Posts

March 05, 2015

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11:07 AM | Axios Review is working; you should try it
A while back I joined Axios Review, an independent editorial board. Axios Review is a service to which ecologists and evolutionary biologists submit their mss. They get back peer reviews, just like with a journal, along with an editorial decision … Continue reading →
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3:13 AM | An ode to graduate students
Last week I saw two of my graduate students successfully defend their PhDs. This is wonderful and exciting, and I am delighted that they are both moving on to post-doctoral research positions in other places. I am also saddened by their departures: seeing good students leave the lab creates a vacuum. This has caused me […]
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2:22 AM | 2015 El Nino to Bring Back-to-Back Hottest Years on Record?
Originally posted on robertscribbler:For the past six months, the Pacific Ocean has been very, very warm. A vast and unsettling expanse of record heat building from the tropics on through the mid lattitudes and into the Arctic. Sea surface…
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1:47 AM | Congress squeezes Obama’s reg czar about lack of transparency
Testifying before the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, OIRA chief Howard Shelanski was criticized from both sides of the aisle for his office's lack of transparency in handling reviews of agencies' regulatory actions.

March 04, 2015

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8:43 PM | Melting Permafrost (Part 4)
  Russian scientists have recently found more new craters in Siberia, apparently formed by explosions of methane. Three were found last summer. They looked for more using satellite photos… and found more! “What I think is happening here is, the permafrost has been acting as a cap or seal on the ground, through which gas […]
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8:10 PM | Rules for the black birdwatcher
SUMMARY: Black bird watchers are rare birds themselves, and there are special rules that the black birder must observe to remain safe when out in the field chasing rare birds. . “Any bird that’s black is my bird.” Are you a bird watcher, especially one who chases rare birds? If so, you most likely are white, fifty-five or older, and male. Female birders and young birders are unusual (in my experience), but the rarest birds of all are non-white birders.... Read more
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8:00 PM | Encountering the Urban Forest
For all the critical scholarship that is written about the harnessing of volunteer labor in caring for urban trees (see, e.g., Perkins 2009), it never squared with my experience of engaging in stewardship. Following attendance at a human geography panel on ‘powerful objects’, I came to realize that my leisure practices were missing from my … Continue reading Encountering the Urban Forest →
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7:14 PM | PEPFAR, abstinence, and evidence
Stanford medical student Nathan Lo reportedly caused a stir at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) last week when he presented a new finding: After analyzing surveys completed by 800,000 people in 22 sub-Saharan African countries, Lo and his colleagues found "no evidence to suggest that PEPFAR funding of abstinence and faithfulness programs results in reduced high-risk sexual behavior."
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4:48 PM | Update: New Pest & Disease Records (04 Mar 15)
We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include new species of plant parasitic nematodes from tea plantations in Iran, the impact of fungicides and biocontrol agents in managing peduncle blight of tuberose caused by Lasiodiplodia theobromae, and aphid […]
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4:07 PM | Insects may undermine trees’ ability to store carbon
Wild ThingsAnimals,Climate by Sarah Zielinski 11:08am, March 4, 2015 Forest tent caterpillars, like this one resting on an aspen leaf, are found in U.S. hardwood forests. A new study finds that when carbon dioxide levels are higher, herbivorous insects eat more vegetation. courtesy of John Couture, UW-MadisonTrees are often promoted as an important tool for combating climate change. […]
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4:00 PM | Toying with eigenvectors
There are few things I enjoy more than when someone takes the time to clearly communicate a complex idea. The whole “you don’t know it until you teach it” phenomenon gives me the utmost respect for those who put effort into … Continue reading →
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3:58 PM | ESA Policy News March 4: Science committee reviews NSF budget request, Mikulski to retire, NSF report highlights participation in science among underrepresented groups
Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy New […]
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9:33 AM | Rules for the black birdwatcher | @GrrlScientist
Black bird watchers are rare birds themselves, and there are special rules that the black birder must observe to remain safe when out in the field chasing rare birds. “Any bird that’s black is my bird.”Are you a bird watcher, especially one who chases rare birds? If so, you most likely are white, fifty-five or older, and male. Female birders and young birders are unusual (in my experience), but the rarest birds of all are non-white birders. Continue reading...
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8:55 AM | Factsheet of the month: March 2015 – Tomato yellow leaf curl management
A recent plant protection conference in Hanoi highlighted dangerous levels of pesticide use in agriculture in Vietnam. The head of Vietnam’s Plant Protection Department, Nguyen Xuan Hong, announced that a 5-year Integrated Pest Management (IPM) project had been approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. IPM will be important in reducing both costs to […]
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8:50 AM | Almost 700 Starving Koalas Secretly Culled in Australia
Almost 700 koalas at Cape Otway, Western Victoria, Australia, were culled in secret, it has emerged. The region's Environment Minister, Lisa Neville, said that the cull, which happened 2012-2013, was carried out due to 'overpopulation issues'.The issue was a complex one, officials have said, but the current media backlash has arisen mainly because of the lack of transparency with the public. However, this may have been just what the secrecy of the cull may have been trying to avoid, since […]
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12:11 AM | Evaluate My Work, Not My Body Art
When I was an undergrad, one of my reasons for wanting to continue in academia was my aversion to Western formal clothing. If I became a Ph.D. student and then a professor, I thought, I would hardly ever need to wear suits … Continue reading →

March 03, 2015

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11:25 PM | Researchers: Beyond social justice and fairness, income inequality is a matter of health
The public health literature is pretty clear when it comes to income status and poverty and their profound effects on health, disability, disease and life expectancy. But what about income inequality? Does a rising gap in wealth and resource distribution affect people’s health too?
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10:11 PM | Hubbard Fellowship Blog – Plains Pocket Mouse
This post is written by Jasmine Cutter, one of our Hubbard Fellows.  She has been studying the way small mammals use our restored and remnant prairies. Remember when I said I was going to highlight some more of our small … Continue reading →
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9:01 PM | How to Look for Signs of Bats
This is a guest post written by Andrew Harrington. Andrew has also written other posts on this blog.  So, you might have figured out by now that I quite like bats, as I’m always writing about them. Well, in fact a lot of the work I do involves bat surveys, and in particular trying to identify bat roosts. Bat roosts are the places where bats sleep by day, have a quick rest by night while they’re out foraging for food, raise their young in summer, and hibernate in […]
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8:08 PM | Deadly Traffic: The U.S. Plays an Unwitting Role in Illegal Wildlife Trade
Birds, butterflies, lizards, turtles, and more: They're all victims of capture for body parts or for exhibition. Lizards and turtles, for instance, are easily captured and rarely survive the experience. Continue reading →
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4:45 PM | The not-so frivolous function of play?
We play. Cats play. Dogs play. Horses play. Do fish play? Do cockroaches play? What is the function of play?! [P]lay is actually at the center of a spectrum of three behavior types: [exploration, play, and stereotypies]. Both exploration and … Continue reading →
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4:43 PM | Plantwise coming to Milan Expo 2015
Over 500 million smallholder farmers worldwide provide food for two-thirds of the earth’s growing population. These farmers, and the major challenges they face due to crop health problems, will be the focus of a new interactive exhibit to be launched by the CABI-led Plantwise programme at the Swiss Pavilion during Expo Milano 2015. The universal […]
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2:22 PM | Out of the ashes: Notes on the March 2015 Cape Town wildfire
Fire: Life-giving force of the Fynbos in South Africa's Cape Floristic RegionIn the Mother City the mountains are ablaze. It is late summer. Four days ago the fire started in Farmer Peck's Valley adjacent to the seaside suburb of Muizenberg, known for its surf and sharks. Sitting here at home it is 42°C and the sound of helicopters are a constant background alongside the low hum of the city of Cape Town going about its daily business. The fire spread quickly and gained strength owing […]
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12:16 PM | Behavioral individuality reveals genetic control of phenotypic variability
Studies of animal personality (or, “behavioral syndromes”, if you choose your words carefully) are so hot right now. One of the assumptions of such studies is that natural selection has somehow favored this behavioral variability/plasticity (and not just differences in … Continue reading →
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11:58 AM | I have data, ESA, I promise!
Last week, as I was working on my ESA abstract, I realized that I was including things that I wouldn’t normally, just to make sure I showed I have data in hand. The ESA Abstract Guidelines include this requirement: The … Continue reading →
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10:03 AM | Counting down to the 10th Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures
Contributed by Melanie Bateman, CABI Switzerland The 10th session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures is fast approaching (16 to 20 March), and papers related to many of the items that will be under discussion have been made available on the website of the International Plant Protection Convention: https://www.ippc.int/core-activities/governance/cpm. For example, the draft International Standards […]
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9:39 AM | Plantwise shortlisted for Olam Food Security Prize
The CABI-led Plantwise programme has been named as a finalist for the Olam Innovation in Food Security Award! This award ‘aims to recognize an outstanding innovation for its potential impact on the availability, affordability, accessibility or adequacy of food, as well as to support its further development.’ As a programme now working in 34 countries, […]
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6:42 AM | The Hindu covers Plantwise activities in India
The National newspaper Hindu covers Plantwise efforts in India. Plant clinics are not only providing solutions to pest problems and are reducing the crop losses but also the farmers visiting them are realizing surplus harvests as compared to their fellow farmers. Farmers are relying upon these plant clinics for providing them guidance to distinguish the difference […]
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1:55 AM | Plague, Fleas, and the Rats of New York City
The first survey of New York City Rats in 90 years finds some have fleas that can carry plague. But don't panic. The post Plague, Fleas, and the Rats of New York City appeared first on WIRED.

March 02, 2015

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9:52 PM | Cat Tracker Launches Down Under
We’re pleased to announce that Cat Tracker has landed in Oz! Last week, our colleague Philip Roetman and team from the Discovery Circle, a citizen science initiative based at the University of South Australia, launched the Australian version of Cat Tracker. The team aims to recruit and track 500 indoor/outdoor house cats with GPS technology in order to better understand cat movement and behavior. We look forward to collaborating with Cat Tracker South Australia to make cross-continental […]
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