Prowse T.A.A.,Environment Institute |
Brook B.W.,University of Adelaide
Pacific Conservation Biology | Year: 2011
Australian conservation scientists, managers and decision makers must come to grips with anthropogenic climate change, imposed upon an already variable regional climate system. Pre-and post-instrumental records and climate proxies indicate that Australia has experienced wet and dry cycles over intra-decadal to millennial time scales. Precipitation variation across Australia is correlated with different climate features but reliable tools for seasonal rainfall prediction are still some years away. Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models predict a widening of the Hadley circulation and strengthening of the Southern Annular Mode, which should result in reduced cool season rainfall over southern Australia. Shifts in the Australian climate over the Holocene epoch, most notably increased ENSO variability after 5 000 years ago, are associated with substantial vegetation change and indicate the speed at which ecosystems may be altered. The CO 2 fertilization of plant biomes may mitigate increasing aridity to some extent but, in general, climate change is expected to negatively affect native vegetation and agricultural productivity. Sea-level rise is predicted to be substantial over this century and, when coupled with increased storm intensity, poses threats in the form of erosion, salinization and flooding. The best chance of building adaptable ecosystems and preserving ecosystem services requires the extension, integration and possibly optimization of reserve systems, in concert with improved management of other threatening processes (habitat loss, invasive species, overexploitation, pollution and disease). In addition, a price on carbon dioxide emissions would provide incentives for privately funded reforestation schemes, but additional incentives promoting mixed species over monoculture plantings would be required to assure maximum biodiversity benefits. Source
Many companies continue to experience cutbacks in workforce, but not in workload. For the remaining employees, accessing valuable company information becomes increasingly complex, whether it's a password, an email from a vendor documenting price agreements, or crucial information about a client contract. The computer has allowed us to generate information as never before, thus increasing our ability to create a mess. Poor information management creates inefficiency. Inefficiency costs money, causes unnecessary stress, precipitates poor customer service, and directly costs untold thousands of dollars. Michael Dell says that by 2020 the world will generate 35 times as much data annually as in 2010. Unfortunately, many companies never learned to manage paper, and most are not doing any better with electronic documents. Particularly frightening is that if you have 1,000 pieces of paper, you can hire someone to sort through them looking for specific words, and eventually they will find them. If you have 1,000 electronic documents stored in a variety of places from employees desktops (not backed up!) to external drives, they may never be found — and when they are, the company may no longer has the capability of reading the data! It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN the information management meltdown will take place, unless you address the issue now. The following are seven essential questions to address about the information in your business. What information do we need to keep? Start with your company's mission and goals. What business are you in? What information do you need to reach those goals? And, of course, what information do regulators require? You can jokingly state that the word “archives” should be spelled “our-chives” since so many companies keep information that actually belongs to other organizations. Most information today is already in digital form. In many organizations, that information can be stored in more than one program. Consistency is the key. Only a small portion of the information that exists on paper today is worth converting to a digital format. As the quantity of information received and generated by business increases, electronic storage options become essential. It is simply not cost effective to use paper for long-term storage of business information. Employees are scared to throw anything away, because the boss may ask for it, and many bosses won’t take the time to make a plan for records retention. When they do, the decision often breaks down in the implementation. The advantages of electronic storage can become disadvantages, as companies painfully learn when called to account for e-mail messages sent years previously. Regardless of the reasons, the results are the same: overstuffed filing cabinets and hard drives. Many companies hold file clean-out days, and but often fail miserably. Why? Because management has failed to create the methodology, mechanics, and maintenance to enable and empower its employees to make the decisions required to eliminate unnecessary information. Who is responsible for filing it? One client was spending thousands of dollars annually on file storage. When they looked into the situation, they identified that one big source of the problem was that multiple members of the team were filing the same information for the same project. The problem was quickly resolved by identifying a specific member of each team to be responsible for filing the appropriate information. Every large company has an information systems person. While some large companies have a person in charge of records retention, they are often brought into the picture only after the files are full or the information is no longer used on a regular basis. Small businesses often ignore the issue entirely. Why not put someone in charge of making and implementing decisions about current information? It is essential to create a system so if a person leaves suddenly, the company is not left in jeopardy. Who needs access to it? A major challenge in information management relates to the liability created if/when unauthorized people access private data. An advantage of an electronic filing system is the ability to determine who has access to what documents. It is unnerving to walk into offices and see paper and electronic documents accessible to people who have no reason to access them! How can we find it? The three components to an effective filing system are: 1) File methodology — what documents are to be filed 2) File mechanics — how documents are filed 3) File maintenance — when documents are eliminated If any of the components are weak, your filing system will be an ongoing frustration instead of the resource it can and should be. How is it backed up? A client lost 30 years of research because of a miscommunication with the IT department. A survey by Adobe of 5,000+ professionals found that 43 percent have lost important electronic documents, and 70 percent of those losses were caused by a computer or hard drive failure. Having a backup plan that is checked on a consistent basis is an important part of an information management system. Clutter is postponed decisions. Countless companies are faced with the problem of hundreds, even thousands, of boxes of "archives" in storage rooms or off-site locations. Unfortunately, when management realizes the cost and the risk involved, and finally decides to do something, the people who created the paper are long gone, and current employees have little energy or motivation for making decisions about something that doesn't affect their ability to leave work on time. While there is no quick fix for years of postponed decisions, avoiding the problem in the future is easy. Today's mail is tomorrow's pile, so to get results, ignore the mistakes of the past. Create a system today to enable employees to make good decisions about the information they receive. Barbara Hemphill is the Founder of Productive Environment Institute, in Raleigh, N.C., and author of Less Clutter More Life. As one of the country’s leading productivity and organizational experts she has helped many corporations, such as Staples, Hallmark, and 3M increase their productivity and efficiency. www.BarbaraHemphill.com
Published today in the journal Scientific Reports, marine ecologists from the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute report long-term experiments that show warmer waters and ocean acidification will have major detrimental effects on sharks' ability to meet their energy demands, with the effects likely to cascade through entire ecosystems. The laboratory experiments, studying Port Jackson sharks and including large tanks with natural habitat and prey, found embryonic development was faster under elevated temperatures. But the combination of warmer water and high CO2 increased the sharks' energy requirement, reduced metabolic efficiency and removed their ability to locate food through olfaction (smelling). These effects led to marked reductions in growth rates of sharks. "In warmer water, sharks are hungrier but with increased CO2 they won't be able to find their food," says study leader Associate Professor Ivan Nagelkerken, Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow. "With a reduced ability to hunt, sharks will no longer be able to exert the same top-down control over the marine food webs, which is essential for maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems." PhD student Jennifer Pistevos, who carried out the study, says the Port Jackson is a bottom-feeding shark that primarily relies on its ability to smell to find food. Under higher CO2, the sharks took a much longer time to find their food, or didn't even bother trying, resulting in considerably smaller sharks. Most research studying the effects of ocean acidification and climate change on fish behaviour has concentrated on small fish prey. Long-term studies on the behaviour and physiology of large, long-lived predators are largely lacking. Fellow University of Adelaide marine ecologist Professor Sean Connell says the results of the study provide strong support for the call to prevent global overfishing of sharks. "One-third of shark and ray species are already threatened worldwide because of overfishing," Professor Connell says. "Climate change and ocean acidification are going to add another layer of stress and accelerate those extinction rates." Explore further: Sharks found to exhibit altered swimming behavior when exposed to more acidic water
News Article | November 14, 2015
Marine ecologists revealed that the adverse effects of climate change such as warmer waters could impair the growth and hunting abilities of sharks. At the end of the century, these marine animals could become smaller and poorer hunters, they said. Researchers from the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute said that the elevated levels of carbon dioxide that result to ocean acidification have detrimental consequences for these marine animals. It will affect sharks' hunger and their ability to meet energy demands, they said. The effect will most likely cascade through entire ecosystems. In a study issued in the journal Scientific Report, scientists studied Port Jackson sharks in several experiments. The team examined large tanks with natural habitat and prey, and found that development of embryos for these sharks was faster under increased temperatures. However, warmer water and high levels of CO2 also increased the sharks' energy requirement. Their metabolic efficiency was reduced and their ability to locate food through their olfactory organs was affected. These led to reductions in the growth rate of Port Jackson sharks. "In warmer water, sharks are hungrier but with increased CO2 they won't be able to find their food," said Ivan Nagelkerken, an Associate Professor and the author of the study. He said sharks grew smaller because they couldn't find food to meet their increased energy requirements. Nagelkerken explained that with an impaired hunting ability, sharks will not be able to exert the same control over marine food webs. He also noted that having dominance over these food webs is essential for sustaining healthy ecosystems. Meanwhile, Nagelkerkern said that sharks will still maintain their control as other marine species will also most likely be affected by warmer waters. "The effect of ocean acidification on loss of hearing, vision and smell has been quite ubiquitous across a range of different animals, not only fish, it's also been shown in crabs, snails and other species," said Nagelkerkern. In addition, the study found that the impact of climate change could also lead to fewer shark attacks because of the reduction in hunting. Humans aren't natural preys of sharks, but if these marine animals lose their olfactory sense, there may be less incidents of attacks, Nagelkerkern also added that further research should be done to study how sharks' olfaction affect shark attacks.
News Article | October 13, 2015
Australian researchers found that marine food chain collapse may soon become a possibility should climate change ensue and greenhouse gas emissions persist at its present rate. Sean Connell, one of the researchers and a marine ecologist from the University of Adelaide, said that little is known about the effects of climate change to marine environment. He added that until now, experts ultimately depend on qualitative reviews and perspectives of possible worldwide modifications. Quantitative evaluations commonly focus on single ecosystems, single species or single stressors. In their study, which the authors said is the first to utilize global means in foreseeing the response of marine ecosystems to increasing carbon dioxide (C02) levels, the researchers analyzed information from 632 researches associated with the impacts of CO2 on diverse marine worlds. They studied all types of marine ecosystems including kelp forests, coral reefs, open oceans and deep seas, with locations ranging from tropic and arctic regions. Connell said that their analysis is a combination of all experiments to investigate the mixed impacts of numerous stressors on whole communities, including different standards of feedback to climate change and interaction between species. The findings of the study showed that the scope of adaptation to acidification and warmer waters would be limited. Minimal number of species will be able to break away from the detrimental effects of rising CO2, with an anticipated enormous decline in the diversity and abundance of species all over the world. However, the situation may be different among microorganisms as possible increase in number and diversity is expected. In terms of food web talk, main production under warmer waters is anticipated to rise from the smallest plankton. However, this does not necessarily mean that secondary production will follow, as this exudes reduced productivity under ocean acidification. "With higher metabolic rates in the warmer water, and therefore a greater demand for food, there is a mismatch with less food available for carnivores ─ the bigger fish that fisheries industries are based around," said Associate Professor Ivan Nagelkerken, one of the study authors and an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow with the University's Environment Institute. Habitats of coral, oysters and other habitat-forming creatures may also suffer due to acidification, as slight modifications in habitat health would have a significant impact on a wide range of species that these protect. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online on Monday, Oct. 12.