• As temperatures rise due to climate change, more people will become dehydrated, which may cause the prevalence of kidney stones to jump as much as 30 percent in some regions.These painful deposits form when urine volume is low and minerals dissolved in the urine crystallize.
  • Never mind hurtling asteroids or super volcanoes—new research suggests that epic ebbs and flows of sea level and sediment drove mass extinctions during the past 500 million years. These events filled and drained inland seas, which are known as hotspots for biodiversity.
  • Slurping a daily drink containing beneficial bacteria might reduce the severity of hay fever, commonly triggered by pollen, a British study reports. Such treatments may prove useful in the future—increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations are expected to prompt some plants like ragweed to produce more pollen.
  • Banning commercial and recreational fishing can make way for speedy comebacks for over-fished stocks: In two years or less, researchers in Australia saw the country’s coral trout (below) density increase by 31 to 68 percent in no-take reserves, while coral trout numbers in nearby fished areas did not change.
  • In the Atlantic Ocean, sea spray and emissions from phytoplankton produce bromine and iodine oxide. These chemicals break down the greenhouse gas ozone, whose destruction releases another chemical that destroys methane, the third most abundant greenhouse gas. The discovery could improve future climate predictions.
This article originally appeared in Plenty in October 2008.

Copyright Environ Press 2008