Urban Weasels, Coral Atlas & Ivory-Sniffing Dogs

Fisher cats -- in the weasel family, but larger, at up to 13 pounds -- are becoming a nuisance in some urban areas.  They are great climbers and slip easily into tunnels, so find plenty of small animal prey in urban settings. Photo credit: Flickr user Property#1 via a Creative Commons 2.0 license.

Fisher cats — in the weasel family, but larger, at up to 13 pounds — are becoming a nuisance in some urban areas. They are great climbers and slip easily into tunnels, so find plenty of small animal prey in urban settings. Photo credit: Flickr user Property#1 via a Creative Commons 2.0 license.

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 on the Internets — and share the best of it with you every week in The Cooler:

Biodiversity & Wildlife

The ferocious bug that sucks prey dry and wears their corpses. (Wired)

Big weasels go big city: Fisher photographed for first time in the Bronx. (North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences)

Border crossing: Tiger filmed swimming from Russia to China. (Wildlife Extra)

Zombie alewives pile up on Milwaukee’s beach. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

New Research

Are fish as intelligent as crows, chimps or people? (Popular Science)

No-till agriculture is literally the coolest. Unplowed fields are up to 2°C cooler than plowed fields. (Nature News)

Have a cow: Why Brazil’s new Sustainable Agriculture Network certification program for cattle could stop deforestation where others have failed. (Conservation Letters)

Everything you ever wanted to know about the coral triangle: A GIS database, packed with biophysical, ecological and socioeconomic data. (PLOS ONE)

Climate Change

Team spirit warms the world? How putting a World Cup flag on your car increases global carbon emissions. (TreeHugger)

Models of climate mitigation and adaptation start to take social learning and human decision-making into account. (Nature Climate Change)

Peak Coal? Don’t worry, it’s almost here, says Fred Pearce. (YaleEnviroment360)

Big $ in environmental crime: UN and Interpol report places value of at $70-$213 billion per year globally. (IISD)

Nature News

Wildlife detector dogs. U.S. is training dogs to sniff out smuggled ivory and rhino horns. (Treehugger)

Seven nature-focused citizen science projects that are using the web to track data. (Yale E360)

Reasons for sea star die-off remain elusive. (High Country News)

Conservation Tactics

Now your discarded cellphone could help stop illegal logging. (Mongabay)

Solar desalination could be a clean energy solution for global water scarcity. (Agriculture and Ecosystems Blog)

This land is still your land: on the unsung value of BLM lands. (Field & Stream)

Just plain clever: de-littering the Baltimore harbor. (NPR)

Science Communications

Public engagement with science, Victorian style. Science communications in the 19th century. (The Guardian)

Invasives squared: Andy Revkin finds invasive zebra mussel found stuck atop invasive water chestnut; declares Anthropocene again. (Dot Earth)

How to make narcissists go green? Clue: They’re NARCISSISTS. (NPR)

This & That

Organic farming is so much harder than just getting stoned and picking tomatoes. Q&A with writer Arlo Crawford. (Grist)

The UN says that it will take an extra $2.5 trillion in funding to meet sustainable development goals. (Responding to Climate Change)


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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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.

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3. Home of Weird Nature, The Cooler, Quick Study, Traveling Naturalist and other amazing features.

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