Spotlight on green news & views: Acid oceans threaten extinction; hawk raised by eagles

This is the 516th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) usually appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Here is the July 29 Green Spotlight. More than 27,475 environmentally oriented stories have been rescued to appear in this series since 2006. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.

OUTSTANDING GREEN STORIES

FishOutofWater writes—USGS Scientist Finds Smoking Gun for Earth’s Worst Mass Extinction, CO2 Turned Oceans into Acid: “Seth Burgess, U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist, found the smoking gun that caused earth’s greatest mass extinction 252 million years ago at the end of the Permian period. Massive blowholes, called diatremes, blasted extraordinary amounts of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) , after earth’s largest preserved volcanic eruption began injecting massive layers

douglas squirrel

magma into carbon rich sediments. The sudden outburst of carbon dioxide caused rapid global warming and turned the oceans acidic, eliminating over 95% of earth’s marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species. […] Humans are now turning stored carbon into CO2 at a rate that is only rivaled by the end-Permian. Much of the warming potential of CO2 emissions has been hidden by the uptake of heat by cold water layers below the surface of the ocean. Coral reefs are the ocean’s canary. The recent massive bleaching and die off events are the indicators of the developing disaster in the ocean caused by increasing temperature, stagnation and acidity. Dr. Burgess clearly explained how he found the smoking gun in his original report.”

douglas squirrel
Douglas Squirrel

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – what’s not on the island: “I live on an island and prefer it. It takes a lot to extract me from the Rock, there being so many many special things I love here, like the seashores, the eagles, oystercatchers, madronas, seals, our big sky and rainshadow climate and all. But there are some features of nature missing on the island. While any location has its own biodiversity, the contrast is especially noticeable when there’s a big difference such a short distance away. Islands often have distinctive sets of plants and animals. Island biogeography is a gigantic and intensely studied phenomenon, far too big for a Bucket, except to note that an island’s ecology is dynamic, influenced by its degree of isolation and changing conditions (a brief introduction can be found here: web2.uwindsor.ca/… ). The San Juan Islands archipelago is not Hawaii or the Galapagos. These islands are only 10-30 miles from the mainland, and were connected not so long ago. Shortly after the last ice sheet retreated, around 14,000 years ago, they were the tops of hills intermittently surrounded by water or attached by land bridges as sea level changed and the local continental area rose and fell in response to the shifting overlying mass of ice. Vegetation and fauna were variously similar to the mainland and different over the following several thousand years (some specifics here: qmackie.com/…). Human activity has influenced island diversity too. On my most recent trip to the mainland last weekend, just across the water, I noted some things I DON’T get to see at home.

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