8 news posts from August 2020

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Seven species more invasive than a murder hornet

A hand with glove holding a crab

When it comes to invasive species, we tend to hear most about the ones that are the most sensational or scariest to human beings, even though their ecological impact is pretty minor. We have all heard a lot of buzz from Blaine, Washington surrounding the giant Asian hornet (commonly referred to as a “murder hornet” in popular media), but its impact remains to be seen. 

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Mobile app for boaters expands to Washington state

Woman on a boat looking at phone

Washington Sea Grant, in partnership with the Washington State Parks Clean Vessel Act (CVA) Grant Program, is excited to announce that Pumpout Nav, a free iOS and Android app for boaters, has expanded to Washington. Boaters can now use the interactive tool to find nearly 200 pumpout and portable toilet dump stations in Washington, in addition to hundreds of pumpout and floating restroom facilities in Oregon and California. 

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February lockdown in China caused a drop in some types of air pollution, but not others

Pollution over Shanghai, China in October 2019.

Atmospheric scientists have analyzed how the February near-total shutdown of mobility affected the air over China. Results show a striking drop in nitrogen oxides, a gas that comes mainly from tailpipes and is one component of smog. Learning how behavior shifts due to the COVID-19 pandemic affect air quality is of immediate importance, since the virus attacks human lungs. The event is also a way for Earth scientists to study how the atmosphere responds to sudden changes in emissions. 

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Global study reveals hope for recovery in declining shark populations

Blacktip reef shark

In a first-of-its-kind study published in Nature, scientists report on the conservation status of reef shark populations worldwide. The results are grim; reef sharks have become rare at numerous locations that used to be prime habitat, and in some cases sharks may be absent altogether. A long history of human exploitation is the culprit, with depleted shark populations strongly tied to socio-economic conditions, lack of governance and the proximity of reef environments to large human population centers. 

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