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Tue, 07 Feb 2023
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France: Mystery plague kills French oysters

Oysters have been mysteriously dying in the worst crisis to hit France's shellfish industry in 40 years.

In the last few days farmers have lost between 40 and 100 per cent of their oysters aged one to two years old.

Such a death toll has not been seen in France since 1970, when virtually an entire harvest was wiped out. Experts are unsure if the shellfish are succumbing to a viral epidemic or to poor water conditions caused by global warming.

Butterfly

UK: Plague of caterpillars destroys acres of fell land

A plague of caterpillars has defied the odds by returning for a second year in succession to eat away miles of grass in the Lake District.

Moth
©Unknown

The antler moth caterpillars, which are about two inches long, have hatched in their millions in the Helvellyn and Skiddaw areas.

The phenomenon, which has always been thought to occur once in every eight to 10 years, has left wide expanses of dead grass where sheep are normally grazed. But what is puzzling the experts is the fact that there was also an invasion of caterpillars last year.

For the first time in living memory, the plague of caterpillars has been followed by a second epidemic in the subsequent year.

Attention

Lead Shot From Hunting and Fishing Kills Wildlife

Millions of pounds of lead used in hunting, fishing and shooting sports wind up in the environment each year and can threaten or kill wildlife, according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Lead has long been known to be damaging to biology. It's previous use in gasoline, paint, pesticides, and solder in food cans has nearly been eliminated. Lead shot was banned for waterfowl hunting in 1991, but its use in ammunition for upland hunting, shooting sports, and in fishing tackle remains common.

Image
©Jacobson et al. 1977, courtesy of Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Radiograph of immature bald eagle containing numerous lead shot in its digestive tract.

Numerous previous studies have documented adverse effects to wildlife, especially waterbirds and scavenging species, like hawks and eagles, the researchers say. Lead exposure from ingested lead shot, bullets, and fishing sinkers also has been reported in reptiles, and studies near shooting ranges have shown evidence of lead poisoning in small mammals.

Bizarro Earth

Gulf of Mexico's dead zone expands

U.S. researchers said heavy streamflows are sending record amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus into the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. Geological Survey said spring nutrient delivery from the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin to the northern Gulf of Mexico was among the highest in the last three decades. Nutrient delivery is one of the primary factors controlling the size of the hypoxic zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Oxygen levels in the zone are too low to support most life.


Cloud Lightning

Lightning claims 5 young lives in a week

Five young lives have been ended by lightning in less than a week, a deadly reminder of one of summer's leading hazards.

"Typically, July marks the peak in lightning activity. It's also the time when people are vacationing, so they are outside and they are vulnerable to lightning," said John Jensenius, a lightning safety expert at the National Weather Service.

But why so many young people in a few days? "I don't have an answer for that," Jensenius said, "It's all very sad."

Better Earth

Earthquake rocks southern New Zealand, no damage

Wellington - A government-owned agency says a moderately strong earthquake has rocked New Zealand's southern region - but there are no immediate reports of injury or damage.

Geological agency GNS Science says the magnitude 5.9 earthquake hit at about noon Saturday and was centered off the west coast of South Island.

Arrow Up

New Zealand: Weirdly warm weather in Kaikoura - at 1am

Western areas of the country were hit overnight by heavy rain and strong winds while favourable winds pushed the temperature in Kaikoura to 21degC early this morning.

Cow Skull

Severe Droughts Trigger Disease, Lion Die-Offs



Image
©Unknown
Located in Northeastern Tanzania, the Serengeti National Park has the greatest concentration of large mammals in the world

Wild lion populations can generally tolerate a certain level of parasites and disease. But new research shows that extreme climate conditions - such as severe droughts - can cause infection rates to skyrocket, resulting in mass die-offs. Véronique LaCapra reports.


Hourglass

Experts size up probability of a Salt River catastrophe

With Tempe in the grip of a suffocating heat wave, flooding might be the last thing on your mind.

But as recent flooding in the Midwest proves, not only can the worst case happen, sometimes the unthinkable happens.

Info

Scientists survey Haleakala to measure whether it's showing signs of acting up

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geophysicists have been working this week to survey a dozen Global Positioning System sites atop Haleakala as part of a routine check on what is still considered an active volcano.

Haleakala
©Maui News File Photo

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 10,000-foot volcano last erupted about 400 years ago. It was thought that the volcano last spewed lava around 1790, a date based largely on comparisons of maps made during the voyages in the late 18th century by French explorer Jean Francois de Galaup, Compte de La Perouse and British Capt. George Vancouver.

But recent carbon dating of lava flows at Haleakala put the date of the last eruption in the 1600s, according to the USGS.