Fig.1. The northern white rhinos are all but extinct, with with only five members of the species left (Credit: Derek Keats)
Among this week’s topics are tropical deforestation, ‘missing’ ocean plastic, and the loss of another northern white rhino. These articles emphasize the importance of conservation efforts in both living collections and in the wild.
- Living collections, such as zoos, are vital for conservation efforts. Unfortunately one species is just about lost after the death of one of its kind: “Another Northern White Rhino Dies, Only 5 Remain,” Scientific American (16 Dec 2014)
- Although we are well out of the Middle Ages, the plague continues to be an issue for some parts of the world. The more we understand zoonotic diseases, the better we can mitigate or prevent their spread: “100 Years of Bubonic Plague,” Scientific American (11 Dec 2014)
- Environmental change and food security are closely connected. Although Brazil’s deforestation rate has dropped, other tropical forests are still in significant danger: “Tropical Deforestation Threatens Global Food Production,” Reuters (18 Dec 2014)
- In an attempt to map ocean trash, scientists discovered that the amount of plastic in the ocean was surprisingly low. Now we know where that plastic went: “Where Has All the (Sea Trash) Plastic Gone?” National Geographic (18 Dec 2014)
- Want to predict an Ice Age thaw? Just examine ancient corals for warning signals some 1,000 years before the event: “North Atlantic Signalled Ice Age Thaw 1,000 Years Before it Happened, Reveals New Research,” Imperial College London Press (17 Dec 2014)