What We’re Reading- June 8, 2018

Stakeholders Diverse Interests in Endangered Vulture Conservation The Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is an endangered bird native across northern Africa, the Middle East, and as far east as the Indian subcontinent.  Researchers asked diverse stakeholders including hunters, ranchers, and tourists in northern Spain (the upper range of the vulture’s distribution) about their knowledge of the species…

Rhino Conservation: Dehorning Demand

There are five living species of rhinoceros: black (Diceros bicornis), white (Ceratotherium simum), Javan (Rhinoceros sondaicus), Indian (Rhinoceros unicornis), and Sumatran (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) rhinos.  And not too long ago there was a woolly rhino (Coelodonta antiquitatis) that roamed northern Eurasia until it went extinct ~14,000 years ago.  The IUCN lists black, Javan, and Sumatran rhinos as…

What We’re Reading – Jan 26, 2018

Temporal Genotyping for Conservation Monitoring This paper advocates using museum specimens to quantify recent losses of genetic diversity in species of conservation concern.  The authors note that older demographic processes leave a signature on genetic diversity that can be difficult to distinguish from recent changes.  Thus they show how using temporal sampling allows researchers to…

What We’re Reading- Jan 12, 2018

One shark, one global population? We recently highlighted the lack of population genetic studies within marine environments, and noted that the existing ones show exciting results about both barriers and corridors for dispersal.  A new paper (open) investigated the global population structure of the blue shark (Prionace glauca).  This species has a serious global oceanic…

What We’re Reading- Jan 5, 2018

Happy New Year from the WildlifeSNPits team! All the Pretty Birds This open paper investigated the phylogenetic and biogeographic relationships between Kingfishers, an order of birds with 114 species.  Kingfishers are known for their beautiful bright colors, but how the different species are related to each other was partially unknown.  The authors inferred that kingfishers…

What We Read- Favorite Papers of 2017

Anna My favourite paper of 2017 was “Devil Tools & Tech: A Synergy of Conservation Research and Management Practice” (open access). This provides a great example of how to effectively bridge the “research-implementation gap” in conservation management. Instead of what could be called the “traditional model”, where scientists conduct and publish research, and only then engage…

Interpreting the Biodiversity of Your Wardrobe

I love fashion, especially garments with animals on them. I wear so many of them, that my boss asked me about the biodiversity of my closet. I was genuinely curious so I counted all the plants, animals, and any other life forms that I could spot and calculated the Shannon Weiner Index, a real index…

What We’re Reading- Nov 3, 2017

Fight During Over-head Flight: Bear Physiological Responses to Drones The drone landscape is rapidly changing as more businesses incorporate drones and attention from hobbyists increases.  Drones have also been proposed as a conservation monitoring tool, both for counting elusive species and for surveying/deterring poachers.  A group of researchers wanted to know how animals respond when…

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 We’re Reading- July 14, 2017

Words Matter A thought provoking opine which asks scientists if we’re being too careful with our words?  The authors discuss how the use of euphemisms to describe environmental challenges, scientific results, and interpretation/recommendations undermines conservation objectives, specifically of changing human behaviors.  They also challenge scientists to understand how we internalize euphemisms to justify our work…