Friday, August 28, 2015

In the News: Collecting for Disasters

Fig.1. A planned biobank for samples from Ebola patients could bolster African science and aid in global health efforts (Credit: CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith, via PHIL)

How far would you go to collect? When it comes to studying a nuclear disaster, a deadly disease, or even unreachable plants, these scientists come up with clever ways to take samples. Such collections help in global health and environmental efforts that work to protect our world:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ancient Giants in Warmer Times

Fig.1. Woolly Mammoth at the Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia (Credit: Tracy O via Flickr)

Between 40,000 to 10,000 years ago, the world experienced a mass extinction of megafauna, a diverse group of animals that included such members as the mastodon and the woolly rhino. Although humans are often blamed for the disappearance of these creatures - either through overkill or habitat modification - the underlying causes are more complicated than previously thought

Friday, August 21, 2015

In the News: From Galilee to Starbucks

Fig.1. This cup of coffee is in danger, thanks to a pest devastating coffee crops (Credit: Fil.Al via Flickr)

From coffee to rice, humans are dependent on their agricultural systems in many different ways. Recent research has drawn attention back to ancient times, addressed bacterial blight in rice, found disease resistant peanuts and more!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Change in the Delta

Fig.1: An aerial view of the Copper River Delta in Alaska. (Credit: Andrew Morin)

After years of working at the Northwest Fishery Science Center as a project manager, focusing her work on salmon, Carmella Vizza felt she needed a change.

“I decided it was time for me to go back to grad school to be more involved in conducting my own research,” Vizza said.

Friday, August 14, 2015

In the News: To the Moon and Back

Fig.1. Full Moon photo taken from Madison, Alabama, USA (Credit: Gregory H. Revera, 2010)

These special collections contain over 400,000 bumblebees, around 5,000 marine mammals, 350 varieties of blueberries, and samples that are out of this world. Read about exciting research coming out of museum halls and herbaria for this week’s Follow Friday:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Edge of Extinction

Fig.1. The Hainan black-crested gibbon (Nomascus hainanus) is critically endangered with under 30 individuals left in the wild (Credit: MRNS)

With only 26 to 28 individuals left in the forests of southwest China, Hainan gibbons are the rarest primates on Earth. Habitat destruction and poaching have placed this species (Nomascus hainanus) on the cusp of extinction. Ongoing conservation efforts work to protect China’s endangered biodiversity, but tracking species decline is especially difficult. Extinction often occurs over centuries, and the extent of how humans affect animals is difficult to determine without a baseline of past population numbers. A recent study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B examined a novel resource in the fight to protect biodiversity and shed light on the decline of gibbon populations over time.

Friday, August 7, 2015

In the News: Roots in the Past

Fig.1 Diverse forest canopy fruit from Barro Colorado Island, Panama (Credit: Christian Ziegler, 2006

Biodiversity protection is the key to a healthy planet, from sustaining agriculture to maintaining ecosystems. This week, we learned how ancient developments affected modern day plants and why preserving species today will provide a snapshot into the past. Read theses articles, and more, for today's Follow Friday: 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Forests in a Time of Drought

Fig.1. Trees like this Pinus ponderosa will struggle to recover from droughts (Credit: Thayne Tuason via Flickr)

In the past few decades, the world’s forests have absorbed up to 30 percent of annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Forests act as carbon sinks, or reservoirs that accumulate and store carbon. Unlike humans who release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - either through breathing or fossil fuels - trees take in this compound from the atmosphere during photosynthesis to use for energy and growth. The long-term storage of carbon in trunks, branches, litter, or soil is known as carbon sequestration.