Biodiversity

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  • A trip to the prairies (or what's left of them)

    Ohio Birds and Biodiversity
    23 Jul 2014 | 5:51 pm
    A summer would be incomplete without a visit to the scraps of remaining prairie west of Columbus. A few sites like the above, tiny 1/2 acre Bigelow Cemetery, are all that remain of the formerly vast Darby Plains, which covered some 385 square miles. My generation must make do with postage stamp-sized museum pieces. Once Deere unleashed his chisel plow, game over for the prairies. What was once a botanical wonderland full of an incredible floristic diversity, with attendant abundant animal life, has been pulverized by the plow. Over 99% of Ohio's original prairie has been converted to the Big…
  • New Indian government takes promising steps on agriculture, water and climate

    CBD News Headlines
    23 Jul 2014 | 5:00 pm
    Riding high on a populist mandate but facing growing concerns of a slowdown in the economy and a rising fiscal deficit, last week Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the new Indian government's first annual budget, attempting a delicate balancing act that reforms populist subsidies while providing additional income to the common man through increased tax exemptions.
  • Reuters reporter discusses the extinction crisis with Stuart Pimm

    The Pimm Group
    pgadmin
    27 Jun 2014 | 7:40 am
    Dr. Stuart PimmReuters reporter Ben Gruber sat down with Dr. Stuart Pimm to discuss the implications of a recent paper on extinction in Science Magazine he lead-authored, published at the end of May 2014. In this recorded video story, Pimm discusses how he determined the current rate of the extinction and compared it to the extinction of the dinosaurs millions of years ago. He noted that deforestation, overfishing, pollution, and excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from industrialization are the leading causes. But he also notes that, just as human beings are the cause of this latest…
  • Desperate measures: researchers say radical approaches needed to beat extinctions

    featured news from mongabay.com
    Morgan Erickson-Davis
    24 Jul 2014 | 12:05 pm
    Today, in the midst of what has been termed the “Sixth Great Extinction” by many in the scientific community, humans are contributing to dizzying rates of species loss and ecosystem changes. A new analysis suggests the time may have come to start widely applying intensive, controversial methods currently used only as “last resort” strategies to save the word’s most imperiled species.
  • Mon 11 Aug 2014: 2.00pm @ DBS Conf Rm II: Zeng Yiwen on “Natural and anthrogenic interactions between freshwater crabs & crayfish”

    The Biodiversity Crew @ NUS
    weiting
    21 Jul 2014 | 7:38 pm
    Qualifying Examination “Natural and Anthropogenic Interactions between Freshwater Crabs and Crayfish” Zeng Yiwen Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS Supervisor: Asst Prof. Darren Yeo Mon 11 Aug 2014: 2.00pm DBS Conference Room II (S2 Level 3, Mezzaine) All are welcome Abstract – “Freshwater crabs and crayfish are functionally similar decapod crustaceans that are distributed in land waters of every continent except Antarctica. The global distribution of the two groups is to a large extent mutually exclusive, apart from a few areas of overlap (sympatry).
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    Ohio Birds and Biodiversity

  • A trip to the prairies (or what's left of them)

    23 Jul 2014 | 5:51 pm
    A summer would be incomplete without a visit to the scraps of remaining prairie west of Columbus. A few sites like the above, tiny 1/2 acre Bigelow Cemetery, are all that remain of the formerly vast Darby Plains, which covered some 385 square miles. My generation must make do with postage stamp-sized museum pieces. Once Deere unleashed his chisel plow, game over for the prairies. What was once a botanical wonderland full of an incredible floristic diversity, with attendant abundant animal life, has been pulverized by the plow. Over 99% of Ohio's original prairie has been converted to the Big…
  • Lesser Grapevine Looper

    20 Jul 2014 | 8:13 pm
    A Lesser Grapevine Looper, Eulithis diversilineata, rests under your narrator's porch lights.I found myself chained to my desk today, writing, writing, writing. Come nightfall, I took a break to see if any interesting lepidopterans had stopped in at the porch lights. Sure enough, the little oddity above was camped out on the wall. I was quite pleased, and rushed to get the camera. Lesser Grapevine Loopers are common, but I had no good photos of one, and here was the opportunity to remedy that!Note the bizarrely curled abdomen, a very distinctive posture in this species. I suppose it is some…
  • A Wood Frog, in the woods

    17 Jul 2014 | 12:47 am
    A Wood Frog, Lithobates sylvatica, peeks from a leafy shelter in a Geauga County woodland. These small frogs are conspicuous in early spring, when mating orgies occur in vernal pools. The males belt out their ducklike quacks, which can be heard for considerable distances.As spring progresses, and rolls into summer, the frogs become much less conspicuous. One occasionally encounters a Wood Frog by sheer happenstance, as we did in this case.I dropped to the leaf litter, to see if the little frog would allow me better views, and photos. It did, and we can see the ornate detail that makes the…
  • A prairie comes to life

    14 Jul 2014 | 7:55 pm
    This is the approximate view from my office, in a very urban part of Columbus, Ohio. In 2012, this lush growth of wildflowers was barren mowed lawn, largely lacking in life. BORING, and not at all environmentally friendly.I approached the powers-that-be, and cajoled them into allowing us to work with Bob Kehres and Ohio Prairie Nursery to plant the one-third acre grass-scape to prairie. We did so in May 2013, and Voila! I took the photo above today, of the prairie in its second growing season. An incredible transformation has taken place, and the prairie will only grow better with age, like a…
  • Butterfly Workshop recap

    13 Jul 2014 | 8:45 pm
    Yesterday, the Midwest Native Plant Society hosted a Butterfly Workshop in this building - the Caesar Creek Visitor Center, owned and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The facility is a fabulous venue for hosting such events, and is convenient to Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and lots of other places. We had about 105 attendees, mostly from Ohio, but also Indiana, Florida, and Kentucky. Major thanks go to the Army Corps for making the building available for such events, and to ranger Kim Baker for acting as our host. Linda Romine, also with the Corps, was also a great help.The…
 
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    The Pimm Group

  • Reuters reporter discusses the extinction crisis with Stuart Pimm

    pgadmin
    27 Jun 2014 | 7:40 am
    Dr. Stuart PimmReuters reporter Ben Gruber sat down with Dr. Stuart Pimm to discuss the implications of a recent paper on extinction in Science Magazine he lead-authored, published at the end of May 2014. In this recorded video story, Pimm discusses how he determined the current rate of the extinction and compared it to the extinction of the dinosaurs millions of years ago. He noted that deforestation, overfishing, pollution, and excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from industrialization are the leading causes. But he also notes that, just as human beings are the cause of this latest…
  • Zoe Jewell and Sky Alibhai of WildTrack Profiled in Duke Environment Magazine

    pgadmin
    9 Apr 2014 | 3:26 pm
  • VIDEO: Microsoft Research’s Lucas Joppa Discusses Computational Ecology and Conservation

    pgadmin
    29 Dec 2013 | 12:38 pm
    Lucas Joppa, Photo by Microsoft ResearchIn a revealing interview, linked at the bottom of this post, Lucas Joppa of Microsoft Research discusses how he came to unite his passion for conservation with the tools of computational ecology to help protect the world’s biodiversity. He also details how the models he helped developed have influenced conservation decision-making, including how remote sensing, spatial data, and modeling helped him and other scientists conclude that 67% of plant species live on just 17% of the earth’s land, a very important finding for conservation science.
  • Jenkins joins Brazil’s Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (IPÊ)

    pgadmin
    29 Oct 2013 | 7:01 am
    Clinton JenkinsClinton Jenkins (2002) has joined the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (IPÊ) (Institute for Ecological Research), a Brazilian-born NGO located in Nazaré Paulista, São Paulo state, Brazil. Jenkins will continue his current research program, while focusing more on the Atlantic Coastal Forest biodiversity hotspot. A new line of research will be assessing how the land use around the Cantareira System of water reservoirs affects water quality. The Cantareira System is an interlinked series of water reservoirs that supply water to about 9 million people in São Paulo. A…
  • Video: Microsoft Research’s Lucas Joppa’s “A Prediction Engine for the Planet”

    pgadmin
    17 Oct 2013 | 12:01 pm
    Lucas Joppa (2009) presents a fascinating modeling and prediction program with important applications for science, conservation, and biodiversity. Developed as part of his work at Microsoft Research, Joppa’s Prediction Engine for the Planet serves “is a computational system capable of delivering predictions about key planetary parameters – from biodiversity to carbon, and from the climate to crop yields – in the browser and on the cloud.” You can learn more about Microsoft Research and Lucas’ work by clicking here.
 
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    featured news from mongabay.com

  • Desperate measures: researchers say radical approaches needed to beat extinctions

    Morgan Erickson-Davis
    24 Jul 2014 | 12:05 pm
    Today, in the midst of what has been termed the “Sixth Great Extinction” by many in the scientific community, humans are contributing to dizzying rates of species loss and ecosystem changes. A new analysis suggests the time may have come to start widely applying intensive, controversial methods currently used only as “last resort” strategies to save the word’s most imperiled species.
  • Next big idea in forest conservation: Reconnecting faith and forests

    Jeremy Hance
    24 Jul 2014 | 9:34 am
    'In Africa, you can come across Kaya forests of coastal Kenya, customary forests in Uganda, sacred forest groves in Benin, dragon forests in The Gambia or church forests in Ethiopia...You can also come across similar forest patches in South and Southeast Asia including numerous sacred groves in India well-known for their role in conservation of biological diversity,' Dr. Shonil Bhagwat told mongabay.com.
  • Over-depleted and undermanaged: can Indonesia turn around its fisheries? (Part III)

    Tiffany Roufs
    22 Jul 2014 | 11:18 am
    Compared to maritime ministries worldwide, Indonesia's Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) is a teenaged neophyte. The governing body was formed a mere 13 years ago;a staggering fact for a country made up of two-thirds water where many of the 250 million people depend on fish for both protein and income. Mongabay.org's SRI Fellow Melati Kaye reports on the state of Indonesian fisheries in the third installment of a four-part series.
  • Is there hope for bonobos? Researchers, NGOs, gov't officials, local communities band together to save iconic ape (Part III)

    Morgan Erickson-Davis
    18 Jul 2014 | 11:57 am
    Sankuru Nature Reserve was established in 2007 primarily for bonobo protection. The largest continuous protected great ape habitat in the world, Sankuru is still losing large swaths of forests to burning and other activities, primarily along roads that transect the center of the reserve. However, hope exists, both from human efforts – and from the apes themselves.
  • Boom but mostly bust: fighting over sardines in Indonesia's Bali Strait (Part II)

    Tiffany Roufs
    18 Jul 2014 | 10:09 am
    Fifty-five crewmen, stripped to their briefs, sing Madurese sea shanties to synchronized gestures as they haul in giant seine nets, hand-over-hand, onto the swaying wooden deck of the M/V Sinar Indah out in the middle of the Bali Strait. This morning they had offloaded a bumper haul at their homeport of Muncar: seven tons of lemuru sardines Sardinella lemuru, the local specialty, for which dockside cannery agents offered $3,500.
 
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    Biodiversity Heritage Library

  • 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…
  • From Billions to None: The Story of the Passenger Pigeon

    15 Jul 2014 | 5:30 am
    Ohio, 1854. A dense, black shadow begins to creep across the northern edges of the horizon, slowly but incessantly blotting out a bright cerulean sky. Residents take notice, and pour out of their homes and businesses to stare in wide-eyed awe and trepidation at the phenomena edging towards them.Hours pass, and the sky is hurled into unwavering darkness. Finally, as the day fades, the sun itself succumbs to this nameless power.Men and women fall to their knees in prayer, begging for deliverance from the Revelational apocalypse. A thundering roar, like the beating of a million drums, assaults…
  • Once There Were Billions: Heath Hen

    9 Jul 2014 | 7:00 am
    To help tell the story of four extinct bird species, BHL and the Smithsonian Libraries co-curated an exhibition--Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America--at the National Museum of Natural History.  The exhibit runs through October 2015 and provides insights into the fragile connections between species and their environment.  If you're not in the area, you can still enjoy the online exhibit or browse digital versions of the select exhibit books in BHL. You can also follow along here on the BHL blog where we're showcasing each of the four species, starting with the…
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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

  • 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…
  • July in bloom

    Ian Hicken
    3 Jul 2014 | 10:32 am
    Flowers are an important aspect of any garden, from the insignificant to the big, bright and bold, flowers are special.Flowers attract insects, aid pollination, create scent, display colour and provide structure and form and, they are beautiful to look at.The flowers at La Pasera change throughout the months but July is certainly a time when the brightest, boldest and showiest blooms arrive. So much so, the smaller, delicate flowers often get overlooked.The next time you are in the borders, look a little closer, stare a little deeper and you just might see a diamond amongst many other gems, a…
 
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    ConservationBytes.com

  • 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…
  • Western Australia’s moronic shark cull

    Corey Bradshaw
    3 Jul 2014 | 4:44 pm
    A major media release today coordinated by Jessica Meeuwig in Western Australia makes the (obvious) point that there’s no biological justification to cull sharks. – 301 Australian and International Scientists experts have today provided their submission to the Western Australia Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), rejecting the scientific grounds for the proposed three-year drum-line programme. Coordinating scientist, Professor Jessica Meeuwig from the University of Western Australia said: “To have over 300 researchers, including some of the world’s top shark…
  • New Threatened Species Commissioner lacks teeth

    Corey Bradshaw
    2 Jul 2014 | 1:14 am
    This is not Gregory Andrews Published today on ABC Environment. – Greg Hunt, the Coalition Government’s Minister for the Environment, today announced what appears to be one of the only environmental promises kept from their election campaign in 2013: to appoint a Threatened Species Commissioner. The appointment is unprecedented for Australia – we have never had anything remotely like it in the past. However, I am also confident that this novelty will turn out to be one of the position’s only positives. My scepticism is not based on my personal political or philosophical…
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    Conservation

  • 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
  • Using Google Trends to gauge climate change perception

    Jason G. Goldman
    23 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
    Climate change is happening. There’s no question about it, despite what some news media outlets would have you believe. To mitigate or adapt to the effects of climate change, it is prudent to understand how people learn about climate-related issues in the first place. Corey Lang is a researcher in the Department of Environmental and
  • Is kosher seafood an accidental eco-label?

    Dave Levitan
    22 Jul 2014 | 6:00 am
    Eco-labeling, from Fair Trade to Organic and beyond, has proliferated rapidly in recent years. Seafood is a particularly interesting arena for this type of labeling: many markets now drop different types of fish into categories like “good” or “avoid” based on the supposed sustainability of the fishery. Though there have been questions whether the labels
  • A roadmap for reconciling food security and conservation

    Jason G. Goldman
    18 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
    Too often, the needs of an increasing population are at odds with the needs of the environment. More people means more mouths to feed. That, in turn, means that we need more land for agriculture. Since there’s only a finite amount of dry land on our planet, we’re increasingly converting forests and jungles into farms
  • Hungry dogs ravaging sea turtle nests

    Roberta Kwok
    17 Jul 2014 | 6:00 am
    In the farming village of Colola, Mexico, many families have dogs that help guard the house and fields. But these canine companions also wreak havoc on the nests of threatened sea turtles at a nearby beach, gobbling up eggs as a way to compensate for a lack of food at home. There are roughly 700
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