Marty Downs

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.


Marty's Posts

Woodpecker Skull Design, Novel Ecosystems, Yawning Wolves and More

Also in our best of the web: bamboo reinforcements, climate inertia, bison return to Tribal lands, and E.O Wilson’s audacious plan.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Ant Zombies, Sunscreen’s Unseen Impacts and Bats in the Belfry

Also in this week’s best of the web: assessing aquaculture, how human structures affect bird nesting behaviors and the individuality of bumble bees.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Alluring Boomslang, Scaly Pangolin and Disappearing Aspen

Also in this week’s best of the web: social networks for science, averting bird-window collisions, biodiversity surveys go local, and reconstructing Acadia’s trails.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Ocean Mercury, Designer Fish and Best Shark-cam Ever

Also in our best of the web: penguin neighbors, scorpion rundown, downside of habitat corridors, and the psychology of litter.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Bike-Friendly Cities, Overheated Trout and Protein 2.0

Also in our best of the web: right whale baby boom, turtle hatchapalooza, scientists as human shields, and water as therapy

Posted In: The Cooler
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Biofuel White List Could Cut Risk of Invasive Weeds

As the acreage of biofuel crops grows, so does the potential for introducing invasive weeds. Identifying and promoting low-risk species offers a way forward.

Posted In: Science
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Coasts at Risk Report Expands Thinking on Natural Hazards

Nature has an important role in preparing for, and recovering from, natural disasters on coasts around the world. A new report substantiates the link.

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Mayfly Madness, Whale-Ship Collisions, and Microbial Detox

Also in our best of the web: tracking wood thrush migration, carbon sources and sinks, bat navigation, and skunk invasion.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Turtle Talk, Living with Sharks, Carbon Tax Repeal and More

Also in our best of the web: climate and kidney stones, sexual harassment in the field, nature and innovation, flying versus driving and more on sea stars.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Prevention Offers a Better Way to Deal with Invasive Species

A believer in the ‘ounce of prevention’ philosophy, Doria Gordon develops risk assessment tools to help head off troublesome and expensive invasive species.

Posted In: Science
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New Survey Methods Bring Greater Speed and New Issues

Using tablet computers for social surveys makes this key method quicker and more affordable, but researchers should be wary of potential new issues.

Posted In: Social Science
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Veggie Piranha, Duiker Madness, Whale Poop and Rolling Coal

Also in our best of the web: monarch hospitality, fat (and fit) corals, roof tiles for clear air and fingerprinting water.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Hippos Amok, Missing Ocean Plastic, TroutBlitz & More

Also in our best of the web: the future of science journalism, definition of a forest, the great fish swap and crowdfunding wolf conservation

Posted In: The Cooler
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Great Summer Reads: Paul Sabin’s The Bet

Looking for a good read for the 4th of July weekend? How about a great look at one of conservation’s famous debates? Marty Downs reviews Paul Sabin’s The Bet, an account of the wager between ecologist Paul Ehrlich and economist Julian Simon.

Posted In: Book Review
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Urban Weasels, Coral Atlas & Ivory-Sniffing Dogs

Also in this week’s best of the web: getting narcissists to go green, sea star die-off, peak coal, sustainable meat certification and smart fish.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Forest Dilemmas

Too many deer. Logging one tree to save another. Beavers versus old growth. Welcome to forest conservation in the Anthropocene. Beginning Monday, July 21, join us for a provocative 5-part series exploring the full complexity facing forest conservation in the eastern United States.

What is Cool Green Science?

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.

2. Blog with astonishing photos, videos and dispatches of Nature Conservancy science in the field.

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

Cool Green Science is managed by Matt Miller, the Conservancy's deputy director for science communications, and edited by Bob Lalasz, its director of science communications. Email us your feedback.

Innovative Science

Investing in Seagrass
Marine scientists and fishers alike know that grass beds are valuable as nursery habitat. A new Conservancy-funded study puts a number to it.

Drones Aid Bird Conservation
How can California conservationists accurately count thousands of cranes? Enter a new tool in bird monitoring: the drone.

Creating a Climate-Smart Agriculture
Can farmers globally both adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change? A new paper answers with a definitive yes. But it won't be easy.

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