This beautiful but toxic weed could make you go blind

July 26, 2017 by  
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Be careful before you pick that pretty wildflower . Giant hogweed, which can grow up to twenty-feet-tall and produce attractive white flowers, is a beautiful but dangerous plant. The plant produces a clear sap capable of causing third-degree burns or even blindness in humans who touch it. Native to the Caucasus in Central Asia , giant hogweed has become a wide-ranging invasive species in the Northern United States, Southern Canada, and Western Europe. Those who encounter the toxic flora are advised to admire from a distance. Like Japanese knotweed and other invasive, noxious plant species, giant hogweed was first introduced to the United Kingdom and other countries as an ornamental plant. Its white flowers reveal its familial origins as a member of the carrot family, like its similar though diminutive and less-toxic relative known as Queen Anne’s Lace. Hogweed flowers can be up to two feet across and are popular among pollinators. Related: Could Lasers Be The New Way to Kill Weeds? Hogweed’s curse is its phototoxic sap, which causes skin, eyes or whatever it touches to become highly sensitive to UV light. If the affected skin is exposed to sunlight, it can quickly become red and irritated. Affected areas will rapidly deteriorate if exposure is continued and the sap is not washed off. In North America, giant hogweed usually blooms in July. If possible, it is important to eliminate the plants before they flower and reproduce. “You want to have it eradicated before it does go to seed,” said Barbara Ashey, Town Administrator for Northport, Maine . “There are thousands of these seeds.” On the bright side, pigs and cows seem able to consume giant hogweed without harm and may be used as a biocontrol solution in the fight against the invasive species . Via Bangor Daily News/WGME Images via Nature Photos/Flickr and debs-eye/Flickr

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This beautiful but toxic weed could make you go blind

Delightful treehouse residence weaves through a forest in Thailand

July 26, 2017 by  
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A family in Thailand planted a small forest in their backyard and built their home to adapt to the trees without disturbing them. Studio Miti designed the Forest House as a cluster of four structures interconnected with wooden terraces and walkways , for the ultimate fantasy treetop dream home. Architect’s measured the space between the trees to determine how large the home could be. In order to provide enough living spaces, the home had to be divided into multiple volumes. The house brings together architecture and nature by creating a balance between the two. The main idea was to build around existing trees and offer different views of the lush surroundings. Related: Thai eco-resort delights guests with woven pods and other sublime dwellings The new structures were placed on a cross-shaped layout and include a terrace , hallway, living area, bedroom and bathroom. All were made using l ocal building techniques to have the least impact possible on the environment. + Studio Miti Via Archdaily Photos by art4d magazine / Ketsiree Wongwan

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Delightful treehouse residence weaves through a forest in Thailand

Monstrous goldfish found in Australian rivers were released as pets

August 23, 2016 by  
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Australian researchers are warning of a new, invasive threat to the continent’s native wildlife: goldfish that were abandoned by their owners and released into the wild. Most of us think of goldfish as a small and harmless species, but apparently Western Australia’s rivers contain just the right conditions to allow the fish to grow into two kilo monsters that wreak havoc on the local ecosystem. There are a number of reasons why these fish pose such an environmental hazard. For one, they tend to eat the eggs of native species. But even when they aren’t directly affecting the reproduction of other fish, they’re releasing a nutrient-rich waste into the water column which creates dangerous algae blooms . They’re also carriers of nasty diseases that don’t naturally occur in Australia’s waters. Related: Great Barrier Reef tourist pollution may be causing turtle-specific herpes outbreak It’s believed that pet owners who dump unwanted fish in local waterways are to blame. The practice is called “aquarium dumping.” Once they are released into the water, they breed at a rapid rate, taking over the area. Because they can travel quite far, up to 230 kilometers per year, they’re incredibly difficult to eradicate. In fact, scientists from Murdoch University are calling them “one of the world’s worst invasive aquatic species.” This isn’t the first time pet goldfish have caused an ecological crisis. In 2013, researchers at Lake Tahoe in the US found abandoned goldfish that had grown over and foot and a half long terrorizing the waters. Via Gizmodo Images via Murdoch University

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Monstrous goldfish found in Australian rivers were released as pets

Over 200 tons of poisonous herbicides are dumped on North Americas wild lands every year

July 11, 2016 by  
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New data has emerged on how widespread the use of herbicides , including glyphosate , has become in North American federal and tribal land. In 2010 alone, 200 tons of the stuff was sprayed on natural wild lands to help curb the growth of invasive plant species. It is possible this “just trying to help” move may have done more damage to the native plants than the intrusive species would have done. University of Montana researchers published their findings recently, having gathered data with the help of figures from Algoma University and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources . They found that those 200 tons of herbicide were sprayed over 1.2 million acres of U.S. wildlands. Viktoria Wagner from UM explained, “Imagine: The wildland area sprayed by herbicides in that year is comparable to 930,630 football fields, and the amount of herbicides used equals the weight of 13 school buses.” Related: Shocking new map shows where cancer-causing glyphosate sprayed in San Francisco Researchers suspect the numbers are actually higher, seeing as data were not able to be collected from the U.S. Forest Service lands. An unexpected finding from their research was the alarmingly high use of glyphosate, a notorious cancer-causing chemical. Wagner stated, “This finding was unexpected because glyphosate is a nonselective herbicide that harms grasses and herbs alike and thus has a higher potential to negatively affect desired native plants.” The low cost and few restrictions on usage may have played a part in its widespread use, however. The study calls for further analysis and monitoring of how helpful herbicides are in the fight against invasive plants in natural wild lands. Via Phys.org Images via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ,  Wikipedia

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Over 200 tons of poisonous herbicides are dumped on North Americas wild lands every year

Can genetically modified rats save the Galapagos Islands?

June 13, 2016 by  
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The Galapagos Islands’ precious biodiversity is at risk with invasive rat species sneaking on ships and preying on endangered eggs and hatchlings. One potential solution is to genetically modify the rats to only be male, effectively dooming future reproduction. But the irony of such unnatural selection is not lost on critics of the idea. The Island Conservation nonprofit tasked with ridding islands of invasive species have been eyeing the Galapagos ’ recurring rat problem. The organization is considering using what is called a “gene drive” to alter the DNA of rats in the area so there will only be males. The thing with genetically altering wildlife is that there’s no going back once you introduce GMOs into the wild. Luckily, the ocean would provide a natural barrier to an uncontrollable spread, but some are considering the ethical question of whether we should , rather than the practical question of how. Related: Millions of genetically altered mosquitoes are being released in the Cayman Islands to fight Zika Gene drives are responsible for preventing the spread of malaria through GMO mosquitos and are being considered for Zika outbreaks , as well. Using this technology for rats would be considered less harmful than poisoning, as it would allow the creatures to live out their natural lives. Wired reports that a massive rat poisoning campaign from 2007 to 2014 rid the islands of most of the rodents, yet the hardy critters will surely be back and a more permanent solution just may be the ticket. Via Wired Images via Wikipedia , Wikimedia

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Can genetically modified rats save the Galapagos Islands?

Swans still at risk in NYC parks, thanks to Governor Cuomo

January 5, 2015 by  
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  A couple of weeks ago,  Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill  that would have protected the mute swans that flock to waterways in Brooklyn and Queens. The swans are not indigenous to the area and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation considers them an invasive species. Putting forth a plan to eliminate the over 2,000 birds, two DEC officers were charged in the shooting of two of the swans last year ; The shooting occurred in full view of families in a nearby park, and happened on the same day the state senate voted to enact a two-year moratorium on the killing of the birds. The same moratorium Cuomo just vetoed. Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Read the rest of Swans still at risk in NYC parks, thanks to Governor Cuomo Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cull , governor cuomo , invasive species , killing swans , mute swan , mute swans , NYC swans , Swan , swan cull , swan killing , swan murder , swans , swans at risk , swans being killed , waterbirds , waterfowl

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Swans still at risk in NYC parks, thanks to Governor Cuomo

Invasive Asian Cockroaches Spotted in New York Can Resist Extreme Cold

December 9, 2013 by  
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It seems that New York City’s reputation as a melting pot extends to its 6-legged creatures as well. A species of invasive Asian cockroach was spotted for the first time on U.S. soil at the city’s High Line park. Identified as the periplaneta japonica, the immigrant bug is known for its ability to withstand extreme cold, a trait that differentiates it from the American cockroach. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cockroach , cold resistant cockroach , high line , high line cockroach , HIGHLINE , highline cockroach , invasive species , Japanese cockroach , new NY cockroach , periplaneta japonica , water bug , Yamato cockroach        

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Invasive Asian Cockroaches Spotted in New York Can Resist Extreme Cold

How robots, apps and ‘invasive species’ sushi can help the oceans

October 21, 2013 by  
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Innovative technologies aimed at saving the seas by engaging people surfaced at SXSW Eco 2013.

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How robots, apps and ‘invasive species’ sushi can help the oceans

Visitors Warned Against Skinny Dipping as Testicle-Munching Fish Invade European Beaches

August 23, 2013 by  
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Ever been skinny dipping? There’s something exhilarating about gliding through the water in nothing but your birthday suit. But if you’re in Sweden or Denmark, now’s not the time to try it. A frightening invasive species related to the piranha has suddenly been spotted in the Danish/Swedish strait of Øresund. At just about 7 inches long, the  pacu  has a mouth full of powerful, crushing teeth, and it loves to nibble on stuff that happens to be, uh, floating through the water. Animal experts in the region are warning the boldest of male swimmers to keep their delicate parts under wraps to avoid a nasty accident. Read the rest of Visitors Warned Against Skinny Dipping as Testicle-Munching Fish Invade European Beaches Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: beaches , Denmark , fish , invasive species , ocean , pacu , piranha , skinny sipping , Sweden , swimming , testicles        

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Visitors Warned Against Skinny Dipping as Testicle-Munching Fish Invade European Beaches

Scientists Warn That Arundo Donax ‘Giant Reed’ Biofuel Crop Could Become an Invasive Species

October 3, 2012 by  
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Arundo photo from Shutterstock The Biofuels Center of North Carolina , a state-funded non-profit organization working to develop a large-scale biofuels industry in the state, lists the plant Arundo donax (also known as “giant reed” or “giant cane”) as one of the energy grasses being investigated as a potential feedstock crop for the state. However, David A. Crouse , a soil scientist at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh, N.C., has expressed concerns that Arundo could—if widely cultivated—become a runaway invasive species. Crouse recently told John Murawski of The News and Observer , “Arundo has got a lot of us scared. We have that concern that it could be kudzu-like.” Kudzu is an invasive plant originally introduced decades ago in the United States for erosion control; Kudzu is now considered a notorious and practically ineradicable invasive plant in North Carolina. Read the rest of Scientists Warn That Arundo Donax ‘Giant Reed’ Biofuel Crop Could Become an Invasive Species Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: arundo , arundo donax , biofuel , Biofuels Center of North Carolina , biomass , cane , cellulosic ethanol , David Crouse , energy crop , giant reed , invasive species , north carolina , renewable energy

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Scientists Warn That Arundo Donax ‘Giant Reed’ Biofuel Crop Could Become an Invasive Species

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