Murray-Darling Basin's water birds in dramatic decline, study shows

New research has found a dramatic decline in water birds in the Murray-Darling Basin, with numbers down about 70 per cent in the past three decades. A University of New South Wales team found the alarming drop after crunching 32 years of data. The study has been published today in the Global Change Biology journal. Director of the UNSW Centre for Ecosystem Science, Richard Kingsford, who surveys up to 2,000 wetlands around Australia annually, headed up the research.

Bees are disappearing in India

Since around 2002, farmers in Odisha have been noticing that fewer bees visit their fields each year. It was not just one single species of bees that began to disappear, but several, many of which farmers knew were linked to the health of their fields. They are not alone. For years, similar anecdotal information has been streaming in from farmers in places as far apart as Punjab and Kerala, Maharashtra and Tripura. Scientists so far have found it difficult to verify this information, largely because of the lack of already existing data to compare it with.

The Disturbing Origins Of ADHD

Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a disorder of modern times, affecting more and more of America's children. While the origins of ADHD are surprising and disturbing, alleviating or even reversing symptoms is possible. Twelve percent of U.S. children and teens had a diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 2011, a number that has jumped by 43 percent since 2003, according to a large national study based on parental reports of an ADHD diagnosis according to a recent analysis.

Scottish government accused of colluding with drug giant over pesticides scandal

The Scottish Government allowed a US drug company to secretly rubbish a scientific study blaming one of its pesticides for killing wildlife in Scottish sea lochs. The Sunday Herald has uncovered that the £76 billion New Jersey multinational, Merck, hired reviewers to criticise evidence in a scientific study that the company’s fish farm chemical was causing widespread environmental damage. The scientists behind the study and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) privately protested about Merck’s involvement.

Pesticides can cause brain damage and organic food is the future, EU report says

Eating food with high levels of pesticides has an adverse effect on the brain, according to a review of existing scientific evidence commissioned by the European Parliament. The MEPs wanted to know whether organic food was healthier than conventionally grown crops and asked experts to look at the relevant research.

Endangered Newell’s Shearwater And Hawaiian Petrel Are In Peril

Two of Kauai’s endangered seabird species are in peril, according to a study released Wednesday by the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project. The study shows between 1993 and 2013, populations of the ‘a’o (Newell’s Shearwater (Puffinus newelli)) declined by 94 percent and ua’u (Hawaiian Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis)) declined by 78 percent. “The results of this study demonstrate just how poorly these two iconic birds have fared on Kauai over that time period,” said Andre Raine, lead author of the paper.

The Womb Is No Protection From Toxic Chemicals

Until a few decades ago, the popular but falsely reassuring belief was that babies in the womb were perfectly protected by the placenta and that children were just “little adults,” requiring no special protections from environmental threats. We now know that a host of chemicals, pollutants and viruses readily travel across the placenta from mother to fetus, pre-polluting or pre-infecting a baby even before birth.

No bugs no birds

When Ashtabula County Master Gardeners speak to local groups about creating bird-friendly landscapes, the volunteers are often asked why certain bird species are disappearing from backyard feeders. At times the answer is simply that some birds, like goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis), move from place to place within their territory to ensure a food source isn’t depleted. Another reason is not quite so benign. Many native bird populations are in serious decline because of the loss of habitat and subsequent food sources.

End of the cuckoo bird? Sound of iconic creature becoming increasingly rare

It is the epitome of spring’s awakening but this year the sound of the cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) has become increasingly rare. The bird has declined by two thirds in twenty years. Reasons for its scarcity are unclear but one possibility is associated with its overwintering grounds in Africa. Another factor may be related to the cuckoo’s diet which consists of hairy caterpillars and the larvae of the garden tiger moth that has suffered a massive decline, along with moths in general. Pesticide spraying and grubbing out of hedgerows are probably to blame too.

The Urgent Need for a New Concept in Agriculture

The industrialization of the agricultural sector has increased the chemical burden on natural ecosystems. Pesticides are agrochemicals used in agricultural lands, public health programs, and urban green areas in order to protect plants and humans from various diseases. However, due to their known ability to cause a large number of negative health and environmental effects, their side effects can be an important environmental health risk factor.