Florida’s Light Pollution Rules Helping Turtles to Nest
Efforts by some Florida seaside communities to reduce light pollution in turtle nesting areas have overwhelmingly resulted in more turtle-friendly conditions during the past 20 years.
Inspired by a science fair project by high school students, researchers from the University of Central Florida gathered data on artificial light at night between 1992 and 2012 from the Defence Meteorological Satellite Program.
They compared it to the extensive data on nesting sea turtles collected by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The study found that even with a 40 percent increase in Florida’s human population during that period, two-thirds of beaches in communities with light pollution regulations had darker and more turtle-friendly beaches.
Light pollution is known to reduce the number of nesting sites and to confuse hatchlings during their scramble from the nest to the water.
Spread of bee disease ‘largely manmade’
The global trade in bees is driving a pandemic that threatens hives and wild bees, UK scientists say.
A deadly bee disease, Deformed Wing Virus (DWV), has spread worldwide through imports of infected honeybees, according to genetic evidence.
Lead researcher Dr Lena Bayer-Wilfert of the University of Exeter said European bees are at the heart of the global spread of what she calls a “double blow” for colonies.
“This is clearly linked to the human movement of honeybee colonies around the globe,”
Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) was a major threat to honeybee populations across the world with the epidemic “driven by the trade and movement of honeybee colonies”.
In the research, scientists at the University of Exeter, Sheffield and Salford tracked the emergence of DWV by analysing genetic samples from honeybees and Varroa mites in 32 locations of 17 countries.
They found that the epidemic largely spread from Europe to North America and countries such as New Zealand, with the European honeybee as the main transmitter.
“It supports the idea that DWV is the main cause for the colony losses associated with Varroa and that this comes from European bees,” he said.
Scientists believe the combination is particularly deadly because the parasite feeds on bee larvae, while also injecting the deadly virus into the body of grown bees.
The double threat is thought to have wiped out millions of honeybee colonies over recent decades.
Bee infected with the virus