Shrinking Fish, High Flying Bumblebees, Speeding Glaciers & More

Greenland's Jakobshavn Isbræ glacier--thought to have calved the iceberg that sank the Titanic--flowed at 46 meters a day in the summer of 2012. That's 30-50% faster than previous summers. Photo credit: kriskaer under Creative Commons license.

Greenland’s Jakobshavn Isbræ glacier–thought to have calved the iceberg that sank the Titanic–flowed at 46 meters a day in the summer of 2012. That’s 30-50% faster than previous summers. Photo credit: kriskaer under 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.


Puma tries to catch a howler monkey: Why that’s really weird. (HuffPo)

The blind snakes of Mozambique — how do they feed? Oh, by raking insects into their mouths and sucking the liquid portions, discarding the exoskeletons. (The Smaller Majority)

New North American species! New North American species! Freshwater sculpin in the Columbia River basin. (Business Times)

Wildlife Conservation Society’s Peter Zahler and George Shaller tell the story of community-based snow leopard conservation in the remote mountains of Pakistan, Afghanistan , Tajikistan and China. (New York Times)

Blinding speed — literally. The tiger beetle goes so fast it can’t see what it’s hunting. (Not Exactly Rocket Science)

Fifty years of photos from the same deep-sea fishing dock document shrinking fish — and our own “change blindness.” (NPR)

New Research

Do ecosystem services pay off? A new way to measure their effectiveness. (Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability)

Jackdaws know what a hairy eyeball means. So can you. (Eurekalert)

How high can a bumblebee fly? Higher than Mount Everest, apparently. (Mongabay)

Most marine protected areas not protected enough. Of 87 MPAs in 40 countries, 60% were indistinguishable from surrounding areas. (Consortium for Ocean Leadership)

Climate Change

The US might be reducing per capita carbon emissions. But we’re just exporting our dirty energy to the rest of the world, writes Tim Dickinson (Rolling Stone; HT DotEarth) 

The US plans to set up hubs to help farmers adapt to climate change. (CNN)

“Glacial” speed is no oxymoron. Greenland’s glaciers are flowing 30% faster than they have in previous decades. (ScienceShot) 

Nature News

Dredging for a coal port is putting the Great Barrier Reef at risk. (Science Insider) 

Just when you thought conservation’s problems couldn’t get any bigger — welcome to narco-deforestation (Science; HT Conservation Mag)

Science Communications

Stop making climate change about science and make it about politics, argues Mike Hulme. (The Conversation)

OK, but don’t forget about the science of risk perception, argues Keith Kloor. (Collide-a-Scape)

Jeremy Fox asks: Are scientific books on their way out? (Dynamic Ecology)

Information saturation? For the first time in 35 years, scientists are reading fewer articles — 22 per month. (Nature News)

Al Jazeera is betting on in-depth, fact based science and environmental news. But do enough viewers actually want that? (Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media)

How can science comms research influence science journalists? Let’s let the journalists tell us, says Dan Kahan (Cultural

Conservation Tactics

Time-outs for misbehaving lions? Mock lion hunts put livestock-raiding lions near Amboseli National Park on notice. (Ensia)

Relocating humans for tiger conservation — it’s a win-win situation. (Conservation Magazine)

This & That

Why isn’t natural history considered an academic skill — essential for every ecologist? It isn’t, and that’s a big part of its decline. (Small Pond Science)

Our colleague Chris Helzer at The Prairie Ecologist is asking what readers think of his blog. Go tell him (it’s great, btw). (The Prairie Ecologist)

Have suggestions for next week’s Cooler? Send them to mdowns[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

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.

 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