• What's The Leading Cause Of Wildfires In The U.S.? Humans

    Wildfires can start when lightning strikes or when someone fails to put out a campfire. New research shows that people start a lot more fires than lightning does — so much so that people are drastically altering wildfire in America.

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  • Melting polar ice, rising sea levels not only climate change dangers

    Climate change from political and ecological standpoints is a constant in the media and with good reason, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist, but proof of its impact is sometimes found in unlikely places.

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  • Forests worldwide threatened by drought

    Forests around the world are at risk of death due to widespread drought, University of Stirling researchers have found. An analysis, published in the journal Ecology Letters, suggests that forests are at risk globally from the increased frequency and severity of droughts.

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  • What, You Can't Tell Two Lemurs Apart? Computers Can

    The Centre Valbio research station, a modern building of stone and glass set in the jungled hills at the edge of Madagascar’s Ranomafana National Park, was starting to look like the third season of The Wire. Big tackboards lined the walls, each one covered with dozens of pinned-up photographs. Some images were grouped together in families, while others floated alone, unconnected. It was 2012, and Rachel Jacobs was using Detective McNulty-style tactics to sort out the associations in a very different kind of crew: the park’s population of red-bellied lemurs.

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  • Fishing for bacteria in New Zealand

    If you asked Richard Sparling, what he did during his sabbatical early last year, he’d probably say “fishing in New Zealand.”

    But this ambiguous answer by the department of microbiology associate professor does not tell the whole story.

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  • Researchers Design Facial Recognition System as a Less Invasive Approach to Tracking Lemurs in the Wild

    A team of researchers has developed a new computer-assisted recognition system that can identify individual lemurs in the wild by their facial characteristics and ultimately help to build a database for long-term research on lemur species. The scientists hope this method has the potential to redefine how researchers track endangered species in the wild. 

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  • Laissez-faire is not good enough for reforestation

    In order to restore tropical rainforests, it is not enough to simply set up protected areas and leave them to their own devices. In particular, tree species with large fruit and seeds distributed by birds will have to be actively planted. This is one of the conclusions of a large-scale study by scientists from ETH Zurich in the Western Ghats, the mountain range running along the western coast of India. Today, the rainforest that exists there is highly fragmented. In the late 20th century in particular, large areas fell victim to intensive logging and commercial agriculture such as coffee and tea plantations.

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  • Monarch Butterflies Just Lost Another Third of Their Population

    While international efforts are underway to protect iconic monarch butterflies from disappearing, the latest population count has found their numbers have dropped by nearly one-third since last year.

    According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, in the 1990s, an estimated one billion monarchs embarked on an epic annual migration. Their journey takes them from sites in Canada and the U.S. to wintering grounds in California and Mexico, where they find shelter and warmth among oyamel fir trees in the winter.

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  • How temperature guides where species live and where they'll go

    For decades, among the most enduring questions for ecologists have been: "Why do species live where they do? And what are the factors that keep them there?" A Princeton University-based study featured on the February cover of the journal Ecology could prove significant in answering that question, particularly for animals in the world's temperate mountain areas.

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  • Eating Fish? Then You're Eating Plastic, Too

    Synthetic fleece is something of a modern miracle. It keeps us warm and cozy, is easily cleaned and doesn’t even require we harm any animals to make it. Perfect, right? Well, every miracle comes with a price.

    It turns out that every time we wash one fleece pullover or jacket, we’re sending about two grams of plastic microfibers out into our environment. Where those fibers end up from there is a bit concerning, because you’re probably eating them.

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