Category: conservation

There’s a Dangerous ‘Extinction Vortex’ in One…

There’s a Dangerous ‘Extinction Vortex’ in One of The World’s Most Important Forests:


More than half of the subtropical forest’s local mammal species have
been wiped out since Europeans colonised the region in the 16th century.



UTS Science in Focus: Will coral reefs survive…

UTS Science in Focus: Will coral reefs survive climate change? With Dr Emma Camp: undefined

wendy-daahling: Planet Earth II | Islands: Mad…


Planet Earth II | Islands: Madagascar

With limited funds for conservation, researche…

With limited funds for conservation, researchers spar over which species to save—and which to let go 

Faced with a gulf between the species in need and the available resources, some scientists are pushing an approach that combines the cold-blooded eye of an accountant with the ruthless decisiveness of a battlefield surgeon. To do the greatest good, they argue, governments need to consider shifting resources from endangered species and populations that are getting too much attention to those not getting enough. That could mean resolving not to spend money on some species for which the chance of success appears low, such as the vaquita, an adorable small porpoise now down to fewer than 30 animals in Mexico’s Gulf of California.

Sydney’s marine life turning tropo as coral, o…

Sydney’s marine life turning tropo as coral, other species head south: undefined

In drought and heavy rains, ecosystems functio…



Photo credit: NSF Reynolds Creek CZO

How is a telecommunications network like an ecosystem?

Tree canopies and the running streams below, or coral reefs and the ocean waters that flow around them, are interconnected components of a larger whole: an ecosystem. These ecosystem parts are in communication with one another, scientists have learned, via signals transmitted among earth, air and water.

This idea has led to new ways of tracking how precipitation alters interactions among the atmosphere, vegetation and soil.

Scientists gathered data at two NSF Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) sites in the Western U.S. – the NSF Reynolds Creek CZO in Idaho and the NSF Southern Sierra CZO in California. Their data showed changes in flows of heat, soil moisture and carbon before, during and after prolonged rainfall and droughts. 

The Reynolds Creek CZO site experienced several days of rain in July 2015. The Southern Sierra CZO site endured a multi-year drought beginning in 2012. Researchers found that these events send information through connected components of ecosystems, similar to the way information flows through telecommunications networks. 

Study findings are important to predicting how ecosystems will respond to future extreme events. 

Learn more here:



Many people want to help monarch butterflies, and it’s become popular for many communities (especially schools) to rear captive populations of monarchs and release the adults into the wild to help increase the declining populations. 

It is not recommended that you release captive monarchs, but, if you are keen on doing this, please DO NOT purchase your monarchs from a commercial source or business. Here’s why: 

  1. Your monarchs are not local. The monarchs you find in the wild have adapted to the local environment, from weather to the host plants and other stressors that can be found in the landscape. Captive-bred monarchs may not survive in these new conditions.
  2. The monarchs may be inbred. Commercial sources need eggs and caterpillars to ship across the country, and it’s cheaper and easier for them to breed the monarch siblings with one another to get new offspring rather than collect new ones from the wild. Inbreeding leads to mutations that make their offspring more susceptible to disease or decreasing their chances of survival. Introducing inbred monarchs to a wild population waters down the gene pool with these dangerous mutations..
  3. The monarchs may be diseased. There are no federal laws  requiring commercial sources to keep captive-bred insects in the same hygienic conditions as dogs or cats, so many monarchs are raised in high-density cages where the chances of infection to spread from one individual to the next is very high. A protozoan parasite of monarchs, known as OE (Ophryocystis elektroscirrha), has become a more common threat to monarch populations, in part, due to the release of captive-bred monarchs who were infected with OE during captivity. 

In all situations, it is better to provide habitat for wild monarchs than release captive species. If you must raise monarchs, however, please consider rearing monarchs found in your area, preferably from milkweed plants that are likely to be cut down before the caterpillars can complete their life cycles. 

For further information:

fourthsonphotos: Twelve Spotted Skimmer Dragon…


Twelve Spotted Skimmer Dragonfly

Why mangroves matter: Experts respond on Inter…

Why mangroves matter: Experts respond on International Mangrove Day:


  • July 26 is International Mangrove Day, dedicated to the unique forests that survive at the interface of land, river and sea.
  • Mangroves protect coastlines from storm surges, filter out pollutants, and are home to a wide array of diverse life.
  • However,
    mangroves have declined rapidly around the world, losing out to shrimp
    farms, tourist resorts, agricultural and urban land over the past
  • What does the disappearance of this special forest ecosystem mean for our planet? Experts respond.

Sitting at the edge of land and sea, mangroves are unique in many
ways. The mangrove trees and shrubs form dense forests, their special,
intertwining roots helping them survive in the saline and brackish
waters they call home. These forests are skilled at filtering pollutants from river water. They
are adept at trapping excess sediment before it reaches the ocean. They
are also carbon powerhouses, a tract of mangrove locking away many times more carbon in
the soil than a similarly sized area of rainforest. Moreover, mangrove
swamps are important nurseries for several fish species, and support a
massive diversity of wildlife, including tigers, crocodiles, otters,
turtles and several species of birds and insects.