Rights of De-extinct Animals, Dark Money, Magic Mushrooms & More

Siberian wooly mammoth from The Ivory King. Image modified from Flickr user BioDivLibrary through a Creative Commons License.

Siberian wooly mammoth from The Ivory King. Image modified from Flickr user BioDivLibrary through a Creative Commons License.

By Marty Downs, 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:


What is the legal status of a de-extinct animal? Is it endangered and, if so, would governments work to protect wooly mammoths and dodos? Carl Zimmer explores the possibilities. (The Loom)

Forget the NFL playoffs. Richard Conniff wants a new rivalry: “My city has more wildlife than yours.” Inside the growing urban conservation movement. (Strange Behaviors)

You might be heading to the gym to shed those holiday pounds, but not ducks. They need all the calories they can get this winter. Research shows that winter food availability has dramatic effects on spring nesting success. (Ducks Unlimited)

Collaring mystery cats: New research attempts to unveil secrets of the elusive clouded leopard in Borneo. (Focusing on Wildlife)

Climate Change

Lists are a-chatter over Robert Brulle’s study of the $1B +”dark”  financing of the Climate Change Counter-Movement (CCCM) — and the Guardian’s coverage of it. Forbes challenges the premise. (The Guardian)

In case you missed it over the winter holidays, the first results of the Intersectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project came out in PNAS in December. The group fingered water scarcity as the clearest and most severe climate change impact. (PNAS)

Warming could upset Antarctic food chain by shrinking habitat for Antarctic krill. (Mongabay)

You may have checked your carbon footprint, but what about nitrogen? Scilogs explains how this greenhouse gas is having an intense impact in the Alaskan Arctic. (SciLogs)

Why might some mushrooms be magic for climate change? Bryan Walsh looks at a new study showing that ecto- and ericoid mycorrhizal (EEM) fungi contain as much as 70% more carbon than soils dominated by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. (Time)

New Research

What does elephant poaching have to do with infant mortality rates? A lot, says a new study. (Slate)

Mosquitoes love edges–and logging, fire, and roads make more edges. Modeling the relationship between malaria and land use, researchers found that low-level selective logging (<7%) results in highest infection rates. (PLOS ONE)

People have often assumed that hunter-gatherers went hungry more often than agriculturists. Not so…finds a study in Biology Letters analyzing famine frequency and severity in a large, cross-cultural database. (Biology Letters)

Invasion alert. Invasivore spotlights new research on why non-native plants become successful invaders — and why climate change could make these invasions worse. (Invasivore)

Why more biodiversity = more ecosystem resilience: the definitive takeout?  (Conservation Bytes)

What’s up with That?

Why are prairie dogs starting a wave? Ed Yong explains the science behind the jump-yip alert and how it is similar to human yawning. (Not Exactly Rocket Science)

Marine life is dying, but those who link die-offs to Fukushima radiation are dead wrong. Craig McClain of Deep-Sea News explains how the rumor got started and why it is false. (Deep Sea News)

What came first, the rain or the rain forest? Henry Reich (via Robert Krulwich) offers a fun, fast-paced look at the relationship between trees and climate. (NPR)

Science Communications

Think more facts should be more persuasive? Not so fast. Turns out that in many situations three reasons are better than 4…or 5…or 6. (New York Times)

Amy Harmon’s brilliant piece on one man’s frustrating quest to find the scientific truth about GMO crops and apply it to a heated debate on banning them in Hawaii.  (New York Times)

What scientific questions do you get asked at parties – and what do they tell us about society?  (Dynamic Ecology)

Have suggestions for next week’s Cooler? Send them to mdowns[at]tnc.org.

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

Marty joined the Nature Conservancy in January 2014 to write about TNC research and manage the Science Impact Project. She started her career in ecosystem ecology and climate impact research, but has focused on science communications since 1999. She’s now doing what she likes best – writing about cool science and helping scientists find and communicate what’s exciting about their work.

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