This Week on Earth: May 3 - 10


By Jamie Schmid and Jamie Leventhal  

Almost 35 tons of dead fish in china

This week, hundreds of dead fish washed up on the shore of a lake in Southern China. According to USA Today, these herring-type of fish were likely caught in a large wave that dropped them into the body of water.


Workers were immediately sent to clean up the fish and burn them in order to prevent any illegal selling of the commodity. They cleared about 20 tons of fish over a period of five hours.

Local residents expressed concern that the fish washed up because of pollution. However, local authorities insist that the large amount of deaths were due to salinity changes that caused changes in tides.

China will have to wait and see if this is just a one-time event, or if there will be 35 more tons of dead fish in the future.


Australia prepares to get rid of the “Carp-apocalypse”

Australia’s longest river, the Murray River, has become a favorite spot for the European Carp to live and multiply. These invasive species kill native river fish, muddy river waters and cause erosion.


To solve the problem, scientists in Australia have launched an $11 million plan to release a strain of the herpes virus that only kills European carp. The virus kills the fish by stopping their breathing.

The Australian government hopes that 95 percent of the carp will be dead within 30 years, but they do not have a plan for what to do with the dead fish. Scientists talk of turning the carp into fertilizer, pet food and burying them into the earth.

Who knew a virus like herpes could be the key to saving a river ecosystem?


Pacific islands submerged from rising sea levels

Five of the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean are now underwater because of sea level rise from man-made climate change. Another six have experienced dramatic shoreline reductions.

Tsunami, Solomon Islands 2007. Photo: AusAID

The once beautiful Solomon Islands constitute a tropical island nation in Oceania that has a population of a little over 500,000 people. According to a recent study, rising oceans have negatively affected many of the inhabitants.

While the study focuses on the Solomon Islands, it notes that rising ocean levels are a global problem that will affect coastlines around the world. Small island nations may be affected by climate change first, but it will be a real problem for other nations in the coming years.

Thousands of Canadian snakes get it on, eh

n Narcisse, Canada, a huge group of 75,000 red-sided garter snakes squeeze into the area the size of a living room to reproduce.

The snakes have been hibernating in limestone caves for the past 8 months, hiding themselves from the cold and surviving on stored body fat. As the area around them warms up, males wake up first and slither outside to sun themselves. Females slowly start to trickle out over the next few weeks, and the mating game begins.

Mating_ball_of_garter_snakesFemales are significantly bigger than males - about three to four times. Female red-sided garter snakes are also greatly outnumbered by their suitors, 10,000 to 1. The female will attract males in by secreting pheromones. She then chooses her mate, and eventually slithers off into the forest to give birth to her babies in August.

About 250,000 red-sided garter snakes will be born in the summer. To read more, check out this article in the New York Times.

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