One Gnawing Problem: Beaver Dams Melting Arctic Permafrost

Beaver. Credit: Steve Hillebrand/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Photo: Steve Hillebrand, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

We know the permafrost in the Arctic is melting fast, but a new study finds that one of the reasons for its rapid decline may be that beavers are actually damming it up — literally.  CNN reports that using satellite images scientists have observed that beavers are building dams way farther north than previously observed.  These dams create new freshwater lakes and ponds, and because these contain water that is warmer than the surrounding frozen soil, it accelerates the thawing of the permafrost.  Why are the beavers moving north?  Climate change, of course.

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A Common Pesticide Is Making Bees Insomniacs

A Common Pesticide Is Making Bees Insomniacs

Two studies have found that bees and flies are losing sleep because of a common pesticide disrupting their internal clocks. In one study, researchers found that bumblebees that drank nectar laced the pesticide neonicotinoids had a much harder time foraging. Meanwhile, the second study found that flies exposed to pesticides called neonicotinoids had drastically different movement patterns.

Why this Matters: According to the WWF, 90% of wild plants and 75% of global crops depend on pollination. Bees are incredibly important in helping plants grow.

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Baby Sharks Enfeebled by Warming Ocean Waters

Baby Sharks Enfeebled by Warming Ocean Waters


by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A new study suggests that baby sharks are being born tiny, tired, and malnourished as a result of rising temperatures in the ocean. Scientists analyzed the effects of warming waters on young epaulette sharks — a small, egg-laying species that lives in the Great Barrier Reef. These researchers examined […]

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Two San Diego Zoo Gorillas Contract COVID-19; Mink Farms Hit Hard By the Virus

Last week, two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo were infected with COVID-19. An asymptomatic zoo staff member transmitted the disease to them.  So far they are fine.

Why this Matters: The virus can mutate in animals and spread back to humans, producing newer —and potentially deadlier—variants of COVID-19, though this is rare.

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