Satellite Photos Show One Of The World’s Largest Lakes Disappearing

Written by: Lisa Stelzner

Primary Source: Daily Dose of Science Blog

Have you ever heard of the Aral Sea in Central Asia?  It used to be the fourth-largest lake in the world.  Now it has almost completely dried up.  In the 1960s it started shrinking when the lake’s waters were diverted for irrigation. The satellite photos in this link show how the lake has changed, superimposed over the lake’s original boundaries, from 2001 to 2014. Now there is no more fishing to support the local communities and salt and dust are blowing from the lakebed, ruining farmland and causing respiratory issues. Temperatures and climate are even getting more extreme.

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Lisa Stelzner
I'm a plant biology PhD student studying monarch butterflies in Michigan, but I'm interested in lots of other types of science, too. I am interested in how breeding monarch butterflies choose their habitat based on floral species richness and abundance. Few studies have been conducted on optimal foraging theory when it involves an organism searching for two different kinds of resources, and butterflies are an ideal study system to investigate this, since many species are ovipositing specialists and only lay eggs on one species of hostplant, but are feeding generalists and nectar from a broad variety of flowering forbs.