Oysters are the figurehead of the Oceanic ecosystem, and in recent years they have been struggling to survive. Oyster numbers are dwindling due to a variety of causes, such as: climate change, ocean acidification, and over harvesting. New studies show that oysters are also harmed by atmospheric rivers that bring in large storms such as those that brought the large storms to California in early 2017. Scientists working at the San Francisco Bay China Camp found that oyster numbers drop significantly after a huge storm. The direct cause is still unknown but the most probable reason is that these large storms dumped huge amounts of freshwater into the Bay, which diluted the saltwater present. This dilution dropped salinity levels enough to kill off the oysters. This is important because it serves to remind us just how fragile our ecosystem is and how very small and temporary changes in the ecosystem can have huge impacts.
New reserach suggests that not one, but two magma plumes fueled the volcanic eruptions that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. The eruptions happened roughly 66 million years ago in what is now the Indian subcontinent. Scientists have found that magma levels peaked 68 million years ago, around the same time as the extinction. This data is more evidence to the argument that the Deccan eruptions are what caused the death of the dinosaurs, not aliens.
New data suggests that New Zealand may be part of it's own continent, dubbed "Zealandia." For over a decade some scientists have been studying this possibility, finding that Zealandia has many of the characteristics of a continent. For instance, continental minerals such as granite form much of Zealandia's crust. Although much of this landmass is submerged under the Pacific Ocean, it is not seafloor because ocean crust is made of volcanic basalt. Scientists think that at one time this continent was on the surface. If Zealandia were coined to be a continent, it would be the smallest one by far. Zealandia is the Earth's pluto.
Just two years after reaching its high, Antarctic sea ice extent for the month of January hit a record low. The southern ice cap occupied an area of 4.04 million square kilometers, 1.19 million square kilometers below the 1981 through 2010 average. The exact reasons for the lows are unknown although by now it is widespread knowledge that climate change is a major factor.
Humans should be concerned by this because it is yet another statistic proving the harm that we are doing to our environment. Antarctica is considered a continent and we are doing more damage to it than plate tectonics could.