Biodiversity

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  • Star trails, Version II

    Ohio Birds and Biodiversity
    1 Mar 2015 | 6:51 pm
    In my last post, HERE, I wrote about the making of star trail photos on a rather frosty winter evening. I thought one of the resultant photos, above, was pretty cool. Not bad for a first time effort. Well, I hadn't seen nothin' yet!I made two hour long exposures, one of which is the photo above. The other one wasn't nearly as good. It was my first effort, and I had allowed too much light to collect via too large of an ISO setting. For the next long-exposure image, I dialed things down and achieved the above result, which was an improvement.But my research had indicated that making a long…
  • Signs of spring 'shifting' in trees

    CBD News Headlines
    1 Mar 2015 | 4:00 pm
    Scientists say signs of spring are appearing earlier in woodlands because of temperature rises in past decades.
  • Jokowi's environmental commitments in Indonesia

    featured news from mongabay.com
    Rhett Butler
    26 Feb 2015 | 11:25 am
    Last fall Indonesia elected its first president with no ties to the established political order or the military. Joko Widodo's election was widely heralded by reformers who hoped the politician's capable management in his stints as mayor of the town of Solo and metropolis of Jakarta could transform Indonesia's chronically underperforming bureaucracy, potentially ushering in a new era of improved human rights, better environmental stewardship, reduced corruption, and healthier economic growth.
  • “Creating complex habitats for restoration and reconciliation” – Lynette Loke, Peter Todd et al

    The Biodiversity Crew @ NUS
    otterman
    22 Feb 2015 | 4:26 pm
    A new paper out of Peter Todd’s lab: Loke, L. H., Ladle, R. J., Bouma, T. J., & Todd, P. A. (2015). Creating complex habitats for restoration and reconciliation. Ecological Engineering, 77, 307-313. Simplification of natural habitats has become a major conservation challenge and there is a growing consensus that incorporating and enhancing habitat complexity is likely to be critical for future restoration efforts. Habitat complexity is often ascribed an important role in controlling species diversity, however, despite numerous empirical studies the exact mechanism(s) driving this…
  • Documenting the Flora of the Nation’s First Urban Park System

    Biodiversity Heritage Library
    26 Feb 2015 | 5:30 am
    Did you know that the city of Boston is blessed with one of the largest and the oldest urban forest reservations in America?Photo: Charles Eliot, 1897At the turn of the 20th century, Boston saw a rapid increase in human settlement and industrialization which quickly transformed the once pristine Commonwealth into a highly developed, unsightly, and unhealthy metropolis. The movement to preserve what was left of Greater Boston's natural wonders was inspired by the writings by transcendental thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who were advocates of the idea to…
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    Ohio Birds and Biodiversity

  • Star trails, Version II

    1 Mar 2015 | 6:51 pm
    In my last post, HERE, I wrote about the making of star trail photos on a rather frosty winter evening. I thought one of the resultant photos, above, was pretty cool. Not bad for a first time effort. Well, I hadn't seen nothin' yet!I made two hour long exposures, one of which is the photo above. The other one wasn't nearly as good. It was my first effort, and I had allowed too much light to collect via too large of an ISO setting. For the next long-exposure image, I dialed things down and achieved the above result, which was an improvement.But my research had indicated that making a long…
  • A cold sky indeed!

    24 Feb 2015 | 3:53 am
    Last night was bitterly cold here in central Ohio, as evidenced by my car's thermometer. Yes, it says -20 F, as in MINUS TWENTY. I knew it was going to be about as cold as I've ever experienced, and I wanted to experience such frigidity. So, after getting home from work last night, I took a nap. Then got up, prepared, and headed out the door around midnight.The only way that I could think of to try and visually portray the brutally cold temperatures was with sky shots. As is usually the case when the mercury plunges to extreme lows, the sky was bright and clear. I headed north, with a few…
  • The Gadwall, a study in understated aesthetics

    18 Feb 2015 | 7:51 pm
    The tail waters of Hoover Dam, northern Franklin County, Ohio, last Monday. There was a wee bit of a nip in the air - it was about 10 F - creating a steam cloud from the flume of warmer water exiting the dam. As the catch basin remains ice-free, it is a great spot to observe and photograph waterfowl at reasonably close range.A drake Mallard tips up to scavenge algae from the rocks. One must admire the hardiness of fowl on a frigid day, as they cavort in water barely above freezing on the downside, and air that is far frostier yet on the upside. The geese and ducks go about their business as…
  • Vanilla Ice meets Cooper's Hawk

    17 Feb 2015 | 5:23 pm
    This is the front page of one of the sections of last Sunday's Columbus Dispatch, and I was pleased to see my column, Nature, got the banner treatment. As did my Cooper's Hawk photo. This isn't the first time that I've managed to come up with something interesting enough to get bannerized, but IT IS the first time that any of my work has shared space with Vanilla Ice.Yes, THAT Vanilla Ice. He of the explosive 1990 hit Ice Ice Baby, complete with its unmistakable stuttering bass line. Sorry, I imagine that little rapster ditty is now incessantly circling some of your brains, and it may not…
  • Cooper's hawk is songbird assassin

    15 Feb 2015 | 7:50 am
    Cooper's hawk is a songbird assassinCOLUMBUS DISPATCHFebruary 15, 2015NATUREJim McCormacFew visitors to backyard bird feeders are as polarizing as the Cooper’s hawk.Many songbird lovers have recoiled in horror when one of these feathered furies has barreled into the yard and plucked a cardinal from the air.The Cooper’s hawk is the common backyard plunderer of songbirds.Bad attitudes toward the magnificent raptor go way back. Early ornithologists disparaged them, adding legitimacy to efforts to soil the bird’s reputation and provide fuel for hawk shooters. Said William Dawson, author of…
 
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    featured news from mongabay.com

  • Jokowi's environmental commitments in Indonesia

    Rhett Butler
    26 Feb 2015 | 11:25 am
    Last fall Indonesia elected its first president with no ties to the established political order or the military. Joko Widodo's election was widely heralded by reformers who hoped the politician's capable management in his stints as mayor of the town of Solo and metropolis of Jakarta could transform Indonesia's chronically underperforming bureaucracy, potentially ushering in a new era of improved human rights, better environmental stewardship, reduced corruption, and healthier economic growth.
  • Rainforest loss increased in the 2000s, concludes new analysis

    Rhett Butler
    25 Feb 2015 | 11:30 am
    Loss of tropical forests accelerated roughly 60 percent during the 2000s, argues a paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The findings contradict previous research suggesting that deforestation slowed since the 1990s. The study is based on a map of 1990 forest cover developed last year by Do-Hyung Kim and colleagues from the University of Maryland. The map, which includes 34 countries that contain 80 percent of the world's tropical forests, enabled the researchers to establish a consistent baseline for tracking forest cover change across regions and countries over time.
  • Partnering for conservation benefits Tacana people, Bolivian park

    Tiffany Roufs
    25 Feb 2015 | 8:41 am
    Kneeling in a small clearing amid tropical trees, Baldemar Mazaro skillfully arranges a circle of sticks and a noose of cord in the community of San Miguel de Bala. He hands a branch to a tourist and asks her to prod the sticks as if the branch were the nose of an animal snuffling around, looking for food.
  • $7 million could save lemurs from extinction

    Jeremy Hance
    25 Feb 2015 | 7:38 am
    Last year, scientists released an emergency three-year plan that they argued could, quite literally, save the world's lemurs from mass extinction. Costing just $7.6 million, the plan focused on setting up better protections in 30 lemur hotspots. However, there was one sticking point: donating to small programs in one of the world's poorest countries was not exactly user friendly.
  • Locals lead scientists to new population of near-extinct reptile

    Jeremy Hance
    24 Feb 2015 | 8:00 am
    By the early Twentieth Century, the world had pretty much given up on the Arakan forest turtle, named after the hills where it was found in 1875 in western Myanmar. Now, this Lazarus reptile —which has been dubbed one of the 25 most threatened turtles on the planet —has more good news: researchers have documented an entirely new population where no one
 
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    The Biodiversity Crew @ NUS

  • “Creating complex habitats for restoration and reconciliation” – Lynette Loke, Peter Todd et al

    otterman
    22 Feb 2015 | 4:26 pm
    A new paper out of Peter Todd’s lab: Loke, L. H., Ladle, R. J., Bouma, T. J., & Todd, P. A. (2015). Creating complex habitats for restoration and reconciliation. Ecological Engineering, 77, 307-313. Simplification of natural habitats has become a major conservation challenge and there is a growing consensus that incorporating and enhancing habitat complexity is likely to be critical for future restoration efforts. Habitat complexity is often ascribed an important role in controlling species diversity, however, despite numerous empirical studies the exact mechanism(s) driving this…
  • Four days in a Wilderness First Aid Course

    otterman
    29 Jan 2015 | 4:40 am
    I spent the first of four days in a wilderness first aid training course with colleagues from the Department of Biological Sciences (aka NUS Biodiversity Crew). This course brings everyone up to speed and prepares us for difficult situations in the field. Ted, Amy, Morgany, Poh Moi, Frank, JC & Tommy were able to make it today and already this group makes me feel confident about student care on local or overseas field trips. Many of us have had some first aid training, either formally or from field situations. However, our exposure to incidents have been relatively low (thankfully so)…
  • The future of evolutionary diversity in reef corals – Huang & Roy 2015

    otterman
    21 Jan 2015 | 6:31 pm
    Ted Webb alerted us this morning with this message, “Danwei has published an important paper in Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, that looks at threats and future losses of evolutionary diversity across the world’s coral reefs. (PS great use of skull and crossbones on Fig 1!).” Huang Danwei and Kaustuv Roy have published “The future of evolutionary diversity in reef corals” in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2014.0010 “One-third of the world’s reef-building corals are facing heightened extinction risk from…
  • Job: Field Assistant for Radio tracking civet project (deadline: 31 Jan 2015)

    otterman
    18 Jan 2015 | 7:31 pm
    Field Assistant required for a radiotracking project with translocated civets Januar – June 2015. Part time or Full time field assistant; pay: $10/hour Location: Central Catchment/MacRitchie Requirement: Physically fit, hiker, knowledge of trails and landscape at site Orienteering ability, Good hearing Owns a smartphone or GPS Preferably with access to car Contact Dr. Christina Colon at christinacolon@hotmail.com or call 8359-3747 Deadline 31 Jan 2015 Filed under: job
  • Job: Intern/part-time student assistants for common palm civet research project (deadline: 20 Jan 2015)

    otterman
    6 Jan 2015 | 1:25 am
    Project description: The diet and ecological role of the common palm civet in Pulau Ubin. An intern or part-time student assistant is required in the first half of 2015. Photo by Fung Tze Kwan Job Scope Sorting of common palm civet scats and identification of diet items. Preservation and storage of processed samples. Data entry. Assistance in field work and logistics e.g. radio-tracking and camera trapping as required. Requirements Applicant should be: Meticulous, responsible and careful with samples. Training will also be provided but experience in sorting is helpful. Self-motivated and able…
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    Biodiversity Heritage Library

  • Documenting the Flora of the Nation’s First Urban Park System

    26 Feb 2015 | 5:30 am
    Did you know that the city of Boston is blessed with one of the largest and the oldest urban forest reservations in America?Photo: Charles Eliot, 1897At the turn of the 20th century, Boston saw a rapid increase in human settlement and industrialization which quickly transformed the once pristine Commonwealth into a highly developed, unsightly, and unhealthy metropolis. The movement to preserve what was left of Greater Boston's natural wonders was inspired by the writings by transcendental thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who were advocates of the idea to…
  • Just a Click Away: BHL Promotes Biodiversity Research and Taxonomy

    19 Feb 2015 | 5:30 am
    The Biodiversity Heritage Library is dedicated to providing open access to the biodiversity resources in its collection. Open access not only ensures that users the world over can freely locate the information they need online, but it also enables other biodiversity initiatives to make use of the wealth of knowledge represented in our 45 million+ pages to support research and taxonomy. We’ve highlighted several projects over the past few months that have incorporated BHL content into their own databases, including ITIS, AGRIS, Avibase, and JournalMap through BioStor.Dr. Andreas Kroh (NHM…
  • White House Biodiversity: Presidential Pets

    16 Feb 2015 | 6:00 am
    Celebrating President's Day with a Look at Presidential PetsIt's President's Day (recognized as Washington's Birthday - the event for which this holiday was originally established - on the federal calendar) in the United States. We decided to commemorate the day with a look at the varied and sometimes remarkable biodiversity that has graced the White House since our first president in 1789. There are of course the usual suspects - dogs, cats and birds - and some not as readily available in your local pet store, including tigers, elephants, and pygmy hippos! The Usual Fare: Dogs, Cats, and…
  • True Detective: Frederick W. True’s lifelong dedication to uncovering the natural history of marine mammals

    13 Feb 2015 | 5:30 am
    This post is a guest post by John Ososky and Nick Pyenson, originally published on the Pyenson Lab blog.The Smithsonian Field Book Project is showcasing Frederick William True in February! This post is follows in a series of blogs and social media content from the Biodiversity Heritage Library, Pyenson Lab, Smithsonian Transcription Center, Smithsonian Archives, and Smithsonian Libraries celebrating #FWTrueLove. Click on these links to the first and second posts; the third one, below, is based on a seminar recently presented by John Ososky (OsteoPrep Lab, Department of Vertebrate Zoology,…
  • Happy Darwin Day!

    12 Feb 2015 | 4:15 am
    Charles Darwin by George Richmond. Cambridge University Library.Today in 1809, Charles Darwin, remembered for his theory of Evolution by means of Natural Selection (which was so eloquently outlined in the 1859 publication On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection) was born. We celebrate this day as Darwin Day.In 2011, BHL released Charles Darwin's Library, a collection of books found in Charles Darwin's personal library, with his hand-written annotations marked-up and indexed. We made a selection of these books available for free download in iTunes U. This year, we've selected…
 
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    Under The Banyan

  • The empty forest where 100+ bird species are feared extinct

    mike shanahan
    23 Feb 2015 | 5:51 am
    Yet another forest is falling quiet with the silence of extinction
  • Dying to save the world

    mike shanahan
    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 of value was broader than any balance sheet. No number could capture for her the […]
  • Frying eggs, flying foxes, dying wasps, crying shame

    mike shanahan
    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 when I heard a biology teacher explain this paradox: “The egg is full of proteins […]
  • In Zambia: A moonbow, an elephant and strange toilet

    mike shanahan
    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 heard the word before, but there it was, like a rainbow in remission. In place […]
  • It will take hundreds of Al Gores or millions of ‘little people’ to overcome the political inertia on climate change

    mike shanahan
    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.
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    Tales from Toriello

  • Luis, a donkey called Rosie and a pair of high heels

    Ian Hicken
    2 Mar 2015 | 1:04 pm
    Yes you read it right...high heels, read on.In the nine years we have written this blog we have never used it as a platform for fundraising but we feel this is such a good cause we want to share with you our idea. Here in Asturias there is a donkey sanctuary that takes care of retired, abused, neglected and older donkeys. It is owned and run by a lovely lady called Marleen Verhoef from the Netherlands. We have known Marleen for about 7 years and really admire what she is trying to do at El Paraiso del Burro - The Donkey Paradise.This Spring Luis will face three tough sporting challenges in an…
  • UPDATE - Bat Rescue

    Ian Hicken
    27 Feb 2015 | 8:00 am
    It has been an eventful few days. Our previous post about finding a drenched and exhausted bat provoked a lot of comment and advice both on the blog and on social media sites. We also contacted various organisations in Spain and the UK that support bat education, research and rescue. In addition we contacted Seprona (Servicio de Protección de la Naturaleza). The advice offered was mixed, some helpful and some not so helpful. In the end we made a decision that we would follow our instinct of minimal intervention and as early release as possible.We continued to offer honey and water via…
  • Rescuing a bat in winter

    Ian Hicken
    23 Feb 2015 | 8:54 am
    The weather has been pretty grim for the past few weeks with many heavy storms, strong winds and cold. Not the best of weather for creatures great or small. On my way to the workshop yesterday morning I spotted something out of the corner of my eye that made an impression in my mind as I carried on and began rummaging through the chest freezer. You know the sort of feeling that you need to take a closer look... On my way out Gawber the cat, who was two steps in front of me, stopped and sniffed at this little dark lump on the ground. I looked closer and saw a tiny bat. My first thought was…
  • A walk to the local nudist beach...

    Ian Hicken
    19 Feb 2015 | 7:14 am
    Following a couple of weeks of grim weather it was great to wake up to bright blue and clear skies and a golden sun that was going to rise high and begin to bring some warmth and much needed energy. Foregoing the pruning of the fruit trees we decided to take the morning off and head for our local nudist beach...Just along the coast is the stunning beaches of Toranda and Torimbia. In the height of summer they do get busy but not packed however, at this time of year it is almost guaranteed they will be deserted. Torimbia is a popular family-focused nudist beach that can only be reached by foot…
  • Preparing the soil for Spring vegetable planting

    Ian Hicken
    14 Feb 2015 | 6:35 am
    We have a crop rotation system here that works well for us. With three large beds we can plot where and when we plant crops to ensure we make best use of companion planting, soil fertility and crop timing. Two of our three beds are still packed with winter crops such as celeriac, leeks, kalettes, cabbage, cauliflower, swede and kale.Following lots of wet weather the ground has dried sufficiently so that we are now able to do some work on the vegetable beds. The third bed was seeded with green manure (oats) back in Autumn, these are now ready to be dug in along with some…
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    ConservationBytes.com

  • Social and economic value of protected areas

    CJAB
    1 Mar 2015 | 7:37 pm
    I’ve just come across an exceptionally important paper published recently in PLoS Biology by a team of venerable conservation biologists led by the eminent Andy Balmford of the University of Cambridge. My first response was ‘Holy shit’, and now that I contemplate the results further, I can now update that sentiment to ‘Holy shit!’. Most people reading […]
  • Earth’s second lung has emphysema

    CJAB
    18 Feb 2015 | 5:20 pm
    Many consider forests as the ‘lungs’ of the planet – the idea that trees and other plants take up carbon and produce oxygen (the carbon and oxygen cycles). If we are to be fair though, the oceans store about 93% of the Earth’s carbon pool (excluding the lithosphere and fossil fuels) and oceanic phytoplankton produces between 50 and 80% […]
  • Bill Laurance wins ‘Outstanding Contributions to Conservation’ prize

    CJAB
    15 Feb 2015 | 3:46 pm
    William Laurance, a distinguished research professor at James Cook University in Cairns, has received the most esteemed prize awarded by the renowned Zoological Society of London. The Society voted unanimously to honour Laurance with its 2015 “Award for Outstanding Contributions to Conservation”, for his longstanding work to save wildlife species and habitats, especially in the […]
  • The Abbott-oir survives another day to wreak more environmental havoc

    CJAB
    8 Feb 2015 | 3:17 pm
    Tone Abbott-oir, easily the most environmentally destructive Prime Minister this country has seen in the modern era, has survived the party room spill for a leadership change. Although 39% of his own Fiberal Party MPs voted to dump him, he remains standing (limping) – for now. I’ve seen rather a lot lately in the Australian media […]
  • Cartoon guide to biodiversity loss XXVIII

    CJAB
    3 Feb 2015 | 10:04 am
    First batch of six biodiversity cartoons for 2015 (see full stock of previous ‘Cartoon guide to biodiversity loss’ compendia here). – Filed under: biodiversity, cartoon, climate change, conservation Tagged: Anthropocene, bees, biodiversity, cartoon, cartoons, climate change, coral reefs, deforestation, extinction, pollination, sustainability
 
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    Conservation

  • Genetically Modified Conservation

    Lindsey Doermann
    2 Mar 2015 | 4:42 pm
    Pamela Ronald wants to use modern genetic techniques to create a new brand of agriculture that slashes insecticide use, increases yield, and thrives in a warmer, wetter world.
  • Invasive Species Cuisine

    Lindsey Doermann
    2 Mar 2015 | 4:39 pm
    Joe Roman, a biologist at University of Vermont, believes we can best tackle outbreaks of non-native species by serving them up—for dinner.
  • Nature-Inspired Design

    Lindsey Doermann
    2 Mar 2015 | 4:36 pm
    Sherry Ritter teams biologists with engineers, architects, designers, chemists, and others to design super-efficient, ecofriendly technology based on nature’s time-tested strategies.
  • Energy Efficiency as a Resource

    Lindsey Doermann
    2 Mar 2015 | 4:33 pm
    Brendan O’Donnell, an analyst at the Rocky Mountain Institute, wants to market energy efficiency as a valuable and abundant grid resource that can be “mined” in place of coal and oil.
  • A New Twist on Capitalism

    Lindsey Doermann
    2 Mar 2015 | 4:29 pm
    Susan Mac Cormac, a corporate lawyer with Morrison & Foerster, helped launch a novel corporate form – a kind of hybrid between a nonprofit and a corporation that has the flexibility to pursue both profits and stewardship.
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