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Ecology / Conservation posts

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  • October 7, 2013
  • 08:00 AM

The Only Good Dog is a Dead Dog: Why it Doesn't Make Sense to Kill Venomous Snakes in your Yard

by David Steen in Living Alongside Wildlife

    We have often discussed here on this blog how and why killing snakes whenever and wherever you see one is a questionable land ethic. But, in the past I conceded that I understand why people would kill venomous snakes when they are found in their backyards because of the perceived threat to their families. Prompted by some comments left on a recent blog post, I’ve reflected on this a bit ... Read more »

  • October 4, 2013
  • 02:00 PM

The tide turns against unsustainable fishing techniques in Madagascar

by Aileen Cudmore in Natural Reactions

A social marketing campaign in southwest Madagascar has encouraged locals to abandon destructive fishing techniques in favour of more sustainable methods. ... Read more »

Gildas Andriamalala, Shawn Peabody, Charlie J. Gardner, & Kame Westerman. (2013) Using social marketing to foster sustainable behaviour in traditional fishing communities of southwest Madagascar. Conservation Evidence, 37-41. info:other/5192

  • October 4, 2013
  • 09:37 AM

Leave Them Bee- The Honeybees That Fearfully Avoid Hornets

by Charlotte Elston in The Plantwise Blog

In bees, fear is shown through avoiding dangerous food sites, thereby reducing the pollination of plants at the site. Scientists in this study looked at hornets (Vespa velutina and Vespa tropica) preying on the Asian honeybee (Apis cerana) in China. The hornets hunt bees on flowers and are themselves attacked by bees in defense. The […]... Read more »

  • October 3, 2013
  • 06:34 PM

Take a walk on the wild side: Dingo science

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Image: Bradley SmithHi Mia and Julie,As one of the few in the world exploring the ‘mind’ of the dingo, the highly controversial wild dog of Australia, I consider myself quite a rare ‘breed’ of scientist. So I thought I would let you know about some of the recent work I have done with dingoes, including a few world first discoveries. It seems dingoes are becoming just as famous for solving problems as they are for causing them!I find the differences between the way wild and domestic dogs ........ Read more »

  • October 3, 2013
  • 11:13 AM

Butterbutt biology: warblers, migration and mitochondria | @GrrlScientist

by GrrlScientist in GrrlScientist

A non-migratory population of songbirds appear to have acquired mitochondria by interbreeding with their close relatives that are migratory, thus allowing these birds to migrate too... Read more »

Toews David P. L., Mandic Milica, Richards Jeffrey G., & Irwin Darren E. (2013) Migration, Mitochondria and the Yellow-rumped Warbler. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/evo.12260  

Brelsford Alan, Mila Borja, & Irwin Darren E. (2011) Hybrid origin of Audubon’s warbler. Molecular Ecology, 20(11), 2380-2389. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05055.x  

  • October 2, 2013
  • 02:00 PM

Blackbirds see the dark side of light at night

by Aileen Cudmore in Natural Reactions

Light pollution in urban areas is leading to disruptions in the daily and seasonal rhythms of European blackbirds as a result of reduced melatonin production at night.... Read more »

  • October 2, 2013
  • 08:30 AM

Can Cats and Coyotes Co-Exist?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Photo: taviphoto/Shutterstock In parts of north America, some people keep their cats indoors because of the risk of predation by coyotes. Outdoors cats must co-exist with them, if they can. Yet very little is known about the risk to cats from coyotes, and the extent to which populations overlap. A fascinating study of free-roaming cats in Chicago (Gehrt et al 2013) provides answers to these questions.Chicago is one of the largest cities in north America with a human population of over 8 mil........ Read more »

  • October 1, 2013
  • 12:55 PM

Mice Mark Their Territory with Song

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Like warring street-corner troubadours, certain mice sing to claim their territory. They may not get any tips in their guitar cases, but by knowing where it's safe to sing, they keep the whole neighborhood harmonious.

Two related species of singing mice share the mountains of Costa Rica and Panama. One, Scotinomys teguina or Alston's singing mouse, lives at lower altitudes and is widespread in the forests of Central America. The other species, Scotinomys xerampelinus or the Chiriquí si........ Read more »

  • October 1, 2013
  • 11:25 AM

Hydraulic Fracturing Sites Can Be Used For Greenhouse Gas Storage

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

A University of Virginia engineering professor has proposed a novel approach for keeping waste carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.... Read more »

  • September 30, 2013
  • 09:15 AM

Electric Versus Diesel: A Study of Electric Trucks in Urban Delivery Applications Published

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

According to a study by Georgia Tech researchers, the advantages of electric versus diesel depend largely on how the trucks will be used—the frequency of stops and average speeds—and the source of electricity for charging batteries. In city driving with frequent stops, the electric trucks clearly outperform diesel vehicles, while diesel vehicles show better efficiency in suburban routes.... Read more »

  • September 29, 2013
  • 10:22 AM

Ecology Determines Rabies Infection in Bats

by Jim Ryan in Wild Mammals

A new approach to rabies virus epidemiology in bats shows that the risk of infection is higher in large and multispecies colonies. The research, published on the journal PLOS ONE, was led by Jordi Serra-Cobo, professor from the Department of Animal Biology at the UB and the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio).

Bats are a large group of mammals that appeared in our planet around 65 million years ago (Figure 1). They have colonized many natural habitats —except the poles—, a........ Read more »

Jordi Serra-Cobo,, Marc López-Roig,, Magdalena Seguí,, Luisa Pilar Sánchez,, Jacint Nadal,, Miquel Borrás,, Rachel Lavenir,, & Hervé Bourhy. (2013) Ecological Factors Associated with European Bat Lyssavirus Seroprevalence in Spanish Bats. PLOS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064467.t003  

  • September 27, 2013
  • 11:28 AM

China’s New SNG Power Plants Will Emit A Lot of Greenhouse Gas

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Coal-fired synthetic natural gas, or SNG, power plants that are being planned in China would produce seven times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional natural gas plants. These SNG power plants will also use up to 100 times the water as shale gas production, according to a new study by Duke University researchers.... Read more »

Chi-Jen Yang, Robert B. Jackson. (2013) China’s Synthetic Natural Gas Revolution. Nature Climate Change, 852-854. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1988  

  • September 27, 2013
  • 10:12 AM

by Nura Rutten in United Academics

Climate-saviors are not only the Greenpeace activist type of people. You also have the honeybees and the mules, for example. What would you consider yourself?... Read more »

  • September 27, 2013
  • 07:36 AM

Study: CNG Powered Buses Are Cheaper and Greener

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

CNG (compressed natural gas), a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline and diesel fuel, emits significantly less pollutants than petrol. Due to the recent abundance in natural gas supply, the local bus system could reduce its costs and emit significantly fewer pollutants by converting to CNG powered buses, Purdue University energy economist Wally Tyner reports in a study.... Read more »

  • September 26, 2013
  • 10:26 AM

Scientist Challenges Popular Perception of Biofulel Carbon Neutrality

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

A new paper in the journal Climatic Change takes on the widespread but scientifically simplistic perception of biofuel carbon neutrality.... Read more »

  • September 25, 2013
  • 10:52 AM

Just Another Day (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Cassie Apostolou The zooplankton picture on the left was provided by the EPA at Wikimedia Commons. The human picture on the right was provided by Cassie Apostolou.Check out the two pictures above. It doesn’t look like those two animals share a lot in common, right? Obviously the two organisms don’t look alike and the zooplankton (the odd looking microorganism creature in the left picture) lives in water and us humans typically like to stay dry on land. But if you dig a little deeper than ........ Read more »

Haney, J.F. (1988) Diel Patterns of Zooplankton Behavior. Bulletin of Marine Science, 43(3), 583-603. info:/

  • September 24, 2013
  • 11:42 AM

Coloring In Birds' Bellies with Magic Marker Makes Them Healthier

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Remember when you were a kid and the magic marker boxes always had some sort of really elaborate drawing on the back? As if to say, "Buy these eight wide-tip Mr. Sketches and you, too, will be able to create a photorealistic portrait of a scarlet macaw"? But when you bought the markers and tried to copy the picture, it always came out as a stupid magic marker bird? You might have gotten more realistic results by coloring directly on a real animal. Some scientists tried this, and changed the b........ Read more »

  • September 23, 2013
  • 09:38 AM

by Florian Hartig in Theoretical Ecology

With colleagues from the INNGE-network, we performed a survey showing that early-career ecologists need and want more quantitative training ( Following Florian’s invitation, I elaborate on (1) the reasons why we performed the survey in the first place and (2) what was found. I add some personal thoughts on our teaching culture as compared to other disciplines.... Read more »

Frédéric Barraquand, Thomas H G Ezard, Peter S Joergensen, Naupaka Zimmerman, Scott A Chamberlain, Roberto Salguero-Gómez, Timothy J Curran, Timothée Poisot. (2013) Lack of quantitative training among early-career ecologists: a survey of the problem and potential solutions. PeerJ PrePrints. info:/10.7287/peerj.preprints.53v1

  • September 23, 2013
  • 08:00 AM

Cougars and Wolves in the East: Where Would They Live? --Guest Post--

by David Steen in Living Alongside Wildlife

    In my first post to this blog, I made the ecological case for returning the top predators, wolves and cougars, to the eastern United States. I argued that the eastern ecosystem needed their star actors to make it all work. In ending, I posed several questions that needed to be addressed beyond the ecological necessity of bringing back cougars and wolves. The first of these was: Can wolves ... Read more »

  • September 23, 2013
  • 05:55 AM

Journal Club: PCBs cause birds to sing a different tune

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: Low level exposures to PCBs cause neurological changes in birds that alter a critical behaviour: birdsong ... Read more »

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