Mayfly Madness, Whale-Ship Collisions, and Microbial Detox

Although blue whale hunting has been banned since xxx, populations are not increasing. The largest tracking study so far shows that whale-ship collisions are partly responsible.

Although blue whale hunting has been banned since 1966, populations are not increasing as expected. The largest tracking study so far shows that whale-ship collisions are partly responsible. Photo credit: NOAA Photo Library via Flickr under 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

Genetic analysis of Australia’s herbaria captures the dynamics of species expansion and decline.  (Nature Communications via EurekAlert!)

A desert rat with an appetite for poison is saved by its gut microbes. (Not Exactly Rocket Science)

No boom in blue whale populations post-hunting. Are whale-ship collisions to blame? (Science News)

Where do all the cool harbor seals eat these days? Around offshore wind turbines, of course. (Current Biology; HT Science News)

MapMyMigration: Researchers track wood thrush migration with tiny bird backpacks. (York University, Conservation Biology)

A mayfly swarm so huge it shows up on radar. (News 8000)

In praise of the “lowly” mountain whitefish. (Paul Vang Outdoors)

New Research

Where to put new energy facilities? Producing more energy takes a surprising amount of land. (Science News)

Bivalves (mussels & oysters) act as nature’s water filters. (Environmental Science & Technology)

Big beef: Beef production 10x more damaging to the environment than any other livestock production. (BBC News)

Bats? Not so blind. (Nature Communications; HT LA Times Science)

Agriculture and coral reefs: not always a bad mix. (Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science)

Climate Change

Climate on the barbie: The anger over Australia’s scuttling of its carbon tax. (Nature & New Yorker)

I can’t change for you: Why heterozygosity might not be the answer to climate change adaptation, after all. (Nature)

Peat swamps may not sound attractive, but you should care about their carbon storing capacity. (Mongabay)

Pit latrines: an unexpected but significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. (Conservation Magazine)

Climate change skeptics could reach catastrophic levels by 2020. (The Onion)

Nature News

UK Parliament takes an unbending stance on re-introductions of locally extinct species. (Guardian)

What terrifies insect experts most? A medical entomologist’s alarm at the arrival of a new bug-borne disease. (Slate)

Smelly invasion: how the skunk took over suburbia. (Outside)

Conservation Tactics

Drones provide “eyes in the sky” to protect Belize’s barrier reef from illegal fishing. (Science Daily)

Are conservationists overlooking the role of livestock grazing in the decline of sage grouse? (The Wildlife News)

Science Communications

Great moments in science history: the twitter take. (Guardian)

This & That

There’s a Citizen Science Project for That #4,567: Light pollution. (Cities at Night)


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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