Why Poor Places Are More Diverse : a lesson from ecosystem ecology.
If we regard the Earth as nothing more than a source of resources and a sink for our pollution, if we value other species only in terms of what they can provide to us, then we we will continue to unpick the fabric of life. [more inside]
This is my vision of life. A conversation with evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins. (Video and transcript)
For the first time in nearly thirty years, a new
class of antibiotics may be on the way — and the good news doesn't end there. [more inside]
...further, each species is shown upon its native hostplant and each composition aims to tell a story about its subject’s unique natural history.
It's pretty widely known that there have never been snakes in Ireland, so who did Saint Patrick chase out? The case has been made that the story of Saint Patrick chasing out druids (snake-tattooed pagans) is also a myth (and Patrick wasn't even Irish). But that doesn't mean there are no reptiles in Ireland. The only native land-based reptile is the viviparous lizard, though there are other reptiles that are semi-inhabitants of Ireland. And this brings us to the the amateur survey of Ireland's lizards, newts, frogs and slow worms, one of a number of such surveys hosted by Biology.ie, "Ireland's premier Biodiversity Awareness portal."
How a Kids’ Cartoon Created an Real-Life Invasive Army. At the peak of their popularity following the animated series Araiguma Rasukaru, Japan imported more than 1,500 North American raccoons annually... Raccoons compete both for food and for territory with the native raccoon dog (tanuki) and the red fox, and push native owls out of nesting spots in hollow trees. Ever since raccoons attacked a reproductive colony of grey herons in Nopporo Forest Park in 1997, the grand birds have not returned to their historic breeding grounds. [more inside]
Key to slowing/stalling/reversal of desertification and climate change? More cows (sort of). Holistic Management advocate and biologist Allan Savory, co-founder of the Savory Institute, discusses the counterintuitive tactic of allowing large herds of animals to free-roam marginal lands. [more inside]
Billy Joel has now officially endorsed - The Longest Time (Coral Triangle Edition), by the Barber Lab Quartet [more inside]
"It fits with what we would expect as a result of the rapid change in Arctic habitat." The stuff of science fiction is becoming increasingly the stuff of science fact. And now, it seems, you can crack open a white Coke (if you can stomach the campaign) and watch it all from the comfort of your couch. [more inside]
Stunning portraits of endangered zoo animals by National Geographic Photographer Joel Sartore. Part of The Biodiversity Project. Previously. (via)
Lush climates alone do not account for the vast biodiversity in tropical rainforests. Research on treefrogs from around the world, covering 123 sites and gathering DNA sequence data for 360 species of treefrogs, has provided a new understanding of biodiversity in tropical rainforests: some groups of treefrogs have existed together in the Amazon Basin for more than 60 million years. A more recent publication supports this finding, noting that forests in Canada and Europe may have much more in common with tropical rainforests than previously believed, but tropical forests have not been subjected to glaciations and mass extinctions, allowing for much greater biodiversity.
Yale's 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks 163 countries on 25 performance indicators tracked across ten policy categories covering both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. These indicators provide a gauge at a national government scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy goals.
Discoveries spanning five continents and three oceans cap the United Nations' International Year of Biodiversity (Many of which are little things [list of the described species]) [more inside]
SEED Magazine: Wealth of Nations: "Shared natural resources underpin the global economy, but our current economic system does not acknowledge their worth. Can a major new effort to assess the costs of biodiversity loss force a paradigm shift in what we value?" [more inside]
Representatives of more than 190 countries will try over the next two weeks to save some of the world’s most delicate and diverse species and ecosystems threatened by pollution, exploitation and habitat encroachment. If they are to succeed, they must safely navigate the minefield separating rich and poor nations that has so far defeated initiatives on climate change. The UN will try to convince nations that it is in their financial interest to do so, but time is running out. One in five plants, one in five mammals, one in seven birds and one in three amphibians are now globally threatened with extinction — including the tiger, whose global population now stands at an estimated 3,200. Next month’s Global Tiger Summit in St Petersburg could be the last chance for the tiger. The World Wildlife Fund wants you to help.
Our minds boggle at how the wolf could become the chihuahua, the Saint Bernard, the poodle and the Komondor. Artificial selection was likewise responsible for transforming the humble wild mustard plant Brassica oleracea into cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and the breathtaking fractal Romanesco, all in the span of a few centuries. [more inside]
How much life could you find in one cubic foot? With a 12-inch green metal-framed cube, photographer David Liittschwager (of the Endangered Species Project) surveyed biodiversity in land, water, tropical and temperate environments around the globe for National Geographic. At each locale he set down the cube and started watching, counting, and photographing with the help of his assistant and many biologists. The goal: to represent the creatures that lived in or moved through that space. The team then sorted through their habitat cubes and tallied every inhabitant, down to a size of about a millimeter. [more inside]
The Encyclopedia of Life [previously] is E.O. Wilson's dream become reality. It has been online since February of 2008, aiming to catalog the currently known 1.9 million species on our planet. You can also add text, images, video, comments, and tags. [ FAQ • Video Introduction • Tutorials ]
The forest preserve of Białowieza is considered to be the last primeval forest in lowland Europe. Because of its unique position on the border of the temperate and boreal climate zones, it contains a unique mixture of trees, such as Norway Spruce and oaks. It also contains an interesting mix of fauna, including the European Bison, beaver, wolves, and the Nazi re-creation of an extinct species. [more inside]
Don Berto’s Garden. "The plants of the ancient Maya whisper their secrets to those who speak a shared language."
Finding Species is an organization that integrates science, photography, and design to create standardized methods of photo-documenting plants and animals, for use in print and web field guides, educational exhibits, and conservation campaigns.
One fifth of all bird species are in danger of extinction. And right when we're finally understanding where they came from, too.
Fossil records show Biodiversity comes and goes in a 62 million year cycle. The analysis, performed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UBC, has withstood thorough testing so that confidence in the results is above 99-percent.
The 25 richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on Earth. Of the 25, here are the hottest of the hotspots. An interactive map. And the latest news about how companies like Office Depot are helping Conservation International protect threatened animals who don't get to vote in even the world's [cough] most enlightened democracies.
We're finding new fauna in some of the most heavily-populated areas on earth. It sort of makes you wonder what how many species we never even know about as we slash and burn great hunks of the rain forests, wooded areas, and other biodiverse areas of the world. (And good grief, those bugs are huge!)
The genetically modified cat is out of the proverbial bag. New study finds traces of GM corn DNA in wild maize fields, over 60 miles away from the closest possible source. Are GM crops still the great idea that Monsanto thought they were? [via the pocket]
Biodiversity maps of Arctic Refuge pulled from Net, gov't scientist fired. To be expected, with the big to-do over Arctic drilling in Washington, but creepy nonetheless. A map of "caribou calving areas" is too hot for comfort? There were errors of course, but to wipe the site and fire the guy? Also a good argument for archiving. (from Cryptome)