What we’re reading: Oct 31, 2014

SNPits Publications
Congrats to SNPits writers Emily and Stephanie on new publications released this work. Emily’s work (open) estimates the population size of black bears (Ursus americanus) in Missouri. But more importantly, the paper shows how design of trap array experiments can influence mark-recapture population size estimates. Stephanie’s work (open) details how variation in raccoon (Procyon lotor) MHCII loci is important in immune response to canine distemper virus but less so for parvovirus.

Human Dimensions of Conservation
An important component of conservation are factors influencing human decision making. However, as I was recently reminded when (unsuccessfully) trying to poll friends to schedule a weekly volleyball game, biologists don’t generally receive training in social survey techniques. St. John and colleagues (open) nicely outline areas applied biologists often fall short, and provide a great list of resources for those of us considering adding social elements into conservation research.

It’s a Cute Eat Cute World
And you thought sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps) were cute? Well they are… but not when they’re eating endangered swift parrots (Lathamus discolor)! This camera trap study (open) revealed high egg mortality of the parrots when they lived within the range of the marsupials.

Fungus Among Us
On the importance of fungi to the world’s ecosystems (and ecosystem services) and why conservation biologists should care. (Sub)

Are Quotas Needed for Faculty Searches?
Quotas are always controversial. Tim Coulson, Senior Editor of the Journal of Animal Ecology, proposes using quotas to balance the sex-ratio of faculties.

Sticky Fingers
We’ve all had wrinkly fingers and toes from spending time in water. Researchers found this response has a purpose – fingers are better at picking up wet objects when they’re wrinkled from water.

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