Voracious Crabs, Jujitsu Mouse, and the Biggest Data Yet

When predators can keep this voracious purple marsh crab in check, marsh grasses stand a better chance. Photo courtesy of Mark Bertness.

When predators can keep this voracious purple marsh crab in check, marsh grasses stand a better chance. Photo courtesy of Mark Bertness Lab .

By Marty Downs, Bob Lalasz, Matt Miller, Lisa Feldkamp and Cara Byington 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:


Craig McLain’s favorite sponge: It eats by snagging crustaceans on its “skin,” then growing epidermis around them to absorb their nutrients. (Deep Sea News)

Need more greasy, salty snacks: Blue-footed boobie population decline linked to sardine shortage. (New York Times)

More questions than answers: a roadmap for marine biodiversity conservation research (Conservation Biology)


It battles scorpions and feels no pain. Meet the world’s fiercest rodent, the grasshopper mouse. (Huff Post Science)

Fungus chomping microbes to the rescue! Wild microbes could save amphibians from deadly disease. (Scientific American)

On the track of the world’s rarest seal in Croatia. (Mammal Watching)

New Research

This may be the biggest data yet. Scientists are building a global model of ecosystems that could predict responses to human pressures. (PLOS Biology)

Crabs out of control with no predators! Hungry Sesarma crabs are killing saltmarshes. (Science 360)

The great koala count: Corey Bradshaw changes his mind about citizen science (sort of). (Conservation Bytes)

Protein found in coral might prevent HIV. (Outside Online)

Grow your own soil? Soils in gardens found to be richer, with more organic matter than that on farms. (Telegraph)

Climate Change

What’s holding back the wave energy? Why wave power hasn’t kept pace with other renewables despite the need to mitigate climate change. (Yale E360)

The “tornado-power equation” says, yes, tornadoes are getting stronger. (Wired)

A false history of climate change in newspaper headlines. (The New Yorker)

Southwestern birds affected by climate-related habitat losses. (USGS via Audubon)

Nature News

Man forced to flee Russia – for his support of bat conservation. (The Ecologist)

Creating resilient new waterfronts in the wake of Sandy. (Slate/Orion)

Is that a can of Heineken? What scientists are finding in the deep ocean (hint: stuff that’s not supposed to be there). (The Guardian)

Conservation Tactics

Prairie fire: Can we save the tallgrass with controlled burns without wreaking havoc on air quality? (NPR)

Not worth it: Advocates ask Antiques Roadshow to quit appraising ivory. (Mongabay)

Flight of the curlew: radio transmitters track the migration of North America’s largest shorebird. (Idaho Nature Notes)

What makes marine protected areas work? Atlantic writer Svati Kirsten Narula captures much of the current debate. (Atlantic)

Science Communications

Is big data making a big mistake? Big data is still prone to some of the problems of “small data”, but on a much larger scale. (FT Magazine)

But do they glow or not? How media variously distorted a new study on radioactivity in albacore from the Fukushima meltdown. (Collide-a-scape)

This & That

Aphid alert! How plants “warn” each other of danger. (Krulwich Wonders)

Why aren’t there more women and African-Americans in science? Neil DeGrasse Tyson shares his survivor’s story. (Dynamic Ecology)

The sky isn’t falling: How ecologists keep misunderstanding economics and resource consumption vs. degradation. (Wall Street Journal)

The mind does not belong in a cubicle. You were wired to crave nature. (Atlantic Cities)

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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