Biodiversity

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  • Some Midwestern Landscapes

    Ohio Birds and Biodiversity
    16 Dec 2014 | 7:51 pm
    A recent project had me going through scads of photos, and in the process I came across a number of landscape images. Some of which I really like, and maybe you will, too. Some of these photos have made their way to this blog in the past; others, not. As always, you can click on the photo to enlarge it.Fall colors at Rhododendron Cove State Nature Preserve, Fairfield County, Ohio. This is an oldie, but to me at least, a goodie. I really like the way that the image came out, even if it was blind luck. It dates to 2007, which for me was the Bronze Age of photography. The image was made with a…
  • South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

    CBD News Headlines
    16 Dec 2014 | 4:00 pm
    JOHANNESBURG- Governments failed to come to a breakthrough agreement at last week's climate summit in Peru. But South African mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to the talks, and says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change.
  • Tropical deforestation could disrupt rainfall globally

    featured news from mongabay.com
    Rhett Butler
    18 Dec 2014 | 9:36 am
    Large-scale deforestation in the tropics could drive significant and widespread shifts in rainfall distribution and temperatures, potentially affecting agriculture both locally and far from where forest loss is occurring, concludes a study published today in Nature Climate Change.
  • Fun with Seeds

    Biodiversity Heritage Library
    18 Dec 2014 | 5:30 am
    Seed and Nursery Catalogs at The New York Botanical GardenThanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), The New York Botanical Garden’s The LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the most comprehensive botanical and horticultural library in the Americas, has recently cataloged all 58,000 items in its Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection. The grant also funded the digitization of public domain pre-1923 American nursery catalogs and their publication to the web.The Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection, one of the largest and most important of its kind in…
  • The winter pantry

    Tales from Toriello
    Ian Hicken
    12 Dec 2014 | 8:32 am
    With winter just around the corner it is always comforting to know that the pantry is full, that there are fresh vegetables in the garden and that the freezers are packed with this year's crops. Despite the long drought of summer we have had a good year for growing crops and where possible we have feasted on fresh from the plot produce, shared excess with friends and preserved or composted the remainder.The vegetable plots are still producing well and we are currently harvesting large white bulbs of Florence fennel, swede, carrots, ruby chard, winter lettuce, leeks, the last of the beetroot…
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    Ohio Birds and Biodiversity

  • Some Midwestern Landscapes

    16 Dec 2014 | 7:51 pm
    A recent project had me going through scads of photos, and in the process I came across a number of landscape images. Some of which I really like, and maybe you will, too. Some of these photos have made their way to this blog in the past; others, not. As always, you can click on the photo to enlarge it.Fall colors at Rhododendron Cove State Nature Preserve, Fairfield County, Ohio. This is an oldie, but to me at least, a goodie. I really like the way that the image came out, even if it was blind luck. It dates to 2007, which for me was the Bronze Age of photography. The image was made with a…
  • Orioles and elms

    13 Dec 2014 | 6:16 pm
    A good-sized American Elm, Ulmus americana, stands alone on a field edge. Its whiskbroom shape is apparent even from afar. I tend to notice big elms, and generally pay them more than a passing glance. The American Elm is still a very common tree in Ohio, but big ones are scarce.In 1928, Dutch Elm Disease was first detected in North America, and it spread like wildfire. It is caused by three species of microfungi, two of which afflict trees on this continent. The fungi is spread by a trio of bark beetles. Once a tree is infected, the tree attempts to thwart the spread of the invader by…
  • Red-headed Woodpeckers plundering acorns

    11 Dec 2014 | 7:20 pm
    This juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker was one of many busily harvesting acorns today at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area. Oak of several species are plentiful throughout the 9,000+ acre wildlife area, and every woodlot has its complement of woodpeckers. This was a banner year for the acorn crops, so there is lots of work for the red-heads.Red-headed Woodpeckers cache food, and they were industriously wedging acorns into nooks and crannies of various granary trees. Assuming the birds can remember their locations, and I'm sure they do, for the most part, these acorns will be welcome foodstuff during…
  • Skunk "hikes" egg

    8 Dec 2014 | 6:46 pm
    You can probably file the following video under strange things almost no one ever gets to see.The beloved Striped Skunk, those handsome if not occasionally malodorous black and white beasts, are well known for their digging propensities. If skunks are about, and hungry, it is common to see the aftermath of their hunting: small divots pawed into the ground where the animals have dug out tasty beetle grubs or other fare.But a skunk is not a one-trick pony when it comes to feeding skills. They'll take about anything they can find, and that includes eggs. If, for instance, a skunk stumbles into a…
  • Woolly-bears make bad meteorologists

    5 Dec 2014 | 7:22 pm
    Ah, the Woolly-bear, Pyrrharctia isabella, America's most beloved caterpillar. The tubular little beasts are impeccably zoned into neat patterns of burnt-orange and black, making for a darn good-looking larva. Woolly-bears are also undoubtedly the most widely recognized of North America's thousands of species of caterpillars, and that's due to their supposed ability to prognosticate the coming winter weather. The wider the orange band, the milder the winter, so the folklore goes. If that were true the bear in this photo would be calling for a balmy winter.Not to burst any bubbles, or cast…
 
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    featured news from mongabay.com

  • Tropical deforestation could disrupt rainfall globally

    Rhett Butler
    18 Dec 2014 | 9:36 am
    Large-scale deforestation in the tropics could drive significant and widespread shifts in rainfall distribution and temperatures, potentially affecting agriculture both locally and far from where forest loss is occurring, concludes a study published today in Nature Climate Change.
  • Children 'clean' oil spill with kitchen utensils in the Sundarbans

    Jeremy Hance
    15 Dec 2014 | 10:17 am
    On December 9th, a tanker slammed into another vessel along the Shela River in the world's largest mangrove forest: the Sundarbans in Bangladesh. The tanker sank, spilling an estimated 75,000 gallons (350,000 liters) of fuel oil into waterways that are a part of a reserve for threatened Ganges river dolphins and Irrawaddy dolphins.
  • New film highlights local resistance to Nicaragua's canal

    Jeremy Hance
    11 Dec 2014 | 9:10 am
    This fall, filmmakers Tom Miller and Nuin-Tara Key with Pretty Good Productions found themselves in Nicaragua where they heard about a stunning project: the Gran Canal. Approved last year, the canal is meant to compete with the Panama Canal to the south. Built by a Chinese company, it will cut through 278 kilometers, destroying forests and driving through the largest freshwater body in Central America.
  • To collect or not to collect? Experts debate the need for specimens

    Jeremy Hance
    10 Dec 2014 | 11:30 am
    In 1912, a group of intrepid explorers led by Rollo and Ida Beck, widely acknowledged to be the foremost marine bird collectors of their time, embarked on a most remarkable effort to catalogue South America's oceanic birds. Museums of the day held opportunistically collected specimens from scattered sources, but rarely did these include ocean-bound birds that spent little time near the coast.
  • Indigenous leader murdered before he could attend Climate Summit

    Jeremy Hance
    8 Dec 2014 | 9:06 am
    Days before José Isidro Tendetza Antún was supposed to travel to the UN Climate Summit in Lima to publicly file a complaint against a massive mining operation, he went missing. Now, the Guardian reports that the body of the Shuar indigenous leader has been found, bound and buried in an unmarked grave on the banks of the Zamora River.
 
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    Biodiversity Heritage Library

  • Fun with Seeds

    18 Dec 2014 | 5:30 am
    Seed and Nursery Catalogs at The New York Botanical GardenThanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), The New York Botanical Garden’s The LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the most comprehensive botanical and horticultural library in the Americas, has recently cataloged all 58,000 items in its Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection. The grant also funded the digitization of public domain pre-1923 American nursery catalogs and their publication to the web.The Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection, one of the largest and most important of its kind in…
  • We Need Books to…Identify New Species

    17 Dec 2014 | 5:30 am
    This month, we’re publishing a series of blog posts outlining the importance of biodiversity literature, made available for free and open access through the Biodiversity Heritage Library, to today’s scientific research and conservation initiatives. With your help, we can help save biodiversity. The Science of Identifying Life on EarthThere are an estimated 8.75 million species on earth, of which almost 2 million have been described. Scientists classify about 18,000 new species per year, meaning that it may take hundreds of years to create a complete species catalog.Short-eared Owl.
  • Latino Natural History: Recognizing the contributions of Latino naturalists

    16 Dec 2014 | 5:30 am
    While there are plenty of accounts on the natural history of Latin America, many of the best-known stories are from the point of view of outsiders, especially those from the age of extensive European exploration. The new exhibition “Latino Natural History” aims to turn the focus to a few notable naturalists of Latin American origin, and recognizing the work they did to further the study of the world’s flora and fauna.Some of the featured naturalists, like Puerto Rican American ornithologist and artist Louis Agassiz Fuertes, were greatly celebrated by their peers and beyond. However,…
  • We Need Books to Save Biodiversity

    12 Dec 2014 | 5:30 am
    This month, we’re publishing a series of blog posts outlining the importance of biodiversity literature, made available for free and open access through the Biodiversity Heritage Library, to today’s scientific research and conservation initiatives. With your help, we can help save biodiversity. The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is revolutionizing the way scientific research is conducted by providing free and open access to biodiversity literature and archives representing over 500 years of scientific exploration, research, and discovery.What’s so special about Historic…
  • Image Loading Restored

    11 Dec 2014 | 8:09 am
    Services at Internet Archive have been restored after an outage due to a storm. BHL images are now loading properly. Thanks for your patience!
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    Tales from Toriello

  • The winter pantry

    Ian Hicken
    12 Dec 2014 | 8:32 am
    With winter just around the corner it is always comforting to know that the pantry is full, that there are fresh vegetables in the garden and that the freezers are packed with this year's crops. Despite the long drought of summer we have had a good year for growing crops and where possible we have feasted on fresh from the plot produce, shared excess with friends and preserved or composted the remainder.The vegetable plots are still producing well and we are currently harvesting large white bulbs of Florence fennel, swede, carrots, ruby chard, winter lettuce, leeks, the last of the beetroot…
  • Caqui, Hachiya, Sharon Fruit, Persimmon...

    Ian Hicken
    8 Dec 2014 | 6:32 am
    We really look forward to this time of year when the local Caqui trees offer up their bright orange, plump fruit. There are one or two trees growing locally yet not many people eat the fruit. This means that we are often gifted a basket full in various stages of ripeness.The Caqui (as it's known in Spain) is full of vitamins, minerals and tannins and is considered as the divine fruit. There are two types, the astringent and non-astringent varieties. The ones that grow in Spain are mainly the astringent variety which need to be picked when unripe and left to ripen slowly. Eat them before they…
  • Distractions on a deserted beach

    Ian Hicken
    4 Dec 2014 | 5:58 am
    Returning to Asturias after an extended period spent in the UK, one thing I look forward to is walking on one of Asturias' many unspoilt and deserted beaches. Apart from a few weeks in summer the beaches here are peaceful, free from crowds and perfect for letting your thoughts to and fro in rhythm with the ebb and flow of the tide.We have had lots of wet weather of late and the temperatures have dropped but it doesn't stop us making the most of briefest of sunny spells and seeking distraction on our local beaches.A walk on the beach is the perfect opportunity to find exciting pebbles, sea…
  • Working with a chainsaw - evaluating the Log Master

    Ian Hicken
    1 Dec 2014 | 7:48 am
    Last week we spoke about the acquisition of a new bit of kit - a Log Master. We have now used it and here is what we think.Before our evaluation, just to let you know, we have no commercial interest in this product, just a personal wish to stay as safe as possible and as free from injury whilst using dangerous equipment. You should always carry out your own research, read instructions and take note of health and safety issues before using any tools or machinery.We tend to process a lot of wood each year despite buying the bulk of it already cut to an appropriate length. We are often gifted…
  • Autumnal jobs around the garden - the working area

    Ian Hicken
    27 Nov 2014 | 7:49 am
    Every season brings with it the need to keep on top of work in and around the garden. Autumn is especially busy for us. Surrounded by mature trees, we have many fallen leaves to collect which provide us with leaf mold for the following year. The colours of autumn are especially vivid this year prompted by an extended warm and dry period followed by cooler and damper weather.Our main working area in the garden is down by the potting shed. When we first came here we built a partition hedge/fence around it made out of coppiced twigs, branches and logs: an idea we saw first used at Worsborough…
 
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    ConservationBytes.com

  • It’s time for environmentalists to give nuclear a fair go

    CJAB
    15 Dec 2014 | 4:44 pm
    This is an article by Barry Brook and me, published today in The Conversation. I’m republishing it here. – Should nuclear energy be part of Australia’s (and many other countries’) future energy mix? We think so, particularly as part of a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent dangerous climate change. But there are other reasons for […]
  • An Open Letter to Environmentalists on Nuclear Energy

    CJAB
    14 Dec 2014 | 2:45 pm
    Professor Barry W. Brook, Chair of Environmental Sustainability, University of Tasmania, Australia. barry.brook@utas.edu.au Professor Corey J.A. Bradshaw, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change, The Environment Institute, The University of Adelaide, Australia. corey.bradshaw@adelaide.edu.au An Open Letter to Environmentalists: As conservation scientists concerned with global depletion of biodiversity and the degradation of the human life-support system […]
  • Psychological toll of being a sustainability scientist

    CJAB
    7 Dec 2014 | 5:35 pm
    Like many academics, I’m more or less convinced that I am somewhere on the mild end of the autism spectrum. No, I haven’t been diagnosed and I doubt very much that my slight ‘autistic’ tendencies have altered my social capacity, despite my wife claiming that I have only two emotions – angry or happy. Nor have […]
  • Using ecological theory to make more money

    CJAB
    30 Nov 2014 | 5:27 pm
    Let’s face it: Australia doesn’t have the best international reputation for good ecological management. We’ve been particularly loathsome in our protection of forests, we have an appalling record of mammal extinctions, we’re degenerate water wasters and carbon emitters, our country is overrun with feral animals and weeds, and we have a long-term love affair with archaic, […]
  • Why engaging in civil disobedience was my obligation as a scientist, parent and citizen

    CJAB
    24 Nov 2014 | 5:06 pm
    Another engaging post from Alejandro Frid, Canadian ecologist and modern moral compass. I also recommend that you check out his new book ‘Storms and Stillness: An ecologist’s search for optimism through letters to his young daughter‘. See Alejandro’s previous posts on ConservationBytes.com here, here, here, here, here and here. – Harper’s conservative government is working hard to turn Canada […]
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    Conservation

  • How polluted is your morning commute?

    Roberta Kwok
    18 Dec 2014 | 6:00 am
    City-dwellers are constantly exposed to pollution, which can contribute to heart and respiratory problems. But commuters may be getting a particularly big dose on their way to and from work. Drivers are breathing more polluted air, especially when diesel vehicles such as trucks and school buses are nearby, researchers say. “[E]xposures during daily commutes may
  • First find the whales, then you can save them

    Jason G. Goldman
    17 Dec 2014 | 5:00 am
    Killer whales, or orcas, can be found in just about every corner of the planet’s oceans, from the frigid poles to the much more comfortable Equator. One population of killer whales that plies the waters around the Iberian peninsula – which overlaps genetically with those spotted in the Canary Islands – has been designated by
  • Is nuclear power key to biodiversity?

    Dave Levitan
    16 Dec 2014 | 6:00 am
    The discussion surrounding the future of our energy supply tends to focus on carbon emissions. This is logical and probably the right way to look at things, given that climate change caused by those carbon emissions is the backdrop for virtually every other environmental (and geopolitical, and health, and economic, and so on) issue we
  • To avoid multiple threats, leopards have to be crafty cats

    Jason G. Goldman
    12 Dec 2014 | 5:00 am
    Where there are people, expect to find few leopards. That’s because the apex predator suffers from hunting for their pelts, from habitat loss and fragmentation, and from retaliatory killings due to real or imagined losses of human or livestock lives. Similarly, where there are tigers, expect to find few leopards. In this case, it’s because
  • How to attract birds to your yard

    Roberta Kwok
    11 Dec 2014 | 6:00 am
    What’s the best way to encourage native birds to visit your backyard? Surprisingly, the answer may not be bird feeders. Instead, planting evergreen trees and fruit-bearing shrubs could be a more effective approach. When people think of green space in cities, parks usually come to mind. But residents’ yards could offer a sprinkling of connected
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