November 19, 2007

How Bay’s Spill Might Cripple its Sea Life
Sacramento Bee –
18 Nov 2007
C Bowman
Photo courtesy of Sacramento Bee

'Bunker oil' used as fuel may be more damaging than crude. The gooey "bunker oil" that gummed up San Francisco Bay and miles of coastline poses a more serious, long-term threat to marine life than the more common spills of crude oil, University of California, Davis, studies suggest.

The research indicates the bunker oil used to power the container ship that struck the Bay Bridge on Nov. 7 could do significantly more damage to the reproductive systems of marine mammals than the lighter crude oil shipped to refineries.

"If you compare the two, bunker oil is more toxic," said Jonna Mazet, drawing on results of her laboratory experiments and other research at the university's Veterinary School of Medicine.

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DNR Believes Deer Disease Contained
Associated Press (Posted by Charleston Daily Mail)
19 Nov 2007

Chronic wasting disease seems to be under control in West Virginia, according to the state Division of Natural Resources. The deer disease is confined to a small area of Hampshire County, said Paul Johansen, the agency's assistant wildlife chief. "Our extensive survey found this region is pretty well defined.''

The DNR, the University of Georgia and the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory have confirmed 13 cases of the disease in West Virginia after testing approximately 1,500 deer. The disease first turned up in West Virginia in 2005.

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Outdoors: Officials Worried about Fowl Deaths
St. Cloud Times Onine Edition -
G Schmitt
18 Nov 2007
Photo courtesy of Department of Natural Resources

. . . During a late-October duck hunting excursion on Lake Winnibigoshish, Cordts came across several dead scaup (bluebills) that he figured were crippled by other hunters. At the time he had no idea what was unfolding along the west shore of Winnibigoshish.

. . . On Nov. 3, staff from the Minnesota DNR and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services went back to Winnibigoshish and removed about 1,000 dead scaup from the west shore of the lake. An additional 800 dead scaup were removed on Nov. 8, and on Tuesday 300 more scaup were retrieved.

. . . Lab results confirmed trematodes as the cause of mortality in the scaup, but the goldeneye was a hunter-killed bird and was not infected.

Parasites Might Spur Evolution of Strange Amphibian Breeding Habits
EurekaAlert -
S Fahmy
14 Nov 2007

Parasites can decimate amphibian populations, but one University of Georgia researcher believes they might also play a role in spurring the evolution of new and sometimes bizarre breeding strategies.

Brian Todd, a researcher at the UGA Odum School of Ecology Savannah River Ecology Lab, explains that most amphibians start their lives in water (tadpoles are a good example), and then make their way onto land as adults and return to the water to breed. But there are other breeding strategies as well. Take, for instance, the Darwin’s frog, the species that swallows its eggs and, a few weeks later, regurgitates its young. Or the marsupial frog, a species that carries its eggs on its back until they hatch. Several species lay eggs in small puddles on land or high up in trees where they hatch as miniature versions of adults, bypassing the larval stage entirely.

Taste for Exotic Posing a Danger to Rare Wildlife

The Standard –
N Patel
19 Nov 2007

Growing consumer spending power in south China has been fueling the illegal trade of endangered Southeast Asian pangolins and African ivory, making Hong Kong a crucial strategic hub.

Statistics obtained by The Standard from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department show that the amount of imported ivory seized in Hong Kong rocketed from 26.8 kilograms to 4,027.9kg between 2004 and last year, while pangolin seizures jumped from 1,005.5kg, or 939 carcass heads, to 2,037kg, or 6,478 carcass heads, between 2004 and 2006.

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Genetic Diversity Among Sea Otter Isolates of Toxoplasma gondii
Veterinary Parasitology. 2007; [in press]
N Sundar et al.

Evolution of Virulence: Triggering Host Inflammation Allows Invading Pathogens to Exclude Competitors
Ecology Letters. 2007; [ahead of print]
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