What is Urban Evolution?

In 2009 the United Nations reported that half of the world’s human population lived in cities and was expected to grow to 66% by 2050.  The movement of people from dispersed living to concentration in urban environments is a large change both for human civilization and for the environment.  Urbanization is the process of changing…

We Marched for Science- Now What?

Like many of you I joined a local March for Science this past Saturday (April 22, 2017).  Local for me is New York City, so I enjoyed a pretty large march (~20k) with fellow scientists, engineers, physicians and nurses, environmental advocates, science supporters, and their spouses and kids.  I enjoyed the pithy signs and marching…

CRISPR for Conservation

I’ve got this feeling that CRISPR is the next PCR.  Have you ever met someone who was an early adopter of PCR?  No, I mean an early adopter of PCR where the technique required three water baths, a swivel chair, a stop watch, and AN ACTUAL PERSON to move the reaction tubes between water baths every…

A Year of Science Selfies- Emily

When the WildlifeSNPits team first started discussing whether to participate in the #365scienceselfies challenge, I really didn’t want to do it.  I was uncomfortable that my face would be all over the Internet (more than it already is).  But it also sounded like an opportunity to learn something new about myself, so I agreed to the…

Is Krill the New Palm Oil?

For Earth Day 2016, I wrote about how growth of palm oil plantations has removed habitat for many tropical species, and that plantations are expanding globally as demand for cheap oil increases.  But if demand for these cheap oils does not decrease, what other sources are available?  Some consider krill oil a potential replacement or…

FWS Gives Conservation Scientists a To Do List

The US Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that they were changing how they prioritized species to be listed as threatened or endangered of extinction under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  (Here’s the final rule in the Federal Register- 81 FR 49248).  The Service claims that changing how 90-day petitions and 12-month status reviews are…

Do Endangered Species have 12 Years to Wait?

My colleagues and I recently published on the time it takes to list a species under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA).  This post will highlight some of our main findings with a few extra thoughts I have about the data. How long SHOULD it take to list a species under the ESA? In 1982…

Keep Wildlife Wild: Don’t Feed the Animals

I was having lunch with several wildlife managers during the 24th International Conference on Bear Research and Management, and asked them, “what is the one conservation message you want to get out to the public?”  And I loved this response from Colleen Olfenbuttel (North Carolina’s bear and furbearer manager): “Keep bears wild.” There are several…

Charismatic Megafauna Conservation vs Charismatic Megafauna Conservation

Prioritizing research efforts and on-the-ground action is essential for conservation, but also incredibly hard.  There’s plenty of debate about how best to set conservation priorities: save everything, triage/mathematical formulas for decisions, how to weigh expert opinion and societal values, etc.  Since conservation decisions can have real consequences for protecting species (and local human communities and…

Human Scrambled Wildlife Populations

Last week I was at a conference on the genomics of admixed populations. What is admixture? Admixture is a within species process that occurs when two (or more) populations that previously diverged come back into contact and mate. Thus the offspring have genetic signatures from the original populations. A particularly engaging session at the meeting…