Biodiversity

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  • Gulls drop clam bombs

    Ohio Birds and Biodiversity
    26 Mar 2015 | 6:51 pm
    Herring Gulls are ubiquitous fixtures along the New Jersey coast, and on my recent trip to Barnegat Light and vicinity I fired off many shots of the handsome birds. It isn't hard - the gulls often sit at near arm's length, and regard us humanoids with steely yellow gazes. The bird above is an adult Herring Gull, still in its winter plumage. They don't shift feathers much between summer and winter, but nonbreeders become dingy about the head and neck, and the colors of the bill and orbital ring around the eye become less pronounced.Here's a bird that has transformed into breeding finery, and…
  • Threatened Lynx Are Understudied by Scientists: Report

    CBD News Headlines
    26 Mar 2015 | 5:00 pm
    Lynx and other big cats belonging to the family Felidae are currently threatened with habitat loss and fragmentation, and yet these animals are largely understudied by scientists, hindering any possible conservation efforts, according to a new report.
  • Photos: expedition to Amazon’s white sands may have found new primate

    featured news from mongabay.com
    Jeremy Hance
    24 Mar 2015 | 2:11 pm
    Most people think of the Amazon rainforest as one massive, homogenous ecosystem—a giant castle of green. However, within the Amazon rainforest lie a myriad of distinct ecosystems, sporting unique characteristics and harboring endemic species. One of the rarer ecosystems in the Amazon is the white sands forest.
  • RIP Mr Lee Kuan Kuan Yew

    The Biodiversity Crew @ NUS
    otterman
    23 Mar 2015 | 6:37 am
    “Mr Lee Kuan Yew dedicated his entire life in service of our nation and its people. His leadership was always marked by hope and a sense of collective purpose, inspiring us all to work towards an ever better Singapore. We mourn the passing of an eminent alumnus, an inspirational leader, and a Singapore icon. Our thoughts are with PM and Mrs Lee, and the Lee family during this difficult time.” – Prof Tan Chorh Chuan, NUS President “NUS and Singapore have lost a great man. As Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his team transformed an island with no natural resources into a thriving,…
  • What's Up with Seed Catalogs in BHL?

    Biodiversity Heritage Library
    27 Mar 2015 | 10:00 am
    Cole's Garden Annual. 1892. From the BHL Seed and Nursery Catalog Collection.We've spent a fun-filled week exploring the history, art, and science of gardening with our Garden Stories event. Seed and nursery catalogs and lists played a starring role in our campaign, allowing us to explore the world of gardening through the instruments that informed, documented, shaped, and transformed the industry.As our journey this week has demonstrated, seed and nursery catalogs and lists allow us to trace the development of the seed industry, agriculture, and the home garden, documenting the rise,…
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    Ohio Birds and Biodiversity

  • Gulls drop clam bombs

    26 Mar 2015 | 6:51 pm
    Herring Gulls are ubiquitous fixtures along the New Jersey coast, and on my recent trip to Barnegat Light and vicinity I fired off many shots of the handsome birds. It isn't hard - the gulls often sit at near arm's length, and regard us humanoids with steely yellow gazes. The bird above is an adult Herring Gull, still in its winter plumage. They don't shift feathers much between summer and winter, but nonbreeders become dingy about the head and neck, and the colors of the bill and orbital ring around the eye become less pronounced.Here's a bird that has transformed into breeding finery, and…
  • More astrophotography

    22 Mar 2015 | 7:25 pm
    Yesterday marked the 14th rendition of the annual Shreve Migration Sensation. I was flattered to be asked back to speak; this go-round my topic was the wetlands of Wayne County. The SMS takes place in the village of Shreve, population about 1,500. During SMS, that number swells to about 3,000. It's a big event, and great for the local economy. Thanks to everyone who organizes the Sensation, and puts in the hard work to make it happen.As you may have learned, predicting weather and atmospheric phenomena is hardly an exact science. Knowing that I'd be in Wayne County until late in the day, I…
  • Cormorant battles giant fish!

    19 Mar 2015 | 6:27 am
    The ominous - to a fish, anyway - black silhouettes of Great Cormorants, Phalacrocorax carbo, adorn a marker at the entrance to Barnegat Bay in New Jersey. This large species of cormorant has the widest distribution of any cormorant species, occurring in Australia, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In North America, Great Cormorants breed only in maritime zones of the North Atlantic, from Greenland south to Maine. Wintering birds move south into the mid-Atlantic region.For interior-dwelling landlubbers used to seeing Double-crested Cormorants, P. auritus, the comparatively massive Great Cormorants…
  • The Harlequin Ducks of Barnegat Light, New Jersey

    17 Mar 2015 | 8:21 pm
    The long stone breakwall at Barnegat Light, New Jersey is a famous birding spot. When I find myself in that part of the world, a visit is irresistible. Such was the case last weekend, when a trip to nearby eastern Pennsylvania provided the chance for a whirlwind Barnegat trip. In little more than a day, I clicked off several thousand images, and got some really cool stuff.Barnegat Light's namesake lighthouse is WAY down there at the end of the breakwall. The parking lot is by the lighthouse, so it's a bit of a haul to get down to where I made this photo, but the birds get better the further…
  • Mothapalooza - registration open!

    11 Mar 2015 | 7:24 pm
    Registration for Mothapalooza is open! It actually opened almost two weeks ago, but I'm only now getting around to plugging it. Of the 140 available slots, there are only 30 left, so you'll want to get in on this REAL DARN FAST!In the photo above, attendees at Mothapalooza I (the coming one is Mothapalooza III) gather around a lit sheet, admiring myriad mysterious denizens of the nighttime forest who have fluttered into the flame.This year's Mothapalooza returns to the moth-filled haunts of Shawnee State Forest, and the Edge of Appalachia Preserve in southernmost Ohio. The region is a…
 
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    featured news from mongabay.com

  • Photos: expedition to Amazon’s white sands may have found new primate

    Jeremy Hance
    24 Mar 2015 | 2:11 pm
    Most people think of the Amazon rainforest as one massive, homogenous ecosystem—a giant castle of green. However, within the Amazon rainforest lie a myriad of distinct ecosystems, sporting unique characteristics and harboring endemic species. One of the rarer ecosystems in the Amazon is the white sands forest.
  • Who's funding palm oil?

    Rhett Butler
    18 Mar 2015 | 6:12 pm
    Palm oil may be the single most important crop that you never heard of. A vegetable fat that resembles reddish butter at room temperature, palm oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree. Both nutritious and highly versatile, palm oil is now an important component of products ranging from biofuels and food to soaps and cosmetics. Estimates indicate that as much as 50 percent of the products used by the average Western consumer every day contain palm oil or its derivatives.
  • Discovery of 'Lost City' spurs conservation pledge

    Jeremy Hance
    18 Mar 2015 | 9:15 am
    Earlier this month, National Geographic made big news: the discovery of what it called a 'lost city' below the thick jungles of Honduras. While the coverage has led to scientists crying sensationalism, it also resulted this week in a commitment of protection by the Honduras President, Juan Orlando Hernández, for a long-neglected portion of the country.
  • New study argues the Anthropocene began in 1610

    Jeremy Hance
    11 Mar 2015 | 12:50 pm
    In 1610, William Shakespeare began penning one of his greatest plays, The Tempest, which some critics view as a commentary on European colonization of far-away islands and continents. Along those lines, a study today in Nature argues that 1610 is the first year of the human-dominated epoch, known as the Anthropocene, due to the upheavals caused by the 'discovery' of the New World.
  • Human impacts are 'decoupling' coral reef ecosystems

    Jeremy Hance
    9 Mar 2015 | 8:06 am
    There is a growing consensus among scientists that we have entered the age of the Anthropocene, or the epoch of humans. In other words, at some point between the 12,000 years separating the beginning of agriculture and the Industrial Revolution, humans became the dominant source of change on the planet, shaping everything from the land to the atmosphere to even the geologic record where we etch our reign.
 
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    The Biodiversity Crew @ NUS

  • RIP Mr Lee Kuan Kuan Yew

    otterman
    23 Mar 2015 | 6:37 am
    “Mr Lee Kuan Yew dedicated his entire life in service of our nation and its people. His leadership was always marked by hope and a sense of collective purpose, inspiring us all to work towards an ever better Singapore. We mourn the passing of an eminent alumnus, an inspirational leader, and a Singapore icon. Our thoughts are with PM and Mrs Lee, and the Lee family during this difficult time.” – Prof Tan Chorh Chuan, NUS President “NUS and Singapore have lost a great man. As Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his team transformed an island with no natural resources into a thriving,…
  • Talk: Weevils with weapons: alternative mating tactics & exaggerated trait evolution in brentine weevils

    marcuschua
    23 Mar 2015 | 1:09 am
    With the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum now located halfway across the Kent Ridge campus and the advent of common labs at S3 and S14, catching up with the rest of the NUS Biodiversity Crew isn’t as convenient as the corridor talk that used to happen at S2. However, I learnt about Spider Lab’s new postdoctoral research fellow – Chrissie Painting – and her work in Singapore through twitter, where she frequently posts images of her field sightings, specimens, and quips about Science. Chrissie will be working on jumping spider sexual selection, and will be giving a…
  • Internship position open for mammal outreach and research

    weiting
    3 Mar 2015 | 3:09 am
    Do you have an interest in mammals? Want to learn more about wildlife and contribute to conservation in Singapore? The NUS Common Palm Civet Research Team seeks an intern to help with outreach, research and public education activities for 2015. An urban common palm civet (Photo by Xu Weiting) Duties and responsibilities Assist with the administration, communication, and implementation of outreach and public education activities e.g. setting up a common palm civet resource website and designing materials for public education Maintenance of the common palm civet blog and Facebook page, and…
  • “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)…
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    Biodiversity Heritage Library

  • What's Up with Seed Catalogs in BHL?

    27 Mar 2015 | 10:00 am
    Cole's Garden Annual. 1892. From the BHL Seed and Nursery Catalog Collection.We've spent a fun-filled week exploring the history, art, and science of gardening with our Garden Stories event. Seed and nursery catalogs and lists played a starring role in our campaign, allowing us to explore the world of gardening through the instruments that informed, documented, shaped, and transformed the industry.As our journey this week has demonstrated, seed and nursery catalogs and lists allow us to trace the development of the seed industry, agriculture, and the home garden, documenting the rise,…
  • “'Tis A Gift To Be Simple” But to Have a Splendid Garden Buy Shaker Seeds

    27 Mar 2015 | 5:30 am
    Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community Meetinghouse  (photo by Gerda Peterich for the Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; HAB SME,3-SAB,1—1) The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, a religious sect commonly referred to as the Shakers, was founded in 18th-century England from a branch of the Quakers. Along with other newly formed devotional groups, they soon immigrated to colonial America. There they established as their economic foundation a variety of cottage industries that thrived throughout the 19th and into the…
  • Revolutionizing the Garden Industry with Art: Part Two

    26 Mar 2015 | 10:00 am
    J. Horace McFarland. Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee. J. Horace McFarland’s name is little known today. In the early twentieth century, however, he was a prominent figure in American horticulture and the nascent environmental movement. McFarland (1859-1948) was a master printer, horticulturist, and conservationist, whose Harrisburg, Pennsylvania printing company specialized in horticultural trade publications. He was particularly noted for his use of photographs and color photoengraving in nursery and seed trade catalogs.As a boy, McFarland learned the nursery trade by…
  • Revolutionizing the Garden Industry with Art: Part One

    26 Mar 2015 | 5:30 am
    The Seed Industry Blossoms in AmericaSeventeenth and eighteenth-century America had established nurseries—George Fenwick’s in Connecticut in the 1640s, John Bartram’s in Philadelphia (approximately 1729) and Robert Prince’s on Long Island (1737)—that traded plants to and from Europe. The owners were accomplished botanists and plant collectors. They and their successors played a great role in horticulture and floriculture introductions and trends during the colonial period and even during the War of Independence, choosing, making available and distributing specimens and seeds for…
  • Leading Ladies in the World of Seeds: Part Two

    25 Mar 2015 | 10:00 am
    A Garden Stories celebration for Women's History MonthSeed Catalogs to Inform Botanical Research Carrie H. Lippincott (featured in our previous post) exploited the potential that seed catalogs offer in a business setting. Ethel Z. Bailey recognized the potential of seed catalogs in an entirely different application: cultivated plant research.Ethel Zoe Bailey in 1905.Ethel Z. Bailey, daughter of Liberty Hyde Bailey (botanist, a foremost leader in American horticulture, and the first dean of Cornell University's College of Agriculture) and Annette Smith Bailey, was born in Ithaca, New York on…
 
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    Under The Banyan

  • Announcing my book: Ladders to Heaven

    mike shanahan
    5 Mar 2015 | 9:50 am
    I have spent the past ten years writing a book about an extraordinary group of plants that have affected humanity in profound yet little-known ways. I am therefore delighted to announce today that Unbound will publish Ladders to Heaven: How fig trees shaped our history, fed our imaginations and can enrich our future. These trees […]
  • 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 […]
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    Tales from Toriello

  • Sourcing and storing wood for Winter 2015 - 2016.

    Ian Hicken
    21 Mar 2015 | 10:50 am
    This year we had had a colder and wetter Winter than what we normally experience at La Pasera here by the Asturian coast.We are still using the central heating other than on the very few warm and pleasant days when burning a few logs in the evening helps remove what otherwise would be a chill in the air as we relax at home in the evenings. During the day, daytime temperatures can reach into the lower 20 Celsius.We occasionally are given an old fruit tree from a neighbour's orchard that would supplement the bulk of the wood we buy from a local wood merchants. After several months of firing our…
  • Walking in Asturias: Carria Peak in Winter

    Ian Hicken
    15 Mar 2015 | 10:31 am
    This is one of the latest Winter walks I recently did with the  Peña Santa walking group as part of my ongoing training for the three challenges I will undertake this Spring to raise money for the Donkey Paradise.Going out with the group when your orienteering skills are not very good is a good opportunity to walk across some beautiful valleys and mountains as was the case with this stunning walk I did on a beautiful and sunny Winter's day in the area locally known as Ponga which lies next to the Picos National Park.In Ponga the mountains are lower that those found in the…
  • Winter flowers showing Spring is on its way.....

    Ian Hicken
    9 Mar 2015 | 1:35 pm
    A few flowers from the garden, hedgerow and mountains....Peace, harmony and tranquility....
  • 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…
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    ConservationBytes.com

  • Australians: out-of-touch, urban squanderers

    CJAB
    22 Mar 2015 | 6:58 pm
    There’s a romantic myth surrounding Australia that is pervasive both overseas and within the national psyche: this sun-scorched continent home to stoic bushmen1 that eek out a frugal, yet satisfying existence in this harsh rural land. Unfortunately that ideal is anathema to almost every Australian alive today. While some elements of that myth do have a basis […]
  • Australia’s perfect storm of negligence

    CJAB
    16 Mar 2015 | 11:12 pm
    If, for the purposes of some sick and twisted thought experiment, you were to design policies that would ensure the long-term failure of a wealthy, developed nation, you wouldn’t have to look farther than Australia’s current recipe for future disaster. I’m not trying to be provocative, but the warning signs are too bold and flashy to […]
  • Avoiding genetic rescue not justified on genetic grounds

    CJAB
    11 Mar 2015 | 6:43 am
    I had the pleasure today of reading a new paper by one of the greatest living conservation geneticists, Dick Frankham. As some of CB readers might remember, I’ve also published some papers with Dick over the last few years, with the most recent challenging the very basis for the IUCN Red List category thresholds (i.e., […]
  • 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% […]
 
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    Conservation

  • $1.34 billion per year could save 841 endangered species

    Jason G. Goldman
    27 Mar 2015 | 5:00 am
    The Mount Lefo brush-furred mouse, Lophuromys eisentrauti, is a species that is simultaneously one of the most highly endangered and most likely to become extinct very soon. That’s primarily because it’s found only in one place: Mount Lefo, in western Cameroon. There’s also the Tahiti monarch Pomarea nigra, a bird from French Polynesia, and Turkey’s
  • ‘Bee hotels’ have unwanted guests

    Roberta Kwok
    26 Mar 2015 | 6:00 am
    It sounds like an adorable conservation idea: Create “bee hotels” where threatened native pollinators can nest and boost their numbers. These man-made abodes, which typically contain tubes or hole-riddled wood or plastic for the bees, have become popular projects among environmentally-minded folks. But these well-meaning hoteliers may not be helping native bees as much as
  • 70% of Earth’s forests lie within one kilometer of an edge

    Jason G. Goldman
    25 Mar 2015 | 5:00 am
    It’s not news that concrete is carving up the world into individual sections, forests becoming individually wrapped nature treats, each with its own micro-communities. The ability of animals to travel from one forest patch to another is severely hampered by cars and trucks. Wildlife underpasses and overpasses are good solutions to the problem, but only
  • Thoroughly urban Millie – millipede, that is

    Sarah DeWeerdt
    24 Mar 2015 | 5:00 am
    A newly described species of millipede is found only within the city limits of Launceston, located on the northern coast of the main island of Tasmania, challenging common assumptions about the suitability of cities for unusual wildlife species. Tasmaniosoma anubis is about 1 centimeter long, with a pale, yellowish-brown body and a darker, reddish-brown head,
  • Birders and hunters could be partners in conservation

    Jason G. Goldman
    20 Mar 2015 | 5:00 am
    Before people will care about nature and wildlife, they have to experience nature and wildlife. That’s the assumption held by many researchers, nature educators, and conservationists. It’s a common idea: to drive behavioral change such as recycling, donation to conservation causes, and so on, people must first engage emotionally with the environment. If that’s true,
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