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Ecology / Conservation posts

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  • January 23, 2016
  • 12:25 AM
  • 891 views

Top four threats to the ocean, according to marine scientists

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

Overfishing, global warming, waste and contamination, and ocean acidification are at the forefront of scientists concerns.... Read more »

  • January 22, 2016
  • 10:21 AM
  • 819 views

When good intentions don't mix: designing policy to stop global warming and improve clean cookware access

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Carbon fees are a tremendous policy tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But what is their effect on other public health missions, like providing cleaner cookware to the poor in developing countries. We take a look at new research designing policy to meet both public health needs.... Read more »

  • January 21, 2016
  • 08:35 AM
  • 568 views

Climate change and ocean productivity

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




Marine phytoplankton contribute nearly 50% to global primary production, support zooplankton production and play a vital role in regulating Carbon sequestration. Phytoplankton productivity fluctuations are caused by various direct and indirect effects of temperature, the balance of which show large-scale geographical patterns.

... Read more »

Feng, J., Durant, J., Stige, L., Hessen, D., Hjermann, D., Zhu, L., Llope, M., & Stenseth, N. (2015) Contrasting correlation patterns between environmental factors and chlorophyll levels in the global ocean. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 29(12), 2095-2107. DOI: 10.1002/2015GB005216  

  • January 20, 2016
  • 02:38 PM
  • 652 views

2°C or hotter

by dominicwhite in Two Degrees or Under

The nations of the world have agreed to aim for a 2°C limit to global warming. Whether you think they can make it happen is one thing – whether a 2°C temperature increase is as moderate as it sounds is another....... Read more »

  • January 19, 2016
  • 12:20 PM
  • 645 views

What Is Citizen Science Good For? Birds, Butterflies, Big Data

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



No matter how unhip you feel wearing waders or hauling a butterfly net, citizen science is cool. That's obvious from the boom in online projects that let you count penguins, hunt planets, or identify animals in the Serengeti, as well as the scientific papers using these data. Now researchers in Sweden have looked into the science of citizen science itself. How much of this volunteer research is really happening, they asked—and what is it producing?

Christopher Kullenberg and Dick Kaspe........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2016
  • 11:29 AM
  • 792 views

Catch Him If You Can

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Caitlin LockardWhen playing Frisbee with your dog, do you ever wonder how they have the ability to catch it so effortlessly? The art of being able to figure out where something like a Frisbee is headed requires some crazy math skills. Ostracods are one kind of animal that puts their wicked math skills to the test while finding a mate.The image above of a female ostracod was provided by Trevor Rivers.You’ve never heard of an ostracod you say? Ostracods are small crustaceans, which basicall........ Read more »

  • January 17, 2016
  • 10:11 PM
  • 623 views

A Primer on Linear Regression and its Associated Misconceptions

by Geoffrey Hannigan in Prophage

I wanted to start the year off with post about math. I know, I know, math is an intimidating way to start the year, but don't run off yet! I swear that this will be painless and we will even learn something new! We are going to keep things simple and focus on an elegant paper that presents some misconceptions about a complicated topic. This topic is multiple linear regression...... Read more »

  • January 17, 2016
  • 08:58 PM
  • 800 views

Spreading climate misinformation like butter

by dominicwhite in Two Degrees or Under

A new study in PNAS concludes that echo chambers and confirmation bias spread misinformation. The authors “readable summary”: The wide availability of user-provided content in online social media facilitates the aggregation of people around common interests, worldviews, and narratives. However,...... Read more »

Del Vicario, M., Bessi, A., Zollo, F., Petroni, F., Scala, A., Caldarelli, G., Stanley, H., & Quattrociocchi, W. (2016) The spreading of misinformation online. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201517441. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1517441113  

  • January 17, 2016
  • 10:00 AM
  • 948 views

Week Two In Review: Open-Access Science | 11 to 17 Jan

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

The world’s largest canyon discovered hidden under the Antarctic ice, citizen science is on the up, new genetic secrets of Ötzi Iceman, and the social lives of chimps. Here are 5 of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »

Jamieson, S., Ross, N., Greenbaum, J., Young, D., Aitken, A., Roberts, J., Blankenship, D., Bo, S., & Siegert, M. (2015) An extensive subglacial lake and canyon system in Princess Elizabeth Land, East Antarctica. Geology. DOI: 10.1130/G37220.1  

Moeller, A., Foerster, S., Wilson, M., Pusey, A., Hahn, B., & Ochman, H. (2016) Social behavior shapes the chimpanzee pan-microbiome. Science Advances, 2(1). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500997  

Coia, V., Cipollini, G., Anagnostou, P., Maixner, F., Battaggia, C., Brisighelli, F., Gómez-Carballa, A., Destro Bisol, G., Salas, A., & Zink, A. (2016) Whole mitochondrial DNA sequencing in Alpine populations and the genetic history of the Neolithic Tyrolean Iceman. Scientific Reports, 18932. DOI: 10.1038/srep18932  

Engelmann, J., & Herrmann, E. (2016) Chimpanzees Trust Their Friends. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.11.037  

  • January 16, 2016
  • 06:22 PM
  • 696 views

Damm(n)ing the Amazon

by dominicwhite in Two Degrees or Under

From the abstract of a recent Science paper: The world’s most biodiverse river basins—the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong—are experiencing an unprecedented boom in construction of hydropower dams. These projects address important energy needs, but advocates often overestimate economic benefits and...... Read more »

Winemiller, K., McIntyre, P., Castello, L., Fluet-Chouinard, E., Giarrizzo, T., Nam, S., Baird, I., Darwall, W., Lujan, N., Harrison, I.... (2016) Balancing hydropower and biodiversity in the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong. Science, 351(6269), 128-129. DOI: 10.1126/science.aac7082  

  • January 15, 2016
  • 12:57 PM
  • 771 views

Dawn of a New Geologic Era

by Jenny Ludmer in Rooster's Report

In the Jurassic period, dinosaurs ruled and continents separated, while in the more recent Holocene, glaciers retreated and the earth warmed. Now, using the same type of data, geologists say we’ve entered a new era. Welcome to the Anthropocene — a geologic era triggered by humankind.... Read more »

Waters, C., Zalasiewicz, J., Summerhayes, C., Barnosky, A., Poirier, C., Ga uszka, A., Cearreta, A., Edgeworth, M., Ellis, E., Ellis, M.... (2016) The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene. Science, 351(6269). DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2622  

  • January 15, 2016
  • 12:08 PM
  • 882 views

Amazon resilience buoyed by diversity

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Previous research has suggested that the Amazon could reach a tipping point when rainforest gives way to a grassy savannah. Could this really happen? A new modeling study suggests the diversity of the Amazon could prevent such a drastic change.... Read more »

Levine NM, Zhang K, Longo M, Baccini A, Phillips OL, Lewis SL, Alvarez-Dávila E, Segalin de Andrade AC, Brienen RJ, Erwin TL.... (2015) Ecosystem heterogeneity determines the ecological resilience of the Amazon to climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26711984  

  • January 13, 2016
  • 01:30 AM
  • 595 views

EcoTourism: Imperfect, but Necessary

by Jenny Ludmer in Rooster's Report

On a frosty winter day, a packed snowcoach cruises through Yellowstone National park. “Elk at 9-o-clock!” yells an excited patron and, in record time, dozens of tourists spill out of the bus and jockey for the perfect photograph. Across the river, both a majestic elk and massive buffalo graze, seemingly unfazed by the growing crowd. While some believe that’s a problem, there’s more to the story.... Read more »

  • January 12, 2016
  • 12:25 AM
  • 772 views

Sharks smell their way to shore

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

New research suggests that Leopard sharks navigate with their nose, using chemical changes in the water to ‘smell’ their way home.... Read more »

  • January 7, 2016
  • 01:45 PM
  • 808 views

Are you multicellular? Thank a random mutation that created a new protein

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

All it took was one mutation more than 600 million years ago. With that random act, a new protein function was born that helped our single-celled ancestor transition into an organized multicellular organism. That’s the scenario — done with some molecular time travel — that emerged from basic research in the lab of University of Oregon biochemist Ken Prehoda.... Read more »

Anderson, D., Whitney, D., Hanson-Smith, V., Woznica, A., Campodonico-Burnett, W., Volkman, B., King, N., Prehoda, K., & Thornton, J. (2016) Evolution of an ancient protein function involved in organized multicellularity in animals. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.10147  

  • January 6, 2016
  • 04:26 PM
  • 924 views

Slice of PLOS: Mesocosms and Climate Change

by Lauren Richardson in PLOS Biologue

By 2016, most scientifically literate people have come to accept the inevitability of climate change. But what’s much less clear is how different species will respond to the world-wide shifts in temperature and weather pattern... Read more »

  • January 5, 2016
  • 07:00 PM
  • 903 views

Too hot to handle: investigating birds’ heat tolerance sheds light on their ability to adapt to climate change

by Betty Zou in Eat, Read, Science

Researchers at the University of New Mexico and University of Massachusetts Amherst are undertaking the "Hot Birds" project to complete a global survey of the heat tolerance of bird species living in extremely hot areas. The first paper to come out of those studies looks at doves and quails in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona with different strategies for staying cool.... Read more »

  • January 4, 2016
  • 06:00 PM
  • 809 views

A piping hot plant-fungus-virus three-way

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

The Star Wars prequels, while fairly awful, managed to include a little bit of fictional biology. It turns out being sensitive to the Force, the mystical energy field that lets you confuse stormtroopers and toss debris at newly-minted amputees, requires having a whole lot of midi-chlorians in your cells. Midi-chlorians are clearly a bastardization of mitochondria, the squiggly energy-generating jelly beans (er, organelles) found within cells of all organisms except bacteria and archaea.Just as m........ Read more »

  • December 29, 2015
  • 05:33 AM
  • 702 views

Is it farewell to the addax?

by dominicwhite in Two Degrees or Under

Following decades of overhunting, two new threats could finally seal the fate of one of Africa’s most enigmatic species, the addax. Already Critically Endangered, with at best some 100 individuals left in the wild, the quest for oil coupled with...... Read more »

  • December 28, 2015
  • 04:30 PM
  • 833 views

Scientists Recruit Crows as Filmmakers to Study Tool Use

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



New Caledonian crows are some of the world's most famous non-human tool users. The crows employ sticks, leaves, and even bits of wire in the lab to probe holes in branches or logs, fishing out tasty bugs. But scientists are usually stuck studying these behaviors in artificial environments. To get a better perspective on how these birds make and use tools in nature, researchers in the United Kingdom tried something new: they turned wild crows into documentary filmmakers.

Jolyon Troscianko........ Read more »

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