Lately many articles are being published touting the power of planting trees in the fight against climate change. I acknowledge of course the need for positive new surrounding the topic of climate change. If it’s always doom and gloom, how will we ever find the motivation, as a society, to actually do something about it? However, there are several important ecological factors to consider when planting trees in any given area including, but not limited to; the characteristics of the soil, the history of the area (did trees grow here in the past, and if so, how long ago were they present), and which species are native to the area. If scientists plan to replant a large percentage of the Earth’s land, then they absolutely must consider where and what species they choose to plant very carefully. Not every area of land is equally suited to any trees and different tree species have different requirements.
In the early days of formal scientific efforts, curious individuals would explore their world and publish their observations for the world to marvel over. Men – and a few intrepid women – would venture away from home or into the depths of their laboratories and reemerge with new discoveries, catapulting their names into fame and our history books. Individuals could make a splash because the nature of science was simpler. Science was interested in species, organs, and individual processes removed from the larger interconnected picture. Nowadays, science acknowledges the connectivity between everything, from ecosystems to interdisciplinary research projects, and with that realization emerged new tools and collaborations that increased the capacity and reach of scientific discovery. Researchers around the globe have access to immense data sets, created by close collaborators despite the miles separating them. One of the most exciting ways that those data sets are being created is with the use of citizen science.
Trophy hunting is a controversial topic in the conservation world. Die-hard animal huggers oppose it because it promotes unnecessary killing of animals. Hunting enthusiasts tout the values of conservation and preservation – values held by people like Teddy Roosevelt – that are part of the culture that surrounds sport hunting. This blog is intended to break down some of the less obvious aspects of trophy hunting that make it such a gray area.
Dogs aren’t just man’s best friend, they are helping save other species around the world too!
There are many terrestrial species with a strong reliance on sound, but only the bat comes close to the complete reliance seen in many marine and aquatic species. Just as the bat needs sound to find prey and navigate its nocturnal world, species that inhabit water use sound to overcome the rapid loss of light at depth. The use of sound to locate prey and mates, navigate along migration routes, communicate with conspecifics and defend against predators is seen in a diversity of forms in the ocean. With increasing ocean noise threatening more well-known top predators, like the southern resident killer whales, understanding the impacts further down the food web has never been more important.
While most people know about the songs and sounds made by whales, few people know that other animals in the ocean make sound too! Here’s a look at some of the more interesting examples from shrimp to fish.
Sharks have been around for over 400 million years, longer than we have been walking the earth! What makes these apex predators so fascinating? Here, you can learn more about different shark species and what makes each of them one of a kind!
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was established in 1973 in response to a growing movement of citizens calling for the extinction of…well…extinction. The purpose of the ESA, as described by the US Supreme Court, is to “reverse and halt the trend toward species extinction, whatever the cost.” This noble and lofty goal is upheld primarily by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The ESA requires that any action that is permitted, funded, or carried out by the federal government does not endanger the existence of any listed species, either directly or through the destruction of their critical habitat. The law also prohibits “taking” a listed species, or participating in commerce for a listed species. Before we go any deeper, here are some definitions you might need to know.
Before ringing in the new year, we would like to celebrate the species discovered in 2018. Each year brings new findings that expand the Encyclopedia of Life. Of the 1.74 million species that are on earth today, here are a few that became known to man in 2018.
One of the most pressing issues of our time is figuring out how to feed a growing global population while simultaneously upholding sustainability principles. Many of our current food practices are fraught with waste and inefficiencies that leave many people without sufficient food and continue to damage our planet.
One alternative protein source that has gained a lot of attention lately is insects. Insects are already a main protein source for over 2 billion people globally, but here in the US we are still a little squeamish about adding them to our regular diets. Here we are going to explore the potential benefits of replacing some of our current foods with insects to improve our collective ecological footprint. First, here is a list of all the ways they can have a positive impact on our lives.
The Current Status of the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW)
The population of Killer whales (Orcinus orca) native to Puget Sound, also known as the Southern Resident population, are on the brink of extinction. These majestic creatures have a long history in the Salish Sea area and are an important cultural icon for the Pacific Northwest, but human activities over the last few decades are threatening their future. Though this population was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 2005, little has been done since to tackle the causes of their decline. The challenges facing the SRKW population are many, but they can be generally placed into three groups: water pollution, noise pollution, and prey decline.