Posts

March 03, 2015

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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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9:47 PM | Hormone disrupting chemicals and climate change increase risk of extinction in wildlife
The impact of pollution on wildlife could be made dramatically worse by climate change according to a new study published today in the journal PNAS. Source: phys.org GR:  Hormone disrupting chemicals are leaked into soils and water along with human … Continue reading →
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8:45 PM | History, art and prevention: European workplace safety posters
An historical collection of workplace safety posters from European agencies and advocates cover themes that are still relevant today.
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4:39 PM | Monday Open Question: The unsolved problems of neuroscience?
Over at NeuroSkeptic, there was a post asking “what are the unsolved problems of neuroscience”? For those interested in this type of questions, there are more such questions here and here. This, obviously, is catnip to me. Modeled on Hilbert’s famous … Continue reading →
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3:44 PM | Sometimes selection gives you more bang for your buck
Most species experience many environmental stressors simultaneously which means the direction and magnitude of evolutionary responses will depend on trade-offs between traits whose relationship may prevent them from being simultaneously optimized. Multiple sources of stress may act in opposing ways, for … Continue reading →
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1:27 PM | Birdbooker Report 362
SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read […]
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1:00 PM | Academic Moneyball
Over the past week, I’ve been reading Moneyball, by Michael Lewis. I’m not a baseball person (though I do keep tabs on football soccer). I found Moneyball to be interesting in its own right, but particularly when considering how its lessons may be applied to academic culture. Lewis tells the story of Billy Beane, the manager of…
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12:18 PM | Have You Heard of... the Mexican Wolf?
Chances are, you haven't heard of the Mexican wolf, Canis lupus baileyi. That may not be so surprising, seeing as the species was almost entirely wiped out by the time of the 1970s. Not only that, its range is limited to parts of Arizona and New Mexico, and its numbers - even there - are low.Pack hunters with a complex social structure, Mexican wolves breed in February and give birth April-May to a litter of four to six pups. The alpha pair is usually the only breeding pair in the pack - which […]
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11:55 AM | What is (or will be) your old school science cred?
When I was a postdoc at the University of Wisconsin, I always loved getting to interact with the geneticist Jim Crow. There was an informal gathering in the department every week after the seminar, and I loved when I got … Continue reading →
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9:35 AM | The Birds and the Trees | @GrrlScientist
Today’s “Museum Monday” video shows how museums are central to the process of shedding new light upon the relationships within the avian Tree of Life.“If you’ve seen one little brown bird, you’ve seen them all.”As any beginning bird watcher can tell you, many bird species tend to look alike, even those that are not at all related. On the other hand, close relatives may look very different. But appearances and behaviour can be deceiving: for example, […]
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9:25 AM | Phylogenetic relatedness and the determinants of competitive outcomes
Pigot & Eitenne 2015 Phylogenetic relatedness and the determinants of competitive outcomes. Ecology Letters 18(2) 153-163 As if by magic, the ‘new’ approaches I hoped would appear last post have done so. It’s almost as if I know the posting schedule ahead of time!… Alex Pigot and Rampal Etienne have produced an analytical framework within which we […]
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9:21 AM | What do professors do?
Whenever I go home I repeatedly deal with the age old question non-academics ask academics: what do you actually do? I always find this a tricky question no matter who asks. Some people have tried to make it easier by asking me to describe a typical day or week, but this doesn’t really help as it changes a lot from week to week! In 2014 I attended five conferences and two workshops, did two weeks of fieldwork in (cold and wet!) Madagascar, and gave four seminars at different universities. […]
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4:00 AM | Citizen Science in the City: Lessons from Melbourne’s BioBlitz
Every day, citizen scientists contribute their time and energy to support thousands of research projects around the world (Bonney et al., 2014). They collect, categorize, and analyze data, generously volunteering their time and their personal resources in return for little other than recreational enjoyment or the personal satisfaction of helping others. However, as we learnt … Continue reading Citizen Science in the City: Lessons from Melbourne’s BioBlitz →
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12:43 AM | The Business of Endangered Species Management
Some governmental units in Oklahoma, object to the increased cost and would like the Burying Beetle removed from the endangered species list. Perhaps they should instead re-evaluate their development goals? Can they develop by infill of existing already developed areas instead? Do they really need to widen the current roads and bridges? Continue reading →

March 01, 2015

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10:46 PM | Visual Insight
I have another blog, called Visual Insight. Over here, our focus is on applying science to help save the planet. Over there, I try to make the beauty of pure mathematics visible to the naked eye. I’m always looking for great images, so if you know about one, please tell me about it! If not, […]
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4:20 PM | Tony Abbott’s ‘captain’s call’ over Tasmanian forest humilated Australia, say Greens
“Prime minister Tony Abbott made a “captain’s call” over Tasmanian forestry policy which globally humiliated Australia, the Greens and a conservation group claim. “The Wilderness Society (TWS) says Freedom of Information documents reveal Abbott pushed forward with election commitments in … Continue reading →
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12:19 AM | Appeal to save endagered lemurs is falling on deaf ears, say campaigners
About 90 per cent of all lemur species – including the only other primate apart from humans to have blue eyes – are at risk of extinction on their native island of Madagascar. Continue reading →

February 28, 2015

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8:30 PM | Imported invasive beavers and minks threaten biodiversity in southern Chile
Human introductions (accidental and intentional) account for 99.99% of invasive species problems. Continue reading →
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3:00 PM | Anilius: The Pipesnake that Wasn't
This post will soon be available in SpanishAnilius scytaleDeep in the Amazon rain forest there lives a fairly small, fairly obscure, red and black snake called Anilius scytale. It is banded, like many red and black snakes, but it has no venom, so it may be a coralsnake mimic. It spends most of its time under ground or in the water. Morphologically, it has a mixture of characteristics that place it somewhere in the no-man's-land we call "henophidia"—it has pelvic vestiges like many boas […]
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