UW System Budget Cuts, Mass Extinction In Oceans, High Profile Court Cases

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A recent study in Science says ocean wildlife may be on the verge of mass extinction. The author of the study explains what’s going on– and what we can do about it. We also learn how courts find juries for high-profile cases, and we get the details on the governor’s proposed budget cut to the UW System.

Featured in this Show

  • Scientists Warn Of Mass Extinctions In Oceans

    Humans have profoundly decreased the abundance of marine life — large and small — and it could have a cascade of damaging impact on ocean ecology, according to new research.

    In the latest issue of the journal Science, researchers issued a dire warning that ocean wildlife might be facing a mass extinction. The good news, say some scientists, is that it’s not too late to turn things around.

    Douglas McCauley, professor at the University of California-Santa Barbara and lead author of the study, said marine animals are faring much better than land animals, but trends indicate that the planet could be on course for a big extinction in the seas.

    Scientists have summed up the rate of extinction on land animals as building towards the sixth mass extinction. Over the past 500 years, approximately 500 land-based animal species have become extinct as a result of human activity. The ocean has suffered 15 or so losses, said McCauley.

    “On land, humans are actually beginning to take on a form of an asteroid in terms of their impact on wildlife,” McCauley said. “The story in the oceans seems a bit different.”

    McCauley said there’s a lot to be learned by looking to the history of human impact on land animal extinctions. The first phase of animal declines typically is the result of hunting and over harvesting. The next phase involves habitat degradation and often results in severe consequences.

    “Where we are in the oceans seems to still be phase one, hunting animals,” McCauley said. “But what’s freighting to us is that we might be at the potential transition point, switching from hunting marine animals to degrading their habitats.”

    Mining operations are beginning to expand into the ocean sea floor in search of rare minerals. Beyond that, countries across the world are beginning to build land developments over the ocean.

    “Particularly in places that are land stressed, they’re actually building suburbs, airports, and military installations directly into the ocean,” McCauley said. “That’s happening elsewhere but not so much here in the U.S.”

  • Governor Announces 13 Percent Budget Cut For UW System

    A $300 million cut to the UW System over two years is the latest proposal put forth in Governor Walker’s budget plan. WPR’s state government reporter outlines some of the details.

  • Study: Ocean Wildlife Are On The Verge Of Mass Extinction

    A new study published in the journal Science says that human activity has affected the wellbeing of marine animals big and small. As a result, some ocean wildlife are under threat of mass extinction. The author of the study joins us to explain what’s going on– and what can still be done about it.

  • High-Profile Trials: How To Select A Jury?

    The search is on for jurors in the trials of the alleged Boston Marathon bomber and of the accused theater shooter in Aurora, Colorado. A legal expert explains the difficulties involved in selecting an unbiased jury in high-profile cases.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Cynthia Schuster Producer
  • Douglas McCauley Guest
  • Shawn Johnson Guest
  • Dean A Strang Guest

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