Safer Moose Crossings, IPCC Haiku, the Importance of Extinct Giant Birds & More

A young bull moose, Alces alces, stops on a dirt road and licks minerals in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Image credit: Dave Spier/Flickr through a Creative Commons license.

A young bull moose, Alces alces, stops on a dirt road and licks minerals in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Image credit: Dave Spier/Flickr through a Creative Commons license.

By Bob Lalasz, Matt Miller and Lisa Feldkamp of the TNC Science Communications team

We find tons of cool conservation and conservation science stuff every week on the Internets — now we’re sharing some of the best with you every week in The Cooler:

Climate Change

No one has time to read the entire 2,000 page IPCC report — or even its 27-page summary. So oceanographer Greg Johnson rendered it into 19 illustrated haiku. (Sightline Daily)

A 54-year old message in a bottle left by a researcher shows the incredible extent of Canadian glacial melt. (

The new hot fiction genre is cli-fi — climate fiction. But will it do any good? (Conservation)

What does the “Atlantification” of Arctic zooplankton mean for marine birds, whales and fish there? (Science)

Why has the global warming curve flattened since 1998? Real Climate goes to great lengths to explain. (Real Climate)

The real problem in climate change communications? Attacking stealth denial. (The Guardian)

New Research

Vampire squid have an embarrassing secret that will blow their whole schtick. (Deep Sea News)

Why do rainforest rodents get eaten more in the morning? Because that’s when they’re hungry and take more risks, says a new study in Animal Behavior. (HT: Phys Org) 

How can the moose cross the road safely? Technology is being tested to create the best mobile animal detection system, aimed at reducing crashes between animals and vehicles. Cool video of it in action, too. (Idaho Nature Notes)

Plankton are much better at mosquito control than insecticides. (

Nature News

The sea star dieoff is “like a zombie wasteland…” says one marine biologist researching the problem. “You’ll see detached arms crawling away from the body.” (Nature)

How did Alpine ibex get to standing on the side of this Italian dam? How do they stay there? And what the hell are they doing there in the first place? (Krulwich Wonders) 

Most biological discoveries in the 21st century are frogs, bats or other small creatures. But this week, scientists announced a big one: a new tapir. It’s the smallest of the five tapir species, and roams western Amazonia. (Mongabay)

A pheasant crisis? Sure, pheasants are non-native to the U.S., but their population plunge in South Dakota indicates deeper trouble. The loss of native prairie, for one thing. (TRCP Blog) 

The ghosts of ecosystems past? The always-interesting Darren Naish looks at how extinct giant birds shaped natural communities, and why ecosystems still miss them. (Tet Zoo) 

Don’t feed the animals. No, really: DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS. (Richard Conniff’s Strange Behaviors) 

Comings and Goings

USAID Chief Scientist Alex Deghan — who championed global crowdsourcing of innovative ideas at the agency — resigns, saying: “I could be not only the first dedicated chief scientist in two decades, but also the agency’s last for the next two.” ( 


The Prairie Ecologist’s Chris Helzer picks his favorite 22 photos of the year (out of nearly 1,800 keepers he took this year). (The Prairie Ecologist) 

Have suggestions for next week’s Cooler? Send them to rlalasz[at] or m_miller[at]

Opinions expressed on Cool Green Science and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Nature Conservancy.

Posted In: The Cooler

Bob Lalasz is the director of science communications at The Nature Conservancy and the editor of the new Cool Green Science. A long-time editor and writer, he was previously the Conservancy's associate director of digital marketing. He now blogs here about the Conservancy's scientific research and on-the-ground work as well as larger conservation science and science communications issues.

 Make a comment


Enjoy Osprey Cam Live!

The Ospreys Are Back!
Live views, 24/7, of an Alabama osprey nest. Record your observations and ask our ecologist about what you’re seeing.

What is Cool Green Science?

noun 1. Blog where Nature Conservancy scientists, science writers and external experts discuss and debate how conservation can meet the challenges of a 9 billion + planet.

2. Blog with astonishing photos, videos and dispatches of Nature Conservancy science in the field.

3. Home of Weird Nature, The Cooler, Quick Study, Traveling Naturalist and other amazing features.

Cool Green Science is edited by Matt Miller, the Conservancy's deputy director for science communications, and managed by Lisa Feldkamp, an American Council of Learned Societies fellow with the TNC science communications team. Email us your feedback.

Innovative Science

Call for Inclusive Conservation
Join Heather Tallis in a call to increase the diversity of voices and values in the conservation debate.

Appalachian Energy Development
Where will energy development hit hardest? And where can conservationists make a difference?

Not a sci-fi movie. A true story of nanotechnology & clean water.

Bird is the Word

Latest Tweets from @nature_brains