February 3, 2010


Seabirds' Movement Patterns Tied to What Fishermen Toss Away

Humans and human activities have clearly altered the Earth's landscape and oceans in countless ways, often to the detriment of other plants and animals. But a new report published online on January 28th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, shows just what a tangled food web we've woven.

Two species of Mediterranean seabirds change their every move based on the activities of local fisheries and, in particular, the fish that people toss away. The seabirds' shifting movement patterns can be seen at the regional scale.

. . . "Our study suggests an elementary but often disregarded connection between human local resource exploitation and global movement patterns of organisms."

Science Daily - www.sciencedaily.com
02 February 2010
Photo credit: A Howe/iStockphoto

Journal Article Cited

Environmental Change Impacts Oklahoma Rivers

Biodiversity in freshwater systems is impacted as much or more by environmental change than tropical rain forests, according to University of Oklahoma Professor Caryn Vaughn, who serves as director of the Oklahoma Biological Survey.

"When we think about species becoming extinct, we don't necessarily think of the common species in freshwater systems, many of which are declining," says Vaughn. "We need to be concerned about these declines, because these common species provide many goods and services for humans," she states.

. . . Vaughn studies freshwater mussels, or clams, that live in Oklahoma's rivers. ... "We have seen that environmental changes are leading to species shifts in freshwater ecosystems, including changes in Oklahoma's mussel fauna," remarks Vaughn. "We need to understand how these changes will influence the services mussels provide in these systems."

Science Daily - www.sciencedaily.com
01 February 2010
Photo credit: K Harrison/iStockphoto

Journal Article Cited

Saving Tiny Toads Without a Home

This is a story about a waterfall, the World Bank and 4,000 homeless toads. Maybe the story will have a happy ending, and the bright-golden spray toads, each so small it could easily sit on a dime, will return to the African gorge where they once lived, in the spray of a waterfall on the Kihansi River in Tanzania.

. . . Meanwhile, though, the toads embody the larger conflicts between conservation and economic development and the complexity of trying to preserve and restore endangered species to the wild. Their story also raises questions about how much effort should go to save any one species.

These issues are particularly pressing for frogs, toads and other amphibians, whose populations are plunging worldwide in the face of factors like habitat loss, climate change and disease.

The New York Times - www.nytimes.com
01 February 2010
C Dean
Photo credit: J Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo

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