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Environmental News Network

It's the small things that matter – when insects shaped today's natural world
Insects that play an essential role in moulding ecosystems may have begun their rise to prominence earlier than previously thought, shedding new light on how the world became modern. That is the finding of a new paper published by an international team of researchers led by Simon Fraser University's Bruce Archibald who is also a research associate at the Royal BC Museum.

New study examines the causes and consequences of the 2015 Wimberley floods
A new study by Chad Furl, postdoctoral research associate, and Hatim Sharif, professor of civil and environmental engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio, delves into the 2015 Wimberley, Texas floods that destroyed 350 homes and claimed 13 lives. Furl and Sharif researched the factors that led to the catastrophic flooding and shed light on new ways people in flood-prone areas can protect against future tragedies.

Plastic in the Oceans Increasing Risk of Disease in Coral Reefs
More than 11 billion pieces of plastic are lodged within coral reefs in the Asia-Pacific region. According to a new study published in the journal Science, as this plastic gets tangled, it often cuts the coral, increasing the risk of infection and disease outbreaks by as much 89 percent.

University of British Columbia wearable technology could change the way athletes train
Going for the gold is what the Olympics is all about and three UBC entrepreneurs are working to help athletes get closer to the podium.Kevin Reilly and Behnam Molavi—both PhD engineering graduates from UBC—and sports physician Babak Shadgan have designed a smart garment capable of monitoring vital performance metrics through sensors and software embedded in the fabric. The technology uses near-infrared spectroscopy to measure the local metabolism of an athlete’s muscles.

NOAA research holds promise of predicting snowpack before snow falls
As farmers in the American West decide what, when and where to plant, and urban water managers plan for water needs in the next year, they want to know how much water their community will get from melting snow in the mountains.This melting snow comes from snowpack, the high elevation reservoir of snow which melts in the spring and summer. Agriculture depends on snowpack for a majority of its water. Meltwater also contributes to municipal water supply; feeds rivers and streams, boosting fisheries and tourism; and conditions the landscape, helping lessen the effects of drought and wildfires.

The Scent of the City
Emissions of volatile organic compounds higher than previously assumed.In the scientific journal PNAS, researchers from Innsbruck, Austria, present the world's first chemical fingerprint of urban emission sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Accordingly, the abatement strategy for organic solvents is having an effect in Europe. At the same time, the data suggest that the total amount of man-made VOCs globally is likely to be significantly higher than previously assumed.

New study reveals how icy surface ponds on Himalayan glaciers influence water flow
The flow of water that supports hydro-electric and irrigation infrastructure in the mountain regions of Nepal and India is regulated by hundreds of large icy ponds on the surface of some of the world’s highest glaciers, scientists have revealed.