Archive for 2001

Fungal Disease Is Killing Oak Trees in Parts of U.S.

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 6, 2001   View Article

Scientists are in a race against time to stifle the spread of a fungal disease that has killed tens of thousands of stately oak trees in California and southwestern Oregon. Many people fear it may spread and similarly wipe out large swaths of forest in the eastern United States and Canada.

The disease, called sudden oak death, was first detected in 1955 in California tan oaks. Since then, it has killed more than 100,000 tan oaks, coast live oaks, black oaks, and Shreve’s oaks in coastal regions of northern California, and more recently in southwestern Oregon.

A Reason to Give Thanks: The Return of the Wild Turkey

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 21, 2001   View Article

As millions of Americans gather around the table with family and friends on Thursday, wild turkeys may be the ones with the most thanks to give. A century ago, with a population of only 30,000, the large birds were on the road to extinction. Today, they number 5.4 million.

“The recovery of the wild turkey is definitely a success story,” said Bart Semcer, chair of the Sierra Club’s National Wildlife and Endangered Species Committee in Washington, D.C. “They are part of America’s heritage, and the American people came together to recover the species.”

“Harry Potter” Owl Scenes Alarm Animal Advocates

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 16, 2001   View Article

A bespectacled 11-year-old boy’s name may be in the title of the movie, but British animal protection groups fear that Harry Potter’s lovable messenger/pet will steal the show and lead to a surge of interest in keeping owls as pets.

As the film based on author J.K. Rowling’s best-selling books about the adventures of Harry Potter at the Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft debuts this month, several groups in the United Kingdom have voiced concern about the potential welfare of owls given as gifts this holiday season.

Invader Ants Hurting Ecosystems, Economies

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 9, 2001   View Article

When merchant ships embarked from the shores of Brazil and Argentina in the early 1900s to carry coffee and sugar to South Africa, North America, and the Mediterranean, they carried a mischievous stowaway: Linepithema humile.

The tiny black insect, better known as the Argentine ant, used burgeoning global trade to invade ant communities around the world. Scientists are just now beginning to tally the damage. The reports are grim. Entire native ant populations have disappeared.

Rich Coral Reefs in Nutrient-Poor Water: Paradox Explained?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 7, 2001   View Article

Coral reefs are the rain forests of the oceans, teeming with a biological diversity that boggles the mind. Just how did such profusion of life come to thrive in crystal-clear—and thus nutrient poor—water? The question has eluded scientists since Charles Darwin took his famous voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle in the 1830s.

Now, a team of German and Jordanian researchers may have the answer to this so-called coral reef paradox: an abundance of sponges that dwell inside the nooks and crannies of reef interiors.

Satellites Aid Sustainable Land Use in Amazon

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 31, 2001   View Article

Computers and satellites are being successfully harnessed to the problem of biodiversity conservation in the Amazon rain forest.

Scientists believe that at least half of the world’s animal, plant, and insect species reside in the rain forest, an area half the size of the continental United States.

Forty Thousand Children Help Build Space “Disco Ball”

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 3, 2001   View Article

Disco isn’t dead; it’s just gone high-tech—very high tech.

A 200-pound (90-kilogram) satellite covered in 1,500 mirrors hand-polished by schoolchildren around the world was launched into a low orbit at the weekend to measure the effects of solar storms on the density of Earth’s upper atmosphere.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach