Antarctic Invaders, Fungal Wonders and Birds Galore

Jynx bird, European Wryneck

A bird that twists it’s head like a snake and hisses: the European Wryneck, aptly known as the Jynx bird. Photo credit: Arnstein Rønning, licensed through a Creative Commons 2.0 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:


The ultimate critter dynasty:  how trilobites ruled the world for 300 million years. (New York Times Science)

A bird that twists its head like a snake and hisses: meet the Eurasian wryneck. (Audubon Magazine)

Have you witnessed the urban turkey invasion? Want to report your latest life-list triumph? Check out i-naturalist, the latest in crowd-sourcing wildlife observations. (Ecological Society of America’s listserv, EcologL)

Eaglet alert! Live webcam of bald eagle chicks from Berry College, in Mount Berry GA. (Berry College)

Roosevelt’s barking deer — first discovered by the sons of Teddy Roosevelt 85 years ago — is seen for the first time since 1929…captured on camera trap in Vietnam. (Extinction Countdown/Scientific American)

New Research

What are visitors bringing to the Antarctic? Too often, it’s invasive plant seeds. (Conservation Magazine)

As big as an ocean, but no good for surfing. Earth may have a hidden reservoir of water bound in minerals. (Agence France-Presse)

Am I boring you? Chimps ‘catch’ yawns from other species, suggesting the ability to empathize. (Discover)

Birds and reindeer may avoid power lines because they see something humans don’t: ultraviolet light. (Conservation Biology)

What’s 1.5 inches long, can collectively reach a wet biomass of 2.5 kg per hectare, and will freak you out when it crawls up your pants leg? Meet the tropical giant hunting ant. (Biotropica)

Bad, bad Bambi: Deer overgrazing of natives now blamed for garlic mustard prevalence in North American forests. (Science)

Climate Change

“Rock snot” — also known as river algae — may be given a boost by climate change. And that’s not a good thing. (National Geographic)

Blowing in the wind. Check out the 2013 map of each state’s  wind energy output. (American Wind Energy Association)

Nature News

Pew Charitable Trusts announces their 2014 Marine Fellows — mostly scientists. (Pew Charitable Trusts via Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

Vanishing: Nearly one-quarter of all Earth’s carnivores and ungulates have moved one or more IUCN categories closer to extinction since 1970. (Conservation Biology)

Conservation Tactics

Local knowledge helps scientists track rare wildlife in the Dominican Republic. (Mongabay)

Gardening for cassowaries: conservationists work to “de-fragment” the forest to save the iconic Australian bird. (Living Bird)

Do biodiversity offsets really work? A leading Australian scientist, Philip Gibbons, says no. (Guardian)

Science Communications

TED Talks curator Chris Anderson defends the brand from critics: “Dumbing down, compared to what? Hilarious cat videos?” (New York Times)

Wellcome Trust launches Mosaic – a non-profit outlet for long-form science journalism (with an environment section). Communications Breakdown’s Matt Shipman interviews the site’s editorial director, Mark Henderson. (Communications Breakdown)

Why “Cosmos” probably profiled the wrong 16th century astronomy hero in its first episode — and got him wrong to boot. (Out There/Discover)

So forget “Cosmos,” anyway — here comes World Science University. (ArsTechnica)

This & That

Light pollution blocks more than stars. By deterring fruit eating bats, it may slow rainforest regeneration. (EurekAlert)

Extinction watch…for environmental groups? (Collide-a-scape)

Why the chaos of ecological systems is what makes ecology supercool. (Nature)

Fungi like you’ve never seen them before. (Artful Amoeba)

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.

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