What We’re Reading- June 16, 2017

Ectotherms and Climate Change Ectotherms regulate their body temperature using external heat sources; for example, turtles bask in the sun or on hot rocks to warm up, then retreat to the shade when they become over heated.  Increasing temperatures due to climate change are expected to have physiological effects on animals and plants.  Heat shock…

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…

Marsupial misconceptions: weird mammals, placentas and pouches

I’ve now been living in Australia for almost 18 years, and I’m an unashamed convert to #TeamMarsupial. Marsupials are fascinating animals in both evolutionary and ecological terms, but at times I am surprised by how poorly-understood they are. I’ve been thinking of writing a post to address some recurring marsupial misconceptions for a while. When I saw…

What We Read: Favorite Papers of 2016

Part two of our Year in Review: we describe our favorite papers of 2016. These papers did not necessarily have to have been part of our Friday link dump series, What We’re Reading, which focuses on the WildlifeSNPits theme of the intersection between evolution and conservation. Anna So this year, after much deliberation, I’ve selected…

There’s no such thing as “boring” data in citizen science

As a child I was hooked on wildlife documentaries (I still am…) and from these I gleaned that the career highlight of any self-respecting botanist or zoologist was to discover a new species. For a while that was my goal too, but then I became sidetracked by questions about genetics and evolution and conservation. Fast…

Behind the paper: eDNA has great potential as a wildlife survey tool, but should be used properly

As many people know, two of my favourite topics are bandicoots and environmental DNA (eDNA). So I’m very excited about the online debut of my latest paper “A framework for developing and validating taxon-specific primers for specimen identification from environmental DNA” at Molecular Ecology Resources, which includes both bandicoots and eDNA. eDNA analysis is the analysis of DNA…

What We’re Reading- Nov 11, 2016

Pangolin Phylogeography There are 8 species of pangolins (Manis spp) distributed throughout Africa and Asia. All of the species are listed as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered with extinction on the IUCN Red List, primarily due to poaching for the chitin rich scales and wild meat. A new paper (sub) investigated genetic diversity in the…

When More Science Isn’t Better

I’ll never forget the first, and only, time I was turned down to give a presentation at a meeting. It’s pretty rare to get turned down for conferences, and if you do, you usually at least get asked to present a poster. It was for the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), my favorite conference, and I…

What We’re Reading- Oct 21, 2016

Ethics in Lethal Sampling for Research The editors of Biological Conservation recently rejected papers citing ethical considerations related to lethal sampling of the study organisms. They note that all of these studies had IACUC approval, but that approval does not necessarily make lethal sampling ethical, particularly for endangered species or species in protected habitats. The…

Is Man’s Best Friend Wildlife’s Best Friend?

Conservationists love to hate on cats because unfortunately they kill our feathered friends. The solution is easy (keep your cat indoors), but what about our other beloved pet, man’s best friend? You don’t hear much about the impacts of dogs on wildlife and dogs are a pet you have to let outside. Do they ever get the…

Guest Post: How Sanctuaries Help Promote Conservation

Guest Post by Endangered Apparel Our planet is a pretty amazing place. It’s located just close enough to its parent star to produce the perfect temperature for live to thrive. Our atmosphere contains the right mixture of gases that benefit both plant and animal life. The gene pool has positively mutated enough to produce all…