July 4, 2010 |
Deep Blue Home An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean Julia Whitty Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 256 pp., $24 Julia Whitty has a way of observing nature that is not self-referential. She writes with humor, reverence, true curiosity and an unfettered imagination. She is not afraid to be disoriented or in a state of permanent awe. "Deep Blue Home" begins with a season of field work on Isla Rasa in the Gulf of California. With two biologists, both women, she studied leatherback sea turtles and Heermann's gulls.
June 26, 2010 |
University professors in the gulf region responded with delight last month to BP's pledge to put up $500 million for academic research into the Gulf of Mexico's ecology over the next 10 years. With no significant federal grants on the horizon and an urgency to begin work, some of the academics had taken to using their own credit cards in hopes they would soon be reimbursed. But their excitement at the windfall turned to chagrin last week after the White House ordered BP to consult with Gulf Coast governors before awarding research grants.
May 28, 2010 |
The oil spill disaster off the coast of my home state of Louisiana is stark evidence that humans have an awesome power to change the natural landscape, often for the worse. But landscapes also have the power to change us, as John James Audubon was reminded when he arrived in Louisiana in 1821. In Louisiana, Audubon encountered a biblical abundance of wildlife that transformed him and his bird art, enlarging his sense of possibility and refining his genius as an observer of the natural world.
April 29, 2010 |
A flotilla of vessels attacked a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday with skimmers, booms and chemicals, hoping to lessen the ecological impact when the slick makes landfall in Louisiana. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency after it became apparent that the scope of the disaster was far greater than it had appeared earlier, threatening the natural resources and economy of his state. President Obama pledged to deploy "every single available resource at our disposal, including potentially the Department of Defense."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 31, 2010 |
Seventy-seven students from two Los Angeles high schools best known for their rivalries on the athletic field and turf battles in the streets took a hike together in the lush scenery of Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area on Saturday as part of what one described as "a compromise for nature." The Dorsey and Crenshaw high school students were from ecology clubs that have become such close partners that they are now known as the Dorshaw Eco Club. "It's like osmosis," said Dorsey junior June Blassingame, 17. "It's fun to be around people your own age with similar interests.
January 12, 2010 |
William Rees spent much of his childhood on his grandfather's farm in the province of Ontario. What struck him once, after a day of working in the fields, was the sudden realization that everything on the dinner table -- the chicken, the milk, the carrots -- he had helped produce. "I was only about 10 years old, and I have no explanation to this day, but I felt as if the ground had fallen beneath me. I was sinking, sinking, deep into the earth," Rees said. When he moved to Vancouver, he took that sense of "connectedness" with him, and never forgot it. With 75% of the globe's 10 billion people in 2050 expected to live in urban areas, they had better -- if they are to survive -- find a similar sense of connection, Rees figured.
December 6, 2009 |
Roy Renkin is a biologist by training but a detective by inclination, and something about the willows was nagging him. The shrubs flanking a creek in Yellowstone's Blacktail drainage had never grown so tall and lush. But why? Many of the park's scientists theorized it was related to the successful reintroduction of wolves, which might have pushed elk out of the area, putting an end to the constant nibbling that stunted willows' growth. But this summer, Renkin and a colleague arrived at their own theory: climate change.
October 14, 2009 |
Burmese pythons and other giant snakes sold through the pet trade could devastate native wildlife in parts of the United States, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study. The USGS says Burmese pythons, African rock pythons, boa constrictors and yellow anacondas could threaten the ecology of national parks. The study was prompted by the discovery of Burmese pythons and boa constrictors reproducing in the Everglades. The snakes are thought to have been introduced by people who released their pets.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 30, 2009 |
In a major boost for California's dwindling salmon stocks, a utility company has agreed to the removal of four hydroelectric dams that for decades have blocked fish migrations on one of the West Coast's most important salmon rivers. The dam decommissioning is vital to restoring the Klamath River, which for years has been the subject of bitter feuding among farmers, fishermen and tribal interests. It would open historic salmon spawning and rearing grounds on the upper reaches of the river, which winds from southern Oregon through the Cascades and Coast Ranges to California's Pacific Coast.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 29, 2009 |
Brent Roath quickly recast the question. Yes, he agreed, the U.S. Forest Service scientists who have spent the last two weeks in the San Gabriel Mountains examining the effects of the Station fire are like forensic pathologists combing a crime scene. Except in this case, the patient is still alive. "We're more like doctors, and our patient is ill. We're trying to figure out how to make it better," said Roath, regional director of post-burn analysis and a 33-year Forest Service veteran.