What We’re Reading- Sept 29, 2017

Genetic Diversity on the Sea Floor We have so much to learn about the biodiversity in the deep ocean.  But for the species we do know, we have barely scratched the surface of understand the genetic diversity of these species.  This meta-analysis reviews all population genetic papers (a scant 77) about genetic diversity and population…

What We’re Reading- Sept 15, 2017

If You Sing It, They Will Come (and Occupy New Habitat Patches) One of the biggest threats to species are small isolated habitat patches, where species can be extirpated (i.e. go locally extinct) from any patch.  The endangered Kirkland’s warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii) lives in these types of patchy pine forests near the Great Lakes in…

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…

What We’re Reading- May 26, 2017

Protect Krill to Protect Whales We previously wrote about the importance of krill (marine invertebrates) for supporting oceanic ecosystems.  This paper (sub) compared the movement of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangiliae) to tonnage of krill harvested around the West Antarctic peninsula.  The authors found a correlation between spatial areas where the whales spent the most time and…

What We’re Reading- Feb 17, 2017

Endangered Populations Growing in Size But Still at Risk The Little Spotted Kiwi (Apteryx owenii) is a near threatened bird species that once inhabited forests throughout New Zealand, but is now constricted to near shore islands devoid of introduced predators.  Each of the eight islands the birds now inhabit was founded by a different number…

What We’re Reading- Dec 2, 2016

Birds of Differentially Colored Feathers Still Flock Together Yellow-winged warblers (left in picture) are threatened with extinction in Canada under SARA, and a candidate species for the ESA in the United States. Hybridization with the more widely distributed blue-winged warbler (right in picture) is considered a threat to the species. This paper (open) compared genomic…

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…

What We’re Reading: May 13, 2016

Citizen Science Can Instill Conservation Attitudes This paper (sub) investigates the attitudes of people participating in COASST, Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, a citizen science program focusing on beached birds. Even without specific educational goals, participants increased their conservation stewardship and developed a strong sense of place for the beaches that they patrolled. For…

Earth Week 2016: Upgrade Your Yard for Wildlife by Letting it Go

We’re celebrating Earth Week 2016 with suggestions for how to apply the phrase “Earth Day Every Day” to conserving biodiversity. There are a number of great suggestions for things you can do every day to conserve energy and water; but we asked ourselves, what actions can we take to conserve biodiversity? This week we’ll explore:…

Pollinators: Fashion forward, but in Decline

Spring is in the air! Flowers are blooming in real life and in prints of your favorite designers. With flowers come the buzzing of bees, flies, and butterflies – important pollinators. When visiting flowers to forage on nectar and pollen, pollinators move pollen that gets stuck to their bodies from the anthers (male part of the plant) of one flower…

What We’re Reading: Jan 29, 2016

Improving morphological diet studies with molecular ecology I’m sure you all know by now that many wildlife species are threatened by invasive predators. Diet studies are often used to understand the specific impacts of predators, to guide management actions. Traditionally, this has meant sorting through scats and gut contents to identify as many prey remains as possible. Of…