Researchers find that bees fed with thiacloprid (a neonic) significantly reduces their social interactions, suggesting that foraging bees that encounter high doses of insecticide in the field may be less likely to recruit others to nectar sources. Story here.
Some 3 in 10 people worldwide, or 2.1 billion, lack access to safe, readily available water at home, and 6 in 10, or 4.5 billion, lack safely managed sanitation, according to a new report by WHO and UNICEF. Story here.
Nature Human activity has been a major source of mercury pollution in the Arctic, and a new studyhas identified the form most often taken by the pollutant: gaseous elemental mercury (GEM). The present News & Views article discusses how the Arctic tundra acts as a major sink for mercury, as the local plants uptake GEM from the atmosphere; and what this means for the global mercury cycle as global temperatures warm. Isotopic data collected in the original study by Obrist et al. reveal that GEM accounts for 90% of the mercury in plants, and the uptake of GEM by plants is especially high in the summer. Since plant matter decomposes into the soil, the Arctic soil may soon become a substantial mercury sink. ========
Anthropogenic activities have led to large-scale mercury pollution in the Arctic, but it remains uncertain whether wet deposition of oxidized mercury via precipitation and sea-salt-induced chemical cycling of mercury are responsible for the high Arctic mercury load. This paper presents a mass-balance study of mercury deposition and stable isotope data from the Arctic tundra, and finds that the main source of mercury is in fact derived from gaseous elemental mercury, with only minor contributions from the other two suggested sources. Consistently high soil mercury concentrations derived from gaseous elemental mercury along an inland-to-coastal transect suggest that the Arctic tundra might be a globally important mercury sink and might explain why Arctic rivers annually transport large amounts of mercury to the Arctic Ocean.
Satellite data confirms ‘calving’ of trillion-tonne, 5,800 sq km iceberg from the Larsen C ice shelf, dramatically altering the landscape. Story here. The Larsen ice shelf as it was in 2004. NASA photo.