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A journey through Earth’s history by canoe part 2: Rivers keep flowing and life goes on

From the beginning of life, rivers experiment, trying new directions and invariably taking the easiest path. Everything follows the line of least resistance, a river, a vein cutting through rock, animals crossing a hillside, people on their way to work. As we go in search of some of the earliest life, passing through layers of…

The surprising diversity of Sunda clouded leopard communication behaviors

Sunda clouded leopards (Neofelis diardi) are part of the Panthera lineage of felids that includes African lions (Panthera leo), tigers (Panthera tigris), and jaguars (Panthera onca). These are among the most charismatic wildlife species, but Sunda clouded leopards are the least understood and studied of this group. Sunda clouded leopards are found in Borneo and…

What’s the cost of a surf-and-turf dinner? 1,795 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

What’s the cost of an average shrimp-and-steak dinner? If it comes from the loss of mangrove forests to aquaculture and agriculture, it’s 1,795 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s about the same amount of greenhouse gases produced by driving a fuel-efficient car from Los Angeles to New York City. Clearcutting of tropical mangrove forests to…

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week #114

Every week we receive hundreds of wild bird photographs via our Facebook page. And every week we are truly amazed by the quality of the images that all of the dedicated photographers send through. Here we present what we consider to be the Top 25 images of the week. These are the images that demand…

Menhaden, The Little Fish That Could—Won’t

Menhaden, the little fish that could, can’t. I mean, they can but they won’t. Because as of a few days ago, they’re not allowed to. This week they got another bad break from fisheries managers. Let me explain. The fish is called “the most important fish in the sea” because it feeds so many whales,…

Adding an Indigenous Perspective to a Global Scientific Effort

In an exciting collaboration to better understand the world’s most complicated watersheds, the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have joined forces to create the Global Rivers Observatory (GRO)—an ambitious effort committed to the continuous study of watershed health around the world. So how cool that they recently invited us…

Studies Assess Emissions; See Rise as Countries Meet to Negotiate Paris Agreement Terms

Although the world’s greenhouse gas emissions leveled out between 2014 and 2016, new studies presented this week at the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany, suggest that emissions will rise 2 percent in 2017. “The temporary hiatus appears to have ended in 2017,” wrote Stanford University’s Rob Jackson, who along with colleagues at the Global Carbon Project tracked 2017…

Enviromedics: Wildfire and No Way Out

The following is an excerpt from the book “Enviromedics: The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health” that was recently published by Rowman & Littlefield. By Jay Lemery, MD, and Paul Auerbach, MD “Hot and dry — they go hand in hand. As temperatures climb and rainfall diminishes, the landscape changes. Grass turns brown, leaves…

Enviromedics: Our Marble Needs to Stay Blue

The following is an excerpt from the book “Enviromedics: The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health” that was recently published by Rowman & Littlefield. By Jay Lemery, MD, and Paul Auerbach, MD As any astronaut who has gazed down during spaceflight can tell us, Earth is a planet of water. But only 1 percent…

A Parable of Refugees, or a History That Is True

I want to take you back nearly 80 years, to Mexico City in 1939, when Lázaro Cárdenas, a revolutionary-turned-politician, sat in the president’s seat and made a decision that no other president in the world would make. Across the Atlantic, the Spanish Civil War had come to a brutal end. The Republicans had fallen. General…

Hōkūleʻa Joins the Centennial Tribute to Queen Liliʻuokalani

In honor of Queen Liliʻuokalani, Hōkūleʻa this morning set sail along the southern shoreline of Oʻahu to join in an observance ceremony shared across the island chain. At around 8:30 am, Hōkūleʻa was faced toward the direction of Iolani Palace, Kawaiahaʻo and Washington Place and her sails were lowered. At this moment, double rainbows appeared…

Journey through Earth’s history by canoe part 1: Hunting for early life in Arctic Canada

  It was early morning on the Coppermine River in Nunavut, Canada. A gentle mist rose from the surface of the glassy water, the sun’s first pink rays sparkling in the moving current. In the distance, the gurgling sound of faster flowing water was punctuated by birds waking in the trees, dragonflies chasing the buzz…

WHAT THE RIVER KNOWS: Chaobai River, 潮白河, Beijing, China

Thanks for assistance from Dr. Fei Xue, University of Technology, Beijing, China; and Dr. Changwoo Ahn, George Mason University, and Principal Investigator for the panel, “EcoScience+Art: Interdisciplinary Collaboration Between Ecosystem Science and Art to Enhance Ecological Communication and Resilience,” at the International Association of Ecology, Beijing, China, 2017, funded by the National Science Foundation. Photos…

‘Planetary Boundaries’ a flawed mechanism to safeguard Earth’s biodiversity, scientists warn

The notion that human impacts will be fine, so long as we keep them within “planetary boundaries” is seductive, but deeply flawed scientifically. Worse, though well-intentioned, it encourages harmful policies, three of the world’s leading ecologists argue in a peer-reviewed commentary published this month in Trends in Ecology & Evolution.

“A critical question is how should we manage human actions that harm the natural world,” said Stuart L. Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “Do we really want to operate under the assumption – as the notion of a planetary boundary for biodiversity purports – that humans can go about business as usual so long as the impacts of our actions remain within some arbitrary ‘safe operating space’?”

Letting the Foxes ‘Protect’ the Hens in Ryan Zinke’s Department of Interior

On November 8, U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the creation of an International Wildlife Conservation Council that will advise him. As a recent Science Policy Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science assigned to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Division of International Conservation, I’ve watched the…