October 09, 2014

1:00 PM | Will crabs invade Antarctica?
Many predatory crabs don’t live in Antarctica for a simple reason: it’s too cold. But as the Earth warms, these clawed critters could invade pristine polar waters and threaten native species, scientists warn in an editorial. The Southern Ocean “has traditionally been regarded as the most biologically isolated and invasion-resistant ocean,” the team writes in
1:01 AM | Citizen Naturalist Opportunities
There are many citizen naturalist projects you can join. Continue reading →

October 08, 2014

2:49 PM | The only solution for polar bears: 'stop the rise in CO2 and other greenhouse gases'
Steven Amstrup, Chief Scientist for Polar Bears International, has worked diligently on polar bears for over 30 years. He radio-collared some of the first bears and discovered that annual activity areas for 75 tracked females averaged at a stunning 149,000 square kilometers. His recent work highlighted the cost of global warming to these incredible animals and the sea ice they so closely depend on.
12:30 PM | Biodiversity Heritage Library staff attend the 7th Annual Global Plants meeting in Panama
BHL Program Director Martin Kalfatovic and Harvard Botany Librarian Judy Warnement attended the 7th Annual Global Plants meeting. Chuck Miller (Missouri Botanical Garden) serves on the GPI Steering Committee. The Global Plants Initiative, originally sponsored by the Mellon Foundation, has provided funding for the digitization of herbarium specimens and related materials that are made available via the JSTOR Global Plants platform.David Cantrill (left) and Chuck Miller (right)JSTOR Global […]
12:00 PM | Blame humans, not lions, for cheetah declines
Wild cheetahs have suffered tremendously over the last century—their population has been reduced by an order of magnitude, from some 100,000 one hundred years ago to just 10,000 today. While it’s certain that human activity bears at least some proportion of the responsibility for that decline, many have also pointed fingers at other predators in

October 07, 2014

9:26 PM | For Miami, Sea Level Rise Has Already Gone Exponential
Decades or even years ago, astronomical high tide wasn’t so much of a problem for Miami. Now, it means flooded roads and runways. It means salt water backing up through city drainage and municipal water systems. It means sea walls over-topped. It means lawns, properties and businesses covered in water. Continue reading →
2:37 PM | Saving Peru's sea turtles and marine birds: conservationists and fishermen partner to tackle bycatch
Marine conservationists often view fisheries as an enemy of sorts, vacuuming up fish with little thought to the long-term consequences and using equipment that also ends up killing other species, i.e. bycatch like sea turtles and marine birds. However, Joanna Alfaro Shigueto, the President of the Peruvian NGOProDelphinus and winner of a 2012 Whitley Award, has chosen a different tact.
1:00 PM | Roads predict human impacts on biodiversity
There are many hallmarks of human influence in a given ecosystem or habitat. It seems, though, that our habit of leaving roads in our wake pretty much everywhere may be the best predictor of our effect on the world around us. “Biodiversity loss may occur directly via road-kill events, disturbance or pollution, or indirectly by
1:00 PM | Color, Movement and Noise
A couple months ago, I wrote a post asking you how you evaluate your prairies as you walk around them.  I appreciated the thoughtful responses you shared.  This week, I’ll be facilitating a discussion on the same topic at the … Continue reading →
2:16 AM | How I feel about climate change
Originally posted on Furious. Livid. And a just little bit sad. Well, I’m not pissed off with ‘climate change’ per se – that would be ridiculous. I am extremely pissed off with those who are doing their damnedest to prevent…

October 06, 2014

6:45 PM | What Species is this Feces? A New Readers Write In Blog Series
Hi, Please could you identify the droppings in the attached photo? I regularly see them around the perimeter of a large wild pond.  At some point the "owner" found and ate a nesting coot's egg (shell found). Also, the animal enters and dives to collect fresh water crayfish. Thank you for any help.  Regards, Tony Dorset, UK Readers: What Species is this Feces? -----
2:36 PM | The Zanaga iron ore mine – a test of best laid plans for preserving wildlife
One of the largest iron ore deposits in Africa is located in a strip 47 kilometers long and three kilometers wide in the Republic of the Congo (RoC), bordering Gabon. A core section of the Guineo-Congolian Forest rises above this vast mineral deposit, and provides a home to flagship endangered species like western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, and forest elephants.
12:30 PM | Smithsonian Libraries hosts Biodiversity Library Exhibition Training
Earlier this year, the Smithsonian Women's Committee awarded a one-year grant to Smithsonian Libraries (SIL) to build online exhibitions to showcase the scientific and historical contributions of Women and Latino naturalists and illustrators. The project, entitled Notable Women and Latinos in Natural History, will draw from content in the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) and use the Biodiversity Library Exhibition (BLE) platform developed by BHL Europe.As part of this project, SIL hosted a […]

October 05, 2014

3:54 PM | Research Shows Great Barrier Reef Coral Is Failing
"The Hebrew University researchers found that although the extent of coral cover was about the same as when it was first examined, calcification rates had fallen by between 27 and 49 per cent, leaving the corals less dense and more fragile." Continue reading →
12:52 AM | Global biodiversity targets won’t be met by 2020, scientists say
Writing in the journal Science, in the same week that a major report by WWF suggested the world had lost half its animals over the past four decades, the scientists say that the state of biodiversity and the pressures on it are getting worse, not better. Continue reading →

October 04, 2014

11:49 PM | Study shows sharks have personalities
What is interesting is that these behaviours differ consistently among individuals. This study shows, for the first time, that individual sharks possess social personalities. Continue reading →
11:30 PM | Human Impact: Artificial Light Disrupts Sex Hormones of Birds
Under light at night, something gets broken and you see a dampening of the hormonal system. Continue reading →
4:00 PM | Using Data to Improve BHL Social Media
How can data analysis help us improve our social media activities?This was the fundamental question BHL's Outreach and Communication Manager, Grace Costantino, sought to address during her two-day meeting with Ryerson University's Social Media Lab, Sept. 29-30, 2014. As co-participants in the Mining Biodiversity Digging Into Data project, BHL has been collaborating virtually with Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd, the Lab's Director, since early 2014. The Social Media and Society 2014 conference, organized by […]
12:00 PM | Readers Write In: A Mixed Bag of Snake Identification Requests
Found this snake trying to get in, Not sure about it. Any help? It is aggressive and its tail quivers just a bluff I'm sure..... Thanks, Mike Pike County, Ohio Found this snake in my house today and can't really tell what it is. Any help identifying it would be much appreciated.  Thank you, Geoff B. South Mississippi I'm about 3 miles from the Ashley River, but

October 03, 2014

6:42 PM | Study: Cheetah Population Dwindling
  GR:  Monospecific landscapes are boring.  Wouldn’t we all prefer to have a few more cheetahs and a few less humans? In 1900, cheetahs numbered around 100,000. Today, there are just 10,000 in the wild. A new study says being … Continue reading →
12:29 PM | Photo of the Week – October 3, 2014
I made my first ever visit to The Nature Conservancy’s Smoky Valley Ranch in western Kansas this week.  It won’t be my last.  Situated along the boundary between mixed-grass and shortgrass prairie, the Smoky Valley Ranch contains 16,800 acres of … Continue reading →
12:00 PM | Bats get confused by wind turbines pretending to be trees
The first clue that bats were dying due to a case of mistaken identity was that the dead were mostly tree-roosting species. Wind turbines are killing the tiny flying mammals in record numbers, but the cave dwelling varieties were largely unaffected. Dead bats have turned up at wind turbine facilities on multiple continents, with death

October 02, 2014

7:49 PM | How Monarch Butterflies Found (and Lost) Their Migration
Originally posted on strange behaviors:Monarchs at their overwintering site cluster against the cold (Photo: Jaap de Roodee) As the monarch butterfly migration faces a worsening risk of extinction, a research team has discovered the basis of that legendary migration…
7:28 PM | Predator Killing Contest Environmental Assessment Available for 15-day Comment Period
With more than half of Earth's vertebrates wiped out by humans since 1970 (report by World Wildlife Fund), it is past time to begin conserving wildlife species, not killing them for fun. Continue reading →
3:23 PM | Despite high deforestation, Indonesia making progress on forests, says Norwegian official
Despite having a deforestation rate that now outpaces that of the Brazilian Amazon, Indonesia is beginning to undertake critical reforms necessary to curb destruction of its carbon-dense rainforests and peatlands, says a top Norwegian official. Speaking with in Jakarta on Monday, Stig Traavik, Norway's ambassador to Indonesia, drew parallels between recent developments in Indonesia and initiatives launched in Brazil a decade ago, when deforestation was nearly five times higher than […]
1:55 PM | What makes the jaguar the ultimate survivor? New books highlights mega-predator's remarkable past and precarious future
For thousands of years the jaguar was a God, then it was vermin to be destroyed, and today it is the inspiration for arguably the most ambitious conservation effort on the planet. A new book by renowned big cat conservationist, Alan Rabinowitz, tells this remarkable story from the jaguar's evolutionary origins in Asia to its re-emergence today as a cultural and ecological symbol.
1:00 PM | Instead of herbicides, use goats
Where herbicides and mowers have failed, goats might succeed. In a new study, scientists have found that these humble herbivores can devour 12-foot-high invasive plants, allowing native species to regain a foothold in wetlands. The plant in question is the common reed (Phragmites australis), which arrived in North America from Europe in the 1700s and
12:30 PM | Hispanic Heritage Month: The Life and Work of Louis Agassiz Fuertes
Louis Agassiz Fuertes. The Osprey. v. 1 (1896-97). The artwork of Puerto Rican-American Louis Agassiz Fuertes has been featured a few times before on the BHL blog. His paintings are beautiful and eye-catching, and always a treat to visit. Through titles available in BHL, we can even see the evolution of Fuertes’s career— from his earliest professional work to his last.The Ithaca-born ornithologist and artist often drew as a young […]
12:11 AM | Ivory- it’s a business
The first of the papers I’ve written on the illegal trade in ivory has appeared.  It’s in the journal Ecological Economics. This is some research informed by work in China but also from data outside there.  It’s about some of the macro-drivers of poaching and partly explains why poaching did surge after 2009. One of [...]

October 01, 2014

8:52 PM | Readers Write In: Relocation of a Surprise Venomous Visitor
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