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EcoWatch is a leading online environmental news company, publishing timely stories every day for a healthier planet and life. We are rapidly growing, reaching millions of readers each month through original writing from our contributors and reposts from partner organizations. EcoWatch informs its audience with essential science-based news on a wide range of topics including climate change, energy, oceans, animals, food, politics and health.
Tara joined EcoWatch as managing editor in April 2018. Her work has appeared in local and national publications including the Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, American Theatre, BUST, Brooklyn Based and Clamor. She was a segment producer for Tina Brown Live Media and a freelance web producer for Condé Nast Traveler. She holds a master's degree from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
In addition to her media work, Tara has worked extensively in the nonprofit sector. As the founder of Poetic People Power, she has produced spoken word shows in New York City on issues including global warming and the global water crisis, and she's been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, Time Out New York and The Brooklyn Rail. She also cofounded the international nonprofit The Project Solution, which funds water and sanitation projects in developing countries. She serves on the advisory board of The Arctic Cycle, a nonprofit theatre fostering dialogue about climate change.
Chris is a news editor for EcoWatch. He has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and a B.S. from Cornell University, where he studied ecology and psychology.
He was a staff writer for The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, and a contributor to Flagpole Magazine and Georgia Magazine.
Born in New York, he enjoys bicycling, hiking, swimming, writing and music, mathematics and nature.
Weekend associate editor Irma Omerhodzic joined the EcoWatch team in August 2015 as an editorial assistant after graduating from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University with a bachelor's degree. She was then EcoWatch's associate editor until August 2019. Since August, Irma has been earning her master's degree from the E.W. Scripps School.
Born in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Irma moved to the U.S. in 1997 after having been refuged to Germany as a result of the Yugoslavian civil war.
She is passionate about coming together as a collective unit for the planet, in order to restore Earth back to its natural state of balance and unity. In her spare time, Irma enjoys hikes with her dog Myla, riding her bike and listening to podcasts.
Olivia is a contributing reporter for EcoWatch. She has been writing on the internet for more than five years and has covered social movements for YES! Magazine and ecological themes for Real Life. For her recent master's in Art and Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London, she completed a creative dissertation imagining sustainable communities surviving in post-climate-change London.
She has lived in New York, Vermont, London, and Seattle, but wherever she lives, she likes to go to the greenest place she can find, take long, meandering walks, and write poems about its wildflowers. Follow her on Twitter @orosane.
Jordan Davidson is a freelance journalist. His work has appeared in many local and national publications including the Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, Science Friday, Prevention, NRDC.org, and many others. He holds a bachelors degree from Brown University and a masters from the City University of New York's School of Journalism.
Jordan spent years as an ESL teacher in New York City public schools before becoming a journalist. He is an avid traveler, hiker, cyclist and hobby farmer.
Madison is a freelance reporter at EcoWatch. Based in San Francisco, she works full-time as a journalist for IFLScience. She spent a few years working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. before reporting throughout the Rocky Mountains, where she received an M.A. in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana, as well as a graduate certificate in Natural Resource Conflict Resolution. She is also a 2019 Science Communication Fellow with the E/V Nautilus.
Tiffany is a freelance reporter at EcoWatch and an avid ocean advocate. She holds degrees from UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and is an Al Gore Climate Reality Leader and student member of The Explorer's Club.
She spent years as a renewable energy lawyer in L.A. before moving to the Amazon to conduct conservation fieldwork (and revamp her life). She eventually landed in the Florida Keys as a scientific scuba diver and field reporter and writes about the oceans/climate/environment from her slice of paradise. When she's not underwater, she can be found on her yoga mat or planning her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram @lilicedt.
James is EcoWatch's social media intern.
He lives in the UK and is a graduate from the University of Southampton where he studies Environmental Sciences (BSc). After volunteering with Young Friends of the Earth UK, he currently works as a social media officer for the UK charity Woodland Trust. He is also an associate of the Institution of Environmental Sciences.
An avid eco-socialist, he co-runs a blog on WordPress and can be found on Twitter @S0cialEcologist.
RebelMouse builds technology that enables companies to succeed in the world of distributed publishing. By using either our groundbreaking Distributed Content Management System (DCMS) for natively-social publishing or by extending their existing CMS, our customers launch fully-distributed web properties in a matter of days. At the core of the platform are smart distribution tools which help to increase organic reach on social media. RebelMouse technology makes it easy to find and grow relationships with social influencers and connect content with its maximum audience.
Theodore P. Janulis
Ted, EcoWatch's co-executive chairman, partner and board member, has worked for 27 years in the financial services industry. He graduated from Harvard College in 1981 and received his MBA from Columbia Business School in 1985. He was the 1981 recipient of the Rolex/Our World Underwater Scholarship, enabling him to work and travel for a year with ocean scientists and explorers.
Ted's past/present board affiliations include the Ronald McDonald House of New York City, Zawadi By Youth, Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Sanctuary and The Explorers Club. Ted has also served on the advisory council of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History.
Tom O'Sullivan is co-executive chairman, partner and board member of EcoWatch. Tom has more than 20 years of business management, finance and accounting experience. He has held several senior management roles including Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer at a National Depository Institution and Chief Financial Officer of the mortgage business at a Wall Street firm.
Tom received a BBA from Hofstra University and an MBA in Finance and International Business from New York University.
Kerry has more than 25 years of business leadership and capital markets experience, having graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1978. He received an MBA with a major in Finance from Columbia University's Graduate School of Business in 1985.
Prior to graduate school, Kerry served on active duty for five years, in operational leadership and staff positions, as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast Guard.
In addition to serving on the EcoWatch board, he is a director of Rivergate Foundation and ICA-Art Conservation, and a member of the investment committee of The HELP Foundation, Inc. He is a past member of the boards of The Music Settlement – Cleveland, The U. S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association, The Cleveland Rowing Foundation and The MG Car Club, Washington, DC Centre.
The Board members above collectively are the majority owners of EcoWatch.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.
- The U.S. Isn't in a Second Wave of Coronavirus – The First Wave ... ›
- Navajo Nation Has Highest Covid-19 Infection Rate in the U.S. ... ›
- U.S. Coronavirus Cases Top 2 Million as All 50 States Start ... ›
By Jason Bruck
Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.
Researchers work with trained dolphins to learn more about their sensory abilities, seen here testing a dolphin's hearing. Jason Bruck / CC BY-ND
A Lot to Learn From Hormones<p>When sampling the blow, we are looking for hormones in mucus as these can be used to gauge psychological and physiological health. We are specifically interested in <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0114062" target="_blank">hormones like cortisol</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2018.04.003" target="_blank">progesterone</a>, which indicate stress levels and reproductive ability respectively, but can also help determine overall health.</p><p>Additionally, blow samples can detect <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1128%2FmSystems.00119-17" target="_blank">respiratory pathogens</a> in the lungs or nasal passages - blowholes evolved from noses after all.</p><p>This health analysis is especially important in areas with oil spills as the chemicals can cause hormonal problems that harm <a href="https://www.carmmha.org/investigating-how-oil-spills-affect-dolphins-and-whales/" target="_blank">development, metabolism and reproduction</a> in dolphins.</p><p>Hormone samples can provide scientists with valuable data, but collecting them from intelligent and unpredictable animals is challenging.</p>
Cetacean Collaborators<p>To build a drone that can stealthily collect spray from moving dolphins, we needed more data on their eyesight and hearing, and this is data that couldn't be collected in the wild nor simulated in a lab.</p><p>We worked with dolphins at facilities like Dolphin Quest in Bermuda, which provides guests opportunities to learn about dolphins while allowing <a href="https://dolphinquest.com/about-us/our-story/" target="_blank">scientists access to animals for noninvasive research</a>. Here the dolphins can swim away if they choose not to work with us, so we had to design the study like a game; the way a kindergarten teacher entertains a class. If the dolphins aren't interested, we don't get to do the science.</p><p>Over the course of hundreds of sessions, we sought to answer two questions: What can dolphins hear and what can they see around their heads?</p><p>To test dolphin hearing, we set up microphones and cameras to record dolphin behavior as we played drone noise in the air. We analyzed the responses to each noise – such as how many dolphins looked at the speaker – and used these as a proxy for their ability to hear the sounds.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5f31daf07a652b8d64a093b993ee4e96"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UjmQeH3vXHI?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Robodolphin doesn't look like a real dolphin, but it doesn't need to in order to train our drone pilots. C.J. Barton / Oklahoma State University / CC BY-ND<p>To build robodolphin, we worked with dolphins trained to "chuff" or sneeze on command to measure spray characteristics. We used high-speed photography to see the dolphins' breath as it moved through the air. Then we conducted high resolution CT scans of a dolphin head and 3D-printed a replica of a nasal passage.</p><p>Now, we have a complete robodolphin and are tweaking its sprays to be nearly identical to the real thing. This will allow us to determine how close we need to get to collect the samples, and therefore, how quiet our drone needs to be.</p>
The replica dolphin blowhole was designed from a scan of a real blowhole passage, and the spray it produces closely matches the real thing. Alvin Ngo, Mitch Ford and CJ Barton / Oklahoma State University / CC BY-ND
A Bit of Practice, Then Into the Wild<p>In the next few months, we will test flights over robodolphin with existing drones to determine the timing and strategy for collection. From there, we will fabricate a low-noise drone that can fly fast enough and with sufficient maneuverability to capture samples from wild dolphins. Like a video game, we will use the visual field data to develop approach trajectories to stay in the visual blindspots.</p><p>We plan to test our drones on a truck-mounted robodolphin moving down a runway, then using a boat to simulate realistic conditions. The next steps will involve ocean testing with dolphins trained for open ocean swimming. These tests will determine if our devices can catch and hold the hormones as the drone flies back to a researcher's boat.</p><p>Finally, we will deploy the system to collect data on wild dolphins. Our first goal is to test resident dolphins – animals that live on the coasts and deal directly with boat and oil industry noise – which will allow us to learn more about stress resulting from human impacts.</p><p>Those samples are a way off, but if all goes well we will have a specially built drone capable of flying long distances and capturing samples undetected in a few years. The samples collected will allow researchers to do better science with impact on the animals they study.</p>
- Drone Footage Captures Rare Finless Porpoises in Hong Kong ... ›
- Brazil's Amazon River Dolphin Faces Extinction After Fishing ... ›
- 10 Surprising Dolphin 'Superpowers' - EcoWatch ›
Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus
On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.
- Your Guide to Reef Friendly Sunscreens - EcoWatch ›
- Hundreds of Sunscreens Don't Work or Have Unsafe Ingredients ... ›
- FDA Study: Sunscreen Chemicals Seep Into the Bloodstream ... ›
By Kelli McGrane
Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.
- Is Oat Milk Gluten-Free? - EcoWatch ›
- What Nutritionists Think About Starbucks' Three New Plant-Based ... ›
- 6 Alternatives to Milk: Which Is the Healthiest? - EcoWatch ›
"Emissions from pyrotechnic displays are composed of numerous organic compounds as well as metals," a new study reports. Nodar Chernishev / EyeEm / Getty Images
Fireworks have taken a lot of heat recently. In South Dakota, fire experts have said President Trump's plan to hold a fireworks show is dangerous and public health experts have criticized the lack of plans to enforce mask wearing or social distancing. Now, a new study shows that shooting off fireworks at home may expose you and your family to dangerous levels of lead, copper and other toxins.
- No Social Distancing or Mask Requirement at Trump's Mt ... ›
- Trump's Fireworks Show at Mt. Rushmore Is a Dangerous Idea, Fire ... ›
By Ashutosh Pandey
Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons (Mt), or 7.3 kilogram per person, a UN report showed on Thursday.
Environmental and Health Hazard<p>Experts say e-waste, which is now the world's fastest-growing domestic waste stream, poses serious environmental and health risks.</p><p>Simply throwing away electronic items without ensuring they get properly recycled leads to the loss of key materials such as iron, copper and gold, which can otherwise be recovered and used as primary raw materials to make new equipment, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions from extraction and refinement of raw materials.</p><p>Refrigerants found in electronic equipment such as fridge and air conditioners also contribute to global warming. A total of 98 Mt of CO2-equivalents, or about 0.3% of global energy-related emissions, were released into the atmosphere in 2019 from discarded refrigerators and ACs that were not recycled properly, the report said.</p><p>E-waste contains several toxic additives or hazardous substances, such as mercury and brominated flame retardants (BFR), and simply burning it or throwing it away could lead to serious health issues. Several studies have linked unregulated recycling of e-waste to adverse birth outcomes like stillbirth and premature birth, damages to the human brain or nervous system and in some cases hearing loss and heart troubles.</p><p>"Informal and improper e-waste recycling is a major emerging hazard silently affecting our health and that of future generations. One in four children are dying from avoidable environmental exposures," said Maria Neira, director of the Environment, Climate Change and Health Department at the World Health Organization. "One in four children could be saved, if we take action to protect their health and ensure a safe environment."</p>
Europe Leads the Way<p>While most of the e-waste was generated in Asia (24.9 Mt) in 2019, Europe led the charts on a per person basis with 16.2 kg per capita, the report said.</p><p>But the continent also recorded the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/the-eu-declares-war-on-e-waste/a-51108790" target="_blank">highest documented formal e-waste collection and recycling</a> rate at 42.5%, still below its target of 65%. Europe was well ahead of the others on this front. Asia ranked second with 11.7%.</p><p>The authors said while more that 70% of the world's population was covered by some form of e-waste policy or laws, not much was being done toward implementation and enforcement of the regulations to encourage the take-up of a collection and recycling infrastructure due to lack of investment and political motivation.</p><p>"You have to think about new economic systems," said Kühr.</p><p>One approach could be that consumers no longer buy the products, but only the service they offer. The device would remain the property of the maker, who would then have an interest in offering his customers the best service and the necessary equipment. The maker would also be interested in designing his products in such a way that they are easier to repair and easier to recycle, Kühr said.</p>
- Dangerous Chemicals From E-Waste Found in Black Plastics From ... ›
- Electronic Waste Study Finds $65 Billion in Raw Materials ... ›
- Electronic Waste: New EU Rules Target Throwaway Culture ... ›
- COVID-19 Masks Are Polluting Beaches and Oceans - EcoWatch ›
- Plastic Packaging Use Increases During the Coronavirus - EcoWatch ›
- Coronavirus Worsens Thailand's Plastic Waste Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Coronavirus Plastic Waste Polluting the Environment - EcoWatch ›
Did you know that some snakes can fly?
The south Asian paradise tree snake (Chrysopelea paradisi) can launch itself into the air and glide from one tree branch to another. And when it does, it moves its body in waves in something known as aerial undulation. Scientists have long known how the snakes moved. But they didn't know why. Until now.
The Cube is home to a 23-camera motion capture system. Jake Socha
The snakes wore 11 to 17 infrared-reflective markers, which gave the team high-resolution data while still allowing the animals to move freely. Jake Socha
- 'Murder Hornets' Spotted in U.S. for the First Time - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Incredible Species That Glow in the Dark - EcoWatch ›
- 4 New Walking Shark Species Discovered - EcoWatch ›