What We’re Reading- July 29, 2016

When a Wolf is a Wolf + a Coyote Hybrids are not immediately protected under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) even though natural hybridization can lead to new species.  A new paper evaluates the genomic ancestry of the Eastern Wolf (Canis lycaon) and the Red Wolf (Canis rufus), both thought to have admixed ancestry…

Year in Review: What We Wrote 2015

Anna Two of my 2015 papers tackle aspects of the same question: how reliable are genetic tests to detect wildlife from trace DNA samples? It’s great to be able to use DNA to work out which species of mammal has been pooping in the woods, or to confirm the identification of a museum sample or roadkill of uncertain origin. But…

Rewilding: restoring lost species to save ecosystems

At first they were just shadows, dark impressions glimpsed through the mist. Is that really…? Could it be…? As we moved a little closer one of them turned to the east, to face the rising sun. His profile was unmistakable, the curved horns and humped shoulders proclaiming “bison”! And not just any bison, but free-ranging European bison, grazing…

What we’re reading- Feb 27, 2015

Species Delimitation for Endangered Species An important way in which evolution and conservation intersect occurs by identifying species relationships for closely related species, particularly if some members of the group may be threatened or endangered with extinction. By lumping “good” species together, census size will be larger and species may be overlooked to receive local…

What we’re reading: Oct 17, 2014

Plants in a Prickle? Not When Carnivores are Near. Herbivores’ risk-avoidance behavior from predators and plants’ anti-herbivore defenses appear to interact to determine the distribution of trees in African savannas. Thorny trees were found to be abundant in low-risk areas for herbivores while poorly defended trees were more abundant in high-risk areas. Therefore, plants can…

What we’re reading- June 27, 2014

ESA Recovery Wood storks have been down-listed from endangered to threatened. Always inspirational to see long term conservation actions make a difference! Trophic cascade amongst carnivores Wolves linked to fewer coyotes, but more red foxes. Politically Correct Phylogenetics This paper reviews the history of PC-ness in phylogenetics then argues why we should keep calling things…

What we’re reading- April 4, 2014

Carnivore Research Effort vs Threatened Status This paper (open) compares the research effort (measured in number of journal publications) across the order Carnivora to both number of species per family and IUCN Red List status. The researchers did not find a relationship between threatened status and research effort, suggesting that species that may benefit from…