Articles Written by Sophie Coxon

A rainforest no more: deforestation for cattle ranching is drying out the Amazon

Environment | Forests, September 10th, 2022

Once a luscious, vibrant green forest bursting with life is now a desolate grassland where dry brown grass wilts in the dusty heat. Rain is becoming rarer, and the formerly rich soils are parched. The steaming jungle is a thing of the past here.

Dugongs deemed functionally extinct in Chinese waters

Environment | Oceans, September 7th, 2022

Dugongs are gentle, herbivorous sea mammals related to the manatee and the elephant, similarly mild and serene mammals. Sadly, no sightings of dugongs have been recorded by scientists in Chinese waters since 2008, making the species the first declared functionally extinct mammal in the region.

Scottish wading birds: a misty future

Environment | Grasslands, September 5th, 2022

Scotland is known worldwide for its dramatic cliff-lined coast, ancient Caledonian pine forests and wild, windswept moorlands dotted with red deer and capercaillie. However, the country is also an important stop for many species of wading birds on their migration routes.

The elephant in the room: global warming-induced droughts threaten the future of Earth’s largest land mammal

Environment | Grasslands, August 20th, 2022

The African elephant is emblematic of the savannah and an animal many feel a strong admiration for. However, as global warming intensifies, recent droughts in East Africa are adding to pressures threatening the future of this iconic species.

Feeding turtles in Argostoli Bay could be changing their natural behaviour

Environment | Oceans, June 21st, 2022

Argostoli Bay is a picturesque bay and harbour on the western coast of Kefalonia, Greece. Tourists flock here to enjoy the crystal turquoise waters, sun-drenched beaches and Mediterranean food, but another attraction has become a highlight of the island: turtles. However, recent feeding habits are having damaging effects on the behaviour of this usually docile species.

The largest predation event of our time: the sinking of the blue whale

Environment | Oceans, May 31st, 2022

Blue whales are the largest animals on earth, which made them a magnet for whalers in historical times. Since the international whaling ban in 1986, previously-decimated blue whale populations have been steadily increasing, but they now face a new threat: orcas.

Protecting Tropical Coastlines: The Mangrove–Seagrass–Coral Trio

Environment | Ocean, May 19th, 2022

Tropical coastlines across the globe are protected by a dynamic relationship between three different ecosystemsㅡmangrove forests, seagrass beds and shallow-water coral reefs. Without these defences, shorelines are susceptible to coastal erosion, and biodiversity loss, and often face expensive reconstruction efforts. Ultimately, a holistic approach to conserving all three ecosystems yields the most long-lived results, both for people and coastlines.

The Decline of the Coconut Crab: protection methods used in the Seychelles could conserve the species

Environment | Oceans, May 12th, 2022

Coconut crabs have seen a huge decrease in population due to overharvesting and increasing demand from tourist restaurants. Strict regulations on fishing, pollution, disturbance and the implementation of marine protected areas could save the species if measures are taken soon.

Problems down under: The 6th mass bleaching event of The Great Barrier Reef is happening now

Environment | Oceans, April 3rd, 2022

Known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders Of the World, the Great Barrier Reef attracts over three million tourists to the Queensland coast every year. If the average global temperature warms by 2°C above current levels, it is predicted that global coral cover will decrease by 95%—a staggering figure which will have catastrophic impacts on ecological processes and the economies of many countries.

The importance of coral reef connectivity under climate change

Environment | Oceans, March 3rd, 2022

Evidence suggests that rising ocean temperatures are limiting the ability of coral larvae to migrate between reefs, with the associated biodiversity losses reducing coral resilience to disease, overfishing, and the impacts of climate change.

Acoustic enrichment is aiding coral reef recovery

Environment | Oceans, February 23rd, 2022

Coral reefs are often referred to as the ‘rainforests of the ocean’ due to the richness of biodiversity they harbour and the vital role they play in the functioning of marine ecosystems. Globally, reefs support over 500 million people through tourism and fishing, providing a livelihood and an essential source of protein, whilst also producing multiple medicinal compounds used to treat cancer, HIV, and cardiovascular diseases.