Science

Environment
7:03 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Feds Do About-Face, Step In To Help Endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow

The clock is ticking for the Florida grasshopper sparrow.
Credit MyFWC.com / Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The clock is ticking for the highly-endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow, but a new project recently green-lit by a federal agency may offer some hope for avoiding extinction. Scientists believe there are roughly 200 of the tiny birds remaining in the wild. Two years ago, scientists found the lowest count of the birds in history: last year's numbers dipped even lower. 

      

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Climate Change
6:03 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Sea Level Rise May Happen Too Quick For Shore Birds To React

Shore birds in South Florida are facing down the threat of rising sea levels.
Credit Hunter-Desportes / Flickr Creative Commons

Humans aren't the only species facing an uncertain future in South Florida should current sea level rise predictions prove accurate. Migratory and resident shore birds also would feel the pinch of encroaching salt water, beach erosion, and shore line and habitat loss. 

When examining current land modeling and other scientific data, in addition to physical evidence, "It becomes clear what a substantial threat sea level rise will be," said Julie Wraithmell, director of Wildlife Conservation, Florida, for the National Audubon Society. 

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Everglades National Park
7:00 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Read About New Boating Guidelines For The Everglades

The public is asked to weigh in on proposed changes to boating regulations inside Everglades National Park.
Credit Tricia Woolfenden / WLRN

Proposed changes at Everglades National Park have put anglers at odds with environmental groups. The park's draft general management plan, which includes several variations (or "alternatives"), is currently up for public comment. This Sunday is the deadline to weigh in on proposed measures, which include prohibiting traditional boating in about one-third of Florida Bay. 

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Earth Day
1:53 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Al Gore: How Six Trends Will Impact Florida, The World

Al Gore
Credit twitter.com/algore

Today is Earth Day. 

And here in low-lying, hurricane prone Florida, the day has special meaning.

Sea-level rise is no longer something so incremental that we don't notice.

It's real and visible, and planning for a future of rising oceans has become a top priority for local towns, cities and counties across the state.

For some perspective, WLRN turned to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who has become one of world's foremost thinkers on the consequences of global warming and climate change.

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Medicine
8:00 am
Thu April 18, 2013

Cancer Patients Turn To Scorpion Venom From Cuba

A doctor applies a mild electric shock to a blue scorpion to extract its venom.
Credit Noah Friedman-Rudovsky

The following is a brief excerpt from a new feature article written by Jean Friedman-Rudovsky. The article appears today in the three South Florida county editions of the New Times. The excerpt below is reprinted with permission. Read the entire article by picking up the current issue at a local newsstand or by clicking on the link to the New Times website at the end of the excerpt.

                            * * *

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Science
7:01 am
Tue April 16, 2013

2 Million Floridians Threatened By Sea Level Rise, But New Study Says It Can Be Slowed

Parts of Miami will be under water if sea level rise projections are correct.
Credit maxstrz / Flickr Creative Commons

If sea level rise continues unabated, sections of South Florida -- and Miami in particular -- will be under water in a matter of decades. But a new study suggests that swift reductions in "short-lived climate pollutants" and carbon dioxide levels could help to slow the rise.  

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Bird Watching
11:28 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Why April Is A Bonanza For South Florida Bird Watchers

A migrating Blackburnian Warbler.
Credit Mark Hedden

For birdwatchers and the bird curious, April in South Florida is the jackpot month – the time of year when almost anything with wings can show up.

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Miami Scientist Featured On Discovery Channel
2:03 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Miami Researcher Stars In TV Special On Great White Sharks

A Miami-based shark researcher routinely goes face-to-face with nature's top predators.
Credit Hermanusbackpackers / Flickr Creative Commons

Miami-based shark researcher Neil Hammerschlag, whose work WLRN has covered in the past, is getting international attention with his latest study on the feeding habits of the ocean's most feared and misunderstood creature: the great white shark. 

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A Gator-Free Look At Everglades Animals
7:01 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Nine Awesome Everglades Animals (Aside From The Alligator)

Roseate spoonbills.
Tricia Woolfenden WLRN

Is there any animal more closely associated with the Everglades than the American alligator? OK, the Burmese python has been the 'glades press "darling" as of late, but invasive, non-natives do not count for the purposes of celebrating the Everglades. While Florida's iconic reptilian king deserves all of the attention it gets, there are plenty of other cool critters that inhabit the Everglades.

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Sea Turtles Are Nesting In South Florida
7:02 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins: Here's How To See Them In Action

Sea turtle nesting season is in full swing in South Florida. Hatchlings, like this green sea turtle, will start appearing later this summer.
Credit USFWS/Southeast / Flickr Creative Commons

Sea turtle nesting season is off and crawling this year with the first reported sea turtle nest in Boca Raton. The nest, made by a leatherback turtle, was recorded on Sunday morning in South Beach Park by Marine Turtle Specialists with the Boca Raton Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program based out of Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. 

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Florida Panther Released in PBC
8:01 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Florida Panther Released In Palm Beach County: VIDEO

A Florida panther is released April 3 into Rotenberger Wildlife Management Area in Palm Beach County.
Credit Tim Donovan/MyFWCmedia / Flickr

Florida wildlife news often is dominated by loss: record numbers of manatee deaths, an endangered species on the brink of extinction, invasives over-taking entire ecosystems and so on.

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Everglades Restoration and Climate Change
7:02 am
Wed April 3, 2013

Why Everglades Restoration Really Needs To Be About Adapting To Climate Change

Robert Johnson, with the Department of Interior, talks to members of the National Academies about how projected sea level rise will impact the Everglades.
Credit Tricia Woolfenden / WLRN

When the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was approved in 2000, it was a historic move to "restore, protect and preserve" water resources in central and south Florida. The 30-year framework was designed with the ultimate goal of restoring historic water-flows to a "dying ecosystem." Project leaders and scientists are now focused on incorporating climate change adaptation into the plans and acknowledging that the Everglades will likely never look the way it once did. 

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FWC Zeros In On Lionfish
9:03 am
Tue April 2, 2013

In The Fight Against A Lionfish Invasion, Florida Turns To Creative Photo Contest

Invasive, exotic lionfish have infiltrated the waters at Biscayne Bay National Park and elsewhere in South Florida.
Credit Tricia Woolfenden / WLRN

Lionfish are the newest target of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation's (FWC) efforts to use social engagement to tackle the problem of exotic, invasives in the state. The FWC announced last week the launch of its "Lionfish Control Team" photo contest for the month of April.

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The Environment
8:00 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Volunteers Pull 57,154 Pounds Of Litter From Natural Areas

ERM volunteers pull old tires and other debris from a Palm Beach County-managed natural area.
Courtesy photo ERM

On a recent Sunday morning, a group of hikers paused on a heavily canopied trail to observe a bird perched high atop a tree, its body silhouetted against the rising sun. A brief hush took hold as binoculars focused in on the back-lit bird, loudly churring its morning song. Bodies shifted for a better view, until: "Yep, great crested flycatcher!"

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How Do Sharks Feel? Not As Cold As You'd Suspect
6:00 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Here's What It Feels Like To Pet A Live Shark

Writer Tricia Woolfenden performs a nictitating membrane reflex test on a female bull shark during a shark tagging expedition.
Credit Megan Jacobson / Sharktagging.com

When we caught the first shark of the day, I'd already spent a good hour or so turning Neil Hammerschlag's words over in my head, like a gambler might fidget with a lucky coin in his pocket: 

"We might not see any sharks today." 

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