Wildlife

The danger to birds from open pipes
October 9, 2014 03:33 PM - American Bird Conservancy

Open pipes, widely used for a variety of purposes across the western U.S. landscape, have been reported as a "potentially very large" source of bird mortality according toresearch by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The finding was part of a peer-reviewed study accepted for publication by the "Western North American Naturalist" and authored by Charles D. Hathcock and Jeanne M. Fair.

Elephants worth more alive, than when they are poached for ivory
October 9, 2014 08:54 AM - Morgan Erickson-Davis, MONGABAY.COM

Elephants are worth 76 times more when they’re alive than dead, according to a new analysis released this past weekend. The report follows on the heels of findings by WWF that the world has lost 50 percent of its wildlife over the past 40 years, with more than half of African elephants killed for ivory in just one decade. The analysis, conducted through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's iworry campaign, compared the value of elephants to local economies to profits netted through the illegal ivory trade.

First Hookworm Vaccine Passes Brazilian Safety Trial
October 8, 2014 09:33 AM - SciDevNet, SciDevNet

A vaccine for parasitic intestinal worms has been shown to be safe in Brazilian clinical trials, according to its US developer. Hookworm parasites infect more than 600 million people worldwide, attaching themselves to the intestines to feed on blood. Infection can lead to iron deficiency and capillary damage, and may retard children’s growth and mental development.

Sea Turtles in Hawaii getting tumors and we are the cause
October 7, 2014 08:09 AM - University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

Hawai'i's sea turtles are afflicted with chronic and often lethal tumors caused by consuming non-native algae, "superweeds," along coastlines where nutrient pollution is unchecked. The disease that causes these tumors is considered the leading cause of death in endangered green sea turtles. The new research was just published in the scientific journal PeerJ. Turtles that graze on blooms of invasive seaweeds end up with a diet that is rich in a particular amino acid, arginine, which promotes the virus that creates the tumors. Scientists at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and their NOAA colleague estimate that adult turtles foraging at high-nutrient grazing sites increase their arginine intake 17—26 g daily, up to 14 times the background level.

Does the public trust what scientists say?
October 6, 2014 03:58 PM - Princeton University

If scientists want the public to trust their research suggestions, they may want to appear a bit "warmer," according to a new review published by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The review, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), shows that while Americans view scientists as competent, they are not entirely trusted. This may be because they are not perceived to be friendly or warm.

Rusty-Patched bumble bee "re-discovered" in Virginia state park
October 4, 2014 08:45 AM - Smithsonian Science

The rusty-patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis), which has not been seen in the eastern United States in five years, has been found by a Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute research team at Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, Va. This formerly common bee has disappeared from 87 percent of its range in the Upper Midwest and Eastern Seaboard and is feared headed for extinction. The research team, led by Bill McShea and Tom Akre of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and T'ai Roulston from the University of Virginia, surveyed bee populations at 17 Virginia sites from May through August to study the influence of land management on bee diversity. Only one individual of this now rare species was found among nearly 35,000 bees belonging to 126 species collected and examined by the study.

No longer able to find sea ice, walruses turn to land
October 2, 2014 09:24 AM - Morgan Erickson-Davis, MONGABAY.COM

A mass of thousands of walruses were spotted hauled up on land in northwest Alaska during NOAA aerial surveys earlier this week. An estimated 35,000 occupied a single beach — a record number illustrating a trend in an unnatural behavior scientists say is due to global warming. Walruses (Odobenus rosmarus)—iconic arctic mammals that are only distantly related to seals—traditionally use sea ice to rest, breed, and give birth, and as a vantage from which to spot mollusks and other food sources. However, as their habitat warms and sea ice melts, walruses are forced to come to land more often and in greater numbers.

Dog waste contaminates our waterways
October 1, 2014 10:50 AM - American Chemical Society

Americans love their dogs, but they don't always love to pick up after them. And that's a problem. Dog feces left on the ground wash into waterways, sometimes carrying bacteria — including antibiotic-resistant strains — that can make people sick. Now scientists have developed a new genetic test to figure out how much dogs are contributing to this health concern, according to a report in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Yellowstone Aspen recovering thanks to the Wolves
October 1, 2014 08:47 AM - Oregon State University

Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park is undergoing dramatic shifts with consequences that are beginning to return the landscape to conditions not seen in nearly a century, according to a series of new studies. In the park's northeast section, elk have decreased in number in their historic winter range in the Lamar Valley and are now more numerous outside the park. This change in elk numbers and distribution can be traced back to the reintroduction of wolves in 1995-96. Scientists have hypothesized that wolves affect both the numbers and the behavior of elk, thereby reducing the impact of browsing on vegetation, a concept known as a "trophic cascade."

New research in Thailand finds birds and bats key to reforestation efforts
September 30, 2014 08:37 AM - Heather D'Angelo, MONGABAY.COM

Tropical forest restoration projects are exciting research sites for scientists studying factors that affect ecosystem recovery. Here, scientists are trying to understand plant community succession, i.e. the process of recovery after cleared lands are abandoned and allowed to regrow naturally. One of the most important components of this recovery process is seed dispersal, since seeds from nearby forests allow a deforested habitat to become populated again by native plants and trees.

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