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Ecology / Conservation posts

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  • September 29, 2014
  • 08:52 PM
  • 36 views

There's nothing quite like renewables: Modeling indicates natural gas production will not reduce future greenhouse gas emissions as hoped

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Not so fast natural gas! New modeling using 'commitment' accounting to represent social inertia indicates that natural gas may not reduce emissions as hoped.... Read more »

Steven J Davis and Robert H Socolow. (2014) Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions. Environmental Research Letters, 9(084018). info:/

  • September 29, 2014
  • 06:07 PM
  • 37 views

Cat and Dogs: seeking solutions with sniffing canines and science

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Mia and Julie,  First of all, I LOVE your blog! After meeting at SPARCS this past summer (summer for us in North America.. I take it summer is just beginning in Australia!), I’ve followed it closely.  You do amazing things for the promotion of  canine science. Serious love. A bit of background for the readers: I’m currently doing my PhD at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Simon Gadbois. Dr. Gadbois........ Read more »

  • September 29, 2014
  • 03:04 PM
  • 32 views

Wind Turbines Kill Bats by Impersonating Trees

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Survival tip: don’t hang around machines that have giant spinning blades. It’s a lesson bats have been slow to learn, judging by the large numbers of their corpses found beneath wind turbines. New video footage suggests some bats are attracted to wind farms because they can’t tell turbines apart from trees. If it’s true, this […]The post Wind Turbines Kill Bats by Impersonating Trees appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

Paul. M. Cryan, P. Marcos Gorresen, Cris D. Hein, Michael R. Schirmacher, Robert H. Diehl, Manuela M. Huso, David T. S. Hayman, Paul D. Fricker, Frank J. Bonaccorso, Douglas H. Johnson.... (2014) Behavior of bats at wind turbines. PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.1406672111

  • September 28, 2014
  • 03:37 PM
  • 65 views

The Genetic Evolutionary Arms Race

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Genes are tricky little buggers, the stuff that makes us up has fought the test of time to make it to where we are today. It is thought that our genes changed in an attempt to outpace other life, albeit random changes.That might only be half right however, new findings suggest that there is an evolutionary arms race going on within the genome against, of all things, itself. This inherent competition of primates drove the evolution of complex regulatory networks that orchestrate the activity of ........ Read more »

Jacobs, Greenberg, Nguyen, Haeussler, Ewing, Katzman, Paten, Salama . (2014) An evolutionary arms race betweenKRAB zinc-finger genes ZNF91/93 and SVA/L1 retrotransposons. Nature. info:/10.1038/nature13760

  • September 27, 2014
  • 08:03 PM
  • 73 views

How to Look for Pine Marten

by Denise O'Meara in Denise O'Meara

The pine marten (Martes martes) is one of Ireland’s most beautiful but elusive mammals. It is notoriously difficult to see as it tends to be mostly nocturnal, and is a naturally shy animal. It is about the size of a cat, and in Irish it is actually called the tree cat (cat crainn). The species historically suffered massive population declines due to forest removal in the 16th Century and pine marten were also trapped and killed for their fur, which was worn by the nobility across Europe. I........ Read more »

  • September 26, 2014
  • 02:15 PM
  • 100 views

“GMO” Foods (Once Again) Proven Safe

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

GMO, I shudder every time I hear someone talk about the “dangers”. It’s one of the new buzzwords that doesn’t actually mean anything, but still manages to scare people. Well a new scientific review reports that the performance and health of food-producing animals consuming genetically engineered feed, first introduced 18 years ago, has been comparable to that of animals consuming non-GE feed. Not that this will stop people from spreading fear, but it’s a start.... Read more »

  • September 23, 2014
  • 06:41 PM
  • 61 views

A shale's life: first life cycle assessment of shale gas production in Great Britain

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

A paper has just come out looking at the life cycle impact of shale gas production in Great Britain. At the same time, the author is speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester. A great opportunity for science and policy to unite!... Read more »

  • September 20, 2014
  • 10:15 AM
  • 82 views

Autumn Leaves: More Than Just Pretty Colors

by Kelly Hallstrom in The 'Scope

Why do the leaves change color in the fall? It might not be for the reason you think...... Read more »

Schaefer HM, & Rolshausen G. (2006) Plants on red alert: do insects pay attention?. BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, 28(1), 65-71. PMID: 16369938  

  • September 18, 2014
  • 04:52 PM
  • 110 views

How to Look for Otters

by Denise O'Meara in Denise O'Meara

In the first of a new series of posts about “How to Look for Mammals”, I take a look at one of our semi aquatic species, the Eurasian otter. The Eurasian otter is distributed across Europe and into Eurasia, but it is absent and restricted to small isolated pockets in some European countries. However, the species is slowly starting to recover across Western Europe. Ireland is a stronghold for the otter, and marks the western most point of the otter’s distribution. It is thought........ Read more »

Reid N, Hayden B, Lundy MG, Pietravalle S, McDonald RA, & Montgomery WI. (2013) National Otter Survey of Ireland 2010/12. Irish Wildlife Manuals No. 76. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Dublin, Ireland. info:other/

  • September 18, 2014
  • 08:00 AM
  • 118 views

Pythons and the Land - The Bangladesh Python Project Part IV --Guest Post--

by David Steen in Living Alongside Wildlife

By Jon Hakim

Make sure to start at Part I.

“Snake call!  It's the python.  Are you up?  We got a call for the python.”









The words were almost the same, but I woke up to see that
Caesar's face held a grimace.  The
call he feared had come. 






Let's back up to the night before.



In the last post I left you in a moment of triumph.  Kanai had led four of us right to our
target species... Read more »

Rahman, Shahriar Caesar, & et al. (2013) Monsoon does matter: annual activity patterns in a snake assemblage from Bangladesh. The Herpetological Journal, 203-208. info:/

  • September 17, 2014
  • 01:24 PM
  • 93 views

Biofilms: Using Bacteria for new Designer Nanomaterials

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

For most people biofilms conjure up images of slippery stones in a streambed and dirty drains. While there are plenty of "bad" biofilms around – they are even the same stuff that causes pesky dental plaque and a host of other more serious medical problems – a team of researchers sees biofilms as a robust new platform for designer nanomaterials that could clean up polluted rivers, manufacture pharmaceutical products, fabricate new textiles, and more.... Read more »

Peter Q. Nguyen,, Zsofia Botyanszki,, Pei Kun R. Tay,, & Neel S. Joshi. (2014) Programmable biofilm-based materials from engineered curli nanofibres. Nature Communications. info:/10.1038/ncomms5945

  • September 17, 2014
  • 08:05 AM
  • 124 views

Should I Stay Or Should I Go

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Bacteria can swarm to conquer new territory or settle into structured biofilms, not unlike tribes that are nomadic versus those that build cities. New research indicates has shed light on the mechanics of swarming and biofilm production, including the function of extracellular DNA and secreted polysaccharides. Both biofilms and swarming depend on quorum sensing, and several new papers have identified chemicals that can interrupt quorum sensing in pathogenic bacteria and therefore prevent disease........ Read more »

Gloag ES, Turnbull L, Huang A, Vallotton P, Wang H, Nolan LM, Mililli L, Hunt C, Lu J, Osvath SR.... (2013) Self-organization of bacterial biofilms is facilitated by extracellular DNA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(28), 11541-6. PMID: 23798445  

Alteri CJ, Himpsl SD, Pickens SR, Lindner JR, Zora JS, Miller JE, Arno PD, Straight SW, & Mobley HL. (2013) Multicellular bacteria deploy the type VI secretion system to preemptively strike neighboring cells. PLoS pathogens, 9(9). PMID: 24039579  

  • September 16, 2014
  • 01:20 PM
  • 100 views

GM plants with modified 'eskimo1' gene have increased 'drought tolerance'

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

New study uses siRNA and 35S promoter to regulate multiple genes including ESK1 to improve drought tolerance in Arabidopsis... Read more »

  • September 15, 2014
  • 12:06 PM
  • 90 views

Poop Transplants Let Pack Rats Eat Poison

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Can’t eat poison without dying? Maybe your gut microbes are to blame. Rodents in the Mojave Desert have evolved to eat toxic creosote bushes with the help of specialized gut bacteria. Although scientists had long suspected that bacteria might be key to the rats’ power, they proved it by feeding the rodents antibiotics and ground-up […]The post Poop Transplants Let Pack Rats Eat Poison appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

Kohl KD, Weiss RB, Cox J, Dale C, & Denise Dearing M. (2014) Gut microbes of mammalian herbivores facilitate intake of plant toxins. Ecology letters, 17(10), 1238-46. PMID: 25040855  

  • September 13, 2014
  • 10:14 AM
  • 124 views

Solving the puzzle of Greenland melting 20,000 years ago

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

New computer modeling and experimental ice core data shed light on the mystery of Greenland melting 20,000 years ago. This information will be helpful in refining current climate models.... Read more »

Buizert C, Gkinis V, Severinghaus JP, He F, Lecavalier BS, Kindler P, Leuenberger M, Carlson AE, Vinther B, Masson-Delmotte V.... (2014) Greenland temperature response to climate forcing during the last deglaciation. Science (New York, N.Y.), 345(6201), 1177-80. PMID: 25190795  

  • September 8, 2014
  • 09:05 PM
  • 126 views

The atmosphere and what we eat: significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions predicted for high-calorie diets recommended by USDA

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

New research shows that shifting to recommended, high-calorie USDA diets could increase GHG emissions due to the dairy required to make up for reduced meat/poultry calories. What we eat impacts our long-term environment!... Read more »

  • September 5, 2014
  • 01:56 PM
  • 150 views

Artificial Cells: They’re alive!!

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Frankenstein’s monster was (in the story) a scientific marvel that could not be matched. Growing up with the story, the idea of creating life where there was none was a feat that I had once thought was going to always be science fiction. Maybe this is why I was so surprised when I found out that scientists, using only a few ingredients, have successfully implemented a minimalistic model of the cell that can change its shape and move on its own.... Read more »

Keber, F., Loiseau, E., Sanchez, T., DeCamp, S., Giomi, L., Bowick, M., Marchetti, M., Dogic, Z., & Bausch, A. (2014) Topology and dynamics of active nematic vesicles. Science, 345(6201), 1135-1139. DOI: 10.1126/science.1254784  

  • September 1, 2014
  • 03:12 PM
  • 124 views

The hope behind climate change: adaptation strategies for coastal regions

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Hopeful news on Labor Day! A commentary discusses how IPCC reports have become more optimistic and describes adaptation pathways being used by coastal regions to prepare for climate change.... Read more »

Brown, S., Nicholls, R., Hanson, S., Brundrit, G., Dearing, J., Dickson, M., Gallop, S., Gao, S., Haigh, I., Hinkel, J.... (2014) Shifting perspectives on coastal impacts and adaptation. Nature Climate Change, 4(9), 752-755. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2344  

  • August 31, 2014
  • 11:31 PM
  • 136 views

August lives up to its definition: respected and impressive

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

The things we noticed in and around canine science over the past two weeks, Storified in one neat location for your convenience:[View the story "Do You Believe in Dog? [16-31 August 2014]" on Storify] Further reading:Feuerbacher E.N. (2014). Shut up and pet me! Domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) prefer petting to vocal praise in concurrent and single-alternative choice procedures, Behavioural Processes, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2014.08.019 Gygax L. (2014). The A to Z of sta........ Read more »

  • August 28, 2014
  • 11:48 PM
  • 170 views

A Map to Build Roads to a Better Future

by Yao-Hua Law in TORCH

When I learned that the pesticide DDT–widely toxic and now widely banned–has snaked its way into polar bears and beluga whales, I questioned if any environment remains pristine on terrestrial Earth. Perhaps, the thick, hostile and unyielding rainforests of Borneo might prove a bastion? Then in 2013, satellite images showed roads penetrating deep into Borneo. […]... Read more »

Laurance, W., Clements, G., Sloan, S., O’Connell, C., Mueller, N., Goosem, M., Venter, O., Edwards, D., Phalan, B., Balmford, A.... (2014) A global strategy for road building. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13717  

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