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Rescooped by Matt Mallinson from Geography Education!

Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years

Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years | Classwork Portfolio |
The insect is so large — as big as a human hand — it's been dubbed a "tree lobster." It was thought to be extinct, but some enterprising entomologists scoured a barren hunk of rock in the middle of the ocean and found surviving Lord Howe Island...


Island Biogeography is endlessly fascinating and provides some of the most striking species we have on Earth.  The physical habitat is fragmented and the genetic diversity is limited.  Within this context, species evolve to fill ecological niches within their particular locale.  This NPR article demonstrates the story of but one of these incredible species that never could have evolved on the continents.  In modern society, more extinctions are happening on islands than anywhere else as 'specialist' species are in greater competition with 'generalists.' 

Via Seth Dixon
Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 25, 2014 10:35 AM

On Ball's Pyramid the stick insect is different than any other insect I have seen. The size of it is terrifying, as it as big as a human hand. There are many different kinds of animals or insects someone can find on remote islands, islands such as Madagascar, Australia and even on this small island, which is located off of Australia's coast in the Pacific.    

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 4:40 PM

Isolation can lead to some remarkable examples of evolution. This "tree lobster" is an example of that. On an island cut off from many predators and hold little resources, the tree lobster has found a way to survive.

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, May 7, 9:52 PM

A truly remarkable story.  A prehistoric 'stick' insect that lived on an island off the coast of Australia was obliterated by rats that came to the island on English ships.  Everyone thought they were extinct until one day some researchers found 24 of them living on a remote piece of land not too far from the insect's homeland.  This was an uninhabited piece of rock, essentially, with very little to offer any life form but the stick insects found just enough to survive.  How they got here is unknown but after the find and a sleepless zoo worker, this insect is flourishing in captivity.  The move to release them back into the wild is ongoing.

Rescooped by Matt Mallinson from Geography Education!

Venice sinking five times faster than thought?

Venice sinking five times faster than thought? | Classwork Portfolio |

Venice, by virtue of its geographic situation will always be sinking as a course of nature.  A research team from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the UCSD has recently concluded that Venice is sinking 2 millimeters per year...not catastrophic on a single year basis, but threatens the long-term viability and sustainability of the location. 


Urban ecology: what economic forces created the rationale for building Venice?  What environmental factors are currently threatening it?  Will economic or environmental forces win out? Location: do the economic advantages of a location outweigh the environmental liabilities of the location?  How do these competing factors influence the development of a city?  For additional information on this story see:

Via Seth Dixon
Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 8, 2013 3:36 PM

Day to day, even looking into next year the rate of 2 millimeters per year may not seem drastic.  To a city that has been around for hundreds of years, it's assumed the city plans to stay standing for hundreds more.  Considering the age of the city, say in a couple hundred more years, some buildings could begin to take in water.  It is also possible that certain parts of the city could be sinking faster than others.  There is a similar situation in Mexico City where it was built on a lake and each year that source diminishes due to the demand of water by its residents.  Certain parts of the city are sinking and some buildings are slanted due to the results.  These cities are beautiful  but reality shows that as time passes, it will probably only get worse.  Hopefully preventions can be taken to at least reduce the speed of sinking so that people after us can appreciate the architecture and atmosphere the city has provided all these years.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 8, 2014 12:11 PM

Venice is a city that capitalized on its geography and developed canals so the city could grow despite being so close to sea level. Now that sea levels are rising, Venice is in trouble because its survival is dependent on the water levels, as they become out of control Venice will not be able to withstand the change. There are similar circumstances like in the Maldives where global warming and rising sea levels will put entire countries under water.

Kendra King's curator insight, February 15, 6:58 PM

As you mentioned in class, we are living on constantly moving land features. In the case of Venice, the water is moving in on the city so it is actually sinking and has been for quite some time. What is new to the equation is that it might be sinking “five times more than” originally “calculated or “7.8 inches every hundred years.” I say might be because there are others who quibble about this new find, saying it is inaccurate. Also, there is a damn project in the works to try and combat the sinking. While I am happy that the city is working on slowing the process, I am curious to know what their solution is going to be when the city finally does go under. As I was reading this all I could think of was saving all the rich art and history that this Italian city is famous for. In some ways it is great that the city knows ahead of time that it is sinking because they have time to plan a way to save the important aspects of the city. On another hand though, the city is so below sea level that a natural disaster could cause far more damage than anyone could have foreseen. I just hope that doesn’t happen anytime soon because Venice is definitely on my bucket list.  


Rescooped by Matt Mallinson from Geography Education!

Lurking in the Deep

Lurking in the Deep | Classwork Portfolio |
Divers on Australia's Great Barrier Reef recently snapped rare pictures of a wobbegong, or carpet shark, swallowing a bamboo shark whole.


The diversity of life on this planet and the ecosystems which such creatures live in is something that continually leaves me in awe at the wonders of the natural world.

Via Seth Dixon
Gregory S Sankey Jr.'s curator insight, September 1, 2014 10:38 AM

This article reminds me of another video i've seen recently of a grouper fish swallowing a 4-foot black tip shark whole. A fisherman caught that on camera while trying to reel in the shark. Time and time again I'm reminded that not everything in nature is as it seems and that the unexpected should be expected. 

This makes me want to buy some scuba gear and take some diving classes, I ought to conquer my fear of sharks by safely observing them with a research team! 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 4:36 PM

Amazing photos, there are so many different kinds of life that exists in the Ocean. As the Great Barrier Reef falls victim to climate change and pollution, the number of species at risk is almost calculable. 

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 16, 2014 1:26 PM

Australia's marine life is amazing, being able to hide by blending in to their environment is a testament to the waters that Australia has. The diverse wildlife of Australia waters is shown to be an adaptive bunch and begs the question: How many more animals are out there that we do not know of?

Rescooped by Matt Mallinson from Geography Education!

For Mexico City, a Repurposed Landfill

For Mexico City, a Repurposed Landfill | Classwork Portfolio |
Methane from a landfill will flow to a power plant, helping to keep the lights on in the city.


When Mexico City’s government shut down the giant Bordo Poniente landfill last December, officials announced that they had a full-blown plan for the site...the city aims to capture the methane gas produced by the landfill to fuel a power plant that could supply electricity to as many as 35,000 homes. 

Via Seth Dixon
James Hobson's curator insight, September 28, 2014 9:41 PM

(Central America topic 8)

This article bears striking resemblance to the situation unfolding just a few blocks from my home: Johnston's Central Landfill.

The main similarity is with the use of methane gas for electricity production. Not only is this  a 'green' form of energy (natural decomposition), but it helps to prevent the foul odor of methane gas from spreading to nearby cities and towns. Before upgrading methane pumps at the Central Landfill, my neighborhood smelled like a dumpster most days. Now the air is cleaner and clean electricity is being produced... "two birds, one stone." Hopefully other landfills will take these examples to meaning in some way.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 14, 2014 4:20 PM

Usually when a landfill becomes overloaded, it just gets shut down and left to rot. Mexico City is trying to do something new and ingenious with its massive landfill. Instead of closing off the land and letting it stay as reusable space, Mexico is hoping to develop a way to harness landfill gases in order to make electricity. If it is successful, it could prove to be a world-changing solution for other large, developing cities. It has the potential of lowering energy costs, creating jobs, and finding a purpose for land that would otherwise remain unusable for probably centuries. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 16, 2014 7:58 AM

In class we discussed the numerous environmental issues that exist in Mexico City. This is a great way of turning a negative into a positive. On a larger scale, I think this is going to be the kind of solutions that every country will have to eventually find. Creative ways of using technology to turn harmful waste into energy is a great idea. Methane is a cleaner than coal and recycling lessens the burden on natural resources.