threatens socio-economically important recreational fisheries.
  • Obstructs the collection of species-specific data that are essential for monitoring catches and implementing sustainable fisheries management.
  • Wasteful of protein and other shark-based products. Up to 99 per cent of the shark is thrown away.

The good, there’s a way to help. By being aware you can sign the petition to ban finning *hopefully across the world*.Sign the petition here BAN FINNING.

Also, If you like Lush they have a campaign going on! They have cool looking soaps with fins and their charity pots where all the proceeds go to the organizations who are fighting for the salvation of sharks. Here’s a linkage to that too Lush. I hope you became somewhat informed and can help or contribute to the fight!

Source: http://www.sharkwater.com/index.php/shark-education/

EcoSphere – Closed Aquatic Ecosystem

This very interesting glass bubble is a small, aquatic Eco-system called an EcoSphere.

This tiny enclosed world has living marine shrimp, algae and micro-organisms. It’s shell is made entirely out of hand blown glass and is completely enclosed.

This little closed off world works on the basis that it’s system recycles it’s own nutrients leaving nothing to waste.

The small marine shrimp eat the algae > the micro organisms break down the shrimp’s waste > light keeps the algae growing > shrimp eat the algae etc.

There is zero maintenance required to sustain this EcoSphere other than to provide a light source.

You can expect the EcoSphere to have a lifespan of about 3 years!