This video show some wonderful images from remote cameras equipped to film when an animal is spotted. These camera have aided scientists in understanding wildlife in their natural environment and also by providing us cool images.
Posts about nature
Ocean Exploration – Live Feed and Highlights
Nautilus Live provides a live view of the E/V Nautilus as it explores the ocean studying biology, geology, archeology, and more. The site also includes highlights such as this video of a siphonophore.
Siphonophores are actually made up of numerous animals even though they look like one animal. These amazing colonial organisms are made up up many smaller animals called zooids, and can be found floating around the pelagic zone in ocean basins. The Portugese Man O’ War is a famous siphonophore.
Each zooid is an individual, but their integration with each other is so strong, the colony attains the character of one large organism. Indeed, most of the zooids are so specialized, they lack the ability to survive on their own.
Related: Giant Star Fish and More in Antarctica – Hydromedusae, Siphonophora, Cnidarians, Ctenophores (what are jellyfish?) – Macropinna Microstoma: Fish with a Transparent Head – Large Crabs Invading Antarctic as Waters Warm
Here is another video from Nautilus, showing a large dumbo octopus:
USA Designates Large Areas of New Mexico and Arizona as Critical Habitat for Jaguars
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated 764,200 acres of critical habitat for the jaguar (Panthera onca) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This habitat is found within Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties in Arizona, and Hidalgo County in New Mexico.
The final rule reflects the following changes from the July 1, 2013, critical habit at proposal: exclusion of Tohono O’odham Nation lands (78,067 acres) as a result of the Tribe’s efforts working in partnership with the Service to conserve jaguar and other listed species’ habitat on the Nation’s sovereign land. Exemption of Fort Huachuca lands (15,867 acres) due to the conservation benefits to the jaguar provided in Fort Huachuca’s approved Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan.
The revised proposal was based on an updated habitat modeling report that more accurately reflected habitat essential to jaguars in northwestern Mexico and southwestern United States.
Mexico borderlands area is very different from habitat in Central and South America, where jaguars show a high affinity for lowland wet communities. Jaguars have been documented in arid areas of northwestern Mexico and southwestern United States, including thornscrub, desertscrub, lowland desert, mesquite grassland, Madrean oak woodland and pine oak woodland communities. Critical habitat in the United States contributes to the jaguar’s persistence and recovery across the species’ entire range by providing areas to support individuals that disperse into the United States from the nearest core population in Mexico.
Critical habitat is a term defined in the ESA and identifies geographic areas containing features essential to the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and that may require special management considerations or protection. The designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, and has no impact on private landowners taking actions on their land that do not require federal funding or permits.
Related: Jaguars Back in the Southwest USA (2006 post) – Big Cats in America (2004) – Mountain Lions Returning to the Midwest USA for the First Time in a Century (2012) – Backyard Wildlife: Mountain Lion
How Wolves Changed the Yellowstone Ecosystem
A great short video explaining the dramatic changes to the Yellowstone ecosystem with the re-introduction of wolves. Even the rivers changed.
Related: Light-harvesting Bacterium Discovered in Yellowstone – Fishless Future – The Sea Otter story – Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps – Polar Bears Playing with Huskies – Curious Cat travel photos of Yellowstone National Park
Why Don’t All Ant Species Replace Queens in the Colony, Since Some Do
My response to: There are other species of ants that do replace the queen, so why did some species not do this?
Basically the method they evolved copes well with losing the queen. Out of various ways of dealing with having a dominant Queen some may lead to replacement if she dies.
There are lots of examples of method is very effective at creating lots of successful offspring but happens to be less than ideal in some situations. Natural selection is pretty amazing and awesome at creating effective genes but we certainly can look at the results sometimes and see improvements that would be useful.
Likely if losing the queen was very common a good way of dealing with that would be found (or that species would be disadvantaged and at risk). If the queen happens to evolve to being very reliable coping with her death becomes less important. If they produce lots of useful offspring but have a less than ideal method of coping with their home colony losing her it is entirely sensible to imagine that species could flourish.
I would imagine species with queens that had shorter lifespans, that invested more in the home colony, that were less effective at setting up new colonies… would be more likely to have better queen replacement strategies/results.
Circumhorizontal Arcs – Fire Rainbows – Cloud Rainbows
Yesterday afternoon I spotted this odd, colorful, spectrum seemingly in a cloud in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The colors are similar to a rainbow but the prism effect takes on a bit different form than a rainbow as I learned with a bit of searching online. I added a short post to this blog, about the phenomenon a few years ago.
A circumhorizontal arc is an optical phenomenon – an ice-halo formed by plate-shaped ice crystals in high level cirrus clouds. They are also known as “fire rainbows,” if the cloud is at the right angle to the sun, the crystals will refract the sunlight just as when rainbow is created.
Did a massive comet explode over Canada 12,900 years ago and start an ice age?
I think it is important to increase scientific literacy. One thing that is greatly misunderstood is the process for new scientific explanations being accepted by the scientific community. It is often quite a drawn out process over years (and for the explanation provided in this paper the debate is certainly still ongoing). And for issues that really shake up past explanations it can take decades and be quite contentious. I think posts tagged with “scientific inquiry” are a very interesting collection to explore.
It is important to understand the difficulty in providing evidence that satisfies the overwhelming majority of the scientific experts in any area. And it is important to understand the claims in one (or numerous papers) are not the accepted proven wisdom of the scientific community. Thankfully the process is rigorous. While mistakes can still be made, the evidence needed to substantiate a scientific hypothesis is significant. Their is still plenty of room for position to color accepted scientific wisdom. A respected professor is often able to make a claim that is more readily accepted and even more-so for to insist the new claims do not provide enough evidence in support of them to accept the new claims and have there position accepted (even when it really shouldn’t be looking just at the facts).
“This independent study is yet another example of how the Topper site with its various interdisciplinary studies has connected ancient human archaeology with significant studies of the Pleistocene,” said Goodyear, who began excavating Clovis artifacts in 1984 at the Topper site in Allendale, S.C. “It’s both exciting and gratifying.”
Younger-Dryas is what scientists refer to as the period of extreme cooling that began around 12,900 years ago and lasted 1,300 years. While that brief ice age has been well-documented – occurring during a period of progressive solar warming after the last ice age – the reasons for it have long remained unclear.
Related: Why Wasn’t the Earth Covered in Ice 4 Billion Years Ago – When the Sun was Dimmer? – Unless We Take Decisive Action, Climate Change Will Ravage Our Planet – More Evidence Supporting Einstein’s Theory of Gravity – Ancient Whale Uncovered in Egyptian Desert
A single spot in the Sahara that provides huge amounts of nutrients to the Amazon
The Bodélé depression: a single spot in the Sahara that provides most of the mineral dust to the Amazon forest
Even understanding how connected the global ecosystem is, research like this provides amazing reminders of those connections.
Related: The Amazon Rainforest Would Not Be Without Saharan Dust (podcast interview) – Ancient Whale Uncovered in Egyptian Desert – Nigersaurus – The Sahara Wasn’t Always a Desert – Elusive Saharan cheetah and Sandcat
Domestic Cats Remain Successful Predators
House cats kill more critters than thought by Elizabeth Weise
The cats brought home just under a quarter of what they killed, ate 30% and left 49% to rot where they died.
The carnage cuts across species. Lizards, snakes and frogs made up 41% of the animals killed, Loyd and fellow researcher Sonia Hernandez found. Mammals such as chipmunks and voles were 25%, insects and worms 20% and birds 12%.
Seeking a window into the hidden lives of cats, the researchers recruited 60 owners in the Athens, Ga., area. Each owner put a small video camera mounted on a break-away collar on the cat in the morning and let the cat out, then removed the camera and downloaded the footage each night.
Backyard Wildlife: 2 Raptors Over Johor Bahru, Malaysia
I see a fair number of birds around my current abode (a condo in a high rise) in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Getting photos of them isn’t easy though. Here are 2 hawks or eagles? If you can identify them please add a comment (if you have a link to authenticate the identification, even better).
I even have some storks that commute past my windows every morning and evening.
Mountain Lions Returning to the Midwest USA for the First Time in a Century
Things started to turn around for the cougar in the 1960s and 70s when, one by one, the bounties were rescinded and states made the animals a managed-game species. Today they are classified as game species in most states and a “specially protected mammal” in California. This allowed their populations first to grow and then to expand their territories.
Cougars are generalist predators, so LaRue says they can select any habitat with enough prey. They have also been shown to walk hundreds of kilometers in search of new habitat. “They have no problem traveling through cornfields or prairies for long distances if they have to,” she says. But cornfields and prairies aren’t suitable habitat for the cougars to settle in. She says they require forest cover, rugged terrain and dispersal corridors (typically rivers) that allow easy migration for both the cats and their prey.
Mountain Lions are very cool animals. So like our pets but with a size that means they can kill us, if they want. They are not much risk to us though. Occasionally their are attacks (now that the numbers of cougars are growing) but an extremely small number.