• Shell suspends Arctic oil drilling for the year

    Royal Dutch Shell announced yesterday that it was setting "pause" on its exploratory drilling activities in the Arctic for 2013. Shell's operations are currently under review by the federal government after the oil company suffered numerous setbacks during last year's opening attempt to drill exploratory wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, including running its drilling rig aground on Sitkalidak Island in southern Alaska in late December. >> Read the Full Article
  • Reptiles Need Our Help NOW!

    Reptiles have inhabited our planet for more than 250 million years, and are adapted to almost every part of it. Yet when it comes to conservation action, reptiles all over the world have been overlooked in favour of more charismatic animals. With only 35% of described reptile species evaluated for the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species, no one knew to what extent reptiles were being affected by our current extinction crisis. >> Read the Full Article
  • Wasp Society

    Social wasps build an internal society or specialized workers. How do they do this on a genetic level? What makes a wasp do one task or another? The workers all support the queen of the colony. Scientists at the University of Bristol have sequenced the active parts of the genome – or transcriptome – of primitively eusocial wasps to identify which part makes a queen or a worker. The study, published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Genome Biology, shows that workers have a more active transcriptome than queens. This suggests that in these simple societies, workers may be the jack-of-all-trades in the colony, leaving the queen with a somewhat restricted set of work tasks. >> Read the Full Article
  • Rice Paddies and Fish Farming - Perfect Together!

    By combining aquaculture with wet paddy farming in its coastal areas Bangladesh can meet food security and climate change issues, says a new report. The approach promises more nutritious food, without causing environmental damage, and has the potential for a 'blue-green revolution' on Bangladesh’s existing crop areas extending to about 10.14 million hectares and an additional 2.83 million hectares that remain waterlogged for about 4–6 months. >> Read the Full Article
  • Is that really Red Snapper You're Eating? Don't be so sure!

    From 2010 to 2012, Oceana conducted one of the largest seafood fraud investigations in the world to date, collecting more than 1,200 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states to determine if they were honestly labeled. DNA testing found that one-third (33 percent) of the 1,215 samples analyzed nationwide were mislabeled, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. >> Read the Full Article
  • Why Long Necked Dinosaurs

    Dinosaurs often are depicted with very long necks. Nowadays we have the giraffe with a long neck who seem to have evolved this feature due to the need to eat leaves higher up. So why and how the dinosaur with its long neck? Researchers say the how is helped by hollow neck bones. The largest creatures to ever walk the Earth were the long-necked, long-tailed dinosaurs known as the sauropods. These vegetarians had by far the longest necks of any known animal. The dinosaurs' necks reached up to 50 feet in length, six times longer than that of the current world-record holder, the giraffe, and at least five times longer than those of any other animal that has lived on land. >> Read the Full Article
  • Blink and you’ll miss it: how species are being lost before they’re even found

    Asia's karst landscapes are yielding new biological discoveries at an astonishing rate, yet the majority of species found here remain unknown (and unloved) by the wider world. With limestone quarrying threatening these fragile ecosystems, is there anything we can do to stem the tide of unnoticed extinctions? >> Read the Full Article
  • Tigers Get the Conservation Love in India

    Nearly half of India's wildlife budget goes to one species: the tiger, reports a recent article in Live Mint. India has devoted around $63 million to wildlife conservation for 2013-2013, of which Project Tiger receives $31 million. The Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is currently listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List; however India is also home to 132 species currently considered Critically Endangered, the highest rating before extinction. After tigers, elephants receive the next greatest amount: $4 million or 6 percent of the total. Combating the illegal wildlife trade—one of the gravest threats to many of India's species—is funded with just $1 million. Many of the nation's species receive no government funding whatsoever. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mystery of Dog Evolution Solved

    How did modern dogs evolve from wolves or other predecessor canines? Scientists have long thought that modern dogs evolved from wild wolves that became accustomed to human interaction and then were deliberately bred by early humans as pets. Part of the ancient mystery of the makeup of the modern Western dog has been solved by a team led by researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. Several thousand years after dogs originated in the Middle East and Europe, some of them moved south with ancient farmers, distancing themselves from native wolf populations and developing a distinct genetic profile that is now reflected in today’s canines. These findings, based on the rate of genetic marker mutations in the dog's Y chromosome, supply the missing piece to the puzzle of when ancient dogs expanded from Southeast Asia. The study results are published online this month in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mutated Moth Genes May Lead to Environmentally Friendly Pest Control

    Pheromones are chemical substances secreted or excreted by species that when released into the environment can affect the behavior or physiology of others. Basically, these chemicals trigger social responses and are crucial to the mating systems in a wide range of organisms. According to a new study led by researchers from Sweden’s Lund University, a single gene mutation found in the moth genus, Ostrinia, has led to the species’ ability to produce an entirely new scent. >> Read the Full Article