Biodiversity

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  • A white Cardinal-flower

    Ohio Birds and Biodiversity
    30 Jul 2014 | 7:10 pm
    Photo: Bill FisherBill Fisher, Director of the Crawford County Park District, sent along a photo that really grabbed my eye. It is a snow white Cardinal-flower, Lobelia cardinalis, and as can be seen by its normally colored cohorts, this is atypical. Bill made the photo a day or two ago at their Lowe-Volk Park, where it is growing in the "pollination station".If you're in the area, stop in and see it. Might be a while before you see another. I can't tell you how many hundreds or thousands of these plants that I've seen over the years, but never a white one that I can recall. Such a form is…
  • The blockbuster documentaries putting sustainability on the map

    CBD News Headlines
    30 Jul 2014 | 5:00 pm
    From Food Inc to Blue Gold - a look at some of the documentaries that have put sustainability in the public eye
  • Ecologists underestimating impacts of old-growth logging

    featured news from mongabay.com
    Rhett Butler
    31 Jul 2014 | 9:03 am
    Ecologists may be underestimating the impact of logging in old-growth tropical forests by failing to account for subtleties in how different animal groups respond to the intensity of timber extraction, argues a paper published today in the journal Current Biology. The study, led by Zuzana Burivalova of ETH Zurich, is based on a meta-analysis of 48 studies that evaluated the impact of selective logging on mammals, birds, amphibians, and invertebrates in tropical forests.
  • Wed 13 Aug 2014: 10am @ DBS CR2 – Cecilia Larrosa on Unintended Feedbacks: Implications and Applications for Conservation

    The Biodiversity Crew @ NUS
    otterman
    30 Jul 2014 | 8:04 pm
    Department of Biological Sciences, NUS Qualifying Examination “Unintended Feedbacks: Implications and Applications for Conservation” Cecilia Larrosa Graduate Student, Ecological Modelling And Economics Lab Department of Biological Sciences National University of Singapore Supervisor: Asst Prof L Roman Carrasco Wed 13 Aug 2014: 10am At the DBS Conference Room II (S1, Level 3, mezzanine) All are welcome Abstract: – Unintended effects of planned conservation interventions can feedback to produce undermined and even perverse outcomes. The unintended feedbacks of conservation…
  • The Walrus as you Never Knew Him

    Biodiversity Heritage Library
    31 Jul 2014 | 5:30 am
    Conrad Gessner's Walrus. 1558. Historia Animalium. http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/42165842Conrad Gessner desired to reconcile ancient knowledge about the animal kingdom with the modern discoveries of the Renaissance. This endeavor spurred him to produce his magnificent Historia Animalium, a work synonymous with the beginning of modern zoology. This five-volume masterpiece covered the subjects of "live-bearing four footed animals" (mammals), "egg-laying quadrupeds" (crocodiles and lizards), birds, fish and sea creatures, and a fifth posthumous volume on snakes and scorpions.Compiling…
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    Ohio Birds and Biodiversity

  • A white Cardinal-flower

    30 Jul 2014 | 7:10 pm
    Photo: Bill FisherBill Fisher, Director of the Crawford County Park District, sent along a photo that really grabbed my eye. It is a snow white Cardinal-flower, Lobelia cardinalis, and as can be seen by its normally colored cohorts, this is atypical. Bill made the photo a day or two ago at their Lowe-Volk Park, where it is growing in the "pollination station".If you're in the area, stop in and see it. Might be a while before you see another. I can't tell you how many hundreds or thousands of these plants that I've seen over the years, but never a white one that I can recall. Such a form is…
  • Tiger Beetle larva: Absolutely ferocious!

    28 Jul 2014 | 6:49 pm
    A pair of Festive Tiger Beetles, Cicindela scutellaris, makes love in the sand. If all goes well, they will spawn some of the most ferocious, nightmarish larvae that ever was.There are about twenty species of tiger beetles in Ohio, and all of them are formidable hunters. If you have an eye for insects, you've probably seen some. Most common is the Six-spotted Tiger Beetle, Cicindela sexguttata, a glittering emerald-green beetle that frequents paths, woodland openings, gravel lanes, and other open habitats. All of the tiger beetles hunt by sight, as you might have guessed by the giant goggle…
  • Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks!

    27 Jul 2014 | 8:16 pm
    A small knot of birders takes a break from oohing and aahing over a trio of very rare birds (for Ohio) in the wetland in the backdrop.Last Friday, I got a phone call from Larry Richardson, the guy in the foreground with the yellow cap. Larry, who is one of Ohio's ace birders, had just discovered three Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Dendrocygna autumnalis, along with Don Keffer (in the red shirt). As good fortune would have it, I was heading to Geauga County the next day to give a talk and lead a walk. Larry and Don had found the ducks at the sprawling Grand River Wildlife Area in Trumbull…
  • A MEGA macro lens

    26 Jul 2014 | 6:11 am
    Be warned, I have a new lens and things might get weird on here from time to time. Above, the superb Canon MP-E 65 mm f/2.8 macro lens. This is truly one of the most bizarre lenses out there, and it probably isn't for the faint of heart. I went back and forth on getting one of these for the last year, finally bit the bullet, and received mine yesterday. Using it is like shooting images through a microscope. It'll zoom to five times life size, allowing for photography of the tiniest objects imaginable. There is no focus ring - one must just move the camera to and fro until the target comes…
  • Plant hires ant bodyguards

    24 Jul 2014 | 7:20 pm
    Ah, the beautiful little prairie at work! I've written about this one-third acre transformation of barren turf grass into biodiversity boiling over before, HERE. Today, I trotted outside for a brief 15-20 minute photographic interlude, and was rewarded with something rather cool.Among the many native plants in our prairie patch, all provided by Ohio Prairie Nursery, is this little gem. It's Partridge Pea, Chamaecrista fasciculata, a showy pinnate-leaved beauty. It is easy to grow, quick to arise, and pleasing to the eye. Insects also find it pleasing to the palette, as we shall see.The rich…
 
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    featured news from mongabay.com

  • Ecologists underestimating impacts of old-growth logging

    Rhett Butler
    31 Jul 2014 | 9:03 am
    Ecologists may be underestimating the impact of logging in old-growth tropical forests by failing to account for subtleties in how different animal groups respond to the intensity of timber extraction, argues a paper published today in the journal Current Biology. The study, led by Zuzana Burivalova of ETH Zurich, is based on a meta-analysis of 48 studies that evaluated the impact of selective logging on mammals, birds, amphibians, and invertebrates in tropical forests.
  • Seeking justice for Corazón: jaguar killings test the conservation movement in Mexico

    Jeremy Hance
    31 Jul 2014 | 5:53 am
    Eight years ago, a female jaguar cub was caught on film by a motion-triggered camera trap set in the foothills of canyons, oak forest, and scrubland that make-up the Northern Jaguar Reserve, just 125 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. Three years later, in 2009, the jaguar reappeared on film as an adult. They called her 'Corazón' for the distinctive heart-shaped spot on her left shoulder.
  • The world's best mother: meet the octopus that guards its eggs for over four years

    Jeremy Hance
    30 Jul 2014 | 11:00 am
    The ultimate goal of all species on the planet is procreation, the act of making anew. But few mothers could contend with a deep-sea octopus, known as Graneledone boreopacifica, which researchers have recently observed guarding its eggs for four-and-a-half years (53 months), before likely succumbing to starvation soon after.
  • The future of tropical biology research and conservation

    Rhett Butler
    30 Jul 2014 | 10:05 am
    Last week, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) held its 51st annual meeting in Cairns, Australia. In addition to the normal symposia, plenaries, and poster sessions on a wide range of conservation topics, the convening produced a declaration calling for stronger protection of the Great Barrier Reef and two resolutions on expanding research funding in Papua New Guinea and >imploring Australia to restore its environmental leadership.
  • Short-eared dog? Uncovering the secrets of one of the Amazon's most mysterious mammals

    Jeremy Hance
    28 Jul 2014 | 6:17 am
    Fifteen years ago, scientists knew next to nothing about one of the Amazon's most mysterious residents: the short-eared dog. Although the species was first described in 1883 and is considered the sole representative of the Atelocynus genus, biologists spent over a century largely in the dark about an animal that seemed almost a myth.
 
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    Biodiversity Heritage Library

  • The Walrus as you Never Knew Him

    31 Jul 2014 | 5:30 am
    Conrad Gessner's Walrus. 1558. Historia Animalium. http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/42165842Conrad Gessner desired to reconcile ancient knowledge about the animal kingdom with the modern discoveries of the Renaissance. This endeavor spurred him to produce his magnificent Historia Animalium, a work synonymous with the beginning of modern zoology. This five-volume masterpiece covered the subjects of "live-bearing four footed animals" (mammals), "egg-laying quadrupeds" (crocodiles and lizards), birds, fish and sea creatures, and a fifth posthumous volume on snakes and scorpions.Compiling…
  • The Latest News from BHL!

    29 Jul 2014 | 5:30 am
    Want to catch up on all the juicy news from BHL? You're in luck! Our latest quarterly report and newsletter are now available! Check them out!Stay up to date on all the latest news by joining our mailing list.
  • BHL Welcomes Two New Affiliate Members

    24 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
    We are pleased to announce that the Research Library at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the Lenhardt Library of the Chicago Botanic Garden have joined the Biodiversity Heritage Library as BHL Affiliates. The addition of these libraries not only expands BHL’s presence within the research community, but will also greatly strengthen our library through the incorporation of literature unique to these affiliates’ collections.The Research Library at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) holds over 200,000 books, journals, maps, rare books and Special…
  • Happy Moth Week!

    22 Jul 2014 | 8:00 am
    Happy Moth Week! National Moth Week is an annual event that celebrates the diversity and magnificence of moths. By partnering with online biological databases, National Moth Week encourages everyone to become a citizen scientist by helping map moth distributions and provide information about these amazing species. BHL is celebrating moth week by highlighting select species gleaned from one of our favorite BHL books: Butterflies and Moths: Shown to the Children (1910), by Janet Harvey Kelman, with descriptions by Rev. Theodore Wood. Satisfy all your moth curiosity with free moth images from…
  • Growing Globally: Digitization Developments in Africa

    17 Jul 2014 | 8:00 am
    From left to right: Cindy-Lee Daniels  and Lidia Swart (staff at the Digitization Office, Library Services, University of Pretoria); Gemma Waterston (IA Satellite Coordinator) and Robert Miller (Director of Global IA)On April 15, 2013, during a ceremony hosted at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) at the Pretoria National Botanical Garden in Pretoria, South Africa, BHL-Africa officially launched as our sixth global node. Working within the BHL consortium, BHL-Africa aims to provide open access to the valuable information held in Africa’s biodiversity…
 
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    Under The Banyan

  • Dying to save the world

    mikeshanahan
    10 Jul 2014 | 2:59 am
    Ensia has published a feature article I wrote about reports of growing violence against people who defend their local environments from powerful forces. I have reproduced it here under Ensia’s creative commons licence… Jeannette Kawas was an accountant whose concept … Continue reading →
  • Frying eggs, flying foxes, dying wasps, crying shame

    mikeshanahan
    24 Jun 2014 | 12:28 pm
    Crack an egg in a pan, turn up the heat and you can witness a kind of magic. In just seconds the viscous egg solidifies. Despite the rising heat, it’s the opposite of melting that occurs. I was a teenager … Continue reading →
  • In Zambia: A moonbow, an elephant and strange toilet

    mikeshanahan
    7 May 2014 | 6:24 am
    Livingstone, Zambia. 2004. Someone said it was a moonbow. The pale arc divided the night sky where the Zambezi River ran out of plateau and tumbled down for a hundred metres to form the Victoria Falls. “A moonbow?” I’d never … Continue reading →
  • It will take hundreds of Al Gores or millions of ‘little people’ to overcome the political inertia on climate change

    mikeshanahan
    29 Apr 2014 | 1:31 am
    Journalist Darren Samuelsohn has quoted me in a question he put to the former Vice-President of the United States, Al Gore in a rare two-hour interview for Politico magazine. Continue reading →
  • After a baby and a book Under the Banyan is back

    mikeshanahan
    9 Apr 2014 | 12:58 am
    I’ve been away from this blog for nearly a year, but I have returned today to bring it back to life. It has been a busy time. My main reason for putting the blog on hold is pictured below, hiding … Continue reading →
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    Tales from Toriello

  • A restful weekend at La Pasera

    Ian Hicken
    28 Jul 2014 | 6:29 am
    We have been quite busy most of the year with maintaining the garden and vegetable plot, entertaining friends, travel, mosaics, music, writing, photography and chair restoration as well as days out walking or sightseeing. Oh, we also finished the building work and decorated....It has been extremely hot here and very dry with little or no rain. This weekend we decided that it would be a good time to let the weekend happen without any firm plans or expectations. Saturday saw us visiting a small craft fair in a mountain village. There were only a few stalls selling jewelry, fresh produce, food…
  • Vegetables, salad and soft fruit crops we are growing: 2014-15

    Ian Hicken
    24 Jul 2014 | 7:17 am
    We thought it might be useful to make a list of the vegetables we are growing in 2014 through to Spring 2015. It will be useful for us to document it and also give our readers some idea of the range of food that can be grown in a temperate climate that has all year round growing conditions.We use a crop rotation system that makes the best use of companion planting in the two large and two smaller raised beds situated past the orchard at the bottom of the garden. Product Cropping  Celeriac Feb 2015 Carrots October 14 Beetroot Since April through to February 2015 Tomatoes, Spring onions…
  • The Asturian Prince - Wentworth

    Ian Hicken
    20 Jul 2014 | 11:28 pm
    The Internet attracts a lot of criticism for all sorts of reasons but it can also be a wonderful resource and mechanism to connect with people you would not normally come across by other routes.We have developed friendships with many people over the years via the Internet both through our blog and through various social networks. It never ceases to surprise us both how generous these virtual friends can be.One such friend offered to make us a portrait, in mosaic, of Wentworth, our beautiful black cat: named after an area of South Yorkshire where we used to live. Jeannot Leenen is a mosaic…
  • An Asturian tale...

    Ian Hicken
    13 Jul 2014 | 7:50 am
    Follow my blog with BloglovinWe read that there was to be a celebration of the recent restoration of a 13th century romanesque church near Ribadesella in the area of Monte Moro: Iglesia De San Salvador.  What was more interesting was that the church had well preserved wall frescoes from the 16th Century not discovered until the civil war in the 1930's. A trip to see them was planned...The church has recently been renovated and partially restored mainly due to the perseverance of local people who for the past 78 years have struggled to get their simple but significant church protected…
  • It's pickling time again... this week walnuts

    Ian Hicken
    8 Jul 2014 | 10:20 am
    A really good way of extending your harvests is pickling. Pickling certain fruits, nuts or vegetables means that not only can you enjoy your crop fresh, but also some months later, pickled. Walnuts are a real treat pickled or fresh and something we enjoy throughout the year if we can gather enough. This year we gathered about 4kg.Normally, gathering enough walnuts for pickling or to eat fresh isn't a problem here as the tree grows well in Asturias, wild and abundant. Last year was a poor year and we only managed a very small harvest but 2014 looks like it's going to be a bumper year.The key…
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    ConservationBytes.com

  • A fairer way to rank conservation and ecology journals in 2014

    Corey Bradshaw
    31 Jul 2014 | 10:30 am
    Normally I just report the Thomson-Reuters ISI Web of Knowledge Impact Factors for conservation-orientated journals each year, with some commentary on the rankings of other journals that also publish conservation-related material from time to time (see my lists of the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Impact Factor rankings). This year, however, I’m doing something different given the growing negativity towards Thomson-Reuters’ secretive behaviour (which they’ve promised this year to rectify by being more transparent) and the generally poor indication of quality that the…
  • Time to put significance out of its misery

    Corey Bradshaw
    28 Jul 2014 | 5:29 am
    If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll be no stranger to my views on what I believe is one of the most abused, and therefore now meaningless, words in scientific writing: ‘significance’ and her adjective sister, ‘significant’. I hold that it should be stricken entirely from the language of science writing. Most science writing has become burdened with archaic language that perhaps at one time meant something, but now given the ubiquity of certain terms in most walks of life and their subsequent misapplication, many terms no longer have a…
  • Another 589 scientists speak out against Abbott’s war on the environment

    Corey Bradshaw
    21 Jul 2014 | 5:15 pm
    I’m currently in Cairns at the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation‘s Annual Conference where scientists from all over the world have amassed for get the latest on tropical ecology and conservation. Unfortunately, all of them have arrived in an Australia different to the one they knew or admired from afar. The environmental devastation unleashed by the stupid policies of the Abbottoir government has attracted the attention and ire of some of the world’s top scientists. This is what they have to say about it (with a little help from me): – ASSOCIATION FOR…
  • Tropical forest resilience depends on past disturbance frequency

    Corey Bradshaw
    16 Jul 2014 | 12:13 am
    I’ve recently come across an interesting study that perfectly marries palaeo-ecological data with modern conservation philosophy. It’s not often that such a prehistorical perspective dating at least to the Last Glacial Maximum has been used so effectively to inform future conservation outlooks. I’m particularly interested in this sort of approach considering my own palaeo dabblings of late. Published in Nature Communications this May, Lydia Cole and colleagues’ paper Recovery and resilience of tropical forests after disturbance is a meta-analysis of 71 studies…
  • Biodiversity Hotspots have nearly burnt out

    Corey Bradshaw
    9 Jul 2014 | 11:15 pm
    I recently came across a really important paper that might have flown under the radar for many people. For this reason, I’m highlighting it here and will soon write up a F1000 Recommendation. This is news that needs to be heard, understood and appreciated by conservation scientists and environmental policy makers everywhere. Sean Sloan and colleagues (including conservation guru, Bill Laurance) have just published a paper entitled Remaining natural vegetation in the global biodiversity hotspots in Biological Conservation, and it we are presented with some rather depressing and utterly…
 
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    Conservation

  • Attack of the killer dolphins

    Roberta Kwok
    31 Jul 2014 | 6:00 am
    Ah, dolphins. So sweet, so playful, so… vicious? Yes, bottlenose dolphins have been known to kill harbor porpoises when the two species’ paths cross. Off the coast of California, warmer waters triggered by El Nino have allowed the dolphins to creep farther north into the porpoises’ territory. From 2007-2009, researchers saw 23 bottlenose dolphins attacking
  • Creating a prairie dog “Facebook” to aid conservation

    Jason G. Goldman
    30 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
    Animal behavior researchers have long been interested in the social dynamics of social species, but the traditional tools of field observations typically limit researchers to fairly rudimentary descriptions of social groupings. If two individuals have repeated negative interactions, then they’re not members of the same social group; if they feed at the same time in
  • Vicious cycle: Air conditioning is making your city even hotter

    Dave Levitan
    29 Jul 2014 | 6:00 am
    As temperatures rise around the world, air conditioning demands will increase. This of course means big energy demands, which often means more carbon emissions, which means more warming—in other words, cooling your apartment is making it hotter outside. But that’s just the long-term effect; new research suggests that turning on your AC unit actually sends the mercury
  • Less wildlife means more terrorism

    Jason G. Goldman
    25 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
    The harvest of wild terrestrial and aquatic animals each year injects more than $400 billion dollars into the world economy. That harvest provides 15% of the planet’s human population with a livelihood. It’s also the primary source of animal protein for more than a billion of our species. It’s also led to piracy, slavery, and
  • Pit latrines: Another source of greenhouse gas emissions

    Roberta Kwok
    24 Jul 2014 | 6:00 am
    Coal plants, landfills, and cows all release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. But in a new study, researchers have highlighted yet another source of methane emissions: the pit latrines used by about 1.8 billion people around the world. Pit latrines are crucial for sanitation in developing or rural areas without modern toilets. As the excrement
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