Climate Change and Land Use Effects on the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

by Kelsey D’Ewart

Climate change has been a pervasive issue when looking at the health and protection of endangered species. However, land- use has also been a significant factor in the decreasing population size of endangered species. Together, climate and land-use change affect habitat, behavioral patterns, phenology, and many other parts of many specie’s lives. This is especially relevant to species that have specific habitats, dietary needs, or both. If these issues are not addressed the risks of endangered species becoming extinct drastically increase. Bancroft et al. (2016) studied the affects of land use and climate change on the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) using a modeling system that allows them to analyze different predicted land-use and climate change scenarios up until the year 2100. This study looks at the RCW population in Fort Benning, which includes specific pine forests vital to the RCW survival. The authors looked at three different potential future conditions: conservation, convenience, and worst-case, to determine what types of major changes might occur in the RCW population over the remainder of the century. Continue reading

Demand For Sustainability Drives Tesla To Faux Leather Seats

by Maya Gutierrez

What has caused Tesla to follow other companies in adopting more environmentally friendly options that can decrease their carbon footprint? Diane Cardwell discusses consumers’ increasing demand for more sustainable and animal-friendly materials and its effects on Tesla’s product offerings. She notes an accelerating trend amongst car manufacturers to appear more environmentally conscientious, something people have not traditionally associated with the auto industry. This can be viewed as a response to broader consumer demand for sustainable practices. Just as veganism and its high profile public endorsement by A-list celebrities has driven the food industry and restaurants to cater to the vegan lifestyle, the auto industry now sees value to incorporating sustainable practices in their product offerings. Well-known car companies have already begun to incorporate plant-based products into their cars, but now prospective buyers of Tesla cars, already known as a luxury car brand that has proven eco-friendly does not mean performance-challenged, are demanding that Tesla take their sustainable practices one step further. Continue reading

Projecting the Frequency of Heat Waves in the 21st Century over the Paris Basin

by Amelia Hamiter

The high mortality of the 2003 heat wave in France, and its particularly severe impact in the Paris basin, has drawn attention to the importance of considering heat wave occurrences of the future. Evaluating heat waves in the Paris region from 1951-2009 and using several climate change and emissions scenarios to model future heat wave possibilities, Lemonsu et al. (2014) predict that the frequency of heat wave occurrences in the target area will increase systematically with time and global warming, and that the durations of these heat waves will grow. Continue reading

Climate Change Adaptation: Lessening the Perceived Risk of Climate Change?

by Brendan Busch

As the future effects of climate change become more certain, it is clear that adaption to new climate conditions will be a necessity. However, will these plans for adaptation dissuade people from trying to prevent climate change? In their article “Does Learning About Climate Change Adaptation Change Support For Mitigation?” Amanda R. Carrico, Heather Barnes Truelove, Michael P. Vandenbergh, and David Dana (researchers and professors at the University of Colorado at Boulder, University of North Florida, Vanderbilt University Law School, and Northwestern University School of Law, respectively) attempt to determine if a focus on adaptation has adverse effects on the public’s support of preventative climate change measures. Through psychological experimentation, this study tests the hypothesis held by some policy makers and scholars that learning about potential adaptation techniques may reduce the public’s perceived risk about climate change, and thus lessen their willingness to fight against it. Continue reading

Climate Change Helps to Prepare Geese for Migration

by Anna Alquitela

Greenland white-fronted geese, Anser albifrons flavirostris, spend their winters in Ireland, stage and refuel in Iceland, and breed in Greenland. Because climate change has advanced the spring thaw in Ireland by about 18 days since 1985, these geese have more food to eat and are departing for and arriving in Iceland earlier than previous years. However, climate change has not caused a significant change in the temperatures of Icelandic staging areas and therefore has not caused a significant change in the departure time from Iceland to Greenland, thus the geese are staying in Iceland for a longer period of time than in previous years and arriving at their breeding grounds around the same time as historically known. Fox et al. (2014) used an abdominal profile index (API) as an indicator of fat stores in geese to determine if the amount of stored fat was the cause of advanced departure to Iceland. The authors also considered trends in temperature as indicators of departure time, but found that, because of the migration distances from Ireland to Iceland and Iceland to Greenland, temperatures are “very poor predictors” for departure times; meaning that the geese would not be able to use the temperature in Ireland to predict the temperature in Iceland nor the temperature in Iceland to predict the temperature in Greenland. Compared to previous studies, Fox et al. found that the Greenland white-fronted geese departed Ireland 33 days earlier in 2012 than they did in 1969 and arrived in Iceland 22 days earlier in 2012 than they did in 1997. The authors also note that the mean API at departure from Ireland in 2012 and 2013 increased significantly from previous years. Continue reading

Who Cares About Climate Change in Wales?

by Phoebe Shum

Getting people to do something about climate change can be a tough feat. Eleri Evans, PhD candidate at Swansea University UK, explores how a community arts program was designed with the hopes of involving more people in taking action against climate change in Wales (Evans 2014). She elaborates on theories of critical realism and how our actions are affected by the way we think. She introduces the theory of internal conversation and explains how people actively converse with themselves to define their values and actions. To demonstrate her point, she focuses on a particular community arts project organized by Awel Aman Tawe (AAT), a community wind farm project in Southern Wales. AAT, founded in 2000, is a renewable energy activist group that has faced both success and hostility from their community. Their aim in developing an arts program was to engage people on a deeper, personal level with climate change and initiate change-oriented intervention. The program features film, drama, poetry, and a project named “Postcards from the Future,” in which people submit original images of what a climate-changed world would look like. Competitions like their bilingual climate change poetry competition received over 700 received entries worldwide. The arts program was successful in providing the community with a platform to bring the community together and initiate change. Continue reading

Effects of Ant- Fruit Interactions Deforestation

by Maithili Joshi

Biodiversity within an ecosystem has mutualistic and symbiotic relationships within that environment. The results of deforestation can be dramatic to these relationships, especially in cases with frugivores. The relationships between frugivores and fallen fruit are what help disperse seeds across the forest floor, which also helps the process of germination. In this study, Bieber et al. (2014) analyzed the mutualistic interactions between ants and fallen fruit in São Paulo State, SE Brazil. The scientists were examining the difference in interactions between disturbed and undisturbed forests. They compared the richness of ants at each fruit, species density per station, frequency of specific ant groups, frequency of fruit and pulp removal, and distance of fruit removal. The study was conducted using four disturbed forests, and four undisturbed forest areas. In these areas, there were thirty sampling stations with synthetic fruit placed 10 m apart from each other to ensure independent discoveries. The fruit were placed on a white sheet of paper within a wire cage to ensure that vertebrates did not access the fruit at each sampling station. Continue reading