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Ecology / Conservation posts

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  • May 6, 2013
  • 05:13 PM

Zeal to ensure clean leafy greens takes bite out of riverside habitat in California

by Liza Lester in EcoTone

As consumers, we like to hear that produce growers and distributers go above and beyond food safety mandates to ensure that healthy fresh fruits and vegetables do not carry bacteria or viruses that can make us sick. But in California’s Salinas Valley, some more vigorous interventions are cutting into the last corners of wildlife habitat, without evidence of food safety benefits, creating tensions between wildlife preservation and food safety where none need exist.... Read more »

Sasha Gennet, Jeanette Howard, Jeff Langholz, Kathryn Andrews, Mark D Reynolds, & Scott A Morrison. (2013) Farm practices for food safety: an emerging threat to floodplain and riparian ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, e-View ahead of print(May 6th). info:/10.1890/1202443

  • May 6, 2013
  • 01:04 PM

The Aspens that were left behind

by Jes in Biogeography Bits

When climates change, species move. It’s a fact of life on Earth and probably has been for the past 542 million years, even when species don’t have legs or wings or fins to get them from place to place.

Quaking aspen is one example of a seemingly stationary species that has managed in just the past 20,000 years to expand into the largest range of any native North American tree.... Read more »

  • May 6, 2013
  • 12:14 PM

Paper Suggests Ways to Develop Hydrocarbons in the Amazon With Minimal Environmental Impact

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Hydrocarbon development in the Western Amazon Basin continues to gain momentum. A group of scientists has recently published a paper that outlines ways to save the unique ecosystem of the largest rainforest in the world by reducing the negative impact of oil and gas projects.... Read more »

  • May 5, 2013
  • 05:22 AM

The (Lack of) Changes in Ecological Research

by gunnardw in The Beast, the Bard and the Bot

Ecology is a rapidly changing, dynamic field of research. In recent decades, there’s been a major shift from considering ecosystems as stable and poised to seeing them as systems that are in constant flux. At least, that’s what ecologists want (us) to believe. But how much of this claimed change has been able to seep [...]... Read more »

Carmel, Y., Kent, R., Bar-Massada, A., Blank, L., Liberzon, J., Nezer, O., Sapir, G., & Federman, R. (2013) Trends in Ecological Research during the Last Three Decades – A Systematic Review. PLoS ONE, 8(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059813  

  • May 4, 2013
  • 03:30 PM

The Boar Truth

by Denise O'Meara in A dribble of knowledge

A new study by McDevitt et al. 2013 examines the genetic origins of the illegally released wild boar in Ireland, and finds that they are mostly domestic pig and not genetically pure wild boar. ... Read more »

McDevitt, A., Carden, R., Coscia, I., & Frantz, A. (2013) Are wild boars roaming Ireland once more?. European Journal of Wildlife Research. DOI: 10.1007/s10344-013-0721-z  

  • May 3, 2013
  • 05:48 PM

Scatological Scents

by Mini Watsa in SurroundScience

Ever since tamarins were first captured from the wild to serve as research models in laboratories, we have been curious about their use of odour for communication. These miniature monkeys … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 2, 2013
  • 05:39 PM

Jumping off of bridges

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

No man is an island, entire of itself.  Although we like to think of our decisions occurring in a vacuum, in reality we’re bombarded with information on how other people are deciding all the time.  It would be shocking if our decisions weren’t influenced by the behavior of other people – and, obviously, a wide range [...]... Read more »

  • May 1, 2013
  • 04:43 PM

Indian house crows and invasive aliens

by Colin Beale in Safari Ecology

Indian House Crow, not the prettiest... Thanks to Dick Daniels There are very few birds I don't like to see, but today's common bird is an exception - the Indian House Crow, Corvus splendens. Actually, that's probably slightly untrue, as I have been to India and I was perfectly happy to see the species there. In East Africa, however, this is not a species I'm ever happy to see. Not because there aren't interesting things to say about it, of course, but because it really belongs in India and seem........ Read more »

Duncan, R., Cassey, P., & Blackburn, T. (2009) Do climate envelope models transfer? A manipulative test using dung beetle introductions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276(1661), 1449-1457. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1801  

  • May 1, 2013
  • 10:28 AM

Two Enzymes Are Better Than One, Study Finds

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Researchers from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that two approaches to breaking down cell walls of biomass, if used together, are more effective than either method alone.... Read more »

  • May 1, 2013
  • 09:27 AM

The Craptastic Conversations of the Black Rhinoceros

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

What are you saying with your smells? Image by communicate in all kinds of ways: with vocalizations, body language, vibrations, and even odors. In fact, compared to most species, we are pathetic in our abilities to communicate with body odor. With just a whiff of eau de crotch, many animals can decipher that individual’s species, sex, age, health status, reproductive status, emotional state, and dietary history. Some species can go so far as to make out that indiv........ Read more »

  • April 30, 2013
  • 01:18 PM

Whale Turns Down Its Hearing When Expecting Loud Sounds

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

We can knit sweaters for oiled penguins, but it's harder to protect whales and dolphins from the harm of having us as neighbors. Loud underwater sounds from activities like sonar and drilling may damage these animals' hearing and even lead to mass strandings. Though we can't chase cetaceans around with homemade earmuffs, we might be able to teach them to tune us out.

Like squinting or letting one's pupil shrink in bright light, some animals can adjust how sensitive their ears are. When we're........ Read more »

  • April 30, 2013
  • 12:30 PM

The Climatic Origins of the Malaysian Nipah Virus Outbreak

by Rebecca Kreston in BODY HORRORS

One of the hardest questions to answer in an infectious disease outbreak investigation is "Why?"

Why then? Why there? These questions can be almost impossible to answer - not only because of their heady metaphysical nature but also because of the difficulty of assessing the minute interactions between microbe, environment and human host. Public health officials are often left shrugging their shoulders, half-heartedly admitting to an unsatisfied public that they just don't know ........ Read more »

  • April 29, 2013
  • 03:29 AM

Hybrid Chimps in European Zoos

by Gunnar de Winter in United Academics

Our close evolutionary cousin, the common chimpanzee, comes in four subspecies, each one named after its location along an East-West band in Africa. Yet, there are chimps outside of Africa as well. Many European zoos possess a group of chimpanzees, which often plays a part in conservation plans. After all, the populations of our primate brothers are in steep decline. Habitat destruction, bushmeat hunting, pet trade and disease all take their to... Read more »

  • April 26, 2013
  • 07:11 AM

Intelligent Whales Have Their Own Culture

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

Whales already were one the most fascinating and intelligent creatures we know and they now also appear to work together in adapting to their environments. Just like us, they give each other tips. Is it in their songs?... Read more »

  • April 25, 2013
  • 09:00 AM

Researching Adélie penguins

by Amy Whitehead in Amy Whitehead's Research

April 25 is World Penguin Day and what better way to celebrate than a look at how I spend my summers, researching Adélie penguins.... Read more »

  • April 25, 2013
  • 07:59 AM

Rivers Carry Away Waste Heat Form Power Plants at a Cost to the Environment

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Two computer models developed by the scientists from the University of New Hampshire show a detailed picture of how thermal power stations interact with climate, hydrology, and aquatic ecosystems. For example, models suggest that while rivers serve as “horizontal cooling towers” that provide an important service to the regional electricity sector, this comes at a cost to the environment.... Read more »

  • April 25, 2013
  • 12:43 AM

A room with a view: what do dogs want?

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Putting the woof in tweet! (source)Hi Julie,Wow! Thanks for sharing the amazing fun tweet-week we had posting for @realscientists on Twitter. It was great to engage with so many people about so many areas of dog (and other animal!) behaviour and research. And poo. So many questions about dog poo!  Some things can be relied upon in life; it’s good to know people are always curious about dog poo.If you want to revisit any of those posts or links we exchanged as part of the Real Scienti........ Read more »

  • April 22, 2013
  • 09:11 PM

Nature is cool but we have to take care of it

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main point:

Researchers have found that rivers act as the natural “horizontal cooling towers” for thermoelectric power plants but it needs attention to take care of its environment from the artificial disturbing sources.


Environmental Research Letters

Study Further:

In thermoelectric power plants, water is boiled to create steam to produce electricity by driving turbines. This raises the temperature and to cut the temperature, water is withdrawn and evaporated........ Read more »

  • April 22, 2013
  • 11:18 AM

A Moment in the Sun for Biomimicry

by Whitney Campbell in Green Screen

Already inspired by botany, solar panels imitate photosynthesizing plants with their conversion of the sun's light into usable energy. Through this process, flowers and shrubs seem effortlessly self-sustaining, but designers of solar panels must innovate ways to capture with a cell what plants can innately.... Read more »

Barr, M., Rowehl, J., Lunt, R., Xu, J., Wang, A., Boyce, C., Im, S., Bulović, V., & Gleason, K. (2011) Direct monolithic integration of organic photovoltaic circuits on unmodified paper. Advanced Materials, 3500-3505. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201101263  

King, R., Law, D., Edmondson, K., Fetzer, C., Kinsey, G., Yoon, H., Sherif, R., & Karam, N. (2007) 40% efficient metamorphic GaInP∕GaInAs∕Ge multijunction solar cells. Applied Physics Letters, 183516. DOI: 10.1063/1.2734507  

Krogstrup, P., Jørgensen, H., Heiss, M., Demichel, O., Holm, J., Aagesen, M., Nygard, J., & Fontcuberta i Morral, A. (2013) Single-nanowire solar cells beyond the Shockley–Queisser limit. Nature Photonics, 306-310. DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2013.32  

  • April 19, 2013
  • 07:02 PM

Friday Fellow: Touch-me-not

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll It’s been a long time since I updated the blog, as you might have noticed, but time is really something I don’t have much lately. I just came back from Argentina yesterday after taking part in … Continue reading →... Read more »

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