Latest News Releases
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a $420 million funding opportunity for DOE’s Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC). This funding will advance climate solutions through early-stage research on clean energy technology, advanced and low-carbon manufacturing, and quantum information science.
A new paper published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists provides empirical evidence that risk aversion plays an important role in the coal contracting behavior of US power plants.
- Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
- John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics
A new study finds that while young and healthy mice show clear differences between daytime and nighttime body temperature rhythms, in older and diseased animals the difference essentially disappeared.
- Chronobiology International
Earth’s global average surface temperature in 2021 tied with 2018 as the sixth warmest on record, according to independent analyses done by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Declines in seed-dispersing animal species – upon which half of all plant species rely – have significantly reduced the ability of plants to adapt to climate change by limiting plants’ ability to migrate into new ranges, according to a new study. The findings highlight the dynamic plant-animal mutualisms that support ecosystem functioning and illustrate a worrying feedback between biodiversity loss and the ongoing climate crisis. Seed dispersal is one of the most widespread mutualistic functions provided by vertebrates. Under climate change, many plant populations may need to migrate rapidly to track their shifting climatic niches. Thus, the ongoing mutualistic interactions between plants and animals will likely influence whether certain plant species persist and spread. However, these interactions are threatened by ongoing declines in animal populations. While the effects of defaunation on plant resilience at local scales have been evaluated, the global magnitude of potential impacts remains unknown. To address this important knowledge gap, Evan Fricke and colleagues assembled data from more than 400 seed dispersal networks worldwide and developed trait-based models to predict changes in seed dispersal due to declines in seed-dispersing animal species. They found that current seed dispersal function has steeply declined from its natural level, with declines particularly widespread outside the tropics. Fricke et al. estimate that past loss in mammal and bird species has already reduced the capacity of plants to track climate change by 60% globally. The results, say the authors, underscore the need to not only promote habitat connectivity to maximize the potential of current seed dispersers, but also the need to support recovery of large-bodied animals to increase the resilience of vegetation communities under climate change.
In one of the first studies of its kind, researchers have gauged how biodiversity loss of birds and mammals will impact plants’ chances of adapting to human-induced climate warming.
- National Science Foundation, Villum Foundation, Aarhus University Research Foundation
Rivers need water—a fact that may seem ridiculously obvious, but in times of increasing water development, drought, and climate change, the quantity of natural streamflow that remains in river channels is coming into question, especially in the Colorado River basin. Newly published research poses a tough question in these days of falling reservoir levels and high-stakes urban development: whether the continued development of rivers for water supply can be balanced with fish conservation.
A new study finds that despite increasing numbers of bald eagles, poisoning from eating dead carcasses or parts contaminated by lead shot has reduced population growth by 4% to 6% annually in the Northeast.
- Journal of Wildlife Management
- Morris Animal Foundation, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Imagine being in a place where the winds are so strong that they move at the speed of sound. That’s just one aspect of the atmosphere on XO-3b, one of a class of exoplanets (planets outside our solar system), known as hot Jupiters. The eccentric orbit of the planet also leads to seasonal variations hundreds of times stronger than what we experience on Earth. In a recent paper, a McGill-led research team, provides new insight into what seasons looks like on a planet outside our solar system. The researchers also suggest that the oval orbit, extremely high surface temperatures (2,000 degrees C- hot enough to vaporize rock) and “puffiness” of XO-3b reveal traces of the planet’s history. The findings will potentially advance both the scientific understanding of how exoplanets form and evolve and give some context for planets in our own solar system.
- The Astronomical Journal