Amphibian Invisibility Cloak, Resilient Bats, and Terror Birds

Many species of bats, include pallid bats (pictured)  have been decimated by white nose fungus, but biologists are beginning to  note signs of resilience. Photo credit: ©  Paul Berquist/TNC

Many species of bats, include pallid bats (pictured) have been decimated by white-nose fungus, but biologists are beginning to note signs of resilience. Photo credit: © Paul Berquist/TNC

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:


If biodiversity is so important for human well-being, why isn’t Europe languishing? (Conservation Bytes)

Character displacement as the driver of evolution: new doubts, and doubts about the new doubts. (Wired)

And you thought The Birds was scary? Kelenken is Wired’s absurd creature of the week. (Wired)


Frog creates “chemical invisbility cloak” to confuse aggressive ants. (Mongabay)

Bats bouncing back: there are signs that the bats who survived die-offs from white-nose syndrome can resist infection. (Strange Behaviors)

Snowy owl mania continues: 9 photos to celebrate the ongoing irruption. (Huffington Post)

New Research

Basin-level data on forest disturbance is consistent with an Amazon carbon sink — and points to small-scale disturbance as the big player. (Nature Communications)

What is the most sustainable way to harvest rainwater? A new study looks at ancient systems to answer this modern question. (Environmental Science and Technology)

How do fireflies glow? Study in PNAS found that it started with an enzyme that makes fat. (Ars Technica)

A new way to cry wolf: is the latest questioning of the role of large predators and trophic cascades good science, or just tilting at windmills? (Mary Ellen Hannibal)

Climate Change

Up to 30 more dry days per year for the Mediterranean, Central America and Indonesia by century’s end, says new research. (Nature)

What we know: AAAS surprises the internet by releasing its own report to help the American people understand the science of climate change. (AAAS)

Can we have green energy and save birds? The answer is blowing in the wind. Maybe. (Audubon)

Nature News

Another victim of the polar vortex in North America: honeybees. (Compound Eye/Scientific American)

Cows, crops and timber: an ambitious agroforestry program in Colombia improves incomes, restores degraded land and makes farms more resilient to climate change. (Yale E360)

“There is no sector in American business that wouldn’t like to have better environmental information,” says NOAA CIO Joseph Klimacivz. Ocean Agency working to make data more accessible. (America Geophysical Union, EOS Transactions)

Science Communications

The anti-tweet. Longform digital journalism is a great medium for science communication. The Tow Center at Columbia University is exploring how all the pieces fit together. (National Association of Science Writers)

The secret life of Science Guy Bill Nye, in video on NOVA. (PsiVid/Scientific American)

To open access, or not to open access? Excellent review of the landscape and its pitfalls by Gary C. White. (The Wildlife Society News; HT Sharon Baruch-Mordo)

Science comprehension is a “culturally random variable.” (Translation: All cultural groups — including conservatives — have equal levels of science literacy.) (Dan Kahan/Cultural Cognition Project)

This & That

The return of the science patron. Solutions-focused environmental science benefits in a big way from the growth in science philanthropy — but is there a downside? (New York Times)

Did you miss taxonomy appreciation day? (Small Pond Science)

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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