• Eating Sustainable Seafood

    In the sea, almost everything that swims, burrows or crawls can be presented on a plate and eaten. Yet many marine species aren't well known among chefs and diners. The lack of variety on the menu represents not only a loss of culinary opportunity, but also a potential source of ecological imbalance. No one knows this better than sustainable seafood devotee Rizwan Ahmed, chef/owner of the Hourglass Brasserie. "There is an abundant diversity of marine life that can be used and prepared by chefs to put on their menu," Ahmed said. "But nine out of 10 restaurants have species like cod. This puts a heavy load on the cod population. People have now become so accustomed to a limited choice of seafood that they are not willing or are not aware of other species that taste just as good if not better." >> Read the Full Article
  • In the News: South Georgia to cull invasive reindeer

    As well as being home to 3,000 reindeer, the island of South Georgia has many endemic species of fauna and flora that evolved in the absence of grazing pressures. These species are now struggling to survive in the reindeer's overbearing presence, and the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands has announced plans to eradicate the population in an effort to save the island's unique species. >> Read the Full Article
  • Invasive Aquarium Fish

    Home tropical fish aquariums are home to a number of pretty fish and seaweeds. Perfectly harmless right? Not in the wrong environment. It is surprising how hardy some of them can be if let loose in the wild. In a report released today to the California Ocean Protection Council, lead author Susan Williams, an evolution and ecology professor with the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, found that more than 11 million non-native ornamental marine individuals — such as tropical fish, seaweed and snails bound for aquariums — representing at least 102 species are being imported annually through California’s ports of San Francisco and Los Angeles, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines. And 13 of those species have been introduced to California marine waters — presumably after being released from aquariums. >> Read the Full Article
  • In the News: West African lions nearing extinction

    The report, by conservation group LionAid, says that as few as 645 lions may now remain in the wild in western and central Africa, following a worrying decline in recent years. This decline has been mirrored across Africa, with estimates suggesting that only around 15,000 wild lions remain across the whole continent, compared to about 200,000 a few decades ago. This iconic species is now extinct in 25 African countries, and virtually extinct in another 10. >> Read the Full Article
  • Python Trade Influenced by Fashion Industry

    A report released last month by the International Trade Centre has raised concerns over many aspects of the snake skin trade, most notably high levels of illegal trading, plus concerns about the welfare and conservation of the species involved. The report, entitled "The Trade in South-East Asian Python Skins", was backed by the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, (IUCN). The authors used information gathered from interviews with exporters and importers, hunters, government officials, conservationists and vets to highlight the now urgent need for more control over a trade which is threatening the survival of pythons. >> Read the Full Article
  • More Fin whales in the Mediterranean Sea

    The scientific journal Marine Ecology recently published a study undertaken by the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, ISPRA (Istituto Superiore per la Ricerca e Protezione Ambientale) showing that frequency of occurrence of fin whales in the central Tyrrhenian sea increased by 300% over 20 years. From 1989 to 1992 dedicated cetacean surveys along a trans regional fixed-transect in the central Tyrrhenian sea were carried out twice a week, using passengers ferries as a research observation platform. Collected data provided new information about cetacean species and their distribution in the region. From 2007 the research restarted with same protocol, the fixed line transect seasonally monitored the line from Civitavecchia (Rome district) to Golfo Aranci (Sardinia), along a strategic area just out of the southern border of the Pelagos Sanctuary. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mercury Contamination Similarities Found Between Birds and People

    Birds aren't that different from people. We learn from our parents, just like zebra finches learn songs from their fathers. We are active and noisy during the day, like birds, and we can also be territorial. Also like birds, we try to attract mates through colorful displays and beautiful songs. Birds are sensitive to pollution in their environment just like we are: harmful elements such as mercury wreak similar havoc on human and bird biology alike. Because our species share so many attributes, studying birds illustrates the connections between them and us. >> Read the Full Article
  • The World's Oldest Living Olive Trees Are Lebanese

    Tucked away in the sleepy village of Bechealeh, Lebanon, 16 olive trees have witnessed 6000 years of political unrest, plagues, diseases, varying climatic conditions and changing civilizations. In fact these "trees of Noah" are considered by locals to be a living miracle because nature, as we all know, is often silent and passive in the face of hardship, greed and violence so the fact that these arcane olive trees have managed to skirt 6000 years of climatic shifts, hacking axes and diseases makes me believe that, as improbable as this may sound, that there has been some mystical or divine providence watching over and protecting those trees for Bechealeh, for Lebanon and – who knows – maybe even for all the rest of us. >> Read the Full Article
  • Giant Squid Filmed in Pacific Depths

    Scientists and broadcasters have captured footage of an elusive giant squid, up to eight meters (26 feet) long that roams the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Japan's National Science Museum succeeded in filming the deep-sea creature in its natural habitat for the first time, working with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the US Discovery Channel. >> Read the Full Article
  • Long-beaked Echidna may not be extinct after all

    With a small and declining population due to forest clearing and overhunting in New Guinea, the western long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus bruijnii) is listed as "Critically Endangered" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. In Australia, the species has been thought to be extinct as fossil remains from the Pleistocene epoch demonstrate that the species lived here tens of thousands of years ago and no modern record of the species has been known. That is until scientists discovered one particular specimen in the overlooked cabinets of the Natural History Museum in London. >> Read the Full Article