A team of NASA scientists has found a novel way to measure biodiversity in Alaska. By combining satellite data with water samples containing fish DNA, they can locate the habitats of native fish in the Arctic over a wide area very efficiently. This information helps organizations like the federal Bureau of Land Management make more informed decisions on how to protect fish species and their ecosystems from threats from human development and a changing climate.
The NASA team examined fish habitats in the roughly 23-million-acre National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska — an area rich in both native fish populations and in oil and gas. They created maps that predict how likely it is for each fish species to appear in different parts of a stream by looking at satellite and remote sensing data on landscape characteristics like vegetation “greenness” and water temperatures. Then they combined that data with data taken from the water that showed the locations of fish species. The project is so promising that the Bureau of Land Management already plans to expand use of this tool to cover other parts of Alaska, and the NASA team is working on a similar project to monitor amphibians along the California coast.
Learn more about how this project uses NASA satellite data to monitor and protect native fish species in the story, Satellite Data Meets Cellular DNA for Species of Interest.
Mosquitos are unwelcome guests at outdoor summer events across America — and thanks to rising global temperatures, they’re becoming more prevalent and sticking around longer. A warmer planet has also brought invasive mosquito species to American soil, accompanied by mosquito-borne diseases like Zika and West Nile Virus. From 2004 to 2016, there has been a tenfold increase in cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Earth-observing satellites, in combination with ground-level surveillance data, are helping to map the locations of disease-carrying insects to keep communities safe.
Through a website called VectorSurv, mosquito control agencies and public health officials nationwide can access daily updated maps to monitor which communities are most at risk from invasive, potential disease-carrying mosquitoes. Partially funded by NASA grants in 2015, VectorSurv’s early warning system allows officials to monitor and respond to potential outbreaks with agility, nipping outbreaks in the bud and reducing human suffering.
More about how VectorSurv is being used across the U.S. in the story, NASA Helps Fight the Mosquito Bite Coast-to-Coast.
The EU’s threatened carbon tariff on imports has spurred trading partners like Indonesia and Turkey to consider making polluters pay at home
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Nature Climate Change, Published online: 12 July 2021; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01103-9
Climate change mitigation and adaptation, including through nature-based measures, are urgently needed. Now mapping and valuation of global vegetated coastal and marine blue carbon ecosystems shows how interlinked countries are when dealing with climate change.
Nature Climate Change, Published online: 12 July 2021; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01089-4
Blue carbon ecosystems take up and store substantial amounts of carbon. This represents an important ecosystem service in the context of climate change, with coastal ecosystems contributing nearly US$200 bn yr−1 to blue carbon wealth.