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With more than one million unique visitors per month, Mongabay.com is one of the world's most popular environmental science and conservation news sites. The news and rainforests sections of the site are widely cited for information on tropical forests, conservation, and wildlife.
Mongabay.com aims to raise interest in wildlife and wildlands while promoting awareness of environmental issues. Originally the site was based around a text on tropical rainforests written by Rhett A. Butler, but today the site has expanded to other topics (like Madagascar [WildMadagasacar.org]) and is available in versions for kids and in more than two dozen non-English languages. Mongabay.com is also publisher of Tropical Conservation Science, a peer-reviewed, open-access academic journal that seeks to provide opportunities for scientists in developing countries to publish their research in their native languages.
rhett (at) mongabay.com
Ultraviolet nets significantly reduce sea turtle bycatch
November 12, 2013 08:58 AM - Christina Pham, MONGABAY.COM
Bycatch, a side-effect of commercial fishing in which non-target species are accidentally caught, is linked to severe population declines in several species. Sea turtles are particularly impacted by small-scale coastal gillnetting practices, in which large nets are deployed and indiscriminately snag anything of a certain size that attempts to swim through them. However, that may soon change. A new study in Biology Letters—conducted by researchers at the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at the University of Hawaii, Ocean Discovery Institute, Comison Nacional Areas Protegidas and Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center—announces the development of new technology that reduces bycatch rates by utilizing ultraviolet light.
Dolphins, bats and the evolution of echolocation
November 11, 2013 11:11 AM - Sandhya Sekar, MONGABAY.COM
While both bats and dolphins use ecolocation to hunt down prey, patterns of echolocation vary greatly among species. Depending on what they eat and where they live, species produce sounds at different frequencies - from "broadband" calls that encompass a wide range of frequencies, to constant-frequency calls emitted at one particular frequency. Researchers from the UK, Italy and Denmark got together to look for genetic evidence of convergent evolution between these very different groups. Previous research had already determined which genes are involved in echolocation in both dolphin and bat species. While, other studies have shown that different bat species have undergone changes that resulted in strong similarities in the genes that govern hearing. These findings set the stage for Joe Parker, Georgia Tsagkogeorga and others to begin examining the entire genomes of selected echolocating species.
Port development threatens Jamaican Iguana comeback
November 9, 2013 07:00 AM - Adam Andras, MONGABAY.COM
The story of the Jamaican iguana (Cyclura collie) is one of adversity and resurgence. Once believed extinct, the species has made a remarkable comeback over the last two decades. However, according to concerned scientists, a new plan to build a massive port in the iguana's habitat could push the species back to the edge of extinction.
CO2 Concentrations Hit New High Last Year
November 7, 2013 03:07 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a record high last year, according to a new report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). While this was not a surprise given still-rising global emissions, the concentration rose significantly more than the average this decade. According to the WMO's annual greenhouse gas bulletin, CO2 concentrations hit 393.1 parts per million (ppm) in 2012.
Deforestation may hurt US agriculture, affect monsoon cycle
November 6, 2013 08:58 AM - Rhett A. Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Unchecked deforestation will have far-reaching impacts on temperature, rainfall, and monsoon cycles in regions well outside the tropics, affecting agriculture and water availability, warns a new report published by Greenpeace International. The report, titled "An Impending Storm: Impacts of deforestation on weather patterns and agriculture", is a synthesis of dozens of recent scientific papers that assess the effects of forest cover loss on weather patterns, local climate, and agricultural productivity.
Bolivia, Madagascar, China see jump in forest loss
November 4, 2013 08:44 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Loss of forest cover increased sharply in Bolivia, Madagascar, and Ecuador during the third quarter of 2013, according to an update from NASA scientists. NASA's Quarterly Indicator of Cover Change (QUICC), a MODIS satellite-based product that underpins Mongabay.com's Global Forest Disturbance Alert System (GloF-DAS), picked up strong deforestation signals in the three tropical countries between July 1 and September 30, 2013: Bolivia (167 percent increase in deforestation relative to the year-earlier period), Madagascar (126 percent), and Ecuador (38 percent). Outside the tropics, Pakistan, China, the United States, and Argentina appeared to experience an increase in forest and woodland disturbance.
Renewable energy revolution will require better management of metals
October 31, 2013 01:38 PM - Jeremey Hance, MONGABAY.COM
If we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, scientists say global society will need a rapid and aggressive replacement of fossil fuel energy for renewable, such as solar, wind, geo-thermal, and tidal. While experts say a renewable revolution would not only mitigate climate change but also likely invigorate economies and cut life-threatening pollution, such a revolution would not come without challenges.
The mystery of the disappearing elephant tusk
October 31, 2013 08:57 AM - Sandhya Sekar, MONGABAY.COM
Give it a few thousand years, and tusks could completely disappear from the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). The beautifully smooth, elongated ivory incisors neatly bordering a long trunk are iconic in the public mind. The reigning hypothesis is that tusks evolved to help male elephants fight one another, as demonstrated when males compete over females in estrus. However, a recent study published in the journal Animal Behaviour has shown that tusks may not be key factors in tussles, at least as far as elephants are concerned.
'Lost' bird rediscovered in New Caledonia along with 16 potentially new species
October 30, 2013 09:02 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
In early 2011, Conservation International (CI) dubbed the forests of New Caledonia the second-most imperiled in the world after those on mainland Southeast Asia. Today, CI has released the results of a biodiversity survey under the group's Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) to New Caledonia's tallest mountain, Mount Panié. During the survey researchers rediscovered the 'lost' crow honeyeater and possibly sixteen new or recently-described species. Over 20 percent larger than Connecticut, New Caledonia is a French island east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean.
Armored giant turns out to be vital ecosystem engineer
October 25, 2013 10:24 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) is not called a giant for nothing: it weighs as much as a large dog and grows longer than the world's biggest tortoise. However, despite its gigantism, many people in its range—from the Amazon to the Pantanal—don't even know it exists or believe it to be more mythology than reality. This is a rare megafauna that has long eluded not only scientific study, but even basic human attention. However, undertaking the world's first long-term study of giant armadillos has allowed intrepid biologist, Arnaud Desbiez, to uncovered a wealth of new information about these cryptic creatures. Not only has Desbiez documented giant armadillo reproduction for the first time, but has also discovered that these gentle giants create vital habitats for a variety of other species.