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Ecology / Conservation posts

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  • January 30, 2015
  • 07:00 AM
  • 1 view

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 28, 2015
  • 03:08 PM
  • 44 views

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
  • 53 views

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
  • 54 views

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
  • 76 views

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
  • 84 views

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
  • 15 views

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
  • 83 views

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
  • 80 views

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
  • 76 views

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
  • 10 views

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
  • 94 views

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1642/auk-14-77.1  

  • January 13, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 103 views

Delicate Arteries Of Energy

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

As dependent on electricity as America is, it is surprising how easily it could be taken away. Do you know how electricity comes to your house? Here is the national electrical grid easily explained and the points at which it can be vulnerable to sun, weather, and terrorism.... Read more »

Paul W. Parfomak. (2014) Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations . Congressional Research Service Reports. info:/

  • January 12, 2015
  • 08:26 PM
  • 96 views

Volcanic eruptions partially explain global warming hiatus

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

The well-known global warming hiatus since 2000 has been partially explained by recent data from satellite measurements showing that sulfate emissions from volcanic eruptions is reflecting incoming sunlight.... Read more »

Santer, B., Solomon, S., Bonfils, C., Zelinka, M., Painter, J., Beltran, F., Fyfe, J., Johannesson, G., Mears, C., Ridley, D.... (2014) Observed multi-variable signals of late 20th and early 21st century volcanic activity. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1002/2014GL062366  

  • January 12, 2015
  • 05:08 PM
  • 104 views

Study shows rise in mass die-offs

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

You really don’t hear much about mass die-offs from mainstream news outlets; this might make you think they don’t happen that often. However, an analysis of 727 mass die-offs of nearly 2,500 animal species from the past 70 years has found that such events are increasing among birds, fish, and marine invertebrates. At the same time, the number of individuals killed appears to be decreasing for reptiles and amphibians, and is unchanged for mammals.... Read more »

Samuel B. Fey, Adam M. Siepielski, Sébastien Nusslé, Kristina Cervantes-Yoshida, Jason L. Hwan, Eric R. Huber, Maxfield J. Fey, Alessandro Catenazzi, & Stephanie M. Carlson. (2015) Recent shifts in the occurrence, cause, and magnitude of animal mass mortality events. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. info:/10.1073/pnas.1414894112

  • January 12, 2015
  • 10:24 AM
  • 108 views

Collective Personality and Our Environment

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

We are all familiar with the concept of the personality of an individual. We are less familiar with group- or collective personalities (although most teachers can tell you at length about the personalities of each of their classes). The concept is the same: whereas an individual personality relates to an individual’s consistent behaviors across time and contexts, a collective personality relates to a group’s consistent behaviors across time and contexts. Collective personalities can be stron........ Read more »

  • January 7, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 110 views

The Fungus And The Frog

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Amphibians are some of the most vulnerable animals on Earth. Their numbers have been crashing for years. The reasons for this are several, but one fungal infection is a big contributor. This fungus teaches us about evolution, common descent, and phylogenetics – but hopefully it’ll be eaten up by a newly discovered water flea!... Read more »

Martel, A., Spitzen-van der Sluijs, A., Blooi, M., Bert, W., Ducatelle, R., Fisher, M., Woeltjes, A., Bosman, W., Chiers, K., Bossuyt, F.... (2013) Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans sp. nov. causes lethal chytridiomycosis in amphibians. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(38), 15325-15329. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1307356110  

  • January 6, 2015
  • 06:11 PM
  • 107 views

Tropical forests absorbing more carbon dioxide than previously thought

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

New analyses of theoretical models backed by experimental measurements indicate that tropical forests are absorbing much more CO2 than previously known!... Read more »

Schimel D, Stephens BB, & Fisher JB. (2014) Effect of increasing CO2 on the terrestrial carbon cycle. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25548156  

  • January 6, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 129 views

What It Takes To Kill A Watt

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Do you have any idea where your home's electricity comes from? Sure, people have all heard of solar power, wind power, and fossil fuels, but they know very little about how electricity is most often generated. Is fossil fuel the most important natural resource for electricity production – nope, it’s water.... Read more »

  • January 6, 2015
  • 07:05 AM
  • 59 views

Large-scale effects of temperature and zooplankton on phytoplankton in the North Atlantic

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




Phytoplankton biomass is controlled by a combination of “bottom-up” factors such as temperature, light and nutrients and “top-down” factors, in particular zooplankton predation. In a recent study we analysed large-scale data on ocean chlorophyll, copepod abundance and temperature in order to assess the general importance of bottom-up and top-down factors in controlling phytoplankton biomass.

... Read more »

Feng, J., Stige, L., Durant, J., Hessen, D., Zhu, L., Hjermann, D., Llope, M., & Stenseth, N. (2014) Large-scale season-dependent effects of temperature and zooplankton on phytoplankton in the North Atlantic. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 25-37. DOI: 10.3354/meps10724  

Fischer, A., Moberg, E., Alexander, H., Brownlee, E., Hunter-Cevera, K., Pitz, K., Rosengard, S., & Sosik, H. (2014) Sixty Years of Sverdrup: A Retrospective of Progress in the Study of Phytoplankton Blooms. Oceanography, 27(1), 222-235. DOI: 10.5670/oceanog.2014.26  

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