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Ecology / Conservation posts

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  • February 5, 2015
  • 09:10 AM

Climate Change: Heatwaves and Poverty in Pakistan

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

The 2010 floods were among the worst that Pakistan has experienced in recent decades. Sadly, the country is prone to recurrent flooding which means that in any given year, Pakistani farmers hope and pray that the floods will not be as bad as those in 2010. It would be natural to assume that recurring flood disasters force Pakistani farmers to give up farming and migrate to the cities in order to make ends meet. But a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change by Valerie Mueller ........ Read more »

  • February 4, 2015
  • 07:04 PM

How to keep the lights on when the fossil fuels are gone

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

My second guest post at the Eyes on Environment blog at Nature's Scitable network. Check out how policy and technology will help integrate renewables into the electrical grid.... Read more »

  • February 2, 2015
  • 07:19 PM

We can predict the chaos in climate change only so well

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

New analysis in Nature shows that differences in actual and modeled temperature trends are due to natural variability in Earth's climate over short timescales. Read the details here!... Read more »

  • February 2, 2015
  • 10:12 AM

Melatonin is Not a Magic Pill

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

European hamsters showed us that there is more to annual body rhythms than melatonin. Image by Agnieszka Szeląg at Wikimedia Commons.Many animals undergo seasonal physiological changes in order to ensure that their babies are born during a time of more abundant food and milder weather and to help their bodies prepare for harsh winter conditions. In order to precisely time these physiological changes with the seasons, most animals have evolved to respond to the most reliable marker for time of y........ Read more »

Monecke, S., Sage-Ciocca, D., Wollnik, F., & Pevet, P. (2013) Photoperiod Can Entrain Circannual Rhythms in Pinealectomized European Hamsters. Journal of Biological Rhythms, 28(4), 278-290. DOI: 10.1177/0748730413498561  

  • February 2, 2015
  • 03:30 AM

Silent witnesses: investigating wildlife crime in Scotland

by naturallyspeakingpodcast in Naturally Speaking Podcast

Welcome to the latest Naturally Speaking blog post. This post was written by Research Associate Caroline Millins a qualified veterinary pathologist and researcher in wildlife disease epidemiology. Here Caroline describes work that was featured in her most recent research paper, but also gives the broader story to becoming involved in wildlife pathology. Silent witnesses: investigating wildlife crime in Scotland Seeing wildlife […]

... Read more »

Millins, C., Howie, F., Everitt, C., Shand, M., & Lamm, C. (2014) Analysis of suspected wildlife crimes submitted for forensic examinations in Scotland. Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology, 10(3), 357-362. DOI: 10.1007/s12024-014-9568-1  

  • February 1, 2015
  • 03:48 PM

Alternatives to antibiotics in an antibiotic resistant world

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Let’s be honest, we’ve been getting a little fancy with the antibiotics, creating new and more relevant versions of old favorites like penicillin. Truthfully, we are the problem, how many times do we have to drive home the idea that antibiotics are for bacteria, not viruses. It is not all the consumers fault, the Doctors used to hand out antibiotics to placate angry parents of sick children.... Read more »

WHO. (2014) Antimicrobial resistance. World Health Organization . info:other/

Lewis NE, Hixson KK, Conrad TM, Lerman JA, Charusanti P, Polpitiya AD, Adkins JN, Schramm G, Purvine SO, Lopez-Ferrer D.... (2010) Omic data from evolved E. coli are consistent with computed optimal growth from genome-scale models. Molecular systems biology, 390. PMID: 20664636  

Tellería-Orriols JJ, García-Salido A, Varillas D, Serrano-González A, & Casado-Flores J. (2014) TLR2-TLR4/CD14 polymorphisms and predisposition to severe invasive infections by Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Medicina intensiva / Sociedad Espanola de Medicina Intensiva y Unidades Coronarias, 38(6), 356-62. PMID: 24144680  

Sulakvelidze, A., Alavidze, Z., & Morris, J. (2001) Bacteriophage Therapy. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 45(3), 649-659. DOI: 10.1128/AAC.45.3.649-659.2001  

Reardon, S. (2014) Phage therapy gets revitalized. Nature, 510(7503), 15-16. DOI: 10.1038/510015a  

Matsuzaki, S., Uchiyama, J., Takemura-Uchiyama, I., & Daibata, M. (2014) Perspective: The age of the phage. Nature, 509(7498). DOI: 10.1038/509S9a  

Corie Lok. (2001) Antibiotic resistance switched off. Nature. info:/10.1038/news010322-4

  • January 30, 2015
  • 11:30 AM

City Rabbits, like Humans, Live in Smaller Homes

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Imagine you're on a particularly boring leg of a road trip and you start counting houses. You pass through long stretches of country without counting anything. When you do see houses, they're clustered into towns, and may have spacious yards with tire swings. As you approach a city (finally!), rows of houses appear at regular intervals instead of clumping. And in the heart of the city they shrink into little apartments that go by too fast for you to count. European rabbits, it turns out, b........ Read more »

  • January 30, 2015
  • 07:00 AM

Friday Fellow: ‘Orange Jaguar Snail’

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Last week I introduced a land planarian that feeds on land snails, Obama ladislavii, or, as I called it, the Ladislau’s flatworm. Therefore, today, I thought it would be great to present a similar situation occurring … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 30, 2015
  • 05:41 AM

Highway to Marine Science: the Seas of Norden

by sceintists from the Marine group at CEES in Marine Science blog

Europe and other funding agencies are very attentive to interdisciplinarity and trans-sectoral activities. Their ever growing demand for multi- and trans-disciplinary science is reaching such a level that making Ecology and getting funding for it becomes a challenge. Is there a way around it?

... Read more »

Paasche, �., Österblom, H., Neuenfeldt, S., Bonsdorff, E., Brander, K., Conley, D., Durant, J., Eikeset, A., Goksøyr, A., Jónsson, S.... (2015) Connecting the Seas of Norden. Nature Climate Change, 5(2), 89-92. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2471  

  • January 28, 2015
  • 03:08 PM

Everyday chemical exposure leads to early menopause

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Seems like everything is killing us these days. Well ladies, you have one more thing that is causing you problems. New research has shown that women whose bodies have high levels of chemicals found in plastics, personal-care products, common household items and the environment experience menopause two to four years earlier than women with lower levels of these chemicals.... Read more »

Grindler, N., Allsworth, J., Macones, G., Kannan, K., Roehl, K., & Cooper, A. (2015) Persistent Organic Pollutants and Early Menopause in U.S. Women. PLOS ONE, 10(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116057  

  • January 26, 2015
  • 01:26 PM

The Bed Bug’s Piercing Penis (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Rachael Pahl Sex is a dangerous, but necessary, part of life. Across the animal kingdom, there are a multitude of things that can go wrong. You could be injured in a fight by someone who wants to steal your mate, or maybe your partner eats you because you’re taking too long. Either way, nature must have a pretty good reason for the traumatizing effects of sex. A male bed bug traumatically inseminates a female. Image by Rickard Ignell at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciencespo........ Read more »

Morrow, E., & Arnqvist, G. (2003) Costly traumatic insemination and a female counter-adaptation in bed bugs. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 270(1531), 2377-2381. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2514  

  • January 25, 2015
  • 03:36 PM

Will the ocean follow the land? Marine ecosystems at a tipping point to follow terrestrial defaunation

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Data suggests that marine life may soon follow the mass extinctions seen in terrestrial ecosystems - similarities and differences discussed here!... Read more »

McCauley, D., Pinsky, M., Palumbi, S., Estes, J., Joyce, F., & Warner, R. (2015) Marine defaunation: Animal loss in the global ocean. Science, 347(6219), 1255641-1255641. DOI: 10.1126/science.1255641  

  • January 23, 2015
  • 01:21 PM

Friday Fellow: ‘Ladislau’s Flatworm’

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Friday fellow is back! After almost a year, I decided to go on with it. Actually, I interrupted it because of several other activities there were requiring my attention. Now let’s move on! Today I will … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 23, 2015
  • 10:43 AM

Dung DNA Gives Clues to the Shy Okapi's Lifestyle

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Try to read up on the okapi and you won't find much. This African mammal is most often seen next to the adjective "elusive." But even if we can't find any okapi, we can learn about their lifestyle through their DNA—and we can find their DNA in their feces.

The okapi is an ungulate, like a cow. Or really like a giraffe, its closest relative. It has an elegant face, a long bluish tongue, and a zebra-striped rear end. It lives in the dense rainforest of the Democratic Republic of Congo, che........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2015
  • 01:27 PM

What determines survival of Barents Sea cod during early life?

by sceintists from the Marine group at CEES in Marine Science blog

The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the Norwegian oceanographer and biologist
Johan Hjort’s ground-breaking work,

Fluctuations in the great fisheries of northern Europe
, viewed in the light of biological research. This anniversary was commemorated with a special issue of
ICES Journal of Marine Science.

... Read more »

Johan Hjort. (1914) Fluctuations in the great fisheries of Northern Europe viewed in the light of biological research. Rapports et Procès-Verbaux des Réunions, 1-228. info:/

Ottersen, G., Bogstad, B., Yaragina, N., Stige, L., Vikebo, F., & Dalpadado, P. (2014) A review of early life history dynamics of Barents Sea cod (Gadus morhua). ICES Journal of Marine Science, 71(8), 2064-2087. DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsu037  

  • January 21, 2015
  • 03:56 PM

Fish, mercury, and pregnancy: Good news for seafood lovers

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

People freak out when they hear mercury is in something and sometimes for good reasons. In vaccinations for example a very small amount of ethyl-mercury WAS used as a preservative in vaccines, people got scared so now it is not used in most vaccines. Methylmercury* however is found in seafood and larger fish in particular (in much, much higher concentrations than in vaccines mind you). They may sound the same, but the methylmercury in fish is far more toxic. That said, it turns out that fish isn........ Read more »

Gutiérrez, F., & Leon, L. (2000) Elemental Mercury Embolism to the Lung. New England Journal of Medicine, 342(24), 1791-1791. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM200006153422405  

JJ Strain,, Alison J Yeates,, Edwin van Wijngaarden,, Sally W Thurston,, Maria S Mulhern,, Emeir M McSorley,, Gene E Watson,, Tanzy M Love,, Tristram H Smith,, Kelley Yost,.... (2015) Prenatal exposure to methyl mercury from fish consumption and polyunsaturated fatty acids: associations with child development at 20 mo of age in an observational study in the Republic of Seychelles. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition . info:/10.3945/​ajcn.114.100503

  • January 21, 2015
  • 10:40 AM

Polar Bears Leave Messages in Their Footprints

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

If a polar bear tells you to talk to the hand, don't be offended. The animals seem to communicate with each other through scent trails left by their paws. Their tracks tell a story to the other bears roaming their habitat, helping potential mates to find each other—as long as there's habitat left, anyway.

As they crisscross the snowy Arctic, polar bears are usually alone. In other solitary bear species, animals leave messages for each other by rubbing their bodies or urine onto trees or........ Read more »

Owen, M., Swaisgood, R., Slocomb, C., Amstrup, S., Durner, G., Simac, K., & Pessier, A. (2015) An experimental investigation of chemical communication in the polar bear. Journal of Zoology, 295(1), 36-43. DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12181  

  • January 20, 2015
  • 07:00 AM

The Electrical Grid Needs Fattening Up

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Make hay while the sun shines is the great lesson from renewable energy. Solar and wind have to be harvested when they occur, or they are lost forever. But how do you store that energy if the national grid doesn’t need it at that moment? Large-scale energy storage is the wave of the future – including pumping air or hydrogen gas into abandoned mines or running the national grid from all our electric cars.... Read more »

F. K. Tuffner, Member, IEEE, and M. Kintner-Meyer, Member, IEEE. (2011) Using Electric Vehicles to Mitigate Imbalance Requirements Associated with an Increased Penetration of Wind Generation. Power and Energy Society General Meeting, 2011 IEEE , 1-8. info:/

  • January 20, 2015
  • 03:20 AM

On the Importance of Data Scavengers!

by sceintists from the Marine group at CEES in Marine Science blog

Some while ago a student asked us if we were collecting data in the marine ecological group at CEES. We were forced to acknowledge that we were not. From this follows a real
cri de coeur: “but we are only scavengers!” Are we really? If we are, is it all bad?

... Read more »

Stenseth, N., Bjornstad, O., & Saitoh, T. (1996) A Gradient from Stable to Cyclic Populations of Clethrionomys rufocanus in Hokkaido, Japan. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 263(1374), 1117-1126. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1996.0164  

  • January 14, 2015
  • 10:41 AM

Journal Club: Birds pick nest materials with camouflage in mind

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: A recent study by a research team in Scotland reveals that birds intentionally choose colour-matching materials to camouflage their nests thereby reducing predation risk. Read more... Read more »

Bailey Ida E., Kate Morgan, Simone L. Meddle, & Susan D. Healy. (2015) Birds build camouflaged nests. The Auk, 132(1), 11-15. DOI:  

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