** Please read this article while listening to Vanessa William’s “Colors of the Wind” from the movie Pocahontas **
It is clear that the world is changing, and that it is humans that are shaking up the giant etch-a-sketch also known as the planet Earth. We see it with forest disappearing because of clear-cutting, in the ever-expanding cities, and in the loss of plants and animals on a minute-to-minute basis. Not all animals perceive the world the same way that we do. Unlike humans, there are many animals that rely predominantly on senses other than sight. For instance, sea mammals rely on audio information to assess their environment and communicate with other individuals. Oceanographer, Kate Stafford, researches the changing soundscape in our oceans and gave a TED Talk specifically about the now noisier Arctic Ocean. Trust us, it’s worth a listen…get it?
Millions popped champagne and smoked a cigar after April the giraffe from Animal Adventure Park gave birth to a male calf on April 16. The giraffe’s pregnancy was streamed live since February, amassing a huge online following! The stream got so popular, it became sponsored by Toy’s R’ Us! When April wasn’t birthing as quickly as people expected, many started claiming it was a hoax, or a publicity stunt. While 1.2 million people tuned in for the baby giraffe’s birth, giraffes in the wild are getting closer to extinction. Continue reading
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today is a day where we celebrate the life of Ireland’s most influential saint and do so by propagating the Irish stereotype of getting black out drunk! Legend has it that St. Patrick drove all of the snakes from Ireland. As a conservationist, I do not condone mass culls of endemic species, but is this story even true? Continue reading
The world is filled with “what if’s”. Our brains allow us to imagine potential future scenarios at an alarmingly fast rate. We can spend hours day dreaming about what our lives would look like if we take one job over the other, our wedding day, life with children, and even the lives of those children once we are gone. This imagination has allowed us to travel as far into the future as 4 billion years when it is expected that our Sun will grow into a red giant, engulfing Earth. Morbid, right? While that fate is far beyond our reach, I’m finding more and more often these what if’s are being used to imagine the worst case scenarios for the future. Continue reading
Species of plants and animals are experiencing extinctions at an alarming rate! Amphibians in particular are experiencing an extinction crisis. It is estimated that the current extinction rate of amphibians is 211 times higher than the background extinction rate. In 1962 a small frog, an inch long, known as the cave squeaker was discovered in Zimbabwe and was deemed to have gone extinct after several attempts to find it again. Robert Hopkins has been searching for this frog since 1998. Continue reading
Well guys, it’s time to break out the champagne, call the Guinness Book of World Records, and celebrate. A new report released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has found that, thanks to climate change, we’re just crushing record after record. Turns out we’re creating an earth never seen before by humans, which is just peachy. Honestly, I’ve always wanted to experience what it would be like to live in a perpetual sauna, so this is nice. Continue reading
With many problems in life, many of us have a last resort in the case that every other plan fails. In the fight to preserve biodiversity there is one last resort if all else fails, frozen zoos. In a last ditch effort to keep our world filled with the various life forms we have taken for granted, zoos around the world have begun collecting and freezing the genetic makeup of our most endangered species. The hope is that if we lose these animals, these repositories of genetic material will be revived into brand new populations of animals. Continue reading
A term that most of you in the sciences may have heard quite consistently in recent years is the term “DNA barcoding.” It sounds like science (DNA = science, am I right?) and a grocery store (all the bags of chips I buy have barcodes to scan) got together and just outputted that term after a fun night of partying. However, there’s a lot more to it and it has been dramatically changing how scientists perform scientific research.
By Senado Federal – Bento Rodrigues, Mariana, Minas Gerais
On November 5, 2015 an iron-ore tailing dam, located in Brazil, suffered a major failure and caused catastrophic flooding in the surrounding area. The event caused 17 deaths and a handful of other injuries. Massive mud flows flooded through the Doce River and reached the Atlantic Ocean within 17 days of the dam collapse. It has been reported that about 60 million cubic meters of mining waste was released during this event. The tailings (otherwise known as mining waste) were deemed toxic by the UN. The flood has been deemed as Brazil’s worst environmental disaster.
This disaster went relatively unmentioned in mainstream news, and has therefore been more prevalent on blogs and other news outlets. The limited knowledge on the topic is disheartening and so we are going to catch you up on how this story has developed over the past few months. Continue reading