Scientists Link Colony Collapse Disorder to Stressed Young Bees

by Trevor Smith

Colony Collapse Disorder, which has troubled beekeepers across the nation and world over the last decade, has been linked this week to stressed young bees, The Guardian reports. Recent developments in bee populations have forced younger bees to leave the hive to forage much earlier than they might otherwise. The stress of these journeys is likely too much for the younger bees’ bodies, which have not finished fully developing; younger bees are not able to make as many journeys in their lives between the hive and the outer world as bees who leave the hive as adults. The result, argues an article in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), is a hive-wide social imbalance that accelerates collapse (Perry et al. 2015). Continue reading

Environmentalists Sue Governmental Agencies in an Effort to Help Pallid Sturgeon in Montana Rivers

by Trevor Smith

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that two environmental activist groups have filed a lawsuit early this week against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation (Lundquist 2015). The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Defenders of Wildlife’s suit claims that these agencies’ operation of dams on the Montana and Yellowstone Rivers threatens the life of pallid sturgeon. The suit hopes both to stop the agencies’ current actions, which it claims will be ineffective in helping the fish survive, and to force the agencies to create a new dam modification plan.

Pallid sturgeon have been listed as endangered since 1990, and although their population is estimated to have increased somewhat since then (Brown 2015), biologists assert that the upper Missouri River pallid sturgeon fish population rests at approximately 125 fish, almost all of whom are older—younger fish are not surviving (Lundquist 2015).

The problem comes from the way the two dams in question work. A study published by the American Fisheries Society in Fisheries last month makes the novel claim that one of the main reasons the dams threaten pallid sturgeon is not because of their difficulty passing through the dams, but because the dams slow the speed of the water, creating anoxic “dead zones” that lack enough oxygen for the fish to survive (Guy et al. 2015). The study is notable in that it focuses on the effects of dams on fish survival upriver of the dams, noting that dams make life more difficult for pallid sturgeon miles before they attempt to cross the dam.

The lawsuit cites this evidence to argue that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s current plan to aid pallid sturgeon survival—increasing the width of side channels for fish to navigate through dams—is unlikely to be particularly effective at increasing the size of the sturgeon population (Brown 2015).The lawsuit seeks both to block this current plan and to require governmental agencies overseeing the dams to make different modifications to improve the health of the rivers for the pallid sturgeon.

Tags:

Pallid Sturgeon, Endangered Species, Dams, Lawsuits, Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Brown, Matthew. “Advocates: Dams Put Dinosaur-Like River Fish at Risk.” ABC News. February 2, 2015. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/advocates-dams-put-dinosaur-river-fish-risk-28673490

Guy, Christopher S., Treanor, Hilary B., Kappenman, Kevin M., Scholl, Eric A., Ilgen, Jason E., Webb, Molly A. H. “Broadening the Regulated-River Management Paradigm: A Case Study of the Forgotten Dead Zone Hindering Pallid Sturgeon Recovery”. Fisheries. http://news.fisheries.org/broadening-the-regulated-river-management-paradigm-a-case-study-of-the-forgotten-dead-zone-hindering-pallid-sturgeon-recovery/

Lundquist, Laura. “Groups sue to save endangered pallid sturgeon”. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle. February 2, 2015. http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/groups-sue-to-save-endangered-pallid-sturgeon/article_38667c30-9954-5d29-83c2-18a6bff32634.html