Karen Lips is well-aware of the importance of strategic science communication in affecting environmental policy. In November 2014, she and her colleague Joseph Mendelson published an op-ed in the New York Times warning of a pathogenic fungus spreading among European salamanders that could decimate salamander populations in the United States. She and Mendelson urged prompt government action. Within a year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued an interim rule that shut down importation of 201 salamander species to the U.S. “Getting to the New York Times was key,” she says, in making this a higher policy priority.
After eating plastic particles like those that accumulate in the ocean, the fish are less successful at hatching and escaping predators, among other changes.
The direct impact of climate change on Arctic marine mammal health is still unclear, but there are signs that warmer temperatures are producing a "new normal" in the region.