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Ivory gulls threatened by eggshell thinning

Ivory gulls threatened by eggshell thinning | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
High levels of environmental contaminants are linked with thinner eggshells in the ivory gull, a red-listed high Arctic seabird. Scientists are concerned that pollutants and the stress from global warming could cause populations to plummet.
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Gaia Diary
“The more we nurture the planet, the better and more natural a life we'll have.” ― Chris d'Lacey, Icefire
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Carl Sagan - Pale Blue Dot

It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery. But is it not stirring to understand how the world actually works — that white light is made of colors, that color is the way we perceive the wavelengths of light, that transparent air reflects light, that in so doing it discriminates among the waves, and that the sky is blue for the same reason that the sunset is red? It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it
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The Power of Parks - Grand Canyon

The Power of Parks - Grand Canyon | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
On a 650-mile trek, two adventurers faced danger and hardship—and saw how development could spoil an American icon.
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Evolution in real time on Bear Island

Evolution in real time on Bear Island | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
In the midst of polar bear country, in fact Bear Island (Bjørnøya) on Svalbard, we find Lake Ellasjøen.
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Scientists embark on the world’s largest genome project

Scientists embark on the world’s largest genome project | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Ten years ago Tom Gilbert from the Museum of Natural History, at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, came up with the idea for a new project. Unbeknown to him at the time, it would turn into the world’s largest comparative DNA study.

The Bird 10k Project or B10K for short was launched in 2015 with an ambitious goal: to map the genomes of all of the 10,000 bird species alive in the world today, in just five years.

“It’s only now possible to map so many genomes and there’s no other genome project in the world that can compare with ours,” says Goujie Zhang, from the Biological Institute, University of Copenhagen, who is leading the project along side Gilbert.
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Twenty-five little bones tell a puzzling story about early primate evolution

Twenty-five little bones tell a puzzling story about early primate evolution | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
A cache of exquisitely preserved bones, found in a coal mine in the state of Gujarat, India, appear to be the most primitive primate bones yet discovered, according to a new analysis. Their assessment of the bones, belonging to ancient, rat-sized, tree-dwelling primates, bolsters the controversial idea that primates native to what is now India played an important role in the very early evolution of primates.
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In pictures: Weather Photographer of the Year - BBC News

In pictures: Weather Photographer of the Year - BBC News | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Finalists of this year's competition run by the Royal Meteorological Society and The Royal Photographic Society to find the best weather pictures.
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Many more species at risk from Southeast Asia tree plantations, study finds

Many more species at risk from Southeast Asia tree plantations, study finds | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
As more of SE Asia's forests are cleared for tree plantations, a Duke-led study finds that 42 percent of mammal, bird and amphibian species endemic to the region's forests face a higher risk of extinction from habitat loss than previously thought. Many of the species inhabit small ranges in remote forests that cross national borders. Transboundary protected areas and greater use of remote sensing to monitor risks is vital for their survival.
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Australian research produces DNA test to help save rare largetooth sawfish

Australian research produces DNA test to help save rare largetooth sawfish | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Scientists in Queensland develop an environmental DNA test to help make habitats easier to identify
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Okinawa mozuku: The treasure under the sea

Okinawa mozuku: The treasure under the sea | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Mozuku is a unique Okinawan seaweed. Scientifically known as Cladosiphon okamuranus, this alga is popular in Japanese cuisine, and it has been farmed for more than 35 years. The cultivation of this seaweed is a key element in the economy of Okinawa: in 2006, the Japanese Cabinet Office estimated a 20,000 ton production, with an economic value of billions of Yen. 99% of this seaweed is produced in Okinawa, almost entirely farmed by humans. When in 2015 the production dropped for causes related with the higher temperature of the ocean, political institutions and research centres started to coordinate in order to develop a strategy to preserve this Okinawan treasure.
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Radar tracking reveals the 'life stories' of bumblebees as they forage for food

Radar tracking reveals the 'life stories' of bumblebees as they forage for food | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Scientists have tracked the flight paths of a group of bumblebees throughout their entire lives to find out how they explore their environment and search for food.
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Scientists determine how birds soar to great heights

Scientists determine how birds soar to great heights | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Migratory birds often use warm, rising atmospheric currents to gain height with little energy expenditure when flying over long distances.

It's a behavior known as thermal soaring that requires complex decision-making within the turbulent environment of a rising column of warm air from the sun baked surface of the earth.

But exactly how birds navigate within this ever-changing environment to optimize their thermal soaring was unknown until a team of physicists and biologists at the University of California San Diego took an exacting computational look at the problem.

In this week's online version of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists demonstrated with mathematical models how glider pilots might be able to soar more efficiently by adopting the learning strategies that birds use to navigate their way through thermals.

"Relatively little is known about the navigation strategies used by birds to cope with these challenging conditions, mainly because past computational research examined soaring in unrealistically simplified situations," explained Massimo Vergassola, a professor of physics at UC San Diego.
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The meaning of life › Photos (ABC Science)

The meaning of life › Photos (ABC Science) | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Science photographer Malcolm Ricketts' stunning images of plants and animals are the result of almost thirty years documenting the work of University of Sydney scientists.
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'Baby, it's hot outside': Why birds sing to eggs

'Baby, it's hot outside': Why birds sing to eggs | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Much like parents who talk to a pregnant woman's belly, some birds sing to their eggs before they hatch, and the reason may be to prepare them for a warming world, researchers said Thursday.

The study in the journal Science examined a peculiar habit of zebra finches, which sing to their eggs particularly when the weather is hot—above 78 Fahrenheit (26 Celsius)—and the end of their incubation period is near.

What could they be saying? Could it have to do with the temperature outside?

Researchers thought it might, since eggs are unaffected by outside temperatures and are kept at steady temperature of 98.6 F when the parents are sitting on them.

So Mylene Mariette and Katherine Buchanan of Australia's Deakin University recorded the calls and played them for eggs in an incubator.

Some eggs were played regular contact calls from adult zebra finches, while others were exposed to particular calls made by expectant parents, chirping to their eggs before they hatch in warm weather.

Those who heard these so-called hot calls grew slower and emerged smaller when they hatched than the other birds.

This compact size would present a survival advantage, because having a small body makes it easier to cool down in hot climes.
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Watch how coral bleaching happens in warming waters

Watch how coral bleaching happens in warming waters | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Australian researchers captured a rarely-seen moment as coral inflates then belches algae cells in response to heat stress.
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Sea ice strongly linked to climate change in past 90,000 years

Sea ice strongly linked to climate change in past 90,000 years | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Expansion and retreat of sea ice varied consistently in pace with rapid climate changes through past 90,000 years, a new study in Nature Communications shows.
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NASA Study Analyzes Four Corners Methane Sources

NASA Study Analyzes Four Corners Methane Sources | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
A NASA-led team has analyzed a "hot spot" of methane emissions in the U.S. Four Corners region, quantifying both its overall magnitude and the magnitudes of its sources.
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Geodesign Restores Chimpanzee Habitats in Tanzania | ArcNews

Geodesign Restores Chimpanzee Habitats in Tanzania | ArcNews | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
The Jane Goodall Institute implements GIS in local contexts to help communities regenerate woodlands.
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Christian Allié's curator insight, August 21, 11:03 AM
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As long as conservation professionals persist in applying these tools and methodologies within the local context, according to the geodesign framework, conservation efforts will keep thriving in and around Gombe, and even around the world. About the Author Dr. Lilian Pintea has spent more than 20 years applying remote sensing and GIS to the task of protecting chimpanzees and their vanishing habitats in Africa.
As vice president of conservation science at the Jane Goodall Institute, he shapes the organization's agenda for applied research to innovate and discover new solutions to maximize the impact of all JGI programs in protecting the environment—especially chimpanzees and their habitats.

For more information, email Dr. Pintea.
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Greenland sharks live for hundreds of years

Greenland sharks live for hundreds of years | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
The 5 meter long Greenland shark's general biology and way of life have been a mystery to biologists for many years. However, marine biologists at the University of Copenhagen have now deployed an epoch-making method to unveil one of the greatest of the mysteries surrounding this enigmatic shark -- and have come to an amazing revelation: with a life expectancy of at least 272 years, the Greenland shark has the longest life expectancy of all vertebrate animals known to science.
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The first slim flocks of starlings gather by a muddy river

The first slim flocks of starlings gather by a muddy river | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Country Diary: Waltham Brooks, West Sussex Now breeding has finished, the numbers of starlings gathering together are building up again, and will rise into the thousands in the coming months
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BMC Ecology Image competition 2016 - the winners in pictures

BMC Ecology Image competition 2016 - the winners in pictures | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
A Kalahari desert sunrise and a wren’s nest under a bike seat are among the winning images in the scientific journal’s annual competition, which showcases biodiversity, natural beauty and biological interactions photographed by ecologists...
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Study suggests tiger sharks opt for scavenging on dead and dying sea turtles as a feeding strategy

Study suggests tiger sharks opt for scavenging on dead and dying sea turtles as a feeding strategy | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
An international team that includes University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researchers found behavioral evidence that tiger sharks prefer to opportunistically scavenge on dead or weakened green turtles rather than actively hunting healthy individuals despite more opportunities to do so. The study, conducted off the coast of Australia during the turtle nesting season, also found the behavior of healthy green turtles suggests that they do not perceive tiger sharks as a major threat during nesting season.
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Opposing mountain ranges

Opposing mountain ranges | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
In the future, people in the Himalayas will have to contend with flooding, while those in the Andes will have longer dry spells and less water. These are the conclusions drawn by ETH researchers, who have used measurement data and climate models to closely examine water balance in both of these mountain ranges.

Different mountain ranges are bound to experience climate change differently. Researchers from ETH Zurich and Utrecht University have shown this to be the case in a recent study, which was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and published in the specialist journal PNAS. In the course of their study, the researchers examined the full water balance of two comparable mountainous regions - one in Nepal, the other in Chile - in the context of climate change.

To calculate and compare each region's water balance, the researchers created a new and very extensive model of the upper Langtang valley in Nepal and the Juncal region of the central Andes in Chile. Both are important water catchment areas for the millions of people who live in the surrounding lowlands. The areas being studied feature peaks that ascend to over 6,000 metres and also glaciers. Climate models for the remainder of the century indicate that both regions will experience similar increases in annual mean temperatures - the milder scenarios predict a rise of one to three degrees, the more extreme as much as four to six degrees.
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Abundant and diverse ecosystem found in area targeted for deep-sea mining

Abundant and diverse ecosystem found in area targeted for deep-sea mining | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
In a study published in Scientific Reports, scientists discovered impressive abundance and diversity among the creatures living on the seafloor in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone -- an area in the equatorial Pacific Ocean being targeted for deep-sea mining. The study found that more than half of the species they collected were new to science, reiterating how little is known about life on the seafloor in this region. 
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The secret inner world of plants › Photos (ABC Science)

The secret inner world of plants › Photos (ABC Science) | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Delve deep inside plants to see the tiny cells from which they are built, captured in stunning detail by scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology.
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