Posts

October 02, 2014

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12:26 PM | Where'd the Aral Sea Go? (Seriously, It's Missing)
By Susan Cosier Can you point out the Aral Sea on a map? Yeah, neither can we … because it barely exists anymore. Once the fourth largest lake in the world (it’s actually a lake, not a sea), the Aral has gone dry. The lake reached its lowest level in modern history in August, as shown in these NASA satellite images (see the full transformation here). What happened? Starting in the 1950s, the Soviets began diverting the region's two largest […]
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11:00 AM | Do sharks have personalities?
Do sharks have social personality traits? According to a new study, they do. Some sharks act more gregarious and have strong social connections. Others are more solitary and prefer to remain inconspicuous.Small spotted catsharkPhoto by Hans HillewaertA team from the University of Exeter and the Marine Biological Association of the UK (MBA) has been studying the behavior of spotted catsharks and have reported evidence of personalities. Personalities are known to exist in many animals, and […]
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3:25 AM | Gordon Jacoby and the Colorado River: “predicting hydrologic bankruptcy”
In my world, the 1976 tree ring analysis of the Colorado River’s long term flow done by Charles Stockton and Gordon Jacoby stands as one of the great works of policy-relevant science. But by the time I came on the scene, “Stockton and Jacoby”* (pdf) was just a marker, a signpost along our path to ...Continue reading ‘Gordon Jacoby and the Colorado River: “predicting hydrologic bankruptcy”’ »

October 01, 2014

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9:12 PM | When to Blame the Rain (or Lack Thereof) on Climate Change
By Clara Chaisson According to a bevy of studies released Monday, we can point the finger at climate change for much of last year’s extreme weather. (And there was a lot of it.) In a report published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, scientists from 22 research groups looked at 16 separate extreme weather events from 2013 and asked—in their best Steve Urkel voice—“Did climate change do that?”In half of […]
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7:07 PM | Why You Should Protect the Western Screech Owl
Here are our top five reasons why you should take action to help owls!
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6:50 PM | Warning times for species extinctions
Climate change is expected to result in heightened risk of extinction for many species. Because conservation scientists are just starting to understand this threat, many have concluded that current risk assessment protocols, such as the International 'Red List' published by IUCN will fail to identify many species at risk from climate change because they are based on rules established in the 1990s,  .A team of researchers from the US and the UK quantitatively tested the the performance of […]
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6:16 PM | What happens inside your brain when you use a tool?
Image courtesy of Marie-Louise Brandi/TUMScientists in Munich are examining the network in our brains that enables us to use tools.Researchers from Technische Universität München (TUM) and the Klinikum rechts der Isar hospital have analyzed the brain networks that control the use of tools and utensils, such as car keys and chopsticks. Using MRI scans, they watched the areas of the brain that activate when a person first thinks about using a tool and then actually picks it up and uses […]
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3:57 PM | Aide le renard véloce à faire un retour en force!
Voici les cinq meilleures raisons de te joindre à l’équipe « Sauvons le renard véloce »!
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12:24 PM | Behold: Thousands of Stranded Walruses
By Susan Cosier An Alaskan beach is spilling over with an enormous herd of bathing beauties—about 35,000 Pacific walruses. The mammals are coming ashore in record numbers because there is no sea ice left on which they can rest, give birth, and dive from for food—higher temperatures made short work of that this summer. (Arctic ice cover is at its sixth lowest average ever recorded.) The edge of the sea ice has been receding further […]
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12:00 PM | America’s pronghorn migration faces human obstacles
When you think of the planet’s greatest migrations, perhaps you think of the annual trek of the wildebeest through Africa’s Mara ecosystem, or the salty trails of the sperm whales, oceanic giants who feed in the waters of the frigid poles but mate in the warm tropics. Maybe you imagine the four generations it takes
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11:00 AM | An Expanding Menu for Locavores: Tilapia on Hudson
An innovative business brings new meaning to the idea of local food by raising tilapia, salmon and year-round greens in the Hudson Valley.
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11:00 AM | Improving Babies' Language Skills Before They're Even Old Enough to Speak
Rutgers University--In the first months of life, when babies begin to distinguish sounds that make up language from all the other sounds in the world, they can be trained to more effectively recognize which sounds "might" be language, accelerating the development of the brain maps which are critical to language acquisition and processing.April Benasich of Rutgers University-Newark says 4 to 7 months is an ideal age to enhance a baby's listening skills.Image courtesy of Benasich LabResearchers […]
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9:04 AM | Environmental Management Centre Research Group
Paulo Pereira pereiraub@gmail.com Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuania The Environmental Management Centre The Environmental Management Centre (EMC) was founded in 2013 at Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania. The group is composed by young and proactive researchers from the entire world. The centre has an interdisplinary vision of science and aims to connect environmental, sociological and economical questions, […]
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6:00 AM | Glutbusters: October 2014
Homegrown Garlic, Rosemary & Lemon Thyme by Susy Morris Well, that was the driest September since records began, and one of the warmest this century! Good news for the last of the summer crops; bad news for the gardener toting the watering can…. The warm weather means there’s still time to plant overwintering onions, so have a look at September’s advice on that topic. A true GlutBusters tip arrived in my inbox from Suttons this week, who recommend planting your onions […]
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2:59 AM | For this one tree, autumn
What makes the first tree decide, “OK, now’s the time to turn.”

September 30, 2014

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11:56 PM | New bulletin
Our new issue of the Barcode Bulletin is out. Get your copy here (just click on the image):
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11:48 PM | Discoveries of the week
Hausera hauseriSpecies diversity of Brazilian cave fauna has been seriously underestimated. A karst area located in Felipe Guerra, northeastern Brazil, which is a hotspot of subterranean diversity in Brazil, has revealed more than 20 troglobitic species, most of them still undescribed. Based on recent samplings in this karst area, we document the occurrence of the suborder Cavernicola (Platyhelminthes) in South American hypogean environments for the first time and describe a new genus and […]
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11:34 PM | California’s ‘Water Year’ Ends as Third Driest on Record
Only 1924 and 1977 were drier. And there's little in the long-range forecasts to suggest a rebound soon.
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10:00 PM | Soils at Imaggeo: fire watch constellation
Egle Rackauskaite, Xinyan Huang and Guillermo Rein HazeLab, Imperial College London, UK Winner of the Best Fire Science Image, 11th IAFSS Symposium, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2014 Description This composite shows a constellation of combined visual and infrared imaging of a smouldering combustion front spreading radially over a thin sample of dry peat. The central watch […]
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9:27 PM | Plankton Power Swirls Ocean Pastures – A Source Of 1/3 Of Oceans Energy
Winds and Tides and Swimming Plankton Each Provide One Trillion Watts Of Power To Drive The Motion Of Ocean Waters Swirling ocean pasture eddies are... The post Plankton Power Swirls Ocean Pastures – A Source Of 1/3 Of Oceans Energy appeared first on Russ George.
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8:22 PM | How Dinosaur Arms Became Bird Wings
Although people now appreciate that birds evolved from a branch of the dinosaur family tree, a crucial adaptation for flight has continued to puzzle evolutionary biologists. Over time, wrists went from straight to bent and hyperflexible, allowing birds to fold their wings neatly against their bodies when not flying.Hoatzin, a tropical bird whose chicks have claws on two of their wing digits. Photo by Linda De Volder.How this happened has been the subject of much debate. Developmental […]
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7:29 PM | Soiled Justice
By Susan Cosier Three years ago a court in Ecuador ruled that the oil giant Chevron bore responsibility for four decades of pollution that destroyed the homes and livelihoods of thousands of indigenous farmers. The company was on the hook for $19 billion—the largest court award ever for environmental damages. Unfortunately, the farmers’ struggle for justice didn’t end there. Chevron refuses to pay up, and in his new book Law of the Jungle, […]
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3:41 PM | Turn’s out water is for fighin’ over after all?
From Texas: A feud over a water well is blamed for a violent confrontation in Santa Fe, according to the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office. I stand corrected.  
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2:48 PM | Stuff I wrote elsewhere: on public discussion in water politics, Gila edition.
From the morning paper, a column about the importance of putting all the data on the table for a public discussion as we try to make collective decisions about our water future. (This is about the Gila River in New Mexico). The argument here is technical, and I don’t expect you to be able to ...Continue reading ‘Stuff I wrote elsewhere: on public discussion in water politics, Gila edition.’ »
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1:00 PM | Climate change and the Red List: Counting down from vulnerable to extinct
Congratulations, you’ve made the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species! Now what? Is that enough to promise your salvation? Or will the increasing press of climate change on your vulnerable/endangered/critically endangered back spell your doom anyway? A new study aimed to answer this question, of just how long placement on the Red List gives conservationists to
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12:19 PM | Greenland Is the New Black
By Susan Cosier Greenland has never been green, but its massive glaciers aren’t white anymore, either. The icy island is turning black with soot (possibly the combination of increased wildfires in the Arctic, dust, microbes, and fewer winter snowstorms to refresh the whiteness). Glaciologist Jason Box took these these photos over the summer during his crowd-funded scientific expedition, Dark Snow. The besmirched ice isn’t just unsightly. […]
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12:00 PM | Self-Compassion: Key to Positive Body Image and Personal Strength
Women who treat themselves with compassion appear to have a significantly more positive body image. Regardless of their body mass index (BMI), these women are better able than others to overcome disappointments and setbacks.In a new study of 153 young women, researchers at the University of Waterloo found that this self-compassion may be an important means to increase positive body image. Compassion may protect girls and young women against eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. […]
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10:27 AM | PhDiaries: Settling in and the first fish surveys
I am now going into my third month here in Indonesia – how crazy is that?! It feels as if the weeks are flying by, and I have hardly enough […]
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10:25 AM | Photo blog: Hampton Court Palace
The kitchen garden at Hampton Court Palace (which is in a part of the grounds that is free to visit, if you don’t want to see the Palace itself) is an impressive beast, growing some old-fashioned and unusual plants amongst the more familiar crops. These photos were taken on August 24th, which turned out to be a very hot and sunny day…. A novel way to support tomatoes Good King Henry, Chenopodium bonus-henricus Salad burnett, Sanguisorba minor Costmary, Tanacetum […]
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6:14 AM | ORGANELLES SONG
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